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WIU presidential search process yet to be set; Mindrup praised for ‘shared sacrifice’

courtesy photo

It might be a couple months before the search gets underway for Western Illinois University’s next president.

Current President Guiyou Huang announced his resignation on Friday, March 1, and he will step down on Sunday, March 31.

“A lot happened in a hurry,” said Board of Trustees Vice Chairperson Polly Radosh, adding there is much work ahead for the university as it grapples with financial challenges.

“We have to meet expectations for cost reductions, and there are just so many things that need to be addressed yesterday.”

Dr. Kristi Mindrup will be leading the administration through those immediate challenges.

Dr. Radosh thinks Mindrup is an excellent choice.

“She’s thoughtful. She’s knowledgeable. She has worked under five presidents. She knows what works and what doesn’t work. She can pull from the past and plan for the future based on her very vast experience with the university,” Radosh said.

“She’s also worked at all levels of the university, which is another great asset. She gets it, all the way from civil service up to senior vice president.”

Mindrup started out at WIU 27 years ago, answering phones at night and on weekends.

She’s now vice president of operations for the Quad Campus.

And on Monday, April 1, Mindrup will become Western’s interim president.

Radosh said the board must still negotiate the length of its contract with Mindrup, and those discussions have not started.

Once details such as the length of the contract are worked out, the board can approve the agreement in June and then establish its search process.

The board has approved the interim president’s salary. Mindrup will be paid $22,500 per month, which adds up annually to $270,000.

Dr. Huang’s annual salary is $320,000, and the annual salary for Western’s previous interim president was $300,000.

Mindrup asked to be paid less.

Board members praised Mindrup for recognizing the university’s precarious financial condition and leaving money on the table.

“It’s a breath of fresh air to see the leadership and action before you even take the helm and setting the tone of shared sacrifice,” said Trustee Derek Wise.

“You are willing to walk the walk before you even get in the shoes.”

He called Mindrup’s leadership inspirational, and said he sleeps well at night knowing she will be in charge at WIU.

The board also approved the separation agreement with Huang.

As TSPR reported previously, the four-page agreement gives Huang 10 weeks of pay plus compensation for accrued but unused vacation time.

He can continue living in the president’s house for up to 60 days after the effective date of the separation.

Huang served as WIU’s president for three years and three months.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.