University of Minnesota appoints first woman president in its 167-year history

Joan T.A. Gabel becomes the 17th U of M president.
Publish date:

The University of Minnesota has appointed the first female president in its 167-year history.

Joan T.A. Gabel, the chief academic officer and provost at the University of South Carolina, will take over the position soon-to-be-vacated by current President Eric Kaler, with July 1, 2019, her first day in office.

In a statement from the U's Board of Regents, chair David McMillan said 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,” he added.

The 50-year-old Gabel was present for the vote that officially gave her the position at a special meeting of the board on Tuesday morning.

"I have known for a while now that the University of Minnesota is where my family and I want to be," she said. "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."

The Star Tribune spoke to some of her colleagues in South Carolina, who described her as a "down-to-earth, approachable leader."

Sign up: Subscribe to our daily newsletters

Her tenure in South Carolina saw her face challenges over rising costs, protest over student and faculty diversity, not to mention enduring two destructive hurricanes, the newspaper notes.

She was formerly a business law attorney, the editor in chief of the American Business Law Journal, and the dean of the University of Missouri's Trulaske College of Business.

She's also held roles at Florida State University and Georgia State University.

The Board of Regents approved a five-year contract for Gabel.

Next Up

steve simon zoom call

Secretary of State explains plans for segregated absentee ballots

Election officials are reminding voters that it's too late to mail in your absentee ballots.

Halloween, trick-or-treating

Osterholm on safe trick-or-treating: 'I would say go ahead with it'

The infectious disease expert's opinion doesn't align with the CDC's guidance.

drop and go ballot plymouth

It's too late to mail your ballot, but you can still vote. Here's how.

Voters can drop off their absentee ballot, vote early in-person or head to the polls on Election Day.

2019-12-11 f1rst Wrestling Hanukka Havok-Darin Kamnetz-154

Dusting itself off after virus blow, F1rst Wrestling returns to the ring this Sunday

Minnesota's premier independent wrestling company was on top of the world before the virus hit.


McDonald's is bringing the McRib back in December

It hasn't appeared on menus for eight years.

Apple Valley High School

2 more Twin Cities districts moving to distance learning for grades 6-12

The decision was announced as infection rates in Dakota County rise.

covid-19 testing site sign

Here are the 4 free COVID-19 testing sites in MN for the week of Nov. 2

People don't need to have symptoms or insurance to get tested for free.

minnesota zoo

Minnesota Zoo launches activities to get people embracing nature

The zoo is hosting a pumpkin scavenger hunt and a "Do the Zoo, Not Zoom Day."

teacher, coronavirus, covid-19, school, classroom

25 counties have COVID-19 infection rates associated with distance learning

County-level data is no longer the only source districts have to rely on to make informed decisions about which learning model to use.