BREAKING: Jay Gatrell to be EIU’s 13th president


Ashanti Thomas

Jay Gatrell, after being announced the 13th president of Eastern Illinois University, gets interviewed by WEIU in the University Ballroom of Martin Luther King Jr. University Union Friday afternoon.

Madelyn Kidd, Editor-in-Chief

Jay Gatrell, the current provost and vice president of academic affairs, was announced on Friday to be the 13th president following University President David Glassman’s retirement on June 30.

Gatrell said he is “really optimistic and excited” to begin his term as Eastern’s president on July 1.

With an attendance at the Official Announcement and Celebration of EIU’s 13th President with a large turnout, hundreds were standing along the sides of the University Ballroom.

“I’m honored, and I’m excited,” Gatrell said. “I think it’s nice to see all the people here in the room; the enthusiasm. I think there’s a lot of positive energy.”

The new contract the Board of Trustees approved in their special meeting Friday morning is a three-year contract with an agreed annual salary of $320K and annual house allowance of $32,289.

Eastern has been working on searching for a new president for a year and a half since Glassman announced his plan to retire at the 2021 State of the University Address on Oct. 6, 2021.

Gatrell obtained his doctorate of philosophy in geography from West Virginia University in 1999. 

He previously served as the vice provost at Bellarmine University. Gatrell also spent over 13 years at Indiana State University in multiple positions including graduate dean and associate dean.

Gatrell plans to shift the academic programs at Eastern to be more student focused, including the launch of accelerated graduate programs.

Gatrell is a first-generation student and initiated Eastern’s Student Success Taskforce during his first year at Eastern, which resulted in the creation of the Academic Success Center.

Gatrell also plans Eastern to become a more affordable program. He has worked on fundraising at Eastern, Indiana State University and Bellarmine University.

Gatrell was chosen from one of the final four presidential candidates who visited Eastern over the course of January.

The four candidates included Eastern’s current Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost Jay Gatrell, David Brennen a Frost, Brown and Todd professor of law at the Rosenberg College of Law, Diana Rogers-Adkinson, the provost and senior vice president of academic affairs at Bloomsburg University, and Michael Godard, the provost at the Southeast Missouri State University.


Madelyn Kidd can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]