Jones reflects on first weeks as chancellor


Yangwentao (Ryan) Fang

A member of the board of trustees applauses for the new chancellor Robert J. Jones.

By Angelica LaVito, Staff Writer

Chancellor Robert Jones reflected on his first seven days as chancellor at Monday’s SEC meeting. He described it as “amazing” despite starting with a shooting just off campus that left one dead the day before he officially started his new role.

Jones attended the Illinois Student Senate’s vigil last Tuesday night in honor of the shooting victims. He said it was his first experience with how “thoughtful and engaged and just brilliant” the University’s students are.

“So folks, I can tell you it’s another reminder that we have great hope for the future of this world and this country in the kind of young people that we educate here,” Jones said.

He attended the University Scholars reception, his first public event, last Tuesday. The program recognizes faculty excellence, and Jones said he hopes to get more people involved in celebrating their colleagues.

Jones started meeting his colleagues last week. He met with the Academic Council of Deans, and Provost Ed Feser introduced him to the College of Business and the College of Fine and Applied Arts, calling the discussions “very dynamic and robust.”

“That was a very good discussion and we will be working with all the collegiate units, academic support units and all of our external academic resources that are part of our University,” Jones said.

The new chancellor also experienced some of the University’s creative endeavors. He toured the Krannert Art Museum and was “blown away.” He also attended the Lang Lang concert Thursday at Foellinger.

Jones ended the week with the Illinois Black Alumni Reunion. He went out for breakfast with the visiting alumni, who brought up the issue of African-American recruitment, admission and graduation.


“This is the kind of action I really do appreciate because it doesn’t do much good to sit and think about these problems in isolation,” Jones said. “We need all of our constituency groups to be candid with us, not just sit on the sidelines and complain, but roll up your sleeves and help us figure out and give us firsthand knowledge of some of the challenges we face.”

Jones reiterated how “amazing” his first week was aside from the shooting, and he thanked the SEC for allowing him to be at the University.

“I’m very, very pleased to be here as part of this great University,” he said. “And I look forward to working with each and every one of you to advance this University to the next level of excellence.”

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A previous version of this story said Jones went to the Illinois Black Student Reunion.