Smile Politely

Michael Hogan acquiesces to faculty’s concerns/hatred and steps down

Here’s what Chairman Christopher Kennedy just sent to U of I faculty and staff:


I write today to inform you that University of Illinois President Michael J. Hogan has tendered his resignation, and I have accepted it on behalf of the Board of Trustees. President Hogan will remain with the University as President through a transition period until July 1.

President Hogan joined the University at a very challenging time, when it had just weathered a long and very public controversy around admissions and enrollment practices, had major gaps in the administrative team, and was under such significant financial constraint that furloughs and salary freezes were required. The Board sought out a reform-minded leader and was glad to find Mike Hogan, a veteran and accomplished educational leader with a distinguished record, who was committed to carrying out an exhaustive mandate of change with a sense of necessary urgency. We were not the only university pursuing him. Ultimately, he chose to lead the University of Illinois because of its reputation and his belief that he could make a difference.

In his nearly two years as President, Mike accomplished a great deal, and the University owes him a debt of gratitude for moving a number of tough initiatives forward. Among the achievements:  the University netted more than $30 million in recurring annual savings through major administrative efficiencies that have been reallocated to support academic and research programs, offsetting declines in state funding and late payments from the state. He has successfully recruited a highly talented leadership team and implemented the first merit-based salary increase in three years. There have been no furlough days on his watch. During his tenure, state appropriations have remained essentially level, notwithstanding the state budget crisis.

It has not been easy. Some of what Mike Hogan was compelled to do was not popular, but he did what this University needed over the past 20 months, and we thank him for his hard work, perseverance, and achievement.

The Board feels that the most appropriate next step in university leadership should come from a proven administrator with a track record of collaboration and success within our University.

On Friday, the Executive Committee of the Board will meet to appoint long-time University of Illinois leader Robert Easter to assume the role of president-designate. Bob stepped up for this university in some of our toughest days, as interim chancellor immediately following the disappointing and disruptive days of 2009, and he repaired and rebuilt the campus both literally and figuratively. Bob started at the U. of I. as a doctoral student, and then 36 years ago, as a faculty member. He was dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences before acting as interim provost and then interim chancellor, then retiring, just briefly, last October. He came back again and currently serves as interim vice chancellor for research on the Urbana campus. Dr. Easter views this University as a great educator of students and a research powerhouse destined to fulfill our land-grant mission though new ideas that create businesses, jobs and new taxes to benefit the state. He has the trust of alumni and trustees past and present, as well as faculty, administrators and staff, and always, the best interest of students at heart. Following a transition period, he will be president beginning July 1.

The Board joins me in wishing Mike well and in welcoming Bob back to play another key role for our beloved University of Illinois.

Christopher G. Kennedy
Chairman, Board of Trustees

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