URBANA — In another month, two-time University of Illinois President Stanley Ikenberry and his wife Judy will be cheering for the Nittany Lions.
"Except when they play the Illini," says Ikenberry, who first led the UI through a long period of growth, then came back to pilot it through the devastation left by the "Category I" admissions scandal.
The Ikenberrys will move from a spacious ranch on Meadow Drive in Urbana to a condo in State College, Pa., where he also served as a high-level administrator.
"People tell me they're sorry I'm leaving. I really don't like to think of it that way," he said. "I'm repositioning."
An aficionado of that house had been after the Ikenberrys for about a year to sell their home, and the former president decided this was the right time, especially because he'll have son John and grandchildren nearby in Pennsylvania.
Their son David Ikenberry, a former UI faculty member, lives in Boulder, Colo.
The former president said he's very proud of his children.
"But it really annoys me when I Google 'Ikenberry' and I get David," he joked.
Regent Professor and President Emeritus Ikenberry has been teaching a class in education policy, organization and leadership as well as working on a three-year study of higher education that he will continue to contribute to.
Before living here, the Ikenberrys also lived in East Lansing, Mich., and West Virginia.
Ikenberry had a 16-year tenure in his first term as president, making him one of the longest serving presidents in UI history.
When he came here from State College in 1979, Ikenberry led the consolidation of the university's Medical Center and Chicago Circle campuses to form the current UI-Chicago.
The project that the ex-president has been working on the last three years, the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment, studies how academic programs can use assessment data to inform and strengthen undergraduate education, while communicating with policymakers and families.
It's supported by the Lumina Foundation, the Carnegie Foundation and the smaller Teagle Foundation.
Ikenberry said he expected to continue that work.
"We're in the process of submitting proposals for another three years," he said.
Also, he will keep his ties with UI research, as well as friends.
And he'll have an office in State College.
"They have one of the most prominent places for the study of higher education," the former president said.
He said he hopes to get back to Champaign-Urbana, but noted that he already has some troubles traveling from here, "and State College is even less accessible."
It won't be easy leaving here after 30 years, Ikenberry said.
"We have so many ties here. We lived here longer than anywhere in our married life."