Lamont elected to lead university's board of trustees

By Craig Chamberlain

The UI Board of Trustees chose new leadership and welcomed new
members at its meeting Jan. 20 in Urbana.

Thomas Lamont, D-Springfield, became the new chair of the board
after his was the only name placed in nomination at the start of
the board's annual meeting to elect officers. He was then elected
on a voice vote.

The process took all of five minutes, in contrast to several
elections in recent years that required multiple votes.

Lamont, who also served in the board's top leadership post in
1992, said he was honored to serve again. "I look forward to
working cooperatively with my colleagues in dealing with the
challenges ahead, especially selecting a new president to lead
the university," he said.

Lamont's term began immediately and will continue for one year.
He succeeds Kenneth Boyle, D-Chatham, who lost his seat in the
November election.

Elected to the board in 1990, Lamont is a partner in the
Springfield law firm Gordon and Glickson, P.C. He is a former
director of civil litigation in the Office of the Illinois
Attorney General and a former executive director of the State's
Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Office.

He earned his law degree at the UI in 1972 and his bachelor's
degree at Illinois State University in 1969.

Welcomed to the board were two new members, elected in November:
William Engelbrecht, R-Henry, and Martha O'Malley, D-Belleville.
They replace Boyle and Donald Grabowski, R-Lake Forest, who was
not included on the slate of candidates recommended to the state
Republican Party by the UI Alumni Association's Republican
selection committee.

The third seat up before voters in November was filled by Judith
Reese, R-Chicago, who was re-elected to a second term. Even
though two of the faces on the board have changed, Democrats
continue to hold the same 6-3 majority.

In other action as part of its annual meeting, the board re-
elected three officers to one-year terms: Michele Thompson,
secretary; Craig Bazzani, comptroller; and Byron Higgins,
university counsel. Lester McKeever Jr., who had served as
treasurer since July of last year, was elected to that post for a
two-year term.

None of these officers are members of the board.

A Springfield campus?

Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar, in his recent State of the State
address, revived a proposal to make Sangamon State University,
Springfield, a part of the UI. UI President Stanley O. Ikenberry,
in comments Friday to the university's board, said he and many
faculty and administrators have a "cautious but . significant
interest" in exploring the idea. He also noted that there is
"very considerable enthusiasm" for the idea in the city of

The same proposal was blocked two years ago by a Democrat-
controlled House, but it stands a better chance this time with
the governor's party now in control of the General Assembly.
Edgar also reintroduced two other proposals aimed at
restructuring the state's public higher education system - the
elimination of two university governing boards and a switch from
electing to appointing UI trustees - but Ikenberry only mentioned
those in passing and offered no comment.

Much remains to unfold on the merger issue over the next two to
three months, Ikenberry said, and the two schools probably cannot
do "serious planning and consultation" until broad policy goals
are outlined by the legislature.

Even if the merger were approved by the state, it would require a
significant transition period, not unlike that needed in the
1980s to consolidate the two UI campuses in Chicago, Ikenberry
said. "I don't think we're simply talking about changing the name
on the front of the building," he said, and many academic and
other concerns would need to be worked out. "There's obviously a
long ways to go."

Ikenberry said after the meeting that he has been "supportive of
the basic concept from the beginning" and that his "personal
sense is that this would be good for the university and good for
the state."

The budget: good news and bad news

On another topic, Ikenberry said the 1995-96 budget
recommendations recently approved by the Illinois Board of Higher
Education are both "good news and bad news" for the university.
The increase in UI operating funds within the IBHE budget is not
as much as the university would have liked, he said. But the
increase, if eventually adopted, would be "very clearly a step

The IBHE recommendations call for a 3.9 percent increase in state
general revenue funds for the UI's operating budget, about 2
percentage points below the university's request. They also
provide for an increase of approximately 3 percent in funds for
salaries - not including increases for Medicare and other related
payroll costs - instead of the 4 percent requested.

The university's two main budget priorities are to restore salary
competitiveness and faculty strength, Ikenberry said. The most
recent budgets have the UI on the road to recovery on salaries,
with small gains made against other institutions, he said, "but
there's a substantial amount of progress still to be made."

The governor approved the IBHE's recommendations in full last
year, and "we're cautiously optimistic" that he will do so again,
Ikenberry said.

Bill Nugent, executive director of the UI Foundation, reported
that Campaign Illinois, the university's $1 billion fund-raising
campaign, "is indeed in full bloom" and on schedule. With the
campaign now about 40 percent through its schedule, about 40
percent of the goal, or $400 million, has been received or
committed, he said.

In other business:
  * The board met in executive session on Thursday afternoon for
    an update on the search process to find a successor to Ikenberry,
    who has announced he will retire this summer.

Illini Union to renovate north staircases
  * The board heard a presentation on Friday morning regarding
    plans for the renovation this summer of two open spiral
    staircases on the north side of the Illini Union.

    The latest in a series of life-safety improvements to the Union,
    being carried out to bring the building up to code, the $2.3
    million project will enclose both staircases to prevent the
    spread of smoke into the stairway or between floors in the case
    of a fire.

    As they now exist, the staircases would act as "chimneys" for
    smoke during a fire, said William Ponko, vice president of The
    Troyer Group Inc., a Mishawaka, Ind., architectural firm. This is
    an added problem because the stairways must serve as the main
    exits from the upper floors on that side of the building, he

    The staircases will be enclosed by installing doorways on each
    floor between the stairs and the floor space. During normal
    operation of the building, the doors will remain open to allow
    for the easy flow of traffic. In the case of a fire, they will
    close automatically, but will not lock, Ponko said.

    The project will entail the disassembly of both staircases and
    their eventual reassembly using the same style and quality of
    materials. To remove the jog in the hallway around the northwest
    staircase - as a means of improving traffic flow - the northwest
    staircase will be reassembled with its spiral reversed, from
    counterclockwise to clockwise.

    This will allow for removal of the stairs going down to the
    basement, with new stairs to be installed where the hallway now
    jogs. When the renovation is complete, the hallway will be

    Trustee Judith Calder, D-Glencoe, expressed some dismay at the
    changes that will come with the renovation, saying it was more
    than she expected. Ponko tried to assure the trustees that care
    had been taken to preserve the building's architectural
    character, noting that the project had been approved by the
    Illinois Historical Preservation Agency.

    "There are subtle changes, but the big idea will still be there,"
    he said.

    Robert Todd, UI associate vice president for administration and
    human resources, noted that as the former director of the Union
    he had resisted attempts to do this work, but now sees the
    necessity. An estimated 30,000 people a day pass through the
    Union, he said, and the building codes could not be ignored.

    The plans were brought to the board as an informational item. A
    recommendation for the contract on the project is expected at the
    March meeting.

New name for Willard up in the air
  * A group of community leaders, part of a local Air Service
    Task Force started in April last year, presented a recommendation
    for changing the name of the university's airport. Led by P.
    David Kuhl, president of Busey Bank, and including the twin
    cities' mayors, the task force has been studying ways to improve
    local air service and to improve the airport's position for
    dealing with changes in the airline industry.

    The current name is University of Illinois Willard Airport. Two
    alternatives recommended by the task force were Champaign County
    Regional Airport-Arthur C. Willard Terminal and Champaign County
    Regional Willard Airport.
    "The idea is plain and simple," said Champaign mayor Dannel
    McCollum. "We want a greater geographic recognition as a tool for
    marketing the airport."
    Trustees were either tentative or doubtful in their response to
    the proposal, and they approved a motion to table the matter for
    later discussion.

  * The board heard a presentation on Friday morning from
    Patricia Askew, interim vice chancellor for student affairs, in
    which she outlined a variety of changes and developments in
    programs for UI students.

    Among the highlights, she noted that a freshman convocation is
    being planned for the fall semester, $6 million is being raised
    for student scholarships through Campaign Illinois, and new
    attention is being paid to student leadership development

  * The board approved a recommendation from the College of
    Agriculture that the Plant and Animal Biotechnology Laboratory be
    renamed the Edward R. Madigan Laboratory, in honor of Illinois
    Congressman Edward R. Madigan, who died Dec. 7, 1994. Madigan, R-
    Lincoln, was a member of the Illinois General Assembly before
    being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he
    served on the Agriculture Committee, becoming ranking minority
    member in 1983. President George Bush named him Secretary of
    Agriculture in 1991.

  * The board approved the conferring of honorary degrees at
    commencement exercises May 14 to Hachiro Koyama, chairman and
    representative director of SmithKline-Beecham (Japan), and
    William J. Rutter, chairman of the board of directors of Chiron
    Corp. and professor emeritus, University of California, San

    Koyama will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree
    and Rutter will receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree.

UIUC -- Inside Illinois -- 1995/02-02-95