Biography of President Bill Ruud

Bill Ruud

Dr. William N. Ruud began serving as the University of Northern Iowa’s 10th President on May 31, 2013. Over the past three years at UNI, Bill has amplified the emphasis on recruiting/retaining students, engaging alumni both in and outside the state and expanding the partnerships with Iowa’s community colleges.   He has affirmed the university’s commitment to diversity and inclusion by creating a diversity initiative amongst students, faculty, staff and the surrounding communities.

UNI has reversed an enrollment trend and has caused an increase in the Fall of 2015 to more than 12,300 students. Increases have been realized in freshman, sophomore, junior, graduate, transfer, international and underrepresented minority students.  He has continued to develop his senior leadership group (The Executive Management Team (EMT)) by adding a new Provost/Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, a new Vice President for University Advancement, a new Vice President for Student Affairs, and a new Chief Diversity Officer.  Fundraising by the UNI Foundation continues its success with $50+ million since he has arrived, with over $27M raised in 2014-15 and nearly $20M so far in 2015-16.

President Ruud earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Administration and Hospital Administration from the University of North Dakota. He earned a Master's degree in Business Administration and a Doctorate degree in Organizational Behavior/Management from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. President Ruud is also a proud U.S. Army veteran, serving as an armor/AG officer from 1978-1981.

He has served in various leadership capacities at colleges and universities across the nation. He has used his wealth of experience to lead universities to academic excellence and achievement, as well as ensure that they fulfill their essential role in the region and state.  Ruud began his academic career teaching business courses at Northwestern Louisiana State University in 1978. From 1979-1981, he conducted his research in leadership assessment at the U.S. Army Research Institute in Washington, D.C.; he also taught management theory and organizational behavior courses at Central Michigan University from 1980-1981. From 1981 to 1993, Ruud taught management, organizational behavior, strategy, policy, and ethics courses at the University of Toledo, and was awarded tenure in 1987. He served as an Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Studies, coordinated the MBA program as an Associate Dean, served as Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, Assistant Director of the University Honors Program and eventually served as Interim Dean of the College of Business Administration while at Toledo.

In 1993, Ruud was appointed Dean of the College of Business & Economics and Professor of Management (tenured) at Boise State University.  He was promoted in 1998 to Vice President for Institutional Advancement. At Boise State, Ruud was selected as Administrator of the Year, served as the president of Boise Industrial Foundation, completed a $12.5 million campaign for a new engineering facility, established faculty fellowships and created endowments to support student research.

From 2000-2003, Ruud took leave as an Executive-in-Residence and served as the Chief Education Policy Advisor for Idaho’s Governor Dirk Kempthorne. He worked with the State Department of Education and State Board of Education on all pre-K through higher education issues. In 2004, Ruud was named Vice President for Development/University Relations and Professor of Management (tenured) at California State University, Stanislaus. He achieved record fundraising levels, doubled membership in the alumni association, raised more than $10 million for student scholarships and increased community partnerships.

In 2007, Ruud became the 15th president of Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, a comprehensive regional university. During his presidency, Ruud implemented a facilities master plan in conjunction with the university’s strategic plan and led the university’s development of an Academic Master Plan. The University also completed a successful reaccreditation (with commendation) by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education in 2009, increased enrollment, experienced double-digit increases in student applications – including an increase in applications from minority students – and consistently had the highest graduation rate (seven years in a row) in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE). Ruud also expanded community outreach opportunities, such as the Growing Edges Community Counseling Clinic that offers free counseling services, and strengthened numerous cooperative ventures with local municipalities. Ruud spearheaded an effective integrated marketing campaign, enhanced student/faculty research programs and grants, and set fundraising records. Lastly, Ruud was unanimously elected as Chair of the Council of Presidents of the 14 University PASSHE System.

Over the years, Ruud has been named to several national and regional groups.  He currently serves on both AASCU’s Board of Directors and Professional Development Committee and was a member of the American Council on Education's Commission on Effective Leadership. In 2015, Ruud began to serve as the Vice Chair of the NCAA’s newly formed President’s Forum – the primary advisory group to the NCAA’s Board of Directors and is the Co-Chair of the Values Based Revenue Distribution Working Group.  Upon his arrival to the Cedar Valley, Ruud was appointed to the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council and Executive Committee, the Iowa Business Council and the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber Board of Directors.  He is a member of the Board of Directors of Midwest One Financial Group - with banks in both Iowa and Minnesota and serves on the Board of Directors of both Junior Achievement of Eastern Iowa and the Iowa Campus Compact.  He also served on the editorial board of the Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies and has published numerous scholarly articles on business, ethics, organizational communication and business education pedagogy. He continues to conduct research on institutional leadership and organizational behavior topics.

Ruud and his wife of 39 years, Judy, reside in the UNI President’s House with their cockapoo, Fuzzy.

President Rudd's Messages