By Craig Chamberlain The UI Board of Trustees said hello to a new campus and goodbye to President Stanley O. Ikenberry at its meeting July 12 and 13 in Urbana. In between, it was apprised of fiscal year 1997 budget concerns, faculty salaries chief among them; approved and heard plans for new medical facilities at UIC, and raised questions about the recently disclosed loss of $1.1 million in a university investment. Ikenberry's 16 years as university president will come to an end when his resignation takes effect Aug. 1, so trustees honored him one last time at the meeting with a certificate of appreciation and words of praise. Trustee Judith Calder, D-Glencoe, cited Ikenberry's "open-mindedness, fairness, good foresight, and skills as a facilitator and a person of great breadth." Susan Gravenhorst, R-Lake Forest, praised his "always great optimism, upbeat attitude and hopefulness" and said she thought he would be remembered as "one of the most outstanding presidents this university has ever had." Ikenberry, for his part, thanked trustees, faculty, students and other members of the university community, and said he would like to think the university was a better institution than when he arrived. The new campus recognized at the meeting was the UI at Springfield, formerly Sangamon State University, which officially merged with the UI on July 1. Naomi Lynn, former president of SSU and now chancellor of UIS, joined the other two chancellors at the end of the board table, and Neil Malone joined the board as the new campus' student trustee. Looking ahead to FY1997 ------------------------ With the 1996 fiscal year barely under way, the board on July 13 began the annual process for 1997, spending much of the morning on a review of the university's preliminary budget request to the state. The board will be asked to approve the final budget request at its September meeting, then will go through the same process on tuition and fees in October and November. Both requests will be sent to the Illinois Board of Higher Education for use in its formulation of a recommendation to Gov. Jim Edgar. Sylvia Manning, UI vice president for academic affairs, told the board that the university would be seeking an increase of approximately 7 percent in its operating appropriation for the 1997 fiscal year, set to begin July 1, 1996. Salary competitiveness carries the greatest urgency in the budget request, Manning noted - with help from UIUC Provost Larry R. Faulkner (see related story). The request for salary increases is expected to be in the range of 4 to 5 percent. The university also plans to seek program funds in the $10 million range, not including funds expected from tuition or enrollment increases. Among other concerns in developing the university's request are the need to rebuild the faculty base, improvements in undergraduate education and retention, better access to educational high technology, and money to cover the cost of the UIS transition. Manning noted that the competition for state resources will become increasingly intense, but said the university is justified in asking for additional tax support. Despite improved budget years in fiscal 1995 and 1996, Illinois higher education has lost purchasing power since fiscal 1990, she said. It has lagged behind human services increases, as well as increases for elementary and secondary education. Even within the state budget for higher education, the UI has lagged behind in percentage increases, Manning said. "There is a popular belief out there that the UI is gobbling up all of the increases" in the state higher education budget, she said, but that's not true. Investment trouble -------------------- The UI recently reported that it had lost over $1 million on a short-term investment as the result of unauthorized trading by a firm linked with The Common Fund, an organization that oversees endowment funds for 1,400 schools nationwide. The loss was part of $128 million in losses recently reported by the organization due to trades over the last three years by a senior trader with First Capital Strategists Inc. Craig S. Bazzani, UI vice president for business and finance, told trustees that the university, with about $72 million in the fund, lost about $950,000. The UI Foundation, with $12.5 million in the fund, lost about $150,000. As a result, the university's return on its short-term investments in The Common Fund for the fiscal year just completed was lowered from an anticipated 8.6 percent to 7.2 percent. For the university's entire short-term investment program, the drop was from 8.25 percent to 8 percent. University endowment funds were not affected. Bazzani reported that the university was taking appropriate actions, one of them being to move the $72 million elsewhere while they took a "fresh look" at The Common Fund. Several trustees, led by Calder, the managing director of a fixed-income asset management firm, pressed their concerns that the university be assured by investors that university policy regarding such investments be followed closely. Bazzani, along with Ikenberry and other administrators, assured trustees that the board's policy on investments was being followed by university staff and that this and other similar investments would get careful review in the coming months. In other business: ------------------- * Bazzani reported that the university has made "significant progress" over the last three years toward salary parity between its staff employees and State Code employees. University efforts in this area grew out of a joint resolution adopted by the Illinois General Assembly in June 1992 that called upon state universities to "move toward the goal of equity" with state employee salaries. This was reinforced with an action by the UI Board of Trustees in September 1993 calling for salary parity between the two groups. * Ronald Guenther, UIUC athletic director, reported that the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics had eliminated its budget deficit, but that it could face a deficit again by 1998. This is of particular concern, he said, because that projection does not include the addition of any new women's sports, an action desired in order to address both the gender equity issue and the high level of sports interest demonstrated by a survey of female students. The division would like to add women's soccer within the next year or two, but the cost is estimated at $300,000. With significant revenue growth from outside sources unlikely, Aiken said administrators were looking at the possibility of introducing a student athletic fee to help fund the additional sports. He said he already had discussed the possibility informally with students and those discussions would continue into the coming year.