The Crisis Communications Award is the type of award most of us would prefer not to win, because it’s almost always the result of having to deal with some of the most difficult situations we face as an institution. But we are so fortunate at Illinois to have some amazing leaders who step forward to guide us through difficult situations.
We’ve been talking a lot today about branding. And when I think of the attributes that best describe what it means to be a part of the Illinois family, I think of Dick Wheeler. Dick is smart and collaborative, resolute and unpretentious, steadfast and loyal. But mostly, he has more courage than just about anyone.
Dick was called to serve as interim provost during challenging times. His compass always pointed true north, and his conviction to do the right thing gave everyone around him the courage to do the same. When reporters wanted to talk about issues of university and campus governance, he was available and candid. When we needed him to help behind the scenes, he was there – anytime, day or night. Throughout his time as provost, Dick always put the best long-term interests of the University first, and for that we thank him.