December 02, 2004

Blagojevich names Sanders to SIU Board

by David Gross

CARBONDALE, Ill. - -Keith R. Sanders, former executive director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, was appointed by Gov. Rod Blagojevich Wednesday, Dec. 1, to serve as a member of the Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees.

"I am grateful that Governor Blagojevich has given me the opportunity to serve my alma mater and the state of Illinois in this important role, " Sanders said.

Sanders, who has had a distinguished career in higher education spanning four decades as a professor, dean, chancellor and state higher education executive in Wisconsin and Illinois, will fill the unexpired term of former longtime SIU Trustee Harris Rowe of Jacksonville, who resigned last month. Sanders, who lives in Spring Grove, will serve in a temporary capacity until his appointment is confirmed by the Illinois State Senate.

The Benton, Ill., native holds two degrees from SIUC and spent much of his career working for the campus and the SIU system.

Glenn Poshard, chair of the SIU Board of Trustees, hailed the decision. "Governor Blagojevich has made an outstanding selection. I can't imagine a better appointment. Keith Sanders understands the work that lies ahead for this Board and will be an important part of moving the University forward, " Poshard said.

Sanders earned bachelor's and master's degrees from SIUC. He holds a doctorate in communication from the University of Pittsburgh.

Sanders served as a faculty member at SIUC from 1967 to 1989, including a three-year stint as governmental relations officer from 1980 to 1983 and then as dean of the College of Communications and Fine Arts from 1983 to 1989.

He served as a chancellor and subsequently as a senior vice president for administration and chief operating officer in the University of Wisconsin system from 1989 to 1997 before accepting the post of executive director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education in 1998. He served as IBHE executive director until his retirement in 2002.

While executive director for IBHE, Sanders was widely credited for the development of a compelling statewide agenda for higher education, having a close working relationship with pre-K through 12 education interests and providing strong leadership in the area of technology and the development of the Illinois Century Network, which has increased access to higher education for students across Illinois.

In 2001, Sanders was appointed by SIU President James E. Walker to serve on the "2020 Vision Committee," a strategic planning committee created to plan SIU's next two decades.

Walker said he believes Sanders' understanding of higher education in Illinois and the SIU system will provide an excellent foundation for his new role on the Board.

"Dr. Sanders will be an outstanding trustee. His service, experience and lifelong interest in SIU make him an excellent choice for our Board, and I look forward to working with him, " Walker said. Sanders is married to SIUC graduate Carol (Dial) Sanders. They have one son, Mark Sanders, of Milwaukee, Wis., and two grandchildren.