MINNEAPOLIS – University of Minnesota regents have named a new president of the giant 55,000-student system: Rebecca Cunningham. She has been research vice president at the University of Michigan. She has been at Michigan 25 years. The regents’ decision was unanimous. The decision came after Cunningham and two other finalists participatedin 15 public forums, 15 open houses and 2,700 miles on the road to visit each UM campus. The other finalists:

>Laura Bloomberg, president at Cleveland State University.

> James Holloway, chief academic officer at the University of New Mexico.

Cunningham, age 53, replaces Joan Gabel, who left last summer amid difficulties about moon-lighting on a university vendor’s board of directors. Gabel went to the University of Pittsburgh as chancellor with a $200,000 pay hike. The retired chief of Hormel Foods in Austin, Jeff Ettinger, has served as interim UM president.

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Cunnningham. Salary at $750,000.

Cunningham profile

She took training as an emergency physician. She holds a medical degree from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. Her primary medical field is injury prevention, violence-related injury, and substance abuse, She joined the University of Michigan faculty in 1999. Mostly recently she has been the university’s vice preident of research and innovation and has expanded the university’s research volume to a record $1.9 billion annually.