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U of I System Updates

At a news conference on June 19, University of Illinois System President Tim Killeen, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel were joined by other public officials and U of I leaders for a progress report on the Discovery Partners Institute and Illinois Innovation Network, economy building initiatives first announced last October.

The update came on the heels of a major boost for the project. In May, the General Assembly approved $500 million in capital funding in the fiscal 2019 state budget that Rauner signed into law on June 4.

Read the news release from the Governor's office

Read President Killeen's remarks

Watch the press conference video

Read the U of I news release on capital funding


The first seven professors have been hired under a new initiative launched by the U of I System to add more world-class faculty and build on its global standing as a leader in education and innovation, President Killeen announced on June 25.

Read the news release

University Highlights

University of Illinois at Chicago

University of Illinois at Springfield

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Advocacy in Action

President Killeen visited Washington, DC, twice this past month for a variety of congressional and federal agency meetings. He met with over half of the Illinois congressional delegation to update them about U of I System-led initiatives to spur innovation and economic growth. He also shared concerns about proposed House legislation to reauthorize the Higher Education Act — the PROSPER Act, including its negative impact on student aid. Additionally, President Killeen met with leadership from the Office of Science and Technology Policy to inform them about how the U of I System is taking an innovative approach to workforce and economic development through the Discovery Partners Institute and Illinois Innovation Network. In a meeting with Department of Energy (DOE) leadership, President Killeen highlighted energy-related research strengths across the U of I System. The system had more than $56 million in research expenditures  in FY2017, making it one of  DOE's top university funding partners.


Rep. Rodney Davis visited the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on June 4 to engage with our College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) on the topic of soybean and human nutrition research, and global food security issues.  Davis was welcomed by Chancellor Robert Jones and ACES Dean Kim Kidwell, then visited a demonstration kitchen operated by the Soybean Innovation Lab, a Feed the Future Innovation Lab funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The lab is USAID's only comprehensive program dedicated to soybean research for development. The hands-on demo involved learning about complementary food sources. Afterward, Davis participated in a roundtable discussion with ACES faculty and the Kyle House Group on U.S. leadership in global agriculture.


Susan Koch, chancellor of the University of Illinois at Springfield, was in DC on June 5-7 for a variety of agency and Congressional meetings. She met with the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Archives and Records Administration to discuss the new UIS Center for Lincoln Studies, which will grow into a national base for scholarship, teaching and public history about Lincoln’s life, his leadership, and his legacy. On Capitol Hill, she updated Representatives Cheri Bustos and Rodney Davis and Sen. Dick Durbin’s staff on campus initiatives and activities, while also communicating concerns about the PROSPER Act, a proposed Higher Education Act reauthorization bill in the House that would significantly cut federal support for student aid.

Additionally, she hosted a "Chat with the Chancellor" event that engaged DC-area alumni.


After the state’s FY19 budget was approved, Illinois Connection sent a call to action to advocates encouraging them to thank the governor and legislators for their support of higher education and the U of I System. Over 700 thank you emails were sent  by advocates.



Jennifer Creasey, Senior Director of State Relations

Paul Weinberger, Director of Federal Relations

Melissa Haas, Associate Director of Federal Relations

Deon Thomas, Visiting Community Relations Coordinator