UI alumni in Chicago write in praise of Herman

UI alumni in Chicago write in praise of Herman

CHICAGO – Urbana campus alumni in the Chicago area have written the governor and board of trustees a letter praising University of Illinois Chancellor Richard Herman.

The letter is effusive in its praise of Herman, who has faced negative banners on campus and will face a faculty vote of confidence in the wake of revelations that high-powered individuals influenced admissions to the state's top university.

"In 11 short years, Chancellor Herman has taken a great university and made it even greater" begins a letter sent Tuesday by 28 Chicago alumni.

Two of them are the primary writers, Venanzio Arquilla and Lyn Corbett Fitzgerald, co-chairmen of the Illini Leadership Council.

Arquilla said Wednesday he was moved "by direct experience with Chancellor Herman, what's he's done for the university, and what he can do for it."

Arquilla said a representative from the board of trustees has responded to the letter with some questions, and the group has responded.

The letter noted that "Chancellor Herman's fundraising leadership is evidenced in the campus' effort to raise its share of the Brilliant Futures $2.25 billion campaign. More than two-thirds of the campus' goal of $1.5 billion has been raised."

The letter also said Herman has increased Urbana's research presence, leading in creating the Energy Biosciences Institute, a $500 million research program to study converting plant biomass to fuel; the Division of Biomedical Sciences, an education and research partnership with the Mayo Clinic, to translate research to medical applications; the Advanced Digital Sciences Center, a $50 million commitment from Singapore; and Blue Waters, which could be the most powerful supercomputer in the world.

The letter also praised Herman for helping to create an outreach effort with Chicago Public Schools to increase recruitment of its students; changing policy to triple the number of transfer students from Illinois community colleges; encouraging the creation of the Division of General Studies; and increasing diversity on the campus.