Phyllis Wise To Step Down As U Of I's Urbana Chancellor

Aug 6, 2015

Phyllis Wise
Credit University of Illinois

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Chancellor Phyllis Wise says she is resigning over concerns that what she called ``external issues'' involving her are a distraction to the university.  

University President Timothy Killeen said in an announcement Thursday he will appoint an interim chancellor to take over Wise's duties. Her resignation is effective Aug. 12.  

Wise has become embroiled in a number of issues for which the university has drawn criticism. They include the decision not to hire a professor over his anti-Israel Twitter messages and allegations by athletes in three sports of mistreatment by coaches or other staff.  

Several of those issues have led to lawsuits.  

Wise said in a written statement that she ``concluded that these issues are diverting much needed energy and attention from our goals.''

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Statement released by University:

August 6, 2015

URBANA--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Chancellor Phyllis M. Wise announced in a statement today that she will step aside as chancellor and vice president of the University effective August 12 and will return to the faculty. University President Timothy L. Killeen accepted her resignation and commended Wise for her commitment to the University.

“I am in the process of selecting an interim chancellor who will serve until an immediate search for a permanent chancellor can be completed, and I expect to name that person within the next week,” Killeen said. “I anticipate a smooth transition in leadership and dedicate myself to working closely with internal and external stakeholder groups—faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors and community leaders—during the process.”

Chancellor Wise statement:

“During the last four years, I have worked with an extraordinary team to realize our vision to be ‘the pre-eminent public research university with a land-grant mission and global impact.’ We have accomplished a great deal. Importantly, we have established the foundation for the first ever engineering-driven College of Medicine. This is just one example of the success of our campus-wide effort to be pre-eminent in everything we do.  

“Yet, external issues have arisen over the past year that have distracted us from the important tasks at hand. I have concluded that these issues are diverting much needed energy and attention from our goals. I therefore believe the time is right for me to step aside. I will resign from the chancellor's position effective August 12, 2015, and will resume my roles as a member of the faculty. I look forward to rededicating my efforts to teaching, research and service.  

“I would like to reiterate my commitment to this University and its role as a world-class educational institution. I have valued my time as chancellor and wish to express my deep gratitude to the many colleagues and friends who have been so essential to everything we have accomplished during my tenure.”

University of Illinois President Timothy L. Killeen statement:

“On behalf of the University of Illinois and the Board of Trustees, I thank Chancellor Wise for her excellent service to the University over the last four years, and I wish her well in her future endeavors. 

“Chancellor Wise’s energy and commitment to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have never flagged. In addition to other accomplishments too numerous to list, her vision and advocacy for a new College of Medicine represents a major contribution and provides for a lasting legacy.”