By J.O. Parker
A former Montezuma attorney has been named the first female president of Grand View University in Des Moines.
Dr. Rachelle Keck, the current president of Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, was named the 14th and first female leader of the private four-year Des Moines-based Grandview University during a news conference on Tuesday, March 22.
She was one of four finalists for the post.
Dr. Keck will take the reins of the university on July 1, succeeding President Kent Henning, who will retire at the end of June after 22-years at Grand View.
An Iowa native, Dr. Keck is a first-generation college student and holds a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Wartburg College. She went to earn her juris doctorate from the University of Iowa and her doctor of philosophy degree in education from Drake University.
Dr. Keck began her career as a prosecutor before establishing her own law firm. She also served on the Wartburg College Board of Regents where she developed a passion for higher education that led her to philanthropy roles at the University of Iowa Foundation as their Director of Planned Giving, and then to Indian Hills Community College as their Executive Director for Philanthropy and Alumni Relations before joining Briar Cliff in 2017. She was named president of Briar Cliff in July 2018.
At Briar Cliff, Dr. Keck has led the expansion of academic programs and developed a comprehensive campus master plan. She also led several key fundraising initiatives centered around academics, athletics and campus beautification. In addition, the use of technology both in and out of the classroom has expanded, the endowment has grown, enrollment has increased and grant dollars applied for and awarded have increased during her tenure. Dr. Keck also brings extensive strategic budgeting and organizational leadership experience to Grand View.
“Rachelle is a proven leader with a collaborative, entrepreneurial and transparent leadership style that will serve Grand View well,” said Chris Littlefield, Chair of the Board of Trustees.
“The Board was fortunate to have an incredibly strong pool of final candidates,” added Chris Murray ’98, GV Board of Trustees member and chair of the search committee. “Dr. Keck is a dynamic leader whose vision and values mirror Grand View’s and will help us build on our rich tradition of accessible and inclusive higher education. We are excited to welcome her to the Grand View family.”
“This presidency is the culmination of a calling I felt nearly 15 years ago while serving on the Board of Regents for my undergraduate alma mater, Wartburg College,” said Dr. Keck. “The opportunity to lead a private Lutheran university in my home state of Iowa is truly a dream come true.”
Dr. Keck and her husband, Jim, have four children, three of whom live in the Des Moines metro. For more information about Dr. Keck, please visit www.grandview.edu/new-president.