Chancellor Robert Jones from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign addressed for our board members how much he agreed with visioning into the future and making strategic, prioritizing decisions. He additionally noted the crucial role that investment in the institution plays so that the University can continue doing “amazing at a massive scale.”
It can be difficult to balance the daily operations of a public university with the need to implement a vision that ensures those operations will still thrive decades from now. At Illinois we will always be a public land grant university. Our challenge is defining what it really means to be a land-grant university for the needs of a 21st century society.
The nature of how we fund our operations and how we deliver educational obligations is changing. We must move from being a university that is completely dependent on uncertain state and federal funds to one that leverages our resources to keep an Illinois education accessible and to expand our research and scholarship.
The key to this transition is philanthropic support. These investments offer the flexibility to let us address both immediate needs but simultaneously build foundations for generations to come.
Endowed professorships and chairs will let us recruit and retain the top faculty today. But they are also permanent gifts that let us ensure that excellence crosses time and makes Illinois the destination of the best and brightest.
The new Carle Illinois College of Medicine is an example a current investment with an unlimited future. This summer the first 32 students to study at the intersection of engineering and medicine will join us. Every one of them will have their tuition costs covered by a scholarship and we’ll soon be announcing a few very creative ideas with the UIF and others to make this happen.
The Siebel Center for Design is another example of visionary philanthropy at work. This center – anchored by the generosity of Tom Siebel - will fundamentally change the way universities think about and offer undergraduate education. We are thrilled Tom will be present on campus for the public ground breaking ceremony the afternoon of April 24 and everyone is welcome to join. The doors will open in two years, but the impact will be seen and felt decades from now.
At Illinois we’ve spent 150 years forcing the world to redefine the word “impossible.” The gifts and support of friends and alumni will let us ensure that we continue to push the edges of discovery and innovation for the next century.
/// Return to the spring 2018 newsletter