Illinois Board of Higher Education Members

The Illinois Board of Higher Education consists of 16 members as follows: 10 public members are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate, one of which must be a faculty member at an Illinois public university; one member of a public university governing board appointed by the Governor; one member of a private college or university board of trustees appointed by the Governor; the chairman of the Illinois Community College Board; the chairman of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission; and two student members selected by the Student Advisory Committee of the Board of Higher Education, one must be a non-traditional undergraduate student who is at least 24 years old. The Governor shall designate the Chairman of the Board to serve until a successor is designated. 

Tom Cross - Board Chair, Public Member

Professional - Distinguished Fellow, Aurora University
GraduateIllinois Wesleyan University; Samford University, Cumberland School of Law
HomeOswego

John Bambenek - Ex Officio Member representing the Chair of the Illinois Community College Board

Professional - President of Bambenek Consulting, Ltd.
Graduate - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Home - Champaign

Jay D. Bergman - Public Member

Professional - President and CEO, Petco Petroleum Corporation of Hinsdale
Graduate - Illinois State University
Home - Joliet

Max Coffey - Public Member

Professional - President & CEO, Kimco USA Inc.
HomeCharleston

Sherry Eagle - Representative of Public Universities

Professional - Executive Director Institute for Collaboration, Aurora University
GraduateUniversity of Illinois at Chicago, University of Chicago and Northern Illinois University
HomeChicago

Jane Hays - Public Member

Professional - Managing Director for The Downey Group
GraduateUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and University of Illinois College of Law
HomeChampaign

Alice Marie Jacobs - Public Member

Professional - President, Danville Area Community College
GraduateMichigan State University, Western Michigan University, Louisburg College, North Carolina
HomeDanville

Cherilyn Murer - Public Member

Professional - Past President and CEO, Murer Consultants
GraduateLewis University and Northern Illinois University Law School
HomeHomer Glen

Santos Rivera - Public Member

Professional - Emeritus Senior Executive, NEIU
GraduateAurora College, Northeastern Illinois University, The Union Institute Graduate School
HomeChicago

Darlene Ruscitti - Public Member

Professional - Superintendent of Schools, DuPage Regional Office of Education
GraduateNortheastern Illinois University and Loyola University
HomeBloomingdale

Jack Thomas - Public Member

Professional - President, Western Illinois University
GraduateAlabama A & M University; Virginia State University; Indiana University of Pennsylvania
HomeMacomb

Christine Wiseman - Representative of Private Universities

Professional - President Emerita of St. Xavier University
GraduateMarquette University and Marquette University College of Law
HomePalos Heights


Eric Zarnikow - Ex Officio Member representing the Chair of the Illinois Students Assistance Commission

Professional - Executive Director, Illinois Student Assistance Commission
Graduate - Iowa State University; Drake University
Home - Buffalo Grove

Akya Gossitt - Non-Traditional Student Board Member

Student at Governors State University
Major: Social Work
Home: Chicago

Natalie Pieper - Student Board Member

Student at Loyola University Chicago
Major: Political Science
Home: Chicago