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State

Top trustee not interested in presidency at institution

Christopher Kennedy
Christopher Kennedy

URBANA (AP) – University of Illinois trustees Chairman Christopher Kennedy says rumors that he’s interested in succeeding Bob Easter as the next university president are not true.

According to The News-Gazette in Champaign, Kennedy wrote an email to fellow trustees after learning of the rumor earlier this month.

“I am confident that, with our committee, its great co-chairs and our process, we will attract a great new president to the University of Illinois, [and it won’t be me],” Kennedy wrote.

Easter plans to retire next year. The university is trying to name a replacement by later this year.

Trustee Pam Strobel is leading the search committee. She said at a public meeting on the presidential search Wednesday that no current trustees have been nominated or expressed interest in being president.

But “nontraditional” potential candidates who have not followed the typical academic career path to leadership – from provost to chancellor to president – would be considered.

That brought concern from a faculty member at the meeting.

Joyce Tolliver is a Spanish professor and former chair of the Urbana-Champaign campus’ Academic Senate. She said she doubted someone who hadn’t followed that typical academic path would understand “shared governance,” the idea that faculty share in decision making with administrators.

So far, about 200 potential candidates are being looked at, said committee member and physics professor Doug Beck.

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