University of Illinois President B. Joseph White resigns
Admissions scandal sinks leader
By Jodi S. Cohen, Stacy St. Clair and Tara Malone Tribune reporters
September 24, 2009
As pressure mounted during the summer from an all-consuming admissions scandal, University of Illinois President B. Joseph White carried in his pocket a motivational card reminding him to "Keep Calm and Carry On."
And for several months, he did. He launched an overhaul of the admissions system. He publicly apologized for the abuses. He defended his record.
But on Wednesday, White announced he no longer could carry on as president. He said he will step down at the end of the year, forgoing a $475,000 retention bonus due in February and allowing a new board of trustees to choose a leader.
White's resignation is the latest fallout from revelations that the university had a formalized admissions system that allowed subpar but politically connected applicants to get in over more qualified candidates. Six trustees have already been replaced.
"Joe White has shown great leadership in this decision and leaves the university without the scars of a termination," said board Chairman Christopher Kennedy, who was appointed by Gov. Pat Quinn last month.
White, who teaches about ethics and leadership, will remain at the university as a business professor earning about $300,000 a year, as allowed in his contract. White also will continue to work on a fundraising campaign that was among his major initiatives.
The board, meanwhile, expects to pick an interim president within weeks and a permanent replacement by the start of next school year. . . .
Both businessmen had urged White to stay several weeks ago at an awards banquet. Since then, the faculty and student senate issued the equivalent of a no-confidence vote in White and Urbana-Champaign Chancellor Richard Herman, and the new trustees seemed eager for different leadership. White recognized he could not save his job, said Downey, who called White "a great educator and a great leader."
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