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Governor Quinn Promises Money for Quincy University

Jason Parrott

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn says people should be happy that the state is investing $1.5 million in Quincy University.

The Governor arrived on campus Wednesday evening to find theQuincy Universityband playing, more than 100 students standing behind a podium and plenty of men and women dressed in business attire.

He eventually stepped to the microphone and announced the investment in QU for technology upgrades as well as classroom and residence hall renovations.

Quinn also said Illinois College in Jacksonville would receive nearly $540,000 and MacMurray College, also in Jacksonville, is in line for more than $320,000 for infrastructure improvements.

"We are all in this together," said Quinn.  "This is an investment in the future.  Illinois' college students deserve inspiring spaces that provide all the tools they need to excel."

The Governor's office said the money should be available within 60 days. The availability of the money put the Governor on the defensive just a few minutes after the event concluded.

He was asked by reporters why roughly half of the money announced Wednesday evening did not arrive several years ago, when it was initially pledged.

Credit Jason Parrott
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn addresses the crowd at Quincy University as State Senator John Sullivan (D-Rushville) and QU President Robert Gervasi look on.

Quinn said legislative approval does not mean the check is in the mail.

“I think you should understand that Illinois is investing $1.5 million to help Quincy University advance its education for its students. That is what we announced today. That’s what is going to happen."

The Governor also defended the decision to give state money to a university described on its website as a "Catholic Franciscan University."

He said Illinois has always invested in a wide variety of private organizations.

“Whether they have a religious affiliation or not, they have to carry out secular functions," said Quinn.  "That is what we are investing in: secular functions.  Not anything to do with promotion of religion.”

The Governor ended his improptu news conference by telling reporters that they should be happy about the announcement before walking away to speak with several QU students.

Quincy University President Robert Gervasi said he is thrilled with the announcement and what it means for students, faculty, staff and the community.
He said he is also confident the money will arrive.

"We have been assured that it is coming soon," said Gervasi.  "With all of this media attention, we are confident that the disbursement will be happening.”

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.