UIHistories Project: A History of the University of Illinois by Kalev Leetaru
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Repository: UIHistories Project: Board of Trustees Minutes - 1992 [PAGE 560]

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[June 10

support they had given him and he discussed his plans to resign as president in August 1995. He stated that in his assessment the health of the University was very strong now and that this was one of the reasons for his decision to depart the presidency at this time. He then distributed copies of a letter he wrote to the board members two days earlier. The text of the letter is as follows:

Chairman Boyle and Members, University of Illinois Board of Trustees A friend recently remarked that he began his university presidency with the support of God, his wife, and the Board of Regents — and so far as he could tell, he still had support from at least two out of three. For me, from the beginning to this day, and with remarkably few bumps along the way, Judy and I have enjoyed the confidence and generous support not only of the Board of Trustees but the faculty and staff of the University, our students, and alumni, this State's public officials, and Illinois citizens generally. The University has been and will continue to be our home and our love. I am proud of the course the University has followed over the last decade and a half. We have been successful in recruiting and retaining a remarkably talented team. We have dealt with periods of significant budget stress and other crises, and yet we have managed to sustain the momentum essential to launching new academic initiatives and building the intellectual and physical vitality of the University. The students entrusted to our care are both more diverse and better qualified than before. There is a crisp sense of purpose in the University that bodes well for our future. It is in this context that I ask the Board of Trustees to begin to prepare for a search for my successor. By August 31, 1995, I will have served this University as its president for 16 years. For Judy and for me these have been the finest years of our lives. Our love of the University and our commitment to serve is not diminished, but we do look forward to assuming new roles and responsibilities, both personally and professionally. There are the obvious questions of "why, why now, and what should come next." As to why, and beyond our personal desire for change, I believe the University is ready for new leadership. While I am proud of the past, I also believe an infusion of new ideas, fresh perspectives, and enthusiasm serves this or any other university well. My earlier comments may give some hint as to "why now." Very simply, I believe the health of the University is excellent, that our prospects are bright, and that we are well positioned to proceed with an orderly transition of leadership. As we look ahead to what should come next, attention naturally will focus on the preparation for a search for my successor. The selection of a new president is the most important responsibility a Board of Trustees can undertake. I am confident, however, that the board will receive the full support of and active cooperation from the University community. In preparation for the search, it will be necessary to assess carefully the needs of the University and the qualities to be sought in the next president. The development of a sound plan to guide the search for outstanding candidates will be crucial. As in decades past, the Board will need the help of a consultative committee, and assembling and organizing this group will take some time as well. In general, I hope these preparations can be completed and the search actively underway with the beginning of the fall semester. As the search for a new president and the transition to new leadership proceed, it is crucial that we sustain the momentum of the University. A challenging, demanding agenda confronts us. Several crucial decisions must be made. In short, the work of the University must move forward and I intend to make it my preoccupation to assure that this happens. On a personal note, Judy is busy building a nest to which we can move upon our departure from the President's House. For both of us, there is the prospect of