Dr. Ruud hired away from Shippensburg to lead University of Northern Iowa
By AMBER SOUTH
SHIPPENSBURG — After spending six years working to enhance Shippensburg University with facility construction and program growth, President Bill Ruud will leave to become president at the University of Northern Iowa.
The State of Iowa’s Board of Regents announced Thursday that Ruud will take over June 1 at the 12,000-student university in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
In a thank-you letter to the SU community, Ruud said he put much thought into his decision and while excited to start a new chapter in his life, he is sad to leave SU behind.
By taking the position, Ruud feels he is following SU’s guiding principle that encourages all members of the campus community to move on in life and live their dreams.
“As someone with strong roots and connections to the Midwest, being closer to family and home is a strong personal attraction,” he wrote.
In his role at UNI Ruud wrote that he will lead a university that is professionally vital to Iowa and its citizens, and will help to enhance its service to the state like he did at SU.
When Ruud was first chosen as SU’s president in 2007, the Council of Trustees asked for a five-year commitment, said Michael Schaul, council president. Ruud stayed for six, although he was a finalist to become president at North Dakota State University in 2010 and Bowling Green State University in 2011.
The Council of Trustees was not surprised when members first learned of Ruud’s imminent departure to UNI. Money is the big factor, as the UNI position comes with a $340,000 annual salary, a significant increase from the $206,900 he made last year.
UNI’s compensation package is far beyond what SU can offer as a member of PASSHE, Schaul said. He sees Ruud’s decision to leave is a forward step in better securing his financial future. Ruud is 60.
“I think his heart’s at Ship,” Schaul said.
Ruud was the perfect successor to long-time SU president Anthony Ceddia because they had similar visions, goals and objectives that were in line with what the Council of Trustees wanted to see, Schaul said.
Students became more involved in university decisions under Ruud’s leadership because they were afforded seats on the council’s nomination committee, Schaul said.
“It’s very clear that he’s a student-first guy. I don’t think anybody can question that,” he added.
Schaul said Ruud had a huge amount of confidence in his senior staff and delegated responsibilities often, and that makes the university better equipped to handle his departure.
The campus landscape changed significantly while Ruud led SU. Renovations of the Anthony F. Ceddia Union Building, Huber Art Center, and Reisner Dining Hall, among other projects, occurred during his tenure. Last week he participated in a celebration of the ribbon-cutting for phase one and ground-breaking for phase two of a three-phase, $200 million project to replace campus residence halls with modern, living-learning facilities with semi-suite and full-suite floors.
New academic programs took shape under Ruud’s presidency, including the development of bachelor of science degrees in software engineering and computer engineering. SU is the first in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education to obtain.
PASSHE’s Board of Governors is responsible for finding a new SU president, but the process starts with the Council of Trustees creating a search committee, said PASSHE spokesperson Kenn Marshall.
It can take six months or more to find candidates and conduct initial interviews. The search committee will narrow the field down to about six candidates whom it will invite to campus for public forums, meetings with campus organizations and other activities.
The committee will generally choose three of those candidates to move on for approval by the Council of Trustees. The process then moves to the PASSHE Chancellor’s office. From there the Board of Governors will conduct final interviews and choose a candidate to take the position, Marshall said.
Because Ruud will depart in time to take over June 1 at UNI, it is possible that an interim president may need to be appointed at SU while the search for a president is carried out. According to Marshall, this could be someone from campus or elsewhere.
Amber South can be reached at email@example.com and 262-4771.