Mr. Branstad seems a natural for the ambassadorial position given that he has known the current leader of China, Xi Jinping, for more than 30 years. In 1985, Mr. Xi was a member of a trade delegation that spent quite some time in Iowa, studying American agriculture. While here Mr. Xi and Mr. Branstad (who was a young governor at the time) became friends. Their relationship prospered over the years as they met in China several times to discuss trade. Not long ago, Mr. Xi expressed his pleasure at Mr. Branstad's appointment, referring to him as "an old friend" several times. Governor Branstad eventually retired from the governorship in 1998 after an unprecedented 16 years in office. In 2003 he became president of DMU. At the time and for several years afterward Mr. Branstad seemed content to be out of politics, but in 2009 Mr. Branstad was lured back to the arena to run for governor, despite his highly-successful tenure as university president. He won that election, and was re-elected four years later, making him the longest-serving state governor in United States history. When the confirmation process by the U.S. Senate is completed he will become the new ambassador to China.
In order to show his previous gubernatorial service as well has his tenure as University President, I included the golden dome of the Iowa Capitol and the ten-story University Clinic. The portrait is displayed in the University Library's Rare Books Room.
|Terry Branstad, President of DMU 2003-2009|