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Release: Dec. 17, 2002

NOTE TO EDITORS AND NEWS DIRECTORS: All presidential candidates will be available briefly for questions from reporters in the Iowa Memorial Union's Kirkwood Room (Room 257) from about 5 to 5:15 p.m. following the public symposium portion of the candidate's visit.

Penn State provost to interview for UI presidency on Wednesday

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Rodney A. Erickson, executive vice president and provost of The Pennsylvania State University, will visit The University of Iowa Wednesday, Dec. 18, to interview for the position of UI president. Erickson will meet with faculty, staff, students and community leaders, and he will participate in a 4 p.m. symposium on "The Future of Public Higher Education" in the second-floor ballroom of the Iowa Memorial Union. The symposium is open to the public.

Erickson, 56, is also professor of geography and business administration at Penn State. As executive vice president and provost, he is responsible for oversight of all undergraduate, graduate and professional education, research, and outreach educational programs for all 24 Penn State campuses. In addition, he oversees enrollment management and administration, information technology services, strategic planning, budgeting, quality initiatives and facilities and space planning.

His research interests include international trade and business investment, regional economic analysis and the geographic distribution of economic impacts, the economic and geographic structures of metropolitan areas, and urban and regional economic development policies and institutions. His research has been funded by both public and private agencies, including the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of the Interior, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Mellon Foundation, the Hospital Educational and Research Foundation, and the Aspen Institute.

In addition to his administrative duties, Erickson teaches in the geography department, in the graduate program in regional planning, the College of Business Administration, and in the executive management program.

Erickson earned both his bachelor's degree (1968) and master's degree (1970) in geography from the University of Minnesota. He received his doctorate in geography from the University of Washington in 1973.

After completing his studies, he began his professional career at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he was assistant professor of urban and regional planning from 1973-1977. He joined the faculty at Penn State in 1977 as assistant professor of geography. He was promoted to associate professor in 1979 and took a dual appointment as associate professor of business administration in 1981. He was promoted to professor of geography and business administration in 1984.

Prior to being named executive vice president and provost in 1999, Erickson served as head of the Penn State geography department (1990-1994), dean of the Graduate College (1995-present), and vice president for research (1997-1999). He also served as associate director of the Division of Research (1984-1995) and as director of the Center for Regional Business Analysis (1981-1995), both in the College of Business Administration.

He has been active in professional organizations, including the Association of American Geographers, the Regional Science Association, the American Geographical Society, the American Economic Association and the Fulbright Association. He has also traveled widely, participating in seminars and consulting in England, Italy, Germany, China, Korea, Kenya, the Philippines and the former Soviet Union.

Erickson's wife, Shari, is a Realtor in State College, Penn. The couple's older son, Craig, and his wife, Janet, are both physicians practicing in eastern Pennsylvania. Their younger son, Jeff, is a third-year law student at the University of Denver.