Although he has yet to move into the presidential office, newly appointed President Larry Dietz is already beginning to lay the foundation for the future of Illinois State University.
Apart from his acceptance speech Saturday, Dietz gave his first formal speech Monday to thousands of prospective ISU students in Braden Auditorium. Dietz’s schedule for the day also included speaking with many media outlets.
A few days prior to former President Timothy Flanagan’s sudden resignation, Dietz was involved in some discussions with the Board of Trustees regarding taking over the position.
“I got into this whole arena of university administration a long time ago,” Dietz explained. “So I would say overnight soaring into presidency, when I’ve been involved for over 40 years, is hardly an overnight soar.”
Only three days into his term as president, Dietz already has a plan to focus on three main components of the Educating Illinois Strategic Plan. Updating technology systems across campus by utilizing the newly implemented LEAPForward program, increasing globalization within the student population and promoting fundaising are his priorities.
Dietz attended many campus events with former President Al Bowman and saw the positive impact he had on students.
After serving as vice president for student affairs for three years, Dietz values the relationships he creates and maintains with ISU students and aspires to leave a legacy similar to Bowman’s.
“I’m extremely pleased to see Larry Dietz become Illinois State’s 19th president,” Al Bowman, ISU’s 17th president, said. “He possesses an impressive set of management skills that will allow him to be an effective leader for this great University. When I hired him to be our Vice President of Student Affairs, I was impressed with his understanding of the challenges facing higher education as well as his superior communication and interpersonal skills. I predict that Dr. Dietz will be an outstanding president.”
“[Students] are what this institution is all about … The best part of working with students is watching you grow, develop and get your degrees and come back to visit,” Dietz said. “There aren’t many places that you can have that kind of experience that is a continuous circle of contact.”
Replacing his previous position as well as two other top administrator positions is on Dietz’s agenda.
He has been in discussion with Head of the Academic Senate Dan Holland about interim candidates for vice president of student affairs before beginning a national search.
Currently, Greg Alt is serving as interim for vice president of finance and planning. Sheri Noren Everts will serve as provost for another six weeks before being replaced. Dietz and Everts will determine her replacement.
In light of many administrative changes at ISU, Chief of Staff Jay Groves said, “It’s been busy but when I think of change and even turbulent change is fairly common.”
“What’s important about the mission, vision and the values of ISU hasn’t changed a bit,” Groves said.
Dietz does not feel the public image of the university is threatened by the events of the last few months.
“The university has a distinguished history of the last 157 years and so when you think about a few months, you have to put it all in context,” Dietz said.
As an education administrator with a career that spans over 40 years, Dietz looks forward to contributing to ISU’s rich history and traditions.
“To serve at the highest level of the university is a terrific honor and I’m humbled by the appointment and I’m going to work my head off to do a good job,” he said.