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April 2, 2003


James L. Kaplan

SPRINGFIELD -James L. Kaplan has been appointed by Governor Rod R. Blagojevich as Chairman of the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE). He succeeds Steven H. Lesnik, who held the post for the past year. Kaplan, a long-time advocate for students with disabilities, has served on the Board since July 1999. He is a public member, reappointed by former Governor George Ryan to a term that expires in January 2007.

"I want to assure everyone throughout our great higher education system that I will work tirelessly to advance the cause of higher education to ensure that we sustain our status among the top-ranked states in the nation," Kaplan said. He praised Lesnik's tenure as Chairman and for being "a powerful voice for colleges and universities in Illinois."

As a Board member, Kaplan has been active in various special studies and projects, including the committee that oversaw development of the University Center of Lake County and the Committee on Access and Diversity.

Kaplan, who resides in Lincolnshire, is the managing partner of Kaplan & Sorosky, in Chicago, and specializes in worker's compensation and administrative law. He earned his B.A. in history at the University of Arizona and his law degree from Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago-Kent College of Law.

Kaplan is past chairman of the Illinois State Advisory Council on the Education of Children With Disabilities. He has been a lecturer for a training course sponsored by the Office of Research Safety at the National Cancer Institute, and served as general counsel to the Illinois Legislature on revisory commissions on labor law and high rise fire safety. He also was a member of the Illinois State Board of Education reorganization project team in 1995 and the monitoring/compliance project team in 1996.

The new Chairman presided at the Board's meeting at Danville Area Community College April 1.


Don Sevener



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