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Echols recognized for service as student trustee

June 20, 2014
Elliot Echols speaks to the NIU Board of Trustees after being honored in a June 19 meeting.

Elliot Echols speaks to the NIU Board of Trustees after being honored during a June 19, 2014, meeting.

“This isn’t goodbye,” student trustee Elliot Echols told those in attendance after the Board of Trustees of Northern Illinois University recognized him for his leadership and service to NIU. “I’m a legacy here at NIU. This is where I call home.”

The board’s appreciation was spelled out in the resolution presented near the end its regular business meeting.

WHEREAS, Elliot Echols has faithfully served as a student member of the Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees for two terms from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2014; and

WHEREAS, prior to his election as Student Trustee, Elliot served as Director of Athletics & Recreation for the NIU Student Association from 2009 through 2011, and as President of the NIU Student Association during the 2011-2012 academic year; and

WHEREAS, during his leadership Elliot consistently embraced the critical importance of unity among diverse student organizations, developing safe communities, and honoring the legacy of exceptional student leaders and mentors; and

WHEREAS, as a member of the Board of Trustees, Elliot contributed valuable insight and information regarding the student perspective on the rising cost of tuition, maintaining NIU’s affordability despite state fiscal constraints, and ensuring a vibrant future for recreational wellness as an integral part of student life; and

WHEREAS, Elliot served as an active and engaged member of the Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and Personnel Committee; Legislation, Audit, External Affairs and Compliance Committee; and Finance, Facilities and Operations Committee; and

WHERAS, Elliot served in the distinguished position of Vice Chair of the Finance, Facilities and Operations Committee in 2013, the first such responsibility assumed by a Student Trustee; and

WHEREAS, Elliot joined his Board colleagues in the august responsibility of selecting the 12th President of Northern Illinois University, Dr. Douglas Baker, in 2013; and

WHEREAS, we, as his colleagues on the Board of Trustees, want to express our appreciation for Elliot’s service to the NIU students and community, and regard for his achievement of both a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology in May 2012, and a Master’s of Education in Adult and Higher Education in May 2014; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Trustees of Northern Illinois University in formal meeting herein assembled, extends its grateful appreciation to Elliot Echols for his leadership and service to Northern Illinois University students and the Board of Trustees.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this RESOLUTION be presented to Elliot Echols and a copy of this document be placed in the official files of the Board of Trustees as part of the permanent record of the university and the great State of Illinois and as a lasting tribute to the accomplishments of Elliot Echols.

Adopted in a regular meeting assembled this 19th day of June 2014.


Echols’ fellow trustees were quick to congratulate him and offer best wishes.

“Thanks for being such a great student trustee, and the best is yet to come,” said Robert Boey, who has served on the board since its inception in 1996.

Vice chair Marc Strauss added, “I know you’ve been well-prepared by your experiences here, and I look forward to hearing about your many successes in the years to come.”

“Thank you for being a part of this body for the past two years,” said board secretary Wheeler Coleman. “I’m proud to say I think you will do really well in corporate America.”

“Now it’s time for you to achieve great things,” said trustee Cherilyn Murer. “You will always be a part of NIU. You earned the respect of this board, and you earned your place on this board.”

In the end, chair John Butler recalled his similar service to the university both in student government and as a student trustee and said he enjoyed becoming Echols’ friend. He made sure to let Echols know that the door was open to return to the board, adding, “You can come back; you just need to be appointed by the governor.”

Earlier in the meeting, the board re-elected the following trustees to board leadership positions for the 2014-15 academic year:

New student trustee Paul Julion, who will succeed Echols July 1, will be sworn as part of the next regular meeting of the board.

In other action, the NIU Board of Trustees affirmed the appointments of Lisa Freeman and Lesley Rigg as executive vice president and provost and vice president of research and innovation partnerships, respectively.

The board also recognized Sharon Banks-Wilkins, who, like Boey, has served the board since its inception. Banks-Wilkins was honored with a resolution and presented a “retirement rocking chair.”