News Release

Joan T.A. Gabel appointed 17th University of Minnesota President

Joan T. A. Gabel

The University of Minnesota Board of Regents appointed Joan T.A. Gabel as the University's 17th President by a unanimous vote this morning. She will assume the office on July 1, 2019.

“President-Designate Gabel stood out from a highly competitive pool of candidates that advanced through a thorough and thoughtful search process. Her qualifications, combined with her warmth, energy and her genuine engagement with students, faculty, staff and others are proof that she will make an outstanding President,” said David McMillan, chair of the Board of Regents.

“Selecting the University’s President is one of the Board's most important responsibilities, but the voices and commitment of the Presidential Search Advisory Committee and the entire University community were essential in our selection of the University’s 17th President,” McMillan continued. “My Board colleagues and I are grateful for the time and energy so many invested to help our University reach this historic day.”

The Board voted on Gabel’s appointment during a special meeting this morning. Gabel was present for the vote.

“I have known for a while now that the University of Minnesota is where my family and I want to be,” said Gabel. “But after traveling across this state, meeting so many people who love the University and seeing how our research, teaching and service have real impact here and beyond, I’m even more excited to join this community and I’m honored to be named the next President of the University of Minnesota.

“I am so grateful to the Board of Regents, the Presidential Search Advisory Committee and everyone I’ve met in this process. I’m very much looking forward to working together toward what I know is an incredibly bright future. Thank you,” said Gabel.

Gabel will be the first woman in the University's 167-year history to hold its highest office.

The executive vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of South Carolina since 2015, Gabel emerged as the finalist from a diverse field of candidates. Prior to becoming South Carolina’s chief academic officer, in which she oversees the schools and colleges of the system’s flagship Columbia campus and works closely with all eight of the University’s system campuses, Gabel served as dean of the University of Missouri’s Trulaske College of Business for five years. Earlier positions at Florida State University and Georgia State University included Gabel holding distinguished chairs, serving as department director and earning accolades as a faculty member. She also was editor in chief of the American Business Law Journal. Before her work in higher education, Gabel was an attorney. She earned her bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Haverford College (Pa.) and her Juris Doctor from the University of Georgia. She and her husband have three children.

“My education and professional experience across the liberal arts, business, the law and in higher ed administration position me uniquely to listen carefully, meet challenges and identify opportunities to collaborate with students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, policymakers and others to make this great University even greater,” said Gabel.

Gabel shared her background with the entire state of Minnesota last week as she met with hundreds of people across all five of the University's campus communities. Open houses, public forums and meetings with student, faculty and administrative leadership introduced Gabel to the unique aspects of each campus in the system she will now lead and encouraged Minnesotans to ask her their questions about the future of the University.

“Similar to cities across the state of Minnesota, all five University campuses have distinctive strengths, cultures and opportunities to change lives and enhance their communities,” said Gabel. “I have been impressed by the desire to connect to something bigger and bring the force of a comprehensive system to bear on preparing tomorrow’s workforce, contributing research and discovery to enhance Minnesotans’ lives while creating global impact and reaching out to help drive the state’s success.”

In addition to voting in support of Gabel, the Board approved a five-year contract for her. Regent McMillan also announced formation of a presidential transition committee that will be co-chaired by Regent Richard Beeson and Matt Kramer, vice president of University Relations.

Gabel will serve out the remainder of her term as Provost at the University of South Carolina, the last day of which is June 30. As previously announced, University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler will remain in office until June 30 before the presidency is officially transitioned to Gabel on July 1.

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