Pamela Whitten named 19th president of Indiana University

16th April 2021

A visionary scholar and accomplished educator, Whitten will lead one of the nation’s leading research universities starting July 1

The Indiana University Board of Trustees has named Pamela Whitten as the university’s 19th president. A visionary scholar and accomplished educator and researcher, Whitten has held a variety of leadership roles, beginning at Michigan State University and now as president of Kennesaw State University.

Pamela Whitten  
Photo courtesy of Kennesaw State University

As IU’s first female president, Whitten assumes the helm at one of the nation’s leading research universities at a time of record-level research funding and philanthropic support.

“Pamela has distinguished herself as a passionate and accessible leader,” trustee chair Michael Mirro said. “Her student-centered approach and proven ability to harness diverse talent and secure vital resources will help IU continue on its strong trajectory.”

Whitten holds a Ph.D. in communication studies from the University of Kansas, a Master of Arts in communication from the University of Kentucky and a Bachelor of Science in management from Tulane University. She is an internationally recognized expert in the field of telemedicine. As part of her work in higher education, she additionally held leadership roles at University of Georgia and the University of Kansas Medical Center.

“Indiana University is one of our nation’s finest public research universities, with a rich history, wonderful traditions and a worldwide reputation for excellence,” Whitten said. “This is an especially exciting time as IU builds upon its 200 years of success, strengthening its mission of delivering outstanding education and innovative research. I’m deeply honored to be selected to lead this great university, and I look forward to working with the exceptional faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of IU to seize the opportunities and challenges ahead, creating a better future for all of those we serve.”

Whitten was appointed by the board of trustees following an extensive search. Faculty, staff and students across the university provided early input regarding the characteristics and experiences most desired in IU’s next leader.

“Pamela emerged as a clear choice among a strong group of candidates,” said Melanie Walker, trustee and search committee chair. “She is an engaging and collaborative leader who will bring focused passion to the presidential role.”

Rick Van Kooten, executive dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at IU Bloomington, advised on the search and was impressed with Whitten’s commitment to faculty engagement.

“Beyond academic accomplishments alone, she has a strong history of creative initiatives and working with faculty to advance their interests, including both research and teaching,” he said.

Whitten succeeds Michael A. McRobbie, who has served as president since 2007. His significant accomplishments will be celebrated later this spring, with details forthcoming at

IU’s presidential transition committee, led by trustee MaryEllen Bishop, is finalizing a plan in support of the president-elect’s early days in the role. Information related to the transition will be shared at the Board of Trustee’s presidential search website.

“This is very good news for IU,” said IU Southeast Chancellor Ray Wallace. “Hiring a very capable, experienced, president, is never an easy task at the best of times, let alone during a global emergency. What a great job this university search committee has done. I look forward to working with the new president, and I know she will hit the ground running.”

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