Champaign campus, and Bo Fernhall as dean of the Chicago campus's College of Applied Health Sciences.
"These people all have extremely tremendous credentials," said UI President Michael J. Hogan in presenting the recommendations to the board.
He said the appointments should be taken as "reassurance" that the university has solidified its leadership structure and is moving in a positive direction.
Schook has served as interim vice president for research since March when the position was created as part of a senior administration realignment to streamline and strengthen the university's research mission.
He will continue to serve as senior research officer of the university; advise the president on matters of research, intellectual property, technology commercialization and economic development; and manage the university's nearly $800 million research enterprise.
Pierre has served as dean of the Faculty of Engineering at McGill University in Quebec since 2005. He will begin Oct. 16 and replaces Mrinalini C. Rao, who has held the position since 2007.
Thomas, the former athletic director at the University of Cincinnati, has led the successful Bearcats athletic program since 2005, winning five Big East team titles and an NCAA individual championship, producing 12 All-Americans in a wide range of sports and earning multiple Big East academic excellence awards.
He succeeds Ron Guenther, who retired in July after 19 years as athletics director.
Fernhall, an Urbana professor in the department of kinesiology and community health in the College of Applied Health Sciences since 2004, and former associate dean for research and academic affairs in the college, replaces Charlotte Tate, who served as the Chicago dean since 1999 and will return to the faculty. In addition, Fernhall will be a professor of kinesiology and human nutrition in UIC's College of Applied Health Sciences.
The board also recognized the efforts of Easter, who is stepping down after leading the Urbana campus on an interim basis for nearly three years.
"You left this university in better shape than when you took over its leadership," said Trustee Ed McMillan, noting Easter's role in the Stewarding Excellence @ Illinois initiative that has so far led to $26 million in annual savings.
Board Chairman Christopher Kennedy said Easter, despite his interim status, had led the UI on a forward-reaching course during "one of the most important periods of leadership in the university's history."
Easter, former dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, deflected the praise and credited university staff members and new board of trustees members for his success.
"The University of Illinois allows ordinary people to accomplish great things," he said.