Eastern reacts to president announcement


Chynna Miller

Newly appointed president of Eastern, David Glassman, speaks with student body president Reginald Thedford, Jr., a senior political science major Monday after the Board of Trustees Meeting in the University Ballroom in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Ballroom.

After the Board of Trustees announced David Glassman as the 12th president of Eastern Monday, members of the campus and community greeted him and presented concerns about the university’s budget.

Paul McCann, the interim vice president for business affairs, said Glassman would have to work with him on figuring out Eastern’s budget.

“Day one we will start focusing on the budget; that will be an issue,” McCann said. “We’ll start working in Springfield, getting that information over to Springfield and seeing what happens there and bringing it back to campus. That’s when the hard decisions will start.”

Grant Sterling, the chair of Faculty Senate, said Glassman will have to focus on faculty contract negotiations as well as budgeting issues.

“You never know what someone is going to be like once they’re here,” Sterling said. “You interview somebody for any position and it’s hard to tell, but based on the interviews, almost every single person I talked to ranked him No. 1 out of the four candidates.”

Reginald Thedford, the student body president, said he believes Glassman is a good pick for Eastern’s next president.

“He has that Midwestern culture, so he knows how Illinois functions as a state,” Thedford said. “He has some connections within Springfield as far as getting donations and funding for higher education.”

Thedford said despite Glassman having worked in private universities, he also has some experience with public institutions.

Chris Dearth, the director of admissions, said he expects to work closely alongside Glassman on improving enrollment efforts to be more aggressive. Dearth said he was in support of Glassman’s emphasis on marketing.

“I like his approach from marketing,” Dearth said. “It is kind of what we attempted to do this year. I think if we are more aggressive and get the message of EIU out to Illinois and the rest of the surrounding states, we are going to be in good shape.”

President Bill Perry said Glassman is a good fit for Eastern because he is a strong scholar and has experiences at public and private universities similar to Eastern.

Glassman will officially take over Perry’s position on June 1 after Perry leaves May 15.

During this time, existing policies would take care of all presidential signing duties.

“We won’t miss a beat,” Perry said.

Glassman will have a transitional period where he would meet with Perry and other constituencies on campus.

“One of the things I hope we can do is meet in Springfield and go and introduce him to our representative and senator, but also to other key legislators who are committee members in some of the higher (education) committees,” Perry said.

Blair Lord, the provost and vice president for academic affairs, said the new president’s credentials were impressive.

“He has superb academic credentials in the area of anthropology,” Lord said.

Glassman has spent time in Mexico studying archeological sites along with co-directing 11 study abroad programs where he helped excavate Mayan pyramids.

Lord added he believed Glassman had a good understanding of the issues facing higher education in Illinois.

“I like the relationship with my president, with the boss, to be one that is open, honest, trusting, and I have every reason to believe that is exactly how it will be,” Lord said.

Tom Michael, the athletic director, said he is interested to see what Glassman’s expectations will be for student athletes.

“Certainly, our hope is that he’s a guy that supports athletics and understands the value that our student-athletes can bring to the institution and the community,” Michael said.

Dan Nadler, the vice president for student affairs, said he believes Glassman has the experience and enthusiasm to bring Eastern “to the next level.”

“I think he’s going to be very student-centered inside and outside the classroom, so I really look forward to building that relationship,” Nadler said.

Mark Hudson, the director of Housing and Dining, said he looks forward to seeing what Glassman’s vision is for the campus.

“We just want to make sure we get to know him better and he gets to know us better, and we work together as a good team to recruit students and retain students and get them to graduation,” Hudson said. “That’s all of our job.”

Mayor Larry Rennels, who was on the presidential search committee, said he got the chance to talk with Glassman, and they will work together on relations between the city and the university.

“I think you’re going to see the town-gown relationship continue as it has been under Dr. Perry and under Lou Hencken,” Rennels said.

Rennels said he believes Glassman’s familiarity with Illinois, having lived in the state for some time, will help him work on funding issues and recruiting students.

Jan Spivey Gilchrist, the Board of Trustees secretary, said she supports the amount of ideas Glassman planned to bring to the table.

“I am impressed with his energy and the way he wants to lead. I found out, also, that he has a concern for diversity,” Spivey Gilchrist said. “That just puts a cherry on top of the sundae that I already liked.”


Luis Martinez can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].