Barbara Q. Decker, JD

Barbara Quijano Decker, J.D., was appointed as the second President of Mercy College of Health Sciences in April 2006. Her appointment followed a national search and the unanimous vote of the College Board of Directors.

Dr. Decker had previously served as Interim President of the College since October 2005. Prior to that appointment, she served as Administrator of Human Resources and Diversity Services at Mercy Medical Center -- Des Moines. Ms. Decker came to Mercy after 12 years of service as vice provost of human resources at Drake University.

Born in Des Moines, President Decker graduated from Drake University with a bachelor’s degree in history and sociology, followed by a master’s degree in public administration and a doctoral degree in law. She was admitted to the Iowa State Bar in 2000. Her scholastic honors include Phi Beta Kappa and Pi Alpha Alpha (a national honor society for public affairs and administration).

After obtaining her bachelor’s degree, Dr. Decker taught history at Marshalltown High School, before taking a position in the personnel department of the Des Moines Register. After serving in the human resources department at the Register followed by 10 years with Syntex Animal Health Company, she returned to Drake to rise to the position of vice provost of human resources.

President Decker is a recipient of the 2007 Distinguished Master of Public Administration Alumnus Award from Drake’s College of Business & Public Administration and received the Robert D. Ray Ambassador Award from the Iowa Commission on Latino Affairs in 2006. She also was the recipient of the Central Iowa SHRM Award for Excellence in Human Resources in 1998.

Ms. Decker is a member of various community boards including the Iowa Campus Compact, where she served as president from 2014-16; Bankers Trust Community Advisory Board; The Homestead; the Greater Des Moines Partnership Workforce and Education Committee and related associations. She is a board member of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities. She is a past president of the Drake Law School Board of Counselors.

Decker and her husband Larry Willis, director of quality for Diamond Animal Health, live in the Des Moines area. Son, Casey Decker and daughter-in-law, Karen, have two children, Grace and Lily.