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Glick, Milton

Published onJul 30, 2021
Glick, Milton

(July 30, 1937 - April 16, 2011)

Quick Facts

Iowa State’s second provost, he stressed the importance of diversity and access in enrollment of underrepresented students and the hiring of faculty, and the lack of women in many science, technology, engineering and mathematic (STEM) disciplines.

Source: AP

Milton Glick, former provost and interim president, delivered exactly one commencement address during his Iowa State University tenure. The theme of that address, shared with summer term graduates in August 1988, was change.

Glick, a professor of chemistry who held a bachelor’s degree from Augustana College, and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, had joined Iowa State only a month earlier, after serving as dean of the College of Arts and Science at the University of Missouri, and chair of chemistry at Wayne State University in Detroit.

He was only Iowa State’s second provost, and the first since 1965. President Gordon Eaton had recreated the position to consolidate decision-making between the research and academic affairs functions, as part of a broader reorganization of the university’s academic structure.

Glick, who arrived at a critical time in Iowa State’s history, viewed effective academic administration as “an attempt to encourage faculty participation, while avoiding administrative paralysis.” This perspective likely stemmed from his time as a faculty senate president at Wayne State.

These efforts fostered more dialogue between faculty and administration and did not go unnoticed. David Holger, associate provost for academic programs and dean of the graduate college, who was president of Iowa State’s newly formed Faculty Senate at the time, credited Glick with easing tensions between faculty and administration that had been splitting the university.

In many ways, Glick’s priorities were ahead of his time. He stressed the importance of diversity and access, including the enrollment of underrepresented students, and the lack of women in many science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

“I am not just interested in attracting to this campus talented women and minorities who would already go on to college and be successful,” he told the Iowa State Daily in 1988, “but drawing those here who have the potential to do well and would not be going to college.”

Indeed, one of Glick’s priorities in implementing Iowa State’s strategic plan was to increase diversity on campus. He appointed seven new deans, three of them women, and took a lead role in recruiting more women and minority faculty for tenure-track appointments.

Glick also enlisted help from Ames’ business community to find jobs for faculty member’s spouses, the precursor to a highly successful program still in place in the Division of Academic Affairs; focused on the economic development benefits of keeping more graduates in Iowa; and promoted the role of industry in supporting basic research.

While interim president, Glick launched Project Vincent, a large-scale computer network that allowed researchers to send text and graphics between campus workstations, as well as access supercomputers at other institutions. He also worked with George Strawn, director of academic computing, to begin the process of putting computers on the desks of faculty and staff, and wrote several papers on the use computer technology in higher education.

One of Glick’s most notable achievements was to commission a study of extension and outreach activities, which led to creation of a vice provost for extension position to more fully integrate the university’s teaching, research, and outreach missions.

Managing Iowa State’s education and research missions is a big job, requiring a high level of energy and an abundance of enthusiasm, and Glick was up to the task. He jogged 20 miles each week, sometimes fueled by donuts and Diet Pepsi, while finding time to continue teaching freshman chemistry classes, remain faithful to his Jewish traditions, and cheer on Iowa State’s wrestling team.

Glick became interim president of Iowa State in October 1990, after Eaton’s departure, serving for eight months until the arrival of Martin Jischke. Glick had also been a finalist for the top job, and even after the selection of Jischke, many legislators and community leaders advocated for Glick to continue as provost.

Ultimately, however, Glick left Ames in 1991 to become executive vice president and provost at Arizona State University, serving for 15 years before becoming the 15th president of the University of Nevada, Reno in 2006.

Glick died of a massive stroke on April 16, 2011, while president at the University of Nevada. He was survived by his wife, Peggy, a native of Fort Madison who he met at the University of Wisconsin, and two sons, David and Sandy.

Glick summarized his tenure at Iowa State in the media statement announcing his departure. “Like the rich Iowa soil, Iowa people and values allow roots to grow deeply and rapidly … Much good has happened here in the last few years and, to the extent that I have played a part, I am delighted. I am optimistic that Iowa State will move forward and enhance its ability to play a major role in the state and nation.”

Selected Sources

Iowa State University Commencement Address, August 6, 1988, accessed from Iowa State University Library Special Collections.

Milton Glick curriculum vitae, accessed from ISU Special Collections.

Milton Glick biography, accessed from ISU Special Collections.

Statement by Provost Milton Glick, June 18, 1991, Iowa State University, University Relations, accessed from ISU Special Collections.

“Glick Appointed Iowa State University Provost,” University Relations, 1988, accessed from ISU Special Collections.

Mike Krapfl, “Glick takes reins of ISU,” Ames Daily Tribune, October 27, 1990, accessed from ISU Special Collections.

Article in Iowa State Daily, August 26, 1988, accessed from ISU Special Collections.

Milton Glick obituary, Ames Tribune, April 21, 2011, accessed from ISU Special Collections.

Finn Bullers, “Glick courts faculty in dance of change,” Ames Daily Tribune, July 26, 1988, accessed from ISU Special Collections.

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