James J. Stukel spent 23 years on the UI's Urbana-Champaign campus, as a graduate student, faculty member and administrator. He followed that with 10 years on the university's Chicago campus, most recently as chancellor. On March 2, at news conferences on both campuses, Stukel was introduced as the new president of the university, with responsibility over both campuses. What are his priorities as president? At the news conference in Urbana, Stukel cited three areas "you'll be hearing a lot about": * Re-establishing the university's link with the people of Illinois. A public institution like the UI, "one of quality, one that has so many rich resources to offer," cannot "stand on the sidelines when dealing with the societal issues of our day," Stukel said. * Containing costs and maintaining productivity. "We've been very lucky at the UI," Stukel said. Higher education in Illinois "has been spared the enormous cuts that have occurred in many other states." But higher education is in competition with Medicaid and other needs for state dollars, he said, and the prospect of fewer federal dollars threatens research and medical programs. "So I don't think we can look to the state of Illinois for a lot of new money for higher education, and we cannot continue to raise tuition without bounds without closing off access to qualified young people." * Undergraduate education. "Large universities always run the risk of not paying enough attention to undergraduate education," Stukel said. He praised the new freshman Discovery Program on the UIUC campus as an example of what can be done, and noted the need to focus attention on student retention at UIC.