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University of Iowa News Release

July 15, 2003

Skorton To Serve As National Leader In Alcohol, Other Drug Prevention

The Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention announced that David Skorton, president of University of Iowa, has been selected to serve on the Presidents Leadership Group (PLG), a body of higher education presidents and chancellors who have made student substance abuse prevention a priority on their campuses.

Skorton is among nine higher education leaders who joined the PLG today, bring the total member of the organization to 45. The expansion of the PLG marks the continued commitment by the Higher Education Center to highlight and promote the critical role of presidential leadership in collegiate alcohol and other drug prevention.

"I am pleased to express the University of Iowa's continuing commitment to curb the harmful affects of abusive drinking on college campuses," Skorton said. "We at the University will continue to act as a catalyst in our community to affect positive change to address this serious public health problem."

With support from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the PLG was formed to bring national attention to alcohol and other drug issues on college and university campuses. Representing a broad array of institutions of higher education, officials from 45 campuses from 27 states now participate in this effort. Officials serve as prevention spokespersons, change agents, and models for other presidents; they also support statewide and regional alcohol and other drug prevention efforts, adopting leadership roles in existing regional initiatives or taking the lead in states where statewide efforts have not yet
taken hold.

"Presidents are in a unique position to invigorate and influence prevention efforts on their campuses and in their communities," states Higher Education Center Director William DeJong. "We look forward to working with the new members of the PLG as they continue to demonstrate how presidents may best serve this critical role, drawing upon campus resources and enlisting both campus and community constituencies in prevention."

The Higher Education Center formed the original PLG in 1997. That year, the six-member PLG published an alcohol prevention report urging college presidents to become more active leaders on this issue on their campuses and in their surrounding communities. Copies of the PLG report, Be Vocal, Be Visible, Be Visionary: Recommendations for College and University Presidents on Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention, and its companion video can be obtained by visiting the Higher Education Center's Web site at

The Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention serves as the national resource center for institutions of higher education concerned with reducing alcohol and other drug use. Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, with supplemental funding from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Higher Education Center offers training, technical assistance, publications, and other information to assist those who want to take an active part in changing the environment in which students make decisions about alcohol and other drug use. The Higher Education Center is based at Education Development Center, Inc., an internationally known nonprofit educational research and development organization located in Newton, Mass.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, based in Princeton, N.J., is the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care. It concentrates its grant-making in four goal areas: to assure that all Americans have access to quality health care at reasonable cost; to improve the quality of care and support for people with chronic health conditions; to promote healthy communities and lifestyles; and to reduce the personal, social and economic harm caused by substance abuse - tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs.

STORY SOURCE: University Relations, 101 Jessup Hall, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1316.

MEDIA CONTACT: Steve Parrott, 319-335-0552,