LIVE: Updates from Nov. 13 Board of Trustees meeting

By Abigale Svoboda and Faraz Mirza

(3:30 p.m.) – The Board of Trustees returned to executive session after a short break. Trustees have been in executive session for nearly three and a half hours.


(12:40 p.m.) – The Board of Trustees also voted to recognize two faculty members leaving their positions at the University.

The board expressed gratitude for Katherine Laing’s contributions to the University as executive director for Governmental Relations. Laing is retiring from her position.

Starting in July 2010, Laing advised University presidents and chancellors on strategies to meet the Universities objectives at the state and federal levels of the government.

Additionally, Laing advised and facilitated the Board of Trustees understanding of state and federal issues affecting the University and helped them communicate the goals of the University to elected officials at all levels.

The board also recognized Thomas Farrell for his contributions to the University as president and CEO of the University of Illinois Foundation. Trustees congratulated him on his new appointment as the senior vice president and chief advancement officer at the University of Rochester, Farrell’s alma mater.

In January 2013, Farrell developed the University’s Roadmap Strategic Plan, which improved University fundraising dramatically by creating a more accountable approach to processes involving budget and investments, fiscal year planning and goal setting.


(12:30 p.m.) – With State Farm Center renovations set for completion by November 2016, the Board of Trustees voted to award a contract to Poettker Construction Company to complete the general work for “Package 3” for $9 million.

Additionally, the board voted to award a contract to Oberlander Electric Co., to complete the electrical work for $6.8 million.

The proposals were recommended to the board by Chancellor Phyllis Wise and Vice President Walter Knorr. The funds are available through the Urbana campus’ institutional funds operating budget, as well as through gift funds, auxiliary facility system repair and the replacement reserve budget.


(12:25 p.m.) – The board was previously presented a proposal to develop a College of Medicine with a bio-engineering focused program on the Urbana campus, that will be governed in partnership with Carle Health System and remain separately accredited from the UIC College of Medicine.

However, the board was also presented an alternative proposal from to expand UIC’s medical school curriculum and establish an Illinois Translational Bioengineering Institute.

Trustees approved directing President Robert Easter to explore the possibilities of medical education and look at each proposal.


(12:20 p.m.) – The Board of Trustees approved President Robert Easter’s $180,000 performance-based bonus.

Previously, all top executives were given retention bonuses. However, the board decided to begin rewarding the president for his accomplishments last year.

When he assumed the role of president in March 2012, following the resignation of Michael Hogan, Easter was earning a starting salary of $450,000, roughly $200,000 less than Hogan.

However, following a 3.5 percent increase he received in September, Easter’s current salary amounts to $478,558.


(12:15 p.m.) – During a public comment session, Professor Mary Jo LaDu spoke to the board on behalf of the Chicago campus’ academic senate regarding the UIC Health Science Enterprise.

The UIC Health Science Enterprise consists of seven health science colleges: Applied health, Public Health, Pharmacy, Nursing, Medicine, Dentistry, Social Work and the Library of the Health Sciences.

“We, the UIC Senate, hold that in order to flourish, our unique areas of expertise should be combined with UIUC and UIS to maximize the boundaries to foster opportunities possible only through such collaborations,” she said.

She added that the UIC Senate is concerned about the financial consequences of a College of Medicine in Urbana. LaDu said the senate’s goal is to do what is best for the entire University system.

Following LaDu was Rashid Bashir, professor in Engineering at the Urbana campus, who spoke to the board about the proposed engineering-based College of Medicine in Urbana.

He said an engineering-based college of medicine would be “an unparalleled means by which we will maintain our excellence.”

Bahir said the entire University system would benefit as early adopters of these technologies, stating that it would establish the University as global leaders.

“Our engineering-based medical school will become the world’s benchmark,” he said.


(11:40 a.m.) – Trustee Pam Strobel, who also serves as co-chair of the Presidential Search Committee, said the next University president will be announced by the end of November and the committee is on track.


(11:10 a.m.) – Chief Financial Officer Walter Knorr gave a presentation on the University’s budget, which has been reduced by 4.4 percent in the last 10 years.

The state currently owes the University $304 million. The University is confident the state will keep a similar payment schedule to fiscal year 2013.

The University also has no capital bill for fiscal year 2015, for the fourth year in a row.

The Affordable Care Act and the state’s Medicaid program is expected to reduce hospital revenues drastically. The medical service plan experienced an $11 million loss last year.

Knorr said if personal and corporate income tax is not extended, there will be an estimated $2 billion loss of revenue to the state, which would have a $70 million funding cut on the University.


(10:40 a.m.) – Gov. Pat Quinn arrived for a special appearance as the board returned out of executive session. This is the last regular board meeting before Quinn’s term ends in January.

Quinn ?stressed to trustees the important of MAP grant funding. He said the waiting list for MAP grants is currently 150,000 students long, a “tragic loss of investment in human minds.”

Quinn finished by thanking Chair Chris Kennedy and retiring President Robert Easter, stating “Bob’s going to be a tough act to follow.”


(10:30 a.m.) – The Board of Trustees will vote on awarding President Robert Easter with a one-time performance-based bonus of $180,000. Easter will retire in June 2015.

In July 2013, the board approved a resolution authorizing the executive committee to evaluate Easter’s performance on goals made in 2013, and recommend incentive-based compensation to be awarded in September 2013 and November 2014.