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Contract Approved for New WIU President; Abraham Will Serve as Provost

Dec 19, 2020

Western Illinois University's new president is getting a two-and-a-half year contract.  Western's Board of Trustees approved the deal unanimously.

Dr. Guiyou Huang will be paid a starting salary of $320,000, which BoT member Erik Dolieslager said compares favorably to sister institutions across the state.

Dr. Guiyou Huang
Credit Courtesy WIU

"From a compensation standpoint, you've heard me mention this before, I think we need to continue to be competitive and attract top talent," Dolieslager said.

"I think it (the contract) is a very solid, well-written document."

You can read the contract here.

Board Chairperson Polly Radosh noted that Western generally has not given multi-year contracts to its presidents.

"This is the trend in the state these days that we offer a multi-year contract. We have not done this very often at WIU," said Radosh, who retired from Western in 2008 after 24 years on the faculty. "So this is unusual for us."

The contract also calls for Huang to receive up to $8,000 for moving expenses and up to $5,000 for professional development fees.

The pact requires him to live in an official residence provided by the university.

Huang will take office on January First.

Huang comes to WIU from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, where he has served as president since July, 2019. Pennsylvania is consolidating that school with two others, which is why Huang was available for hire.

Abraham's Future

Dr. Martin Abraham, who served as WIU's interim president, will stay on as provost.  Western hired him to serve in that role starting July 1, 2019. But instead he filled in as president the past year-and-a-half because President Jack Thomas decided to step down at the end of June, 2019 after eight years on the job.

Dr. Martin Abraham in July, 2019, shortly after he arrived at Western Illinois University
Credit Rich Egger

Radosh praised the job Abraham did as interim president.

"WIU is in a better place now than it was when he took over. We are all grateful that he understood the particular areas of need on campus as well as the factors that have been painful and difficult from the years before he took over, which helped (Western) avoid more cuts," Radosh said.

"We wish him well as he moves into the provost role."

BoT member Patrick Twomey also gave Abraham high marks.

"I think history will look upon you kindly as being the right person at the right time," Twomey said.

Abraham said he appreciated the opportunity to lead the institution.

"I hope that I have left WIU a little better than I found it, a little stronger today than it was 18 months ago and a little more responsive to the needs of the students," Abraham said. "If so, then my tenure as interim president will have been a success."

Abraham applied for the president's job. The search committee chose him as one of six finalists before the BoT voted in November to hire Huang.

Billy Clow, who served as interim provost the past two years, will return to his role as Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication.

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