Lee Milner, Melvin Terrell and Sandra Cook were named to the SIU Board of Trustees on Monday, but will have little time to soak it in as they begin their duties today.
The board will meet today at SIU Edwardsville with a discussion of the graduate tuition waiver program, followed by an executive session. The regularly scheduled meeting, where the board takes action on agenda items, will be Thursday.
The new board members replace John Simmons, Ed Hightower and Mark Hinrichs, who were not reappointed by Gov. Pat Quinn. While all three have connections to the university, there will not be much of a honeymoon period as their first meeting will deal with talks of tuition and fee hikes and the elections of new officers of the board.
While they will be jumping right into the fray, Milner and Terrell said they are looking forward to serving on the board. Cook, senior associate at Brown & James Law Firm in Belleville, was travelling Tuesday and was unavailable for comment.
“This is an exciting moment in my life, to serve Gov. Quinn, the state of Illinois and SIU as a SIU Board trustee,” Terrell said.
The Chicago resident earned a Ph.D in higher education and black studies at SIU and said he hopes to help SIU continue its commitment to diversity, to do what he can to make sure the university is affordable and to work with SIU President Glenn Poshard and the chancellors on the university’s strategic planning.
Milner, manager of public affairs for the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center, of Springfield said he has a strong affection for SIU because he received his bachelor’s degree at the university and his father, brother, sister and two children all attended SIU. He served on the Illinois Board of Education nearly 20 years and has knowledge of the P-16 program, which works to improve education from preschool to college. He said he is looking forward to a lot of good discussion and to “help the university (get) to its next level.”
Neither has heard anything about officer elections. Milner said he knows it is on the agenda but has no idea who the candidates for board officers will be.
Terrell said he had not heard about the vocal disputes between Poshard and trustees Roger Herrin and Don Lowery but said he wanted to “be a leader and provide consensus.”
Milner said he has no direct knowledge of the unrest but stressed that everyone needs to “be a cohesive board and to work with the administration” to help all the SIU campuses grow.
Trustees Marquita Wiley, Roger Herrin, Don Lowery and Donna Mannering could not be reached for comment.