Former KAM’s DJ turned UI Board member


Brian Bauer

Portrait of Trustee Stuart King.

By Gillian Dunlop, Assistant News Editor

Once a student DJ at KAM’s, Stuart King, now a physician at the Christie Clinic in Champaign, was appointed member of the University Board of Trustees by Gov. Bruce Rauner on July 21.

King is the first local representative on the Board in over a decade.  

King, who received his BA, MD and MBA degrees from the University of Illinois said he’s delighted to give back to the community.

“It was something that had never really crossed my mind until I saw Dr. (Timothy) Koritz and I thought ‘you know this is a guy who is giving back to the University. He’s lending expertise, he’s serving,’” he said.

Born and raised in Champaign, King began to take advantage of the educational opportunities in the community when he took a class on aviation at Parkland College when he was 16 years old. Although he did not receive his pilot’s licence until 1999, he has since bought a six-seater plane with a propeller on the front.

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“I just love to fly, it’s such a joy to be up in the sky,” he said. “Every few months we’ll travel to see my wife’s family down in North Carolina. Lately I’ve been pursuing aerobatic flying.”

Jeff Brown, dean of the College of Business and close personal friend and neighbor to King, said it is wonderful that King is so well engrained in the community.

“It’s a huge positive, because he knows the university and this community really well,” Brown said. “He knows a lot of faculty leaders and alumni as a result of that.”

King had not always planned to move back to the Champaign area, however, after he finished medical school at the University and left for residency in Kansas City.

“I was practicing in South Carolina, at that point with a wife and kids and a dog and two hamsters and a cat, this opportunity came up and that’s kind of going backwards, and I realized that I always loved it here,” he said. “So why is it going backwards? It’s really not.”

Champaign served as King’s childhood home, but he said it is a different experience living here as an adult.

“It’s a completely different town when you’re a grown up and it’s a completely different town when you have kids to raise,” he said. “And the opportunities that this University affords the community are amazing. Where else can you see world class ballet here? World class symphonies?”

King spent much of his time as an undergrad at the University doing research while also playing a few intramural sports. He said he originally wanted to be a computer scientist until a friend recommended he take a biology course, which eventually led him to medicine.

“(I thought) this is awesome, I can actually have a career that helps people, it can be meaningful and impactful, it’s scientifically stimulating,” King said.

King has been spending every Friday at the Henry Administration Building learning about the the Board of Trustees and how it’s governed.

“This is a guy who is very passionate about doing the right thing,” Brown said. “He’s a very upstanding ethical guy. I’ve learned a lot from him.”

The first Board of Trustees meeting will take place this Thursday, and although King said he does not have a specific goal in mind for the year, he is excited to hit the ground running.

“It’s important to realize this school has been invested by the people in the state and we have a duty to make sure it is serving the state and completing its academic and educational mission,” King said. “I want to help implement overarching policy and make sure those goals are kept at the forefront.”

King has previously served as the voluntary dean of academic affairs at the University. He has also taught a few medical students.

“Dr. Koritz and myself bring a very complimentary medical experience to the Board from the perspective that he has a Ph.D so he understands research very well,” King said. “I have an MD and an MBA, so I’m not really a research guy, but I’m in a healthcare group. So together we kind of form a good understanding.”

To some, being appointed by the governor for such a position might bring along an ego boost, but Brown said that King was very modest about the appointment.

“He kept this very quiet,” Brown said. “I did not know it was coming. I found out about it when I opened the News-Gazette and I opened a headline and texted it to him and said ‘this just made my whole week.’”  

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