November 30, 2011
Dear Faculty and Staff,
I’m pleased to share with you another bit of good news from Springfield. We learned Tuesday evening that our Prairie Research Institute was approved for funding by the General Assembly during this week’s veto session.
This is outstanding news. You may recall that the Institute was excluded in the Spring budget decisions in Springfield, leaving us with a nearly $16 million gap in the budget of our Urbana-Champaign campus. This important restoration of funding assures that the Institute will continue its valued contribution to the state, without danger of a reduction in forces. It means that the good work it does, the millions of additional dollars it brings to Illinois, and the many jobs it generates will be ongoing.
We owe great thanks to our friends, supporters, and legislators, especially Senator Mike Frerichs, and other legislators who supported us in promoting the importance of the Institute, which houses the Illinois Scientific Surveys (Water Survey, Geological Survey, Archaeological Survey, Natural History Survey, and Illinois Sustainable Technology Center). I also want to give special thanks to the Illinois Connection, whose thousands of members advocated in support of funding the Institute. It’s clear that they are making a big difference in helping generate support for the University.
Dr. Bill Shilts, Executive Director of the Institute, played a key role in informing our legislators about the Institute’s importance and the value it brings to the State. I’m grateful for the time, effort, and expertise he lent to our efforts.
Throughout the last several months, our outstanding Governmental Relations team, led by Kappy Laing, has been working hard to secure this funding. Kappy, DeShana Forney, and Diana Barrows worked tirelessly with me and others to convey to legislators across the state the important work of the Institute as well as the revenues and jobs it generates. The Institute is a point of pride for the University and we’re grateful that it’s being recognized with this continued funding.
In this case, as with a few other items, like our procurement bill, we aren’t quite out of the woods yet. The Governor will still need to sign this legislation into law. I can assure you that our Governmental Relations team and I will continue to press to have these important bills signed and we will continue to work hard in Springfield and in Washington DC to protect and advance the future of our great University.
As we look back over our shoulders at the Thanksgiving holiday, we truly do have a great deal to be thankful for. We’ve experienced tremendous support and success, owing to the hard work of all of you and the continued bounties you bring to the University and the state. Thank you and good wishes to you and yours as we enter the holiday season.
Michael J. Hogan
University of Illinois