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IBHE appoints President Freeman to help guide reopening of colleges and universities

May 20, 2020

The Illinois Board of Higher Education has selected Northern Illinois University President Dr. Lisa C. Freeman to serve on a committee that will help shape how campuses across the state reopen safely this fall amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Northern Illinois University President Dr. Lisa C. Freeman

“Higher education leaders, faculty and staff did an amazing job of rising to meet the unprecedented challenges this pandemic posed to our students and institutions this spring,” IBHE Chair John Atkinson said. “Keeping our students on track to postsecondary attainment remains our primary focus, and I am confident that together these leaders will help enable continued success in that effort.”

Dr. Freeman, who has been immersed in every aspect of NIU’s response to the pandemic, said she is honored by the opportunity to work with higher education leaders from across the state on this important task.

“I look forward to serving with esteemed colleagues from across Illinois higher education as we consider how best to protect the health of our communities while also providing our students with excellent and engaging educational experiences,” President Freeman said.

Deputy Governor for Education Jesse Ruiz said that the committee’s priority will be protecting the health and safety of students, faculty and staff while providing a high-quality education to prepare students for future career success. “I am grateful for IBHE’s leadership on this, and look forward to the committee’s recommendations for the 2020-2021 academic year,” he said.

The committee will look at a broad range of alternatives to ensure that students continue to receive an excellent education in the fall, said IBHE Executive Director Ginger Ostro.

“Whether it means working online to be safe, or a socially distanced, in-person experience, our colleges and universities will be here,” she said. “As we focus on implementing the Restore Illinois plan across the state’s higher education system, the expertise of these college and university leaders will be invaluable.”

Joining President Freeman on the committee:

IBHE Executive Director Ginger Ostro

Representatives of Illinois’ public universities:

  • University of Illinois President Tim Killeen
  • Southern Illinois University President Dan Mahony
  • Chicago State University President Zaldwaynaka “Z” Scott
  • Southern Illinois University School of Medicine Dean and Provost Jerry Kruse

Representatives of Illinois’ private colleges and universities:

  • Judson University President Gene Crume
  • Loyola University President Jo Ann Rooney
  • Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro
  • University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer
  • Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities President David Tretter

Representatives of Illinois’ community colleges:

  • City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Juan Salgado
  • Illinois Central College President Sheila Quirk-Bailey
  • Lincoln Land Community College President Charlotte Warren
  • Rend Lake College President Terry Wilkerson
  • Illinois Community College Board Executive Director Brian Durham