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B. Joseph White to lead U of I

Former Interim President B. Joseph White has been selected as the 16th president of the University of Illinois (U of I) system, which includes some 70,000 students on campuses in Chicago, Springfield and Urbana-Champaign.
White
(Photo by Martin Vloet, U-M Photo Services)

White was dean of the Business School, now known as the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, 1991-2001. After serving as interim president in 2002, he took a leave of absence from the faculty to help the New York investment firm of Fred Alger Management Inc. recover from major personnel losses it suffered in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He returned to the University earlier this year as a member of the Life Sciences Institute faculty, where he has focused on the effects of genomic-based science and medicine on business, ethics and economics.

“Virtually everything I experienced here prepares me—the resources, working with the board of trustees, working with academic leadership and raising money,” White said Nov. 2., the day U of I announced his appointment.

“I’m really excited. I love leadership, and the University of Illinois is a magnificent institution Mary and I look forward to serving.

“The University of Illinois faces issues of maintenance and development of access and excellence, which are challenges common to public higher education,” he said.

Under White’s leadership, the U-M Business School earned top ranking for its programs, increased its annual fund-raising fivefold to $26.5 million and saw its endowment grow to $260 million from $35 million. He said resource gathering will be an important part of his new role as U of I president.

“The University of Illinois depends on state support, private funding and research, and it has a powerful tech transfer program, so there’s healthy revenue mix that I look forward to helping the campus take to the next level,” he said.

White’s appointment is expected to be approved by the U of I Board of Trustees Nov. 11. His term will begin Feb. 1, 2005.

“The University of Illinois has secured an outstanding leader,” President Mary Sue Coleman said. “Joe has been beloved and respected by the many faculty and staff who have had the pleasure of working with him, including during his decade-long tenure as dean of the Business School and his extraordinary service as interim president of the University of Michigan in 2002.

“On a personal note, Joe worked hard to ensure I would have a smooth transition as the new president even prior to my arrival in August 2002. I am grateful for his support, and I am delighted that he has an opportunity to share his considerable talents with the University of Illinois system.”

White was chosen from among 150 prospective candidates—a dozen of whom were interviewed by the search committee. He was among five finalists to be considered by the university’s Board of Trustees.

“Joe White was the clear choice for president of the university in an exceptional field of highly qualified candidates,” said U of I Board of Trustees Chairman Lawrence C. Eppley. “He has a track record and a national reputation as a creative leader who sets highly aspiring goals and gets results.

“Joe brings Midwestern values and sensibilities to the job, knows how Big Ten and major research universities operate, and has demonstrated an ability to raise funds from friends and alumni of a university to provide the margin of excellence in a time of less reliance on state support,” Eppley said.

White will succeed James J. Stukel, who is in his 10th year as the 15th president of U of I. Stukel’s retirement ends a 43-year affiliation with the university.

The U of I campuses in Chicago and Urbana-Champaign are among the top 50 research institutions in U.S. higher education. The university’s annual operating budget is $3.3 billion and it employs about 23,000 people, including 5,300 faculty members.
—Tom Hardy, University of Illinois, contributed to this story

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