University applauds general counsel for years of legal service

By Matt Daray

The university’s general counsel has retired after several years of service.

Jeff McLellan, who has worked for the university system since November 2005 when he began as a senior associate general counsel and special assistant to Edwardsville campus chancellor, retired Friday. McLellan served as the university’s interim lead attorney for several months until he was appointed in September 2011 to general counsel, a position which oversees SIU Board of Trustees and staff member legal representation at both university campuses.

The BOT will appoint an interim general counsel during a special session Tuesday, but university President Glenn Poshard said the board will take its time to find the right permanent candidate. Poshard said McLellan was a great asset to the university, and his presence will be missed.


“Jeff was an excellent general counsel,” he said. “He did a great service for this university when he was associate general counsel up in Edwardsville as well as full general counsel for the whole system. He was very diligent (and) very thoughtful.”

McLellan said he chose to retire because of several factors, including his age and Illinois’ pension issues caused by the state’s budget. While he said he does not think he left much of a legacy, he thinks he displayed a good work ethic and was well liked by his co-workers.

Poshard said the university is very grateful for McLellan’s service. He said McLellan represented several controversial cases against the university, including one that involved Christi Turpin, a former graduate student who sued two deans and a professor in federal court for failing to acknowledge that she earned her doctorate. Despite a month of trial, the case was later dismissed.

McLellan and his staff handled cases with integrity, Poshard said, and the time he invested served him well in his duties.

“We’ll miss his services tremendously because he’s worked throughout the system and really knew this system well,” he said.

McLellan said he will now join his wife in retirement and plans to travel to Europe and enjoy life.

BOT members could not be reached for comment by press time Sunday.