Faculty welcome choice for new UI president

University faculty members who have been vocal throughout President Michael Hogan's time at the University of Illinois say they believe Bob Easter will be an able leader when he becomes president.

Joyce Tolliver, vice chairwoman of the Senate Executive Committee, said she knows Hogan's decision to resign was probably difficult, but she believes it's right for the university.

She said she believes the faculty's conflicts with Hogan over shared governance will be resolved under Easter.

"He's very well-known, well-admired, all across the campus," she said, and is becoming better known around the Springfield and Chicago campuses, as well.

"His selfless dedication to the UI, to the land-grant mission and to shared governance has been demonstrated repeatedly, and he will be a superb president," she said.

She said she and Easter worked closely when he was interim chancellor and she was Senate chairwoman, and she knows he's an excellent listener.

"At every turn, I was profoundly impressed by the respect he has for faculty members, by his own sense of identification as a faculty member," Tolliver said. "I think there is no one better to be leading the university when President Hogan steps down."

Professor Nick Burbules, vice chairman of the University Senates Conference, said he thinks Easter will be "terrific" as president.

"Once again, he's sacrificing himself to help to serve the institution," Burbules said. "We all owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude for being willing to do so."

He said he believes Hogan's decision is for the best.

"I think it's a very sad situation," Burbules said. "I think that he's doing the right thing for the university, but I'm sure it can't be easy for him."

Senates Conference Chairman Don Chambers said Hogan's term has been a difficult one, and while he's made some good decisions and some "excellent" appointments, "he did a wise and honorable thing by resigning."

Chambers said Easter is well-respected on all parts of campus.

"He will undoubtedly do an excellent job both in the present and in the future," Chambers said.

While Hogan was an outside hire and had to make decisions about an institution he perhaps wasn't as knowledgeable about, Easter's long career at the UI gives him a large amount of institutional knowledge.

"He knows the university inside and out," Chambers said.

Chambers said Easter is a listener and has a "quiet charisma."

He said he applauds the Board of Trustees' hire.

"I think we're really fortunate," Chambers said. "There isn't anyone that I could design that would be better for the job."

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