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  • A smoke-free campus

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    Last Thursday was the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, and I am proud that this year we celebrated the day at Illinois for the first time. We hope that it was an encouragement to quit for smokers in the Illinois family.

     

  • Celebrating our Illinois veterans

    Chez Family Foundation Center for Wounded Veterans in Higher Education
    Chez Family Foundation Center for Wounded Veterans in Higher Education

    At Illinois, we had the chance to celebrate Veterans Day a bit early at the groundbreaking for the Chez Family Foundation Center for Wounded Veterans in Higher Education on Friday. I’m so proud of our campus commitment to supporting our veterans as they pursue their education. And we all look forward to the impact on campus and beyond of the programs and services that will be available when the doors open.

    The center is an extension of the importance Illinois places on the men and women in our family who have served in the United States military. They make up such a rich part of our history and our campus has proudly recognized them in monument and in word.

  • Alma Mater & preserving tradition

    Alma Mater during restoration
    Alma Mater during restoration

     Homecoming is always an exciting time of the year. This year it was chilly enough to pile on layers of orange and blue for the football game and droves of fans and alumni filled our campus. It’s always been a time filled with pride, nostalgia and good stories. Unfortunately as every visitor to campus knows, one of our most-recognized family members wasn’t able to join the festivities – Alma Mater.

  • Humbled & Honored at AAAS

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    This past weekend, I was humbled and honored to be officially inducted as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences at a ceremony in Cambridge, Massachusetts. And I am proud to say that this year’s class saw Illinois well-represented. Fred Hoxie, Swanlund Professor of History, and alumnus Tom Siebel were both inducted as well. It is reassuring to be among friends at these sorts of events.

    I had the additional honor of being asked to speak on behalf of those inducted in my section this year – in Public Affairs, Business, and Administration. I realize that this particular honor was as much out of respect for the chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as it was for my personal achievement. I am sharing the text of those remarks and I hope they represented this university well.

  • Becoming a LinkedIn Influencer

    LinkedIn
    LinkedIn

     I was recently approached by LinkedIn about joining their Influencers Program. My first inclination was to politely decline the invitation. With several hundred (at the time) individuals ranging from President Obama to Meg Whitman to Maria Shriver offering their opinions, expertise and advice around professional and personal advancement, I wasn’t sure what I might add to the discussions. However, as I looked more closely at the spectrum of Influencers and their posts, I noticed the distinct absence of leaders in higher education among the group.

  • My essay in Time magazine

    The Carnegie Corp. of New York and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, co-sponsors of the recent Time Summit on Higher Education, have published a section in the current issue of Time magazine that considers the future of U.S. research universities. I was invited, with University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman and University of California, Berkeley Chancellor Emeritus Robert Birgeneau, to contribute an essay for the section. Currently the text is only available in the print version of the magazine, but I can share my section of it here. 

  • National debate on higher ed

    As many of you already know, last month President Obama unveiled a new education reform plan. With logistics of the president’s plan still in the early stages, no one can predict what the outcomes may be. And though I’m still not certain how this will directly affect Illinois, I’m happy to see the topic of affordable higher education take center stage. Access to education, to a transformative learning experience that changes not only what we do but also who we are, is inextricably tied to our foundation and mission.

  • Leadership on a Campus Known for It

    Since becoming chancellor at Illinois, I’ve been asked many times to speak about leadership – to many different audiences. And the opening of each year seems to bring the most invitations. It’s always an interesting opportunity for me - and in some ways still a surprising request - because, honestly, being the top administrator at a major public research university was never on my childhood list of things to do.

  • Welcome to Illinois!

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    Welcome back! And for those of you who are joining us for the first time, welcome to Illinois!

  • Looking to Illinois for Leadership

    There always seems to be some sense that the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign slows down during the summer months. Certainly we notice the absence of our regular population of undergraduate and graduate students in our classrooms and on the streets and sidewalks of our community. And while our classrooms might be a bit emptier, our scholarship and engagement activities never seem to ease up.