Board of Trustees discuss changes in face of state budget complications

By Ben Lash

The Board of Trustees appointed new deans for the College of Business, the Graduate College and the College of Law at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign during a meeting held Tuesday at their two-day retreat at the University of Illinois at Chicago. 

The respective deans will be Jeffrey Brown, Wojtek Chodzko-Zajko and Vikram Amar.

They also approved “Affiliation Agreement with the Carle Foundation Establishing the ‘Carle Illinois College of Medicine’” at Urbana, as well as an increase in application fees at both the Urbana-Champaign and Chicago campuses.

The meeting began with an executive session that lasted until 9:30 a.m., when the public session and regular meeting resumed. Following introductions and a welcome from Chancellor Michael D. Amiridis, the meeting then proceeded to presentations and reports from several officers and high-ranking employees at the University of Illinois.

The initial report came from Vice President and Chief Financial Officer and Comptroller Walter K. Knorr regarding the financial situation and expectations for the University. Throughout his presentation, he voiced his concerns about the delays and slowdown of government operation in Springfield, in relation to negotiations for a new state budget.

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“Higher education makes up 11 percent of the total operating budget for the University of Illinois,”  Knorr said. “We would expect with this continued delay that we’re going to see a delay in our own operating budget. … The campuses and University administration have been working on a number of budget-reduction scenarios.”

The next report was given by Professor and Chair of Conference Donald Chambers. That report focused on emphasizing the mission and goals of a public university to the U.S. and its citizens.

“One of the expectations of a learning community is to produce critical thinkers and expand and export knowledge,” Chambers said.  “In terms of a public university, to meet the demands of a society, Abraham Lincoln characterized government as of the people, by the people and for the people.”

This marked the last time Chambers would address the Board of Trustees as Chair of Conference, and his report was concluded with a farewell and thank you from Chairman Edward McMillan and President Timothy Killeen.

President and CEO of Illinois Foundation James H. Moore then began his presentation, which focused on contributions for University of Illinois funds from non-federal sources. His emphasis was on alumni support, and he eagerly expressed the opportunities the University has to improve fundraising.

“We have no shortage of opportunities with the size of our alumni community,” Moore said. “We need to set strategies that are going to get donors engaged.”

Moore then gave the floor to Loren Taylor, president of the Illinois Alumni Association, who similarly discussed the continued need for engagement and communication with the alumni community for Illinois, and the benefits that come from such an engagement.

The meeting continued into Committee reports before proceeding to voting of agenda items. The Board of Trustees unanimously approved all 29 items on the vocal vote agenda. The eight items on the roll call agenda were passed, with a few abstentions. 

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