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Release: Aug. 8, 2002

Provost Whitmore announces intention to resign in summer of 2003

Jon Whitmore, University of Iowa provost and professor of theater arts since August 1996, today announced his intention to resign during the summer of 2003, following the selection of a new university president. The university is about to begin a national search for a new president following the announcement that President Mary Sue Coleman accepted the presidency at the University of Michigan. Coleman's last day as UI president was July 31.

"I believe that a new president should have the clear option of choosing her or his own administrative team, including the provost," Whitmore said in an e-mail sent to all university faculty, staff and students this morning. "By announcing my intentions now, I will have time to explore several opportunities, one of which includes the possibility of returning, after a year of study and research, to the Department of Theatre Arts where I hold a tenured professor position.

"It has been a great honor to serve the University of Iowa as its provost these past six years," he added. "This is a wonderful university with great faculty, staff and students. After we weather the budget woes of the past and upcoming year, I have every belief that the University of Iowa will continue its upward trajectory toward even greater excellence in teaching, research and service."

Whitmore's tenure as the university's chief academic officer won words of praise from Interim University President Willard L. (Sandy) Boyd. "The university is enormously indebted to Provost Whitmore for his resolute and insightful leadership as our academic officer," Boyd said. "Both as a present faculty member and as one of his predecessors, I am especially mindful of his commitment to educational excellence and his awareness of the individual concerns of faculty, staff and students. While he will be greatly missed as provost, I am delighted that he may choose to return to the faculty to continue his work as a noteworthy teacher and scholar."

Whitmore came to the UI from the University of Texas at Austin, where he served for six years as the dean of the College of Fine Arts. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in speech and theater from Washington State University. He earned the Ph.D. in dramatic arts from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he wrote his dissertation on the dramatic writing of William Saroyan.

At West Virginia University, Whitmore served as chair of the Division of Theatre from 1979 to 1983, as assistant to the president from 1983 to 1984, and as interim dean of the College of Creative Arts from 1984 to 1985. He became the dean of the Faculty of Arts and Letters at the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1985, a position he held until moving to the University of Texas in 1990.

Whitmore is the author of "Directing Postmodern Theatre" (University of Michigan Press, 1994) and "William Saroyan" (Greenwood Press, 1994).