Joan Gabel wraps up U of M President interviews ahead of Tuesday vote

She is the one and only finalist in the search for a new University of Minnesota President and Friday, Joan Gabel wrapped up a five-day job interview.

Now, it appears Gabel is well on her way to officially replacing Eric Kaler.

Friday, Gabel underwent a two hour question and answer session with the U of M’s Board of Regents who seem to have their minds pretty well made up.

“I’m a little bit greedy and I want to take your enthusiasm and your energy and your talent and bring this university to the level it can be,” said Steven Sviggum.

Gabel began Monday morning on a tour of all five U of M campuses. She spent the time meeting and greeting through 1,200 miles.

“I can’t imagine feeling more welcomed as we went across the state,” Gabel said. “It was a wonderful opportunity.”

As the lone finalist, the Presidency is essentially hers to lose or reject. After this week’s visit and it sounds like neither of those will happen.

“And every suspicion I had that things were pretty good around here is completely confirmed,” Gabel said.

The final interview covered questions about the University’s research mission, achievement gaps and student mental health. Her answers were very academic, showing depth of knowledge and thought.

“So, I think the only thing that’s really changed is I’m more excited than ever,” she said.

She wants the job and there is no sense that any of the Regents feel differently.

“I have a strong sense of optimism and, again, I don’t want to speak for the Board before the Board acts, but my sense is that there’s considerable support,” said Regent David McMillan.

The Board of Regents will meet to vote on the University's next President Tuesday.