Gov. Bruce Rauner today announced the appointment of retiring Illinois state representative Robert W. Pritchard to the Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees.
Pritchard, a Hinckley resident, served in the Illinois House for 15 years, representing the 70thDistrict. Last year Pritchard announced he would not be seeking re-election. He will officially step down on Sunday, July 1, to accept the appointment to the NIU Board of Trustees, effective that same day.
Pritchard fills a vacancy left by veteran trustee Bob Boey, who retired from the board in March. His term had been set to expire in January 2019.
As a state representative, Pritchard worked on behalf of residents in portions of DeKalb, Boone and Kane Counties on a wide range of issues, including education, economic growth and fiscal responsibility.
A recognized leader in education policy, Pritchard was Republican Spokesperson on House education committees and was a member of the Governor’s Education Reform Commission, which produced the K-12 school funding reform agreement to adequately and equitably fund education throughout Illinois. His work with the bicameral Higher Education Working Group focused on issues of outmigration and affordability in Illinois higher education and resulted in significant legislation this spring. Pritchard also was instrumental in forming the bipartisan Legislative Education Caucus in 2005.
“Bob Pritchard has been a good friend to NIU, is a strong advocate for higher education and keenly understands the importance of our university to the region and state, along with the challenges we face,” NIU Acting President Lisa Freeman said. “We welcome him to the Board of Trustees and look forward to working with him in the future.”
Prior to serving in the State House, Pritchard was an elected member of the Hinckley-Big Rock Board of Education, DeKalb County Farm Bureau Board and DeKalb County Board, where he served as chairman. He also has been a visible leader in community and civic organizations.
“I feel strongly that education beyond high school is an essential component in developing Illinois’ workforce and making the state attractive to employers,” Pritchard said. “NIU—in partnership with local community colleges—prepares students to achieve their dreams and be contributing members of our economy.
“It has been a pleasure to represent NIU and advocate for the interests of students, faculty and all higher education institutions throughout my tenure in the House of Representatives,” he added. “I look forward to continued service to the region and Illinois in my new role as a NIU trustee.”
Pritchard holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications and master’s degree in radio-TV production and direction, both from the University of Illinois. He and his wife, Mary, a professor and associate dean emerita at NIU, have two sons and four grandchildren. His private sector careers involved various facets of agribusiness. He grew up on a farm near Maple Park and continues to manage and operate the farm business with his son.
The NIU Board of Trustees will also be welcoming Nathan Hays to the board as the new student trustee. Hays has served in several leadership roles on campus, including as treasurer of the Student Association and as a member of the Presidential Search Preparation Committee. He replaces student trustee Giuseppe LaGioia, who graduated in May.