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NIU mourns member of first Board of Trustees

October 19, 2012
James W. Myles

James W. Myles

James W. Myles, a member of the original NIU Board of Trustees, died Oct. 13 at North Shore Hospital after a short illness. He was 75.

During the board’s organizational meeting, held Jan. 3, 1996, in the Clara Sperling Sky Room of the Holmes Student Center, former NIU Trustee Manny Sanchez nominated Myles for secretary. The election was unanimous.

As the final chair of the Illinois Board of Regents, which had governed NIU along with Illinois State University and Sangamon State University, Myles told his new colleagues that his previous experience “quite naturally” had taught him much about Northern Illinois University.

“I intend continuing a lot of the work that I’ve done in the past with the Board of Regents. Specifically, I’m going to continue to fight to make sure that the recommendations of the board task force that I chaired, the Task Force on Minority Concerns, will be carried out, and I intend on doing many things that I started prior to my being chosen as a board member of Northern Illinois University,” said Myles, a resident of Chicago.

“I would also like to let the people in the audience know that I am no stranger here. This is the first university that honored me as chair of the Board of Regents, so I’m home,” he added. “And I’m going to continue to fight for the students, because this is what it’s all about – our children.”

Before his NIU appointment ended in 1999, Myles had been elected vice chair of the board. He served as vice chair of the board’s Executive Committee as well as the Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and Personnel Committee, and also represented his fellow trustees as liaison to the Civil Service Merit Board.

Outside NIU, Myles served as president of the Provident Foundation for nearly two decades. He also was president and CEO of Jim Myles and Associates, a health care consulting firm.

A member of the Chicago Urban League and Rainbow PUSH Coalition, he also received the Outstanding Trustee Award from the Illinois Committee on Black Concerns in Higher Education in 1994.

Services are pending.