U of Illinois to create presidential search panel

CHAMPAIGN – The University of Illinois hopes to have a new president selected by January, well ahead of the retirement of current President Robert Easter.

The Champaign News-Gazette reports that (http://bit.ly/1g5rsVI ) a 19-member search committee will be appointed in May to recruit and review candidates to replace Easter, who's retiring in June 2015 when his contract expires.

He was named the university's 19th president in March 2012 and planned at the time to keep the job only until June 2014 before school trustees voted to extend his contract in July.

Easter, who was previously a faculty member, dean, provost and chancellor on the Urbana campus, replaced Michael Hogan who resigned under pressure from faculty who were unhappy over his plans for the university.

The search committee will include trustees, faculty members, students, as well representatives from UI Alumni Association and the UI Foundation, among others. Administrators also plan to hire an executive search firm to help with the process.

Trustees will have the final vote.

"Outside consultants have a role, but no one can reach deeper inside other institutions as quickly as our own faculty," said Chris Kennedy, the chairman of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.

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Information from: The News-Gazette, http://www.news-gazette.com