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Trustees approve renovation of new medical school headquarters
$15.9 million project will upgrade laboratory, offices and classrooms

May 11, 2017

SPRINGFIELD — The University of Illinois Board of Trustees on Thursday approved a $15.9 million renovation for the future home of the new Carle Illinois College of Medicine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The project will upgrade the Medical Sciences Building, a 32,000-square-foot facility that currently houses a regional campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Medicine and will be renovated as the headquarters of Urbana’s pioneering new medical school.

Construction will begin in November to renovate the building’s anatomy laboratory and administrative offices, and upgrade classrooms to accommodate team-based active learning. Work is scheduled to be completed by late 2019, and will be financed through gift and institutional funds, with no new state funding involved.

The Carle Illinois College of Medicine was created in partnership with Urbana-based Carle Health System to promote breakthroughs in treatment and equipment by integrating technology, data science and systems-based approaches into medical training and research. The intersection of engineering and medicine is described by many as a new frontier of scientific advancement.

Planning has been underway for more than two years to launch the first new college in Urbana-Champaign since 1957. Preliminary plans call for enrolling the first 32 students in 2018, and increasing admissions gradually to 64 a year by 2022-23.  The college would educate a projected total enrollment of more than 256 students annually by 2025-26.

The innovation-focused medical school in Urbana will complement the existing College of Medicine at UIC, which is among the nation’s largest and a leader in clinical training. The UIC medical school enrolls about 1,350 students every year, producing about 300 graduates annually.


The board approved the appointment of H. Edward Seidel as vice president for economic development and innovation for the U of I System, a position he has filled in a designate capacity since April 16.

Seidel has served since August as interim vice president for research, a position that has been restructured and retitled to reflect the U of I System’s focus on fostering innovation to help drive the state’s economy through research and discovery.

Before his appointment as interim vice president, Seidel served since 2013 as director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Seidel, a longtime administrator and award-winning researcher, succeeds former Vice President for Research Lawrence B. Schook and will lead an office that works with the System’s three universities to help manage their nearly $1 billion per year sponsored-research portfolio and oversee technology commercialization and economic development activities.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics at the College of William and Mary in 1981, a master’s degree in physics at the University of Pennsylvania in 1983 and a doctorate in relativistic astrophysics at Yale University in 1988.       

Trustees also approved the appointment of Dennis Papini as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS), effective July 1.

Papini has served since 2012 as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at South Dakota State University. A native of Orion, Ill., he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Western Illinois University, and master’s and doctoral degrees in lifespan developmental psychology from West Virginia University. He succeeds Lynn Pardie, who retired in May 2016. James Ermatinger, dean of the UIS College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has served as interim provost.

The board also appointed Clarice Ford as vice chancellor for student affairs at UIS, effective May 12. She has filled the position in an interim capacity since 2014.

Ford joined UIS in 2008, and has served as associate vice chancellor of student services, associate dean of students, and executive director of the UIS Diversity Center. She earned a doctorate in educational leadership and change from the Fielding Institute, a master’s degree in religious education and theology from Lincoln Christian Seminary, a master’s degree in adult education/multi-cultural education from Antioch University and a bachelor’s degree in human services from Antioch.

The board also approved the appointment of Robert Smith as dean of the College of Public Affairs and Administration at UIS, effective July 16. He succeeds Hanfu Mi, dean of the UIS College of Education, who has served as interim dean since August 2016.

Smith is currently a professor of political science and public affairs at Savannah State University, where he also has served as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. He earned doctoral and master’s degrees in public administration from the University of Albany, and a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from the College of St. Rose.

Trustees also approved the appointments of new men’s and women’s basketball coaches in Urbana-Champaign.

Brad Underwood was approved as head coach of the Illini men’s program, a position he has filled in a designate capacity since March 18. He succeeds John Groce, who was dismissed after five seasons. Underwood led Oklahoma State to 20 wins and an NCAA Tournament appearance last year, following three seasons as head coach at Stephen F. Austin that each brought trips to the NCAA Tournament. He has a 109-27 record in four seasons as a head coach.

Nancy Fahey was approved as head coach of the Illini women’s program, a position she has filled in a designate capacity since March 22. She succeeds Matt Bollant, who was dismissed after five seasons. A member of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, she spend the last 31 years as head coach of Washington University in St. Louis, where she led the Bears to an NCAA record five Division III national championships.

The board also approved the appointment of Peter Mortensen as interim dean of the College of Fine and Applied Arts in Urbana-Champaign, effective Aug. 16. He succeeds interim Dean Kathleen Harleman, who will retire Aug. 15, and will serve during a national search for a permanent dean.

Mortensen joined the faculty in 1999, and currently serves as a professor of English and director of the School of Architecture. He earned his bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from the University of California-San Diego.

The board also approved the appointment of Ken Ballom as interim vice chancellor for student affairs in Urbana-Champaign, effective May 16. He will serve during a national search to replace Renee Romano, who is retiring after more than a decade of leadership in Urbana-Champaign and a nearly 40-year career in student affairs.

Ballom has served as associate vice chancellor and dean of students since 2008. He earned his bachelor’s degree in counseling from Texas A&M-Commerce and a master’s in college student personnel administration from Western Illinois University.

New trustee

Trustees also installed Urbana-Champaign alumnus Don Edwards as a new member of the board. Edwards was appointed to a six-year term last month by Gov. Bruce Rauner and succeeds Ricardo Estrada, whose term ended in January.

Edwards, 50, of Chicago, earned his bachelor’s degree in finance from Urbana-Champaign and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He was a four-year letter-winner on the Illini golf team from 1985 to 1988.

He is currently chief executive officer of Flexpoint Ford, a Chicago-based private equity firm he founded in 2005 that manages $2.2 billion in assets.

Two other vacancies on the board remain to be filled by Rauner. Along with Estrada, the terms of Patricia Brown Holmes and Karen Hasara also expired in January.

Other members are Chairman Tim Koritz of Roscoe, Ramon Cepeda of Darien, Patrick Fitzgerald of Chicago, Edward McMillan of Greenville, James Montgomery of Chicago, and Jill Smart of Downers Grove.

Student trustees are Nathan Hoffman from UIS, Collin Schumock from Urbana-Champaign and Karina Reyes from UIC. Reyes was seated Thursday to replace Jauwan Hall, who withdrew from courses this semester and became ineligible to serve. Reyes was elected by fellow students to begin a one-year term on July 1, and was appointed by UIC’s student government to start early and complete Hall’s term, which ends June 30.

Continuing budget resolution

The board also approved a resolution to keep the U of I System operating legally after its current fiscal year ends June 30. The annual resolution is required to pay bills and maintain operations until the legislature finalizes a new state budget for the fiscal year 2018 that begins July 1.

The resolution typically authorizes expenditures based on state funding levels for the current fiscal year. Because the state has yet to approve a budget for the last two fiscal years, the resolution is based on state funding levels for fiscal 2015, the last year the System received a full appropriation from the state. The resolution also incorporates ongoing cost-saving initiatives that have been implemented over the last two years.

Trustees will consider the U of I System’s operating budget for fiscal 2018 when a state budget is approved. The total operating budget for fiscal 2015 was $5.6 billion.


The University of Illinois System is a world leader in research and discovery, the largest educational institution in the state with more than 81,000 students, 24,000 faculty and staff, and universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield. The U of I awards more than 20,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees annually.