Dear Colleagues and Friends,

I write to thank Richard Wheeler for his remarkable service as Interim Provost, a role that ends next week. Happily, neither his experience nor his institutional knowledge will be going very far. Professor Wheeler will become the Visiting Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs as of Thursday (Aug. 16).

He will be working closely with Vice President Christophe Pierre and other University officers and academic leaders on each campus to develop and coordinate various strategic initiatives of benefit to the entire University of Illinois.

Professor Wheeler's term as Interim Provost proved to be much longer and much more active than most would have anticipated. Our campus called upon him to provide a steadying hand and wise leadership through a challenging period, made more difficult by the economic downturn and the state's lack of promised financial support. It speaks highly of his commitment and his ability to bring our campus community together that the academic foundation of the institution is stronger today than it was when he assumed the role in 2010.

In his four decades at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Professor Wheeler has distinguished himself as a world-renowned Shakespeare scholar and as a dedicated administrator. He has served in a variety of leadership roles, including Head of the Department of English, Dean of the Graduate College, Vice Provost, and Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. A common, unifying thread runs throughout all of these years and these roles. His first priority always has been the students, faculty and staff who are the heart of the university. He has willingly and enthusiastically undertaken any task that would advance how we teach, how we learn and how we lead. His leadership, integrity and his determination to protect and to advance the reputation of Illinois have been critical.

Thank you Dick, for your service in all of these roles and for your unwavering support of the University of Illinois.


Phyllis M. Wise
Vice President, University of Illinois
Chancellor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


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