CARBONDALE -- Less than a week after being named the next SIU president and President-designate Randy J. Dunn has shared some of his vision for the SIU system.

"Both my wife, Rhonda, and I are excited to be returning home," Dunn said. "Both of us are native Southern Illinoisans and we are excited and eager to be given the opportunity to come home."

Dunn, who will be SIU's eighth president, expressed his initial thoughts on the challenges he faces.

"I really think there are a couple of challenges that exist," Dunn said. "One is at a philosophical level.

"If you look at the span of the enterprise that is SIU, it is so wide and diverse that the challenge for the system is finding unifying themes that tie all those universities together."

Dunn said that as the new president coming in, he would have a more inclusive process of idea-sharing to talk about what will help SIU.

"On the operational side, we're going to have to do a myriad of things," Dunn said. "Particularly on the Carbondale campus in building enrollment and re-establishing its role as a strong regional campus in Southern Illinois."

Dunn has plenty of experience, with nine years at SIU, two as the state superintendent of schools and then time spent as the president of Murray State University in Kentucky and Youngstown State University in Ohio.

"There really needs to be a commonality that everyone has a basis for in regards to what SIU means to the region and state," Dunn said. "It helps morale and I don't think it's appropriate for a (university) president to unilaterally declare what that is."

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