Gov. Pat Quinn said a light-hearted good-bye to the University of Illinois Board of Trustees meeting, but Quinn’s re-election loss has serious implications for three board members whose terms expire on Jan. 19.
The three whose terms expire are all Quinn appointees: Chairman Christopher Kennedy and trustees Pam Strobel, a former Exelon Corp. executive, and Edward McMillan, owner and CEO of a food and agri-business consulting firm in Greenville, Ill.
Kennedy said Thursday he will leave the board when his term expires in January, and has sent Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner a letter suggesting he (Rauner) choose his own appointees for the board.
There are nine trustees in all; they are selected by the governor on a rotating basis as their six-year terms expire.
Rauner takes the oath of office on Jan. 12, and the trustees’ next regular meeting is in Chicago on Jan. 15, said university spokesman Tom Hardy.
Kennedy has told Rauner of the “excellent service” that fellow Trustee Edward McMillan, a Republican, has given, Hardy said.
Kennedy supported Quinn’s re-election, and the third trustee whose term expires, Pamela Strobel, is a Democrat.
The board cannot have more than five members of more than one political party.
Quinn thanked the trustees for their support, and joked about memories of trips overseas with them.
At an alumni association meeting in Beijing, China, Quinn recalled that a restaurant there ordered in Asian carp from Illinois as a delicacy.
He said the experience taught him how to deal with the carp menace: “If you can’t beat ‘em, eat ‘em,” he said.
Quinn also urged the trustees to pursue greater funding for the state’s need-based financial aid program for students, known as MAP, and to find more ways to implement energy-conservation measures at the university’s campuses in order to leverage more of those funds for students.
Quinn had earlier warned that $50 million will be cut from the MAP funding if the Legislature allows an increase in the personal income tax to expire.
The three trustees whose terms expire may well be saying their own good-byes at the next meeting.