University impressed with White’s future

Troy Stanger

Troy Stanger

By Kristen Sackley

Hundreds of supporters greeted University President B. Joseph White after exiting his two-hour installation ceremony Thursday afternoon. The reception, held at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, 500 S. Goodwin Ave., offered a way for students, faculty and alumni to enjoy some lemonade and cookies while meeting White.

White’s inaugural address at the end of the ceremony was the topic of conversation during the reception, and almost everyone seemed to have a good reaction.

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“He had a remarkable speech,” said Nick Klitzing, junior in LAS and student trustee for the Urbana campus.

Klitzing was a member of the platform party that accompanied White on the stage during the ceremony.

Steve Szegho, former student member of the Board of Trustees, said that he was very impressed with the ceremony and with White’s plans for the future.

“(The speech) was very eloquent,” Szegho said. “He has some great ideas for the University. It’s going to be a very good many years to come.”

Ray Dieter, a member of the Alumni Board who holds degrees from the Urbana and Chicago campuses, said that he was so intrigued with the president’s speech that he began taking notes on the back of a piece of paper, which he later realized was a letter he intended to give White.

“He’s obviously going to build and make the University grow,” Dieter said. “It’s going to take finances and I believe he gave us a challenge here that you cannot only rely on the state for finances, you need to go outside the state and local government.”

In addition to student trustees from each campus, students representing different departments attended the ceremony as well. Melanie Rubin, graduate student, was there to represent doctoral students in the University’s College of Education.

“I think President White’s speech was extremely inspiring to all of us who care about the University, and we are going to move ahead and do great things this year,” Rubin said.

White’s speech took the audience on a historical journey of the University as he pointed out major highlights and achievements that have taken place at the three campuses throughout the years. White included on his list the University of Illinois Medical Center in Chicago and its commitment to providing quality treatment to those uninsured or on Medicaid.

Focusing on the Urbana campus, White took the opportunity to point out the “world-class engineering and computer science departments,” along with the faculty devoted to arts and humanities.

Rubin said she felt the highlight of White’s address was the way he included things she was passionate about.

“He really interwove cultural diversity, the importance of serving those in need,” Rubin said. “It’s so reassuring to hear him say some of those things.”

Katherine Rios, senior in education, spoke during the ceremony on behalf of the 70,000 students at the University’s three campuses.

Rios said that she has been very impressed with White’s work and his enthusiasm for the job.

“He really wants to get to know the students, which I think as an administrator there is no better thing,” Rios said. “He has so much enthusiasm and dedication to this University already that I know he’s going to have the drive to go and do all those goals he already set forward.”

Dieter said that White was very inspiring and brought up many of the challenges that he will face in the coming years.

“I believe the students will really flourish,” Dieter said.

Rubin said she felt that White was very heartwarming and unique, and she wished that more University presidents would reach out like White has done.

“He’s made it very clear that he is about the students,” Rubin said.

White’s plans also impressed professors and other University academics. Steve Hurst, a geologist in the University’s geology department, said he felt that the president’s speech was excellent.

“(The speech was) very straightforward, forthright: clearly delineating the challenges, and it was a very good speech for an incoming president,” Hurst said.