Michael G. Gartner of Des Moines is chairman and principal owner of the Iowa Cubs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. He is a native Iowan who has been a lifelong journalist. Over the years, he has been Page One Editor of The Wall Street Journal, editor and president of The Des Moines Register, editor of the Courier-Journal of Louisville, general news executive of Gannett Co. and USA TODAY, and president of NBC News. He is 72 years old.
In 1997, he won the Pulitzer Prize for editorials he wrote for the Ames Tribune, of which he was editor and co-owner.
For the past 11 years, Gartner has been almost a full-time volunteer public servant for the state. From 2000 to 2005, he was chairman of Vision Iowa, the state board charged with helping to fund the building of recreation, education, cultural and entertainment facilities in the state. Vision Iowa and the state’s Community Attraction and Tourism (CAT) program, which was created with the same legislation and governed by the same board, funded 170 projects throughout the state and leveraged the state’s $230 million into more than $2.5 billion in construction of community projects under Gartner’s leadership.
Michael Gartner is a native of Des Moines. He is a 1960 graduate of Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, and has a law degree from New York University. He is a member of the bar in New York and Iowa. In 1994, he was a fellow at the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He holds honorary degrees from Simpson College, Drake University, Grand View College, Iowa Wesleyan University and James Madison University in Virginia.
Gartner is the author of “Outrage, Passion, and Uncommon Sense,” a history of America as seen through newspaper editorials over more than 150 years. The book was published by the National Geographic and the Newseum, a Washington, D.C., museum of which he is a director.
Gartner has been married for nearly 43 years to the former Barbara McCoy, a central Iowa civic leader. Their son, Mike, and daughter, Melissa, also live in Des Moines. The Gartners’ other son, Christopher, died in 1994 at age 17 of juvenile diabetes. The Gartners have three young grandchildren.
Gartner was appointed to the Board of Regents in 2005 by Gov. Thomas J. Vilsack. That spring, board members unanimously elected him president of the Board of Regents to fill an unexpired term, and in 2006 he was re-elected unanimously. He chose not to seek another two-year term and stepped down as president on Jan. 1, 2008.
Regent Gartner's term on the Board expires April 30, 2011.