IOWA CITY – Former University of Iowa Chancellor Montse Fuentes, who unexpectedly resigned in July after just one year at work, she has been named the next president of St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas.
"Fuentes, a native of Spain, will be the first Hispanic president to lead St. Edward's, representing an important milestone for the university, which is an institution that serves Hispanics," according to a St. Edward's news release on Friday. . "She will also become the second female rector in the history of the university."
Fuentes will take the helm of the private Catholic university on July 1, allowing her to remain an unemployment insurance "special assistant" and earn a vice president-level salary for as long as a July 15 agreement that signed with the Iowa Board of Regents.
“Fuentes will have that appointment at the discretion of the president, but in no case after June 30, 2021,” according to the agreement, which would have allowed her to continue being a teacher UI after the special assistantship expired but with a 60 percent salary reduction.
She currently earns $ 439,000, slightly more than her salary of $ 435,000 when she started as UI Chancellor on June 28, 2019.
Neither Fuentes nor UI officials have responded to questions from The Gazette about why he resigned, just months after the university's director of diversity, equity and inclusion, who started on the same date as Fuentes, resigned from his position. through a similar arrangement.
Fuentes, however, answered questions from the Kent State University community in October while participating in a public presentation as a finalist for his role as Senior Vice President and Chancellor. At that forum, Fuentes said he wanted to leave Iowa because "I am looking for the opportunity to have full alignment with my core values: my commitment to diversity, fairness, and inclusion."
"I'm very excited about the prospect of joining Kent State, where I feel like there is a total alignment with those values," said Fuentes, who identifies as a minority.
In appointing Fuentes as its next president on Friday, St. Edward's Board of Trustees Chairman Steve Shadowen touted his “deep knowledge of higher education, a dedication to providing world-class scholarships and classroom teaching, an unsurpassed commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, and a clear vision of the future of the university. ”
"Fuentes shares the university's devotion to social justice and the mission of the Holy Cross to educate the heart and mind," according to Shadowen's statement. "The board is convinced that Dr. Fuentes is the right leader to advance college in the growing and changing State of Texas and in the dynamic global city of Austin."
Shadowen noted that Fuentes "will lean on the giants," succeeding retiree George E. Martin, whose 21-year tenure saw college student enrollment grow 55 percent, national and regional rankings improved, and more than $ 400 million. invested "in our beautiful hilltop campus."
He also commended Martin for upholding the "responsibilities of the university as an institution that serves Hispanics, including our loyalty to our renowned College Assistance Program for Migrants and, more generally, to serving working-class families."
In announcing her hiring, St. Edward's reported that Fuentes “was recently Executive Vice President and Chancellor of the University of Iowa, where she championed real-world and business training, curriculum initiatives, technology leverage, and civic engagement to enhance the success of students. "
" Beyond her academic achievements, she has championed the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion through work that has helped women, minorities, and underprivileged students reach their full potential, "according to St. Edward's.
In a statement, Fuentes said, “I will dedicate myself to the success of all of our students, faculty, and staff to unlock their full potential, while offering a high-quality, individualized education in a supportive environment and strengthen ties and connections with the Austin community. "
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