U of M Board of Regents selects Dr. Rebecca Cunningham as new president

The University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents has selected Dr. Rebecca Cunningham as the school’s newest president.

Cunningham is the vice president for research and innovation at the University of Michigan. She will be the 18th president of the University of Minnesota.

“First, I really want to say how excited I am, what a privilege and honor it is to be here today and how excited I am to look forward to serving the University of Minnesota and the state of Minnesota,” Cunningham said in a press conference following the decision.

“There will be many priorities initially… some of those priorities will be around the health system, but also simply getting to know the people in this place and all the great work that’s happening,” Cunningham added. “I’ve heard about many of the issues, campus safety is top of mind… certainly for students and for parents.”

Last month, the U of M announced the search for its next president was down to three candidates.

The three finalists for the position were introduced to the public last week and each of them was interviewed one final time before a final decision was made Monday afternoon.

Through the past few weeks, the candidates have shared their visions and priorities for the future:

“I’m passionate about public, higher education. It’s what lifted me and my family out of economic hardship. I’m really excited about the vision and mission of this university and state, which is so important to me and my family for so long,” said Cunningham.

“It’s clear to me whatever we do with healthcare and our medical school and health-related initiatives, across the entire system – it’s going to be a high priority focus,” said Bloomberg.

“At the University of New Mexico, I’ve undertaken a very thorough compensation study to see where faculty salaries are compared to peers and used that data to argue to our legislature successfully,” said Holloway.

While a final decision was made Monday, an inauguration for Cunningham won’t be held until July 1.

Joan Gabel, the former U of M president and the first woman to hold the position, was named chancellor at the University of Pittsburgh on April 3 last year.

Ettinger’s employment agreement ends on June 30, 2024, with an option to have his agreement ended earlier if a permanent president is found before then. CLICK HERE for the full employment agreement.

Additional changes are coming to the U of M – Myron Frans is planning to step down from his position as senior vice president for finance and operations, chief financial officer, treasurer and chief operations officer this Friday.

Frans came to the U of M in 2020 after serving as the commissioner of Minnesota Management and Budget.

Ettinger had previously said Frans agreed to serve as a senior advisor to the president in a part-time role focused on clinical partnerships related to academic medicine after his resignation takes effect.

A former state lawmaker joined the University of Minnesota last year in a newly created role – Melisa López Franzen is now serving as executive director of Government and Community Relations. In the role, she’ll report directly to the university president and is tasked with leading the system’s work in partnering with local, state and federal officials.