May 18, 2015

Dear colleagues and friends:

As I begin my first official day as president, I want you to know how profoundly honored and delighted I am to be joining you. I said on the day my appointment was announced last November that I was in awe of the University – I can honestly say today that the feeling of awe has only grown over the past six months.

The University of Illinois is a very special place, with wonderful students, fabulous faculty and staff, and three magnificent campuses that are respected across the state of Illinois and around the world as leaders and pioneers in teaching, learning, scholarship and discovery. There is an amazing legacy of success and contributions in all disciplines over nearly 150 years. There is also a critically important and vibrant commitment to shared governance and institutional advancement on the part of the faculty. So, I view the presidency as a sacred trust and I can promise you my very best efforts on behalf of the University and its many stakeholders.

I’m deeply grateful to President Emeritus Bob Easter for sharing his time and insights so generously during our transition. His many talents and contributions in positions from student to president have helped drive the university’s continued rise over the last four decades. I wish Bob and his wife Cheryl all the very best in retirement – but have also warned them that I still have their number!

I’m eager to get down to business, working with all of you to build on our legacy and make the University of Illinois the gold standard for higher education in the 21st century – with best-in-class academic and research programs that serve our students and the public good.

We have all of the tools. An experienced and dedicated leadership team. World-class faculty and staff. Great students. State-of-the-art facilities. Loyal alumni. Generous donors. And, together, they share a passion to be the very best.

As we push toward our common goal, we’ll face bumps, including budgetary business to attend to in Springfield. In March, the Board of Trustees directed me to develop a university-wide strategic plan that will become our roadmap to the future. The planning process will be inclusive – a collaboration with all of you, with our campuses and with our many stakeholders to forge a collective and shared vision that will guide us to an even better tomorrow.

Soon, I’ll be scheduling a series of meetings to collect your thoughts and ideas. In the meantime, I’m anxious to get to know all of you, so I’m hosting town hall-style events on each of our campuses this week to introduce myself and the leadership team of campus chancellors. Dates, times and locations are available here.

My wife Roberta and I are proud and honored to call the University of Illinois home. We look forward to meeting you, and to thank you in person for your commitment and loyalty to this great university.

Timothy L. Killeen