White to be installed as UI’s 16th President

By Courtney Klemm

The installation of B. Joseph White as the 16th president of the University, 2 p.m. today at the Krannert Center for Performing Arts, will be more of a celebration than a formal ceremony. The iinstallation will be hosted by the University’s Foundation and Alumni Association.

“President White came on board and hit the ground running last February,” said Tom Hardy, executive director for University relations. “He’s been very busy and has gotten a lot accomplished. What this is, is a celebration.”

White’s installation will begin at 11:30 a.m. with an invitational lunch at the Union. There will then be a procession from the Quad to the Krannert Center where the inauguration ceremony will begin. The ceremony will be composed of remarks by guest speakers and a speech by White. There will then be a procession to a reception into the main lobby and patio area of Krannert.

“President Joe White will be the man of the hour, but the day will be about the University,” Hardy said. “That will be evident in his speech.”

The University Board of Trustees approved White as president on Nov. 11, 2004 and he took office on Jan. 31, 2005. The search for the University president was conducted by the Board of Trustees with help from a committee comprised of faculty, students, alumni, administrators and Foundation board members.

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Michele Thompson, secretary of the Board of Trustees and chair of the inauguration steering committee, said she has thoroughly enjoyed working with White during his tenure in office.

“He’s really thrown himself into his job with great intensity,” she said. “He inspires people and he’s good to work with. He communicates his thoughts and plans inquisitively. It’s easy to learn around him.”

Thompson also said White is very focused on the future of the University and building it to its greatest potential.

White spent almost three decades at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he received his doctorate in business administration. He also served there as interim president, dean of the business school and a faculty member. His selection as president of the University was announced Nov. 2, 2004.

When White took office on Jan. 31, he spent the day touring the campus and speaking with students about their needs and concerns.

“I intend to be engaged with the students. I make it a habit to meet regularly with student leaders,” he said at a press conference that day. “I love the faculty and students. For me, that’s life-giving. It’s how I keep in touch with life at the University.”

Nick Klitzing, UIUC student trustee and junior in LAS, said he has been very impressed at the way White has handled his position thus far.

“I truly think he has done a remarkable job,” he said. “He has dealt with complicated and controversial issues and has really advocated the interests of the students and faculty.”

Klitzing said he is thrilled with the relationship he and White have developed as they have worked together on the Board of Trustees.

“I really think he is the best person to lead the University,” Klitzing said. “He has the qualities and characteristics an effective University president needs. He understands student issues much more than presidents usually do.”

Thompson said she feels that, although White has been at the University for eight months, his installation still carries a lot of meaning to the University.

“The difference (after his installation) is that there will be a wider understanding of his views and plans for the University and his goals,” she said. “This marks an important tradition in the history of the University.”

White’s inauguration ceremony signifies a new era for the University, Klitzing said.

“He has pledged his support for years to come and that’s very telling,” he said. “It shows how much the future of the University means to him.”