Provost Ilesanmi Adesida resigns amidst University controversy


Portrait of Ilesanmi Adesida

By Daily Illini Staff Report

Provost Ilesanmi Adesida is stepping down and will return to faculty in the College of Engineering effective Aug. 31, the University announced Monday.

His resignation comes after a month of controversy surrounding the use of personal emails that skirted Freedom of Information Act requests and the resignation of Former Chancellor Phyllis Wise. Adesida will return to the faculty in the College of Engineering.

Acting Chancellor Barbara Wilson announced his resignation in a massmail to University faculty and staff. Wilson said she will be consulting with the Council of Deans, members of the Senate Executive Committee and campus leaders to help find a candidate to serve as interim provost.

“My association with the university, and particularly its outstanding faculty and students, has been a source of deep pride and fulfillment for me,” wrote Adesida in a letter to Wilson, according to a news release. “I recognize that current controversies are causing distraction to the administration and the student body, and I do not want to contribute to those distractions.”

Adesida, who publicly and enthusiastically endorsed the Carle-Illinois College of Medicine, was included in the more than 1,100 pages of emails released by the University that were previously withheld to skirt FOIA requests and “maintain confidentiality.” He, along with other administrators and University members, actively worked to implement the new biomedical engineering school, despite opposition from top University officials, including former Board of Trustees Chairman Chris Kennedy.

“Ade has left a permanent and positive mark on this university,” Wilson wrote. “He has my respect and my gratitude. Replacing him will be no easy task.”

During his tenure, Wilson said Adesida remained an advocate for the University. 

“… his leadership can be seen in everything from our ambitious plans to hire 500 new faculty members to this summer’s formal approval of the Carle Illinois College of Medicine to the plans for our new student design center,” Wilson wrote.

Adesida joined the faculty in 1987 and was named the 13th dean of the College of Engineering in 2005. He is currently the Donald Biggar Willett Professor of Engineering, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering. Wise appointed Adesida as provost in 2012.