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U of I trustees approve new top administrators
Appointments include student affairs leaders in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago

July 13, 2017

CHICAGO – New vice chancellors who will lead outside-the-classroom learning and support services for students at its two largest universities were among high-level appointments approved Thursday by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.

The board approved the appointment of Danita Brown Young as vice chancellor for student affairs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, effective Aug. 7, and J. Rex Tolliver was approved vice chancellor for student affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago, effective July 17.

Brown Young has served as vice provost for student affairs and dean of students at the University of Minnesota since 2013, and also served as dean of students at Purdue University during her nearly 20-year career in student affairs. She succeeds Renee Romano, who retired in May. Brown Young earned a doctorate from Ohio University, a master’s from Loyola University and a bachelor’s from Kent State University.

Tolliver has served as interim vice chancellor for student affairs at UIC since Barbara Henley retired last August. He joined UIC in 2015 as associate vice chancellor for student affairs and director of Campus Auxiliary Services, and also worked at the University of Arizona, Idaho State University and Louisiana State University during his 17 years in student affairs. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Louisiana State.

Brown Young and Tolliver join Clarice Ford as the top student affairs executives at the U of I System’s three universities. Ford was appointed vice chancellor for student affairs at the University of Illinois at Springfield in May, after filling the position in an interim capacity since 2014.

Student affairs offices support housing, health and career services, as well as opportunities such as recreation, student organizations, Greek life and diversity programs at the System’s three universities, which will welcome more than 80,000 students when the fall semester begins in August.

Other appointments
Trustees also approved the appointment of James D. Anderson as dean of the College of Education in Urbana-Champaign, effective Aug. 16. Anderson has served as interim dean since Mary Kalantzis returned to the faculty last August.

Anderson is an internationally recognized scholar in the history of African-American education and school achievement in the U.S., and joined the Urbana-Champaign faculty in 1974. He is an Edward William and Jane Marr Gutgsell Professor of Education, and earlier served as the college’s executive associate dean and head of the Department of Education Policy, Organization & Leadership.

He is an alumnus of the U of I at Urbana-Champaign, where he earned his doctorate in the history of education and his master’s in history and social studies education.  He received a bachelor’s in sociology from Stillman College.

The board also approved the appointment of Wayne H. Giles as dean of the School of Public Health at UIC, effective Sept. 1.

Giles is currently director of the Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention in the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He earlier led the centers’ Division of Population Health. He earned his medical and bachelor’s degrees from Washington University, and a master’s from the University of Maryland.

He succeeds Paul Brandt-Rauf, who took office earlier this year as dean of the School of Biomedical Engineering Science and Health Systems at Drexel University. Lorraine Conroy served as interim dean since February and will return to her position as senior associate dean.

The board approved the appointment of Charles Ray as acting dean of the UIC College of Medicine, effective July 16. He will serve while current Executive Dean Dimitri Azar takes a one-year leave to serve as senior director of Ophthalmologic Innovation at Verily Life Sciences.

Ray has been head of the Department of Radiology at UIC since 2013, and earlier served as an administrator, professor and researcher at the University of Colorado Denver and the State University of New York at Buffalo. He is a pioneer in translational research on oncologic interventions and pain management.

He earned his medical and master’s degrees from Rush University, a doctorate from the University of Colorado Denver and a bachelor’s from Lawrence University.

Trustees extended the contract of UIC head basketball coach Steve McClain by two years, through the 2020-21 season.

Last season, in the second year of his original four-year contract, McClain led the Flames to 17 wins, 12 more than the year before, and a postseason berth in the College Basketball Invitational. UIC’s two wins in the tournament doubled the total of postseason wins in school history. The Flames finished 17-19 in 2016-17, up from 5-25 in 2015-16.

Before joining UIC, McClain was assistant head coach at Indiana University, where he spent five seasons on the coaching staff. He was head coach at the University of Wyoming from 1998 to 2006.


The University of Illinois System is a world leader in research and discovery, and 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 System awards more than 20,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees annually.