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Remarks, November 14, 2019 Meeting of the Board of Trustees

As prepared for delivery for President Tim Killeen

Thank you, Chairman Edwards.

The board has a busy agenda ahead, but I wanted to take just a few minutes to highlight several recent activities that I know are of great interest to all of you.

In the Strategic Framework you approved three years ago to guide our future, you challenged us to keep building on the global perspective that is so important to help shape our student body, our academic programs and our research.

Last month, we reached out again … during a nine-day trip that took a delegation of system and university leaders to Taiwan and Singapore.

Among the many highlights, it provided the 12th partner in our growing Discovery Partners Institute … through an agreement with National Taiwan University.

DPI’s fifth international partner is the most comprehensive and prestigious university in Taiwan and among the best in the world … ranked 69th in the 2020 QS World University Rankings.

Our delegation also met with alumni, and with leaders in business and industry, higher education and government.

That included a meeting with Taiwan’s vice president, Chen Chien-jen, and heads of several ministries, including the Ministry of Education, which renewed a fellowship program that brings up to five Taiwanese students to Urbana every year for Ph.D. studies.

It was my second visit to Taiwan and Singapore as president, and one of about a half-dozen I have led since 2016 to expand global partnerships for the U of I System and our universities.

It strengthened connections in a region where our ties already run long and deep, including our first research center outside the U.S. … the Advanced Digital Sciences Center in Singapore.

I am also happy to share the news that our second set of Guiding Principles were finalized this month.

We posted them on our website last week … adding to the original set developed two years ago … and shared them with faculty, staff and students via mass email.

The full set is also in the updated tri-fold brochure in your materials for today’s meeting.

All of you were instrumental in developing the statements, which took root at your board retreat in July and lay out our position on more of the core values that will shape our future.

They reflect bedrock ideals … a commitment to excellence with integrity, to fostering healthy relationships across our campuses and to both financial and environmental sustainability.

They expand the touchstone that will guide our push to build on more than 150 years to service to students, the state and the public good.

From start to finish, well over 200 people were involved in crafting the new principles, and I am grateful to everyone who shared their time and insights.

I also wanted to update you on the continuing incredible work by Jim Moore and his team at the University of Illinois Foundation.

At last month’s 84th annual Foundation Weekend in Urbana, Jim announced that fiscal 2019 was the second-best fundraising year in the Foundation’s history, with nearly $463 million in new business.

Fundraising was second only to last year’s all-time record of nearly $500 million, and marked just the third time ever that new business has topped $400 million.

The gifts are keeping UIF well ahead of pace on its most ambitious fundraising effort ever – a $3.1 billion initiative comprised of three unique campaigns at each of our universities.

Less than halfway into the five-year initiative, the campaigns are nearly 77 percent toward the goal, with $2.38 billion raised.

I am grateful to our partners at the Foundation … and to all of our generous donors … for the support that makes the U of I System a cut above and keeps pushing us closer to our ambitious goals.

Finally, I had the pleasure of being part of last month’s inaugural run of UI Ride, our new bus service linking UIC, Urbana and our DPI offices in downtown Chicago.

It is already proving popular.

Since reservations went live on Oct. 21, there have been bookings every day … for a total of about 200 already for travel from the shuttle’s Oct. 31 launch through roughly mid-December.

Saving a seat will be even easier in the next month or so when a mobile app goes live, joining the website that has been taking reservations from the start.

If you aren’t familiar, here’s a short video that our team produced to promote the new bus service to our faculty and staff.

I can say first-hand that it’s a wonderful ride, and I hope more and more of our faculty and staff keep hopping on board.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and my thanks to the board for your service.