April 6, 2017

Dear colleagues:

I am pleased to announce the appointment of the newest University of Illinois Presidential Fellow – Professor Benét DeBerry-Spence of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). In this role, she will work part-time with me and others across the U of I System to promote innovation in support of our economic development mission.

Professor DeBerry-Spence is a distinguished business scholar whose research encompasses marketing, development and entrepreneurship, with an emphasis on community-engaged scholarship. She brings nearly 20 years of global business experience, including leadership roles in commercialization efforts for Fortune 200 companies. With this background, her work will help promote the goals of our new Strategic Framework, which seeks to increase the System's power as an engine for statewide and regional economic development and to build a System-wide culture of innovation, collaboration, entrepreneurship and thoughtful risk-taking.

Since joining the UIC faculty as a professor of marketing in 2003, Professor DeBerry-Spence has also served in various faculty leadership roles and is currently a member of the UIC Faculty Senate, Senate Executive Committee and the University Senates Conference.

The Presidential Fellows Program was created to tap into our deep pool of faculty talent for critical strategic initiatives that expand our service to students and the public good. Professor DeBerry-Spence joins two other current Presidential Fellows – Professor Antoinette Burton of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Professor Lisa Lee of UIC – who were appointed last fall to help to build on the U of I System’s long legacy of leadership in the arts and humanities.

I am grateful to Professor DeBerry-Spence for sharing her talents, and hope you will join me in welcoming her to this new, important role.



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