Anyone who attended an Illinois State basketball game last year will remember chanting Al Bowman’s name every time he appeared on the video board. In fact, it might even be fair to say that people were just as excited to see him as they were to be seeing the game itself. For old students and new students alike, a transition has come this year, one which has the nine year reign of one of Illinois State’s greatest presidents stepping down and allowing for another to take his place. As such, expectations are high for the incoming president to replace him.
Tim Flanagan was previously president of Framingham State University in Boston, but has also worked at the State University of New York at Brockport, Marshall University, the State University of New York at Albany and the Sam Houston State University. As a result, Flanagan has spent a majority of his career on the East Coast and will have to adjust to an entirely new region.
Unlike Bowman, who worked at Illinois State for many years before becoming president, Flanagan will be without the prior experience and knowledge of ISU that Bowman had. On top of this, ISU has a much greater student population than Framingham, which will certainly add to the challenge of his presidency.
Replacing a popular president is never an easy task. In addition to making an impression on returning students at ISU, Flanagan will also have to make a strong impression on new students whose first year here on Illinois State’s campus could set the tone for the rest of their collegiate career. Having an accessible president is therefore very important to many incoming students.
“I want Dr. Flanagan to be as involved with the campus as much as possible,” freshman Bryan Nowak said.
Despite having enormous shoes to fill, Flanagan’s impressive list of accomplishments has this editorial board convinced that he will be able to rise to the challenge. While at Framingham University, Boston.com reported that Flanagan worked to increase enrollment, build and renovate campus buildings and made Framingham a frontrunner in the transition to green energy. Flanagan’s reputation as a vigorous and passionate worker has made this editorial board optimistic that he will be able to transition these qualities from Framingham to Illinois State.
While Bowman will certainly leave behind a great legacy, there is always room for improvement. There are high expectations for Flanagan as the president of Illinois State, and it will certainly be difficult to replace the caliber of president that Al Bowman was. However, with his impressive credentials and kind demeanor, this editorial board believes that Flanagan will be up for the challenge.