from the Illinois Board of Higher Education

May 5, 1998

Contact: Ross Hodel, 217/782-2551

Jerry D. Blakemore Appointed Illinois Board of Higher Education Chair


TO: The Higher Education Community

FROM:     Keith R. Sanders, Executive Director

DATE:   May 5, 1998

RE:   New Chairman, Board of Higher Education

I am pleased to inform you that Jerry D. Blakemore, a valued colleague and a good friend of higher education, has been appointed chairman of the Illinois Board of Higher Education. Jerry will replace Bob Kustra, who has resigned the chairmanship, effective May 6, as he prepares to assume the presidency of Eastern Kentucky University.

Jerry brings to the chairmanship vast experience in public service and private enterprise; including distinguished service as a member of the Board of Higher Education since 1992. He is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, a municipal organization that oversees the construction, maintenance, and operation of Comiskey Park in Chicago. He previously served as managing partner of Sales Goodloe Golden & Blakemore law firm. His governmental resume is also impressive: Deputy Governor and Legal Counsel to former Governor James R. Thompson; Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs at the U.S. Department of Labor during the Reagan and Bush Administrations; and membership on the Illinois Commerce Commission. His professional experience also includes General Counsel to the G.R. Group, a mid-sized manufacturing company.

Jerry's ties to higher education began as an undergraduate at Princeton University, where he earned his bachelor';s degree in political science and received the Frederick Douglass Award for his academic and community service achievements. He holds a law degree from John Marshall Law School in Chicago.

As a member of the Board of Higher Education, Jerry chaired the Board's Committee on Affordability. He also serves as the Board's representative to the Midwestern Higher Education Commission, and is vice chairman of that commission.

His civic involvement includes serving as chairman of the public policy committee of the Abraham Lincoln Centre Board of Trustees and chairman of the Board of Directors of Chicago Cities In Schools, a not-for-profit agency that promotes human, health, and community services for about fifty Chicago public schools.

We are fortunate to have as our new chairman someone of Jerry's stature, experience, and proven ability as a leader, and we are indebted to Governor Edgar for the wisdom of his choice.

The staff and I look forward to working closely with Jerry, the other members of the Board of Higher Education, and the entire higher education community as we meet the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities which lie immediately ahead.

Also, my staff colleagues and I express our gratitude to outgoing chairman, Bob Kustra. He has provided leadership on technology; Board involvement in budgeting; the streamlining of processes; movement toward a more market-driven, student-oriented approach to policy-making; and has provided many insights about government, politics, and people. We thank Bob Kustra for his dedicated service and we know that he and Kathy will experience many successes at Eastern Kentucky University.