SIU Director of Government Affairs to serve as Senate chief of staff

By Gus Bode

After seven years as the executive director of governmental and public affairs at SIU, Dave Gross is going back to the Illinois Senate.

Gross will begin his role Jan. 1 as chief of staff to Senate President John Cullerton, replacing Andy Manar who Gross said will be running for an elected office.

Gross said because he started his career in the Senate and worked there for 20 years, he looks forward to going back.


“In a lot of ways it feels like going back home,” he said.

As chief of staff he will work with a professional staff of about 50 people who analyze legislation and present to members who serve on various committees.

“The majority of the responsibility is to make sure the staff interacts with the leadership team and they help with setting an agenda for the Senate president,” Gross said.

Gross said one thing that sticks out from his time at SIU is the success with the Capital Bill that provided the university system with almost $200 million to build major facilities on the Carbondale, Edwardsville and Springfield campuses.

“Those were projects I loved working on, and I will miss that part now,” he said.

Gross said he will also miss his work with SIU President Glenn Poshard.

“He is a wonderful person and I am going to miss working with him,” Gross said. “He has certainly taught me the value of leadership.”


In his time at SIU, there were budget cuts from the state every year, which Gross said made his job very difficult to explain to lawmakers the value of providing adequate support to public universities.

Gross said it is important to him to lobby for public universities so tuition will not have to increase and education will be available to more people. He will continue to do so as chief of staff, he said.

“It is a neat place to work, seeing knowledge transferred to other people,” Gross said. “It is certainly an experience I will never forget.”