CHAMPAIGN — The University of Illinois has appointed Marine Col. Royal Mortenson as the new director of the Illinois Fire Service Institute.
Mortensen will begin Aug. 1 and replace Richard Jaehne, who will retire at the end of August.
Mortenson is director of the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College, Marine Corps University in Quantico, Va., where he oversees a master's degree granting program for U.S. and international military officers. He will retire from the U.S. Marine Corps after 29 years of service upon taking the job at the fire service institute.
Before directing the Corps Command and Staff College, Mortenson served as chief of staff for the Commanding General Marine Corps Combat Development Command in Quantico, which oversees research, development and education for the Marine Corps. From July 2009 through April 2011, he was assigned to the Joint Staff in Washington, where he served as the Central Asia/South Asia Division Chief in the Asia Directorate.
Prior assignments have included a post as commanding officer of The Basic School, the entry officer training program for all U.S. Marine Corps officers.
His military career included commanding the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines. During his command tour, the battalion deployed and participated in combat operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with gold star in lieu of second award, the Bronze Star with (V) and the Combat Action Ribbon.
A Chicago native, Mortenson is married and has three children.
The UI Board of Trustees approved the appointment at its meeting last week in Chicago.
The Illinois Fire Service Institute is the statutory fire academy for the state of Illinois.