Indiana Daily Student

Walda to leave board of trustees

Trustee accepts job as University liaison to U.S. government

IU trustee John Walda, who was until recently president of the board of trustees, has been appointed by IU President Myles Brand to become the University's new executive director of federal relations. The new position was created by Brand to give the University a liaison with Congress and members of the government's executive branch.\nWalda, a member of the board since 1990 and a former board president, will resign his governor-appointed position as trustee by the end of the year to become IU's director of federal relations. Walda officially takes his new position Jan. 1. His term as trustee ends in June of 2002, meaning the governor will have to appoint a new board member to take Walda's place after his resignation.\nWith Walda set to resign from the board of trustees, IU stands to potentially lose its second trustee in less than a week. Thursday, President George W. Bush nominated trustees president James Morris to serve as ambassador to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations Agencies in Rome.\nMorris' and Walda's terms as trustees end in June of 2002. Interim Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Relations Bill Stephan said he hopes Morris will be able to serve the rest of his term, since the Senate still needs to confirm his nomination.\nGov. Frank O'Bannon will have to appoint someone to take Walda's place. Stephan said the University has not officially informed the governor's office of Walda's appointment and does not plan to do so until Walda officially resigns.\nJean Farison, special assistant to the governor for boards and commissions, said the office hadn't received anything from IU as of Tuesday afternoon. \nWalda said his resignation will most likely happen simultaneously with the beginning of his new job. Although Walda said the governor's office won't make anything official until his resignation, he said he suspects the office will be looking for someone new beforehand.\nBrand and the trustees have discussed creating a new federal relations position for more than a year, Walda said. Several different IU offices and departments now work to secure grant money for research and other projects. With the creation of a federal relations director, all of that work will be consolidated into one office.\n"As IU reorganizes federal relations to better position ourselves in Washington, we are fortunate to be able to enlist John's services," Brand said in a press release. "He has an in-depth knowledge of Indiana University and the state it serves. He will bring unique skills and a valuable perspective to this job."\nIU relies on grant money from the federal government for research, particularly in the area of science and medicine. The new position will help in satisfying these needs, Walda said. \n"We need representation in Washington to make sure our requests are considered appropriately," Walda said.\nMorris said Walda's imminent resignation is a "real loss" to the board but a great gain for IU.\n"He is very bright, has incredible dedication and love for IU and he has a real sense of where opportunities are for the University to grow and get stronger," Morris said.\nBesides representing the University to the Federal government, Walda will also represent Clarian Health Partner's interests in Washington, D.C., and help IU's technology transfer organization, ARTI, with corporate development. \nClarian Health Partners was formed from a merger of the IU and Riley Children's Hospitals with the Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. Walda helped facilitate the merger and has served as chairman of the board of Clarian for the last four years. \nWalda, who now works as a lawyer in Fort Wayne, will work out of Bloomington or Indianapolis in his new position. He said he expects to "frequently" travel to Washington.\nA formal search was not conducted to fill the new position, Stephan said. Brand and the rest of the board unanimously agreed Walda was right for the job because he has the skills that fit the job's qualifications.\n"John Walda knows IU extremely well," Stephan said. "He's a very accomplished attorney, and those skills will serve him well often when dealing with other lawyers, elected officials and heads of agencies."\nThe board of trustees hired Brand in its capacity as IU's main governing body, meaning Walda was "hired" by the person he himself helped hire, a situation he calls "unusual."\n"(Brand) knew I was interested in government and that I have good relationships with people in Washington," he said. "So that, combined with the fact that I know IU and Clarian as well as just about anybody, probably led to the conclusion that I might be good in the position"

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