Keller will serve as interim president from May 17 until a new president begins
Thursday, March 25, 2021

Iowa Board of Regents President Michael Richards has announced that University of Iowa Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate College John Keller will serve as interim president until the next permanent UI president begins their duties.

The appointment will be presented to the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, for consideration at its April 14 meeting.

John Keller
John Keller

“Dean Keller has had a long and distinguished career at the University of Iowa, having been with UI since 1988,” says Richards. “I am very grateful that Dean Keller is willing to take on the role of interim president until a new president starts.”

Current UI President Bruce Harreld announced in October 2020 that he would retire once his successor is named, and the Board of Regents began the search later that month. The search committee plans to bring finalists to campus for interviews in mid-April, and the board plans to name a new president on April 30. Harreld announced on March 25 that his last day as president would be May 16.

Keller is the longest-serving graduate school dean in the Big Ten conference, and recently announced he will step down from that position on July 31.

Keller joined Iowa’s College of Dentistry as an associate professor in 1988 and soon after became a professor of dental research and oral and maxillofacial surgery. During his time in the College of Dentistry, he served as director for the Biomaterials Research Program in the Dows Institute for Dental Research. He was elected to the board of the American Association of Dental Research, including a term as its president.

In 2002, he was named associate provost for graduate education and dean of the Graduate College after serving in the role as an interim for two years. Keller served on the boards of both the Association of American Universities (AAU) American Association of Graduate Deans and the Council of Graduate Schools, and was twice the chair of the Big Ten Academic Alliance graduate deans’ group. Keller also served as interim vice president for the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development from October 2017 to June 2019.

Keller also serves as co-chair of the UI Presidential Search Committee, and will remain in that role. He is not a candidate for the permanent position of president.

“I am exceptionally grateful for the opportunity to serve the University of Iowa in this new and most important role,” says Keller. “It is a privilege to be asked by President Richards and the Board of Regents, and it is a true and humbling honor at this point of my career. I look forward to working with the entire campus over this interim period.”

Keller will begin serving as interim president on May 17. After serving as interim president, he will remain a faculty member in the College of Dentistry and will serve as a leader on several projects already underway in Office of the Provost.