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TMCNet:  ISU board names new chairman, hears good fundraising report [The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Ill. :: ]

[July 25, 2014]

ISU board names new chairman, hears good fundraising report [The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Ill. :: ]

(Pantagraph (Bloomington, IL) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) July 25--NORMAL -- A 1982 graduate of Illinois State University was named chairman of the board of trustees Friday.

Rocky Donahue, who has been on the board for three years, was selected by fellow trustees. He replaces Michael McCuskey, who retired earlier this month.

In a meeting that Donahue described as including "a lot of good things," the board also learned that the university had a record-breaking fundraising year with total cash and pledges of $19.5 million.

Enrollment deposits for new students are at 3,753, almost 700 ahead of last year at this time.

Donahue, of Orland Park, is deputy executive director of external relations at Pace Suburban Bus, the regional transit agency for Chicago and its suburbs.

He has a master's degree in public administration from Roosevelt University and a bachelor's degree in finance from ISU.

"The board worked as a team under Mike," Donahue said after his election. "One of my goals as chairman is that we'll continue to work as a team." The board re-elected Anne Davis as secretary and seated student Ellen Schumacher, a junior majoring in marketing and organizational leadership.

With McCuskey's departure, the eight-member board is down to six members. Five must be present to conduct business.

University leaders hope Gov. Pat Quinn will fill the vacancies soon. One seat has been vacant for more than a year.

Donahue said diversity on the board is important and it would be nice to have another member or two from central or southern Illinois, perhaps a woman or Hispanic.

Dietz said having alumni as trustees is helpful because "they understand us. They know what we're about," but "they're still objective in asking us questions." The $19.5 million in private support for the fiscal year that ended June 30 includes in-kind gifts in addition to cash and pledges. It far surpasses the $14.8 million raised in the previous year, according to a report to the board.

The total was bolstered by two commitments of $1 million or more from alumni.

"Private support allows us to construct better and smarter classrooms. It allows Illinois State to build diversity by providing access to students from all walks of life," Dietz said.

Meanwhile, the university's incoming class is "projected to be significantly larger than the past two years," Dietz reported.

Pointing to declining numbers of high school graduates in Illinois, Dietz said "a robust freshman class is something you won't see" at a lot of other universities.

In other action, the board authorized buying properties at 200/202 Kingsley St. and 609 College Ave. for $600,000, the appraised value of the properties. The buildings will be torn down and the areas used for parking. An amount not to exceed $80,000 will be used for demolition, land excavation and related costs.

___ (c)2014 The Pantagraph (Bloomington, Ill.) Visit The Pantagraph (Bloomington, Ill.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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