Northern Illinois University vice president and general counsel Jerry D. Blakemore has been elected secretary of the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA), which is charged with advancing the effective practice of higher education attorneys for the benefit of the colleges and universities they serve. Blakemore will serve a three-year term that expires in June 2016.
One of 23 members of the board of directors, Blakemore serves as chair of the Advisory Group on NACUA Compliance Initiatives and also sits on the Committee for Finance and Audit.
“The single most important topic for university legal counsel across the country is compliance,” Blakemore said. “Among our members, 98 percent cited compliance administration as the most challenging responsibility affecting all of higher education due to increased regulation, increased accountability and a significant increase in legal and financial exposure.”
One of President-Designate Douglas Baker’s institutional priorities for the university is a commitment to ethically-inspired leadership.
“Not only is NIU committed to operating with integrity in full compliance with all applicable laws, regulations and policies, perhaps more importantly we aspire to operate with the highest standards of ethics, education, integrity and responsible citizenship,” Blakemore said.
NACUA members total approximately 4,000 professionals representing 800 colleges and universities on 1,800 campuses across the country.
The association’s governing board consists of four elected officers: a chair and chair-elect who each serve one-year terms plus a secretary and treasurer that serve three-year terms. The other members of the board include the immediate past president and 18 members-at-large who each serve three-year terms.
Blakemore is in good company. Other elected officers include chair Bill Mullowney, vice president for Policy and general counsel at Valencia College; chair-elect Tom Cline, vice president and general counsel at Northwestern University; and treasurer Deborah Zumwalt, Stanford University vice president and general counsel.
With more than 25 years of experience in higher education administration, policy development and the provision of legal services, Blakemore supervises a staff of five attorneys responsible for providing legal advice and counsel to the president and the NIU Board of Trustees (both to which he reports) in addition to administrators, faculty and staff on a wide variety of legal matters.
A graduate of Princeton University with a degree in Political Science, Blakemore was the 1976 recipient of Princeton’s Frederick Douglass Award for his academic and community service achievements. Blakemore is a graduate of the John Marshall Law School in Chicago and is licensed to practice law before the United States Supreme Court, the Illinois Supreme Court, as well as various Federal district and appellate courts.
In addition to his role with NACUA, Blakemore also serves on the Advisory Board of Directors of the American Water Company as well as chair of the Diversifying Higher Education Faculty Board of Directors. He is a lifetime member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.