By Craig Chamberlain The UI Board of Trustees said hello and a partial goodbye to an incoming and an outgoing president at its monthly meeting, held in Urbana on March 9. In addition, the trustees discussed the process of making Sangamon State University a part of the UI, and heard concerns from UI officials about proposed legislation that would increase the power of the Illinois Board of Higher Education. James J. Stukel, chancellor of UIC, was voted in by the board as the 15th president of the university, succeeding Stanley O. Ikenberry, who will step down Aug. 1. Stukel's selection by the board was announced one week before, but the vote made it official. In comments following the vote, Stukel acknowledged the "extraordinary leadership" of his predecessor - "a master builder not only of buildings but of academic programs" - but also made clear his administration would be looking toward change. Society is in a "time of transition," Stukel said. And as in any period of change, "there will be institutions that will prosper under change, that will make the right choices, that will take risks, that will do things that they haven't done in the past." Other institutions will not do those things and will not prosper, he said. Ikenberry adieu ------------------ The board and the Urbana-Champaign campus gave Ikenberry and his wife, Judy, their official farewell reception the same day. The event was held several months before his departure in order to catch the trustees in town on the day of a board meeting and before faculty left for the summer. Time was taken during the board meeting for the Ikenberrys' three sons and their families to present the couple with a framed print showing the family's four homes - from their first in Morgantown, W.Va., to the house they are building in Urbana. Above the sketches of the four homes was a newspaper column that Judy Ikenberry had written for the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pa., in 1974. The column spoke of transitions in life, and in particular, the passing of a home from the care of one family to another. Son David Ikenberry, who read the column aloud, noted that the reference to a home could apply to a university as well. At the reception program later in the afternoon, the Ikenberrys received other honors and gifts. Among them was the announcement of the Stanley O. Ikenberry Endowed Chair, to be endowed initially with $1.2 million to support the salary and activities of the faculty member named to the chair. The chair will rotate among departments on the Urbana- Champaign campus, and recipients will be chosen by a faculty committee. SSU merger - yea ------------------- At recent board meetings, Ikenberry had voiced his support for the idea of a UI merger with Sangamon State, which would result in renaming that campus as the University of Illinois at Springfield. With the governor's signing of legislation on Feb. 28, that idea now will become reality - effective Jan. 1, 1996 - thus Ikenberry and other officials were more specific about the planning for the change now under way. Ikenberry called the merger "a promising development that will add a new dimension" to the university. He said he saw the first year of this "new marriage" as one of "careful strategic planning, discussions and conversations that will involve heavily the faculty and the administration at Sangamon State," as well as faculty and administrators of the entire university, and the board of trustees. The merger and its ramifications will be "a very significant item on the agenda, I would suspect, for the next two to three years," Ikenberry said. Sylvia Manning, vice president for academic affairs, said about 50 faculty members and deans from the two UI campuses had met in mid-February for an entire day for a study session devoted to Sangamon State's academic program. "It was interesting how, at the end of the day, many of the faculty there were starting spontaneously to think about, to get excited about, possibilities for cooperation and working together," she said. More recently, Sangamon State held a conference attended by Manning and UI faculty representatives in which they discussed the UI's shared faculty governance system. The next step in the process, Manning said, will be for Sangamon State to go through a strategic planning process that takes into account the merger. IBHE power move - nay -------------------------- Ikenberry liked the Sangamon State merger idea, but he had made it clear before last week's meeting that he was strongly opposed to another idea coming out of Springfield - that of increasing the power of the Illinois Board of Higher Education. Under the proposal, put forward by the IBHE and supported so far by Gov. Jim Edgar, the IBHE would be given the power to reject tuition increases and eliminate academic programs. In addition to the strongly worded letter he had written to the governor on the issue, Ikenberry told the board that he had had the opportunity to talk to several state representatives and senators about the proposal, and had found them responsive to the university's concerns. Since the issue was "capable of generating more heat than light," he said he was looking for a "time of cooling off," during which he hoped reasoned discussion could take place. In other business, the board: oApproved several transactions that will make it possible for the university to enter into purchase contracts with MidCon Corp. and its subsidiaries for a 10-year supply of natural gas for both campuses. The contracts, according to the board item, "would accomplish the dual business objectives of attaining a long-term, firm supply of a base load of natural gas at favorable prices." As part of this agreement, the board authorized the issuance of certificates of participation not to exceed $32.5 million. * Received a report from Richard Margison, associate vice president for business and finance, about a program by the UI Foundation to purchase real estate within the areas of the campus master plans for both UIUC and UIC. In particular, the program will target apartment buildings, Margison said, seeking to purchase them when they come on the market, rather than when they are needed for a specific project. The purchases will be made with loan funds, not gift funds, he said, and the Foundation will not purchase a property unless it can produce a positive cash flow from rent and other revenue, taking into account the cost of the loan. These purchases will not be part of an investment strategy for the Foundation, and the properties will remain on the tax rolls until the university is ready to use them, he said. The program is needed, UIUC Chancellor Michael Aiken said, because the university often does not have funds available when properties are available - and, in fact, has had to forego some recent opportunities. The university is about 20 years behind in this kind of planning, Ikenberry said. "We're going to be able to start playing offense, rather than just defense." * Approved contracts for several construction and remodeling projects on the UIUC campus, all to begin within the next few months. The projects include remodeling of the basement cafeteria area of the Illini Union; reconfiguration and enclosure of the Illini Union's north interior stair towers, along with other life-safety improvements; and development of recreation playfields at two different sites.