Message from Former University of Illinois President B. Joseph White
Kick-off Event Remarks, June 1, 2007
What a memorable evening!
If I could only say one thing to each and every one of you, it would be thank you.
Thank you for your love of the University of Illinois; thank you for welcoming Mary and me into the University of Illinois family; and thank you for your generous support of our great University.
Speaking of the University of Illinois family, please join me in welcoming the fifteenth president of the University, Jim Stukel and his wife, Joan.
All of us have a deep desire to make a positive difference in the world. The question is how.
I believe one of the very best ways is to support the University of Illinois.
For 140 years, the University has enabled hundreds of thousands of people to achieve their dreams through a great education at an affordable price.
It started on the Urbana-Champaign campus and the tradition has been the same for decades on the Chicago campus and for the past dozen years at the campus in Springfield, our state capital. You’ll hear from our three chancellors in a few minutes.
Research at the University of Illinois has produced discoveries that change the world.
This history of discovery is reflected in Nobel Prizes.
You know that my favorite box score is Illinois vs. Michigan in Nobel Prize competition. Don’t forget it: Illinois 21, Michigan 7. (Sounds like a football score—well, that’s coming.)
Excellence and access—that’s what we’re about for 70,000 students across our three campuses.
We’re a great public university and proud of it.
I respect the elite privates—but we and they play have very different missions and pursue very different strategies. A great public university—like the University of Illinois—achieves excellence and we do it on a very large scale. Remember that Northwestern, University of Chicago and Notre Dame together have fewer students than our Urbana campus alone!
The purpose of our campaign is simple: to support our faculty, thus ensuring excellence, and to support our students, thus ensuring access and affordability.
That’s it: faculty and students.
In my inaugural address, I said that I did not come here to preside over decline. The campaign is an essential means of working together to ensure a brilliant future for the University of Illinois.
When private donors add to the one billion dollars a year we receive in state support, the $600 million a year we earn in tuition, and the $770 million a year our faculty win in research grants and contracts, we have a winning partnership—a Compact—to support the University of Illinois.
Our campaign is not only about money. It’s also about something we love at the University of Illinois: achieving, competing, and winning.
Make no mistake. This evening, our University takes the field in a high stakes game that will go on for the next four years … a marathon, if you will.
So I’ve invited a good friend of mine to join me this evening—a U of I star who knows more about challenging herself, going the distance, and winning—than anyone I’ve ever met.
Jean Driscoll, U of I alumna and eight time winner of the Boston Marathon, Women’s Wheelchair Division and the world record holder in that event, will give us a few tips.