Trustees discuss chancellor search, potential cuts

By Luke Nozicka

The search for a permanent chancellor—an internal process that will take about six months—has begun.

President Randy Dunn, who assumed chancellor duties following the Nov. 9 death of interim Chancellor Paul Sarvela, said the board will soon put together its search committee and advertisements for the position.

“From there… starting to do some cultivating work… to go out and make sure we have some outstanding candidates around the country,” Dunn said at the SIU Board of Trustees meeting Thursday.


The board remembered Sarvela, who died at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale, at the end of its full board meeting. Executive Secretary Misty Whittington teared up as it did so.

“We had a great guy moving things forward and it’s like Carbondale can’t get a lucky break,” Chairman Randal Thomas said of Sarvela’s death.

Although the university is saving $150,000 by appointing Dunn to chancellor duties, Thomas said the decision is not an economic one.

“It’s a drop in a bucket,” Dunn said of the savings. “Just try to keep continuity going and progress getting made in some of the changes that Chancellor Sarvela put in place.”

With a potential 20 percent budget cut from state appropriations looming, Dunn said he anticipates knowing the severity of a cut in late spring. He said Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner’s budget team may ask the board to create plans for cuts anywhere from 5 to 20 percent.

Dunn said the university’s budget for fiscal year 2015 is about $205 million.

“Where it’s going to come down at the end, it’s anybody’s guess,” Dunn said of the potential cut. “I’ve told the campuses not to yet run out with their hair on fire. … Understand that we’re not ringing alarm bells yet.”


During the Finance Committee meeting, it approved an $8 million maximum order of electrical supplies in order to complete $30 million worth of infrastructure improvements. The supplies, which will be used for the next three years, will be purchased from Spring Electrical Supply Company in Carbondale. The contract ends Dec. 31, 2018.

The committee approved a $975,000 maximum contract with Custom Tour & Travel Inc. in Herrin to transport athletic teams to most competitions. The contract expires June 30, 2017.

$2 million was approved by the Architecture and Design Committee to replace the campus’ exterior lighting with 400 LEDs. It will be funded

with $1.5 million in state appropriations and by $500,000 from the Facilities Maintenance Fee, according to the board’s agenda.

The committee also approved $1.6 million for improvements of Lentz Hall Dining Services, where about 2,600 meals are served daily, according to the agenda. The last time Lentz Hall, which serves the 1,256 students living in Thomas Point, had major renovations was more than 20 years ago, according to the agenda.

$1.5 million was approved to make parking Lot 11 larger and to renovate Lot 13 east of the Student Center. Kevin Bame, vice chancellor for administration and finance, said the funding will create about 140 new parking spaces.

The committee approved $675,000 for University Bookstore renovations in the Student Center.

The Life Sciences II elevators will see some renovations as well, with a budget of more than $540,000. Construction for the project, which will replace equipment in two passenger elevators, is expected to begin in spring 2015.

“Boy that’s an old building too,” Secretary Don Lowery said of Life Sciences II.

During his chancellor report, Dunn said about 1,606 students are graduating in fall 2014. He said this year’s commencement speaker Donald F. McHenry, who served as an Ambassador and United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations, was the commencement speaker at one of his graduations.

SIU-Edwardsville Chancellor Julie Furst-Bowe during her report said 672 students are enrolled in winter session courses. She said her campus’ applications from Missouri have increased 46 percent.

Nina Antoniotti was appointed executive director of telehealth and outreach services at the Springfield

Medical Campus, with an annual $180,000 salary effective Feb. 2, 2015.

Luke Nozicka can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @lukenozicka.