Office for University Relations

NEWS RELEASE, July 19, 2012


 U of I board seats three student trustees

Top administrators also appointed in Chicago, Urbana-Champaign


 CHICAGO, Ill. —  Three students who will serve on the University of Illinois Board of Trustees in 2012-13 were seated during a ceremony Thursday at the board’s July meeting on the U of I’s Chicago campus.

John Tienken of the University of Illinois at Springfield and Kenneth Thomas of the University of Illinois at Chicago were re-elected to one-year terms as student trustees last spring in votes by students on their campuses. David Pileski of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign also was elected to a one-year term, replacing former student trustee Hannah Ehrenberg.

Student trustees have served on the 13-member board since 1973 to give students a voice in University governance. In 1998, a new state law gave one student trustee voting power, and Gov. Pat Quinn has designated Tienken as the voting member for 2012-13.

“Student perspective is critical as the board weighs decisions that will affect their academic future – and the generations of students who will follow them,” said President Robert Easter. “I’m deeply grateful for their insights and their willingness to serve.”

Tienken, of Clarendon Hills, is a senior Capital Scholars student majoring in political science and English. He is founder and captain of the UIS squash team, a mentor in the Capital Honors Program, and worked as a columnist and reporter for the UIS student newspaper.

Thomas, of Midlothian, is a senior majoring in history and political science. He has held various leadership positions in Undergraduate Student Government, and also has served as a student representative on the UIC Senate.

Pileski, of Roselle, is a senior majoring in urban and regional planning. He was student body president in 2011-12, and also served on the Illinois Student Senate as a senator and governmental affairs chair.

The terms of the newly seated student trustees run through June 30, 2013.

The board also approved the appointments of several top administrators on the Chicago and Urbana-Champaign campuses.

Mitra Dutta was appointed vice chancellor for research at UIC, a position she had held on an interim basis since January. She is a distinguished professor and former head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UIC, and a former senior executive with the U.S. Army Research Office. Dutta, a member of the UIC faculty since 2001, replaces Joe G.N. “Skip” Garcia, who stepped down to become the University’s vice president for health affairs.

Astrida Orle Tantillo was appointed dean of UIC’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Tantillo, who had been interim dean since November 2010, is the first woman to serve as dean of the college. A professor of Germanic studies and history at UIC since 1995, she succeeds Dwight McBride, who resigned to become dean of the graduate school at Northwestern University.

Michael B. Mikhail was appointed dean of the College of Business Administration at UIC. Mikhail has been a professor at Arizona State University since 2006, and served as director of its School of Accountancy since 2008. He also served on the faculty at Duke University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Mikhail succeeds Michael A. Pagano, who served as interim dean for two years. Pagano is also dean of UIC’s College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs.

Edward J. Fester was appointed dean of the College of Fine and Applied Arts in Urbana-Champaign. Fester has been a professor of urban and regional planning in Urbana-Champaign since 2004, and was head of the department from 2009-2011. Currently, he is also head of the Division of Innovation, Management and Policy at Manchester Business School in England. He will succeed Robert Graves, who is retiring.

Michael B. Bragg was appointed interim dean of the College of Engineering in Urbana-Champaign, where he has been a faculty member since 1990 and currently serves as executive associate dean for academic and faculty affairs. Bragg, a U of I alumnus, replaces Ilesanmi “Ade” Adesida, who has been appointed vice chancellor of academic affairs and provost of the Urbana-Champaign campus.

Joseph Martocchio was appointed interim dean of the School of Labor and Employment Relations in Urbana-Champaign. Martocchio has been a professor of labor and employment relations since 1989, and also has served as the school’s associate dean for academic affairs and director of degree programs. He replaces Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld, who is returning to the faculty after six years as dean.


The University of Illinois is a world leader in research and discovery, the largest educational institution in the state with more than 77,000 students, 22,000 faculty and staff, and campuses in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield. The U of I awards more than 19,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees annually.