The U. of I. Board of Trustees presented its Distinguished Service Medallion to retiring President Bob Easter May 7, honoring his more than 40 years with the university that began as a graduate student and took him to the presidency.
Trustees also named Easter to the title of president emeritus for his service as the university’s 19th president and approved $167,200 in incentive-based compensation for 2014-15 under an annual program created three years ago that ties presidential pay to performance.
Easter, who retired May 17, came to the Urbana campus as a graduate student in 1973 and joined the faculty after earning his doctorate in animal science in 1976. He later served as a department head, dean, interim provost, interim chancellor and interim vice chancellor for research at Urbana, and he has served as president of the three-campus system since 2012.
“Bob never failed to answer the call when his wisdom and steady hand were needed during difficult times, and often he and his wife Cheryl put the university’s interests above their own,” board Chairman Edward L. McMillan said Easter, who was succeeded by incoming President Timothy L. Killeen on May 18, said his careerlong connection with the university has always been a source of pride.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to be part of a university that is known globally for excellence, and to work side-by-side with colleagues who are the best in their fields and share a passion for our students and our future,” Easter said.
Easter also holds the rank of professor emeritus for a career on the Urbana faculty that made him an internationally known expert in livestock nutrition.