Perry named to lead NIU Office of General Counsel

Bryan Perry

Bryan Perry, an attorney with more than a decade of experience in higher education, will become Northern Illinois University’s new general counsel beginning July 1.

The NIU Board of Trustees approved Perry’s selection at its June 13 meeting.

“We are very excited to add Bryan’s leadership to our legal team,” said NIU President Dr. Lisa Freeman. “His unique background – working as both a general counsel and a chief of staff – allows him to bring not only a tremendous legal perspective to the job, but also a very broad knowledge of higher education.”

NIU Board Chair Dennis Barsema is also pleased with the addition of Perry.

“In Bryan, we have found an individual perfectly suited to our needs,” said Barsema.  “He has experience leading a legal team, is knowledgeable about union relations, has navigated private-public partnerships and has a history of accomplished service as part of a senior leadership team in higher education. He is prepared to step in and lead from Day 1.”

Most of Perry’s experience was gained at Baltimore City Community College in Baltimore, MD, where he spent the past nine years working as general counsel and chief legal officer. For the past four years, he also has acted as chief of staff to the president of BCCC which enrolls nearly 14,000 students each year in 37 associate degree programs and 17 certificate programs. The school has a staff of 1,000 (part-time and full-time) employees and an annual budget of $90 million.

In his roles at BCCC, Perry advised and counseled the president, board of trustees and senior level staff on strategic decisions and long-range planning. He supported special presidential projects and managed the implementation of all major initiatives outlined in the school’s strategic plan

Among his accomplishments were the creation of BCCC’s Title IX compliance program and reducing the school’s litigation exposure to zero cases filed over a four year period. He also helped spearhead a joint effort with the City of Baltimore to create a pilot program offering free tuition to qualifying students. He has been a featured speaker on issues of higher education law and risk management. He currently sits on the strategic planning committee for the National Association of Collegiate and University Attorneys and he served on the writing group for the 2017 Maryland Higher Education Commission’s State Plan for Postsecondary Education.

Prior to his time at BCCC, Perry spent two years as associate general counsel at Morgan State University and eight years as an assistant attorney general where he provided advice and litigation representation to Maryland’s postsecondary public institutions. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Law and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in economics from Morgan State University.

Perry will replace Greg Brady who has filled the role of Acting Vice President and General Counsel at NIU since December of 2016. “The board is very grateful to Greg for all that he has done for the university in that role,” said Barsema. “He has been a calm, stabilizing force throughout his time leading our legal team and I am thrilled that he will remain an integral part of that team going forward.”

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