April 2, 2002
CHAIRMAN ROCK, JANE WILLIAMSON STEP DOWN FROM IBHE
||SPRINGFIELD - Philip
J. Rock, Chairman of the Board of Higher Education since
April 1999, announced his resignation from the Board.
Jane Williamson, Vice Chair and a Board member since October
1991, also disclosed she is leaving the Board. Their announcements
came at the Board's regular meeting which was the last
for Executive Director Keith R. Sanders, whose retirement
takes effect at the end of May.
Chairman Rock, whose tenure as President of the Illinois Senate
was the longest in Illinois history, joined the Board in January
1996, appointed to represent independent colleges and universities.
Board members praised his service as Chairman. "His reputation
for integrity, for fairness, for standing on principle is
universally recognized and widely emulated as a model for
public leaders everywhere," stated a resolution adopted
by Board members in his honor. "His intimate knowledge
of legislative process and politics and the esteem in which
he is held by the state's elected officials have well served
higher education and the citizens of Illinois."
Rock's chairmanship and Williamson's tenure on the Board have
coincided with an active agenda and an impressive record of
achievement, including creation of the University Center of
Lake County, construction of the Illinois Century Network,
passage of strong budgets for colleges and universities, and
approval of significant policy recommendations on improving
student preparation for and access to college, expanding campus
diversity, and bolstering student persistence and degree completion.
Their terms also have coincided with positive cooperative
ventures with the Illinois Community College Board, the State
Board of Education, and workforce programs of the Governor's
Office, including recommendations on teacher preparation,
technology, and the Prairie State Achievement Exam.
Jane Williamson worked on a broad array of issues and studies
during more than 16 years as a member and Vice Chair of the
Board, including efforts to improve undergraduate education,
to promote accountability through the Priorities, Quality,
and Productivity initiative in the mid-1990s, and to strengthen
the quality of educational programs through her work on the
Joint Education Committee. She touched many of the most important
and sometimes controversial issues to confront the Board through
service on the Committee on Affordability, the Committee on
Underserved Areas, and the Committee to Study the Educational
Needs of Lake County.
The Board adopted a resolution praising its outgoing Vice
Chair as a person who always "responded with grace, strength,
and a quiet leadership focused on substance."
Keith Sanders, Executive Director since January 1998, will
turn over the reins of the higher education agency to Daniel
J. LaVista on May 1. A resolution passed by the Board stated:
"Illinois has been fortunate to have a person of Keith's
experience and talent at the helm of the Number One system
of higher education in the nation. His knowledge, vision,
and leadership in shepherding the Board's initiatives these
past 4½ years, have produced an impressive roster of
Illinois ranked first in the nation on Measuring Up 2000,
the National Report Card issued last year by the National
Center for Public Policy and Higher Education.