strategic support of higher education and his economic development initiatives
show tremendous vision and leadershipthese are precisely the actions
the State of Illinois needs at this time. His five-year, $1.9 billion
plan to strengthen the state's technology infrastructure reflects far-sighted
leadership and a keen understanding of the growing technology sector
of the State's economy.
For the University
of Illinois, the Governor's budget translates into extraordinary capital
and operating supportmore than $270 millionfor critical
pieces of our high technology effort, including: $80 million for a post-genomics
institute and $31 million for the National Center for Supercomputing
Applications building, both at Urbana-Champaign; $71 million for a Chemical
Sciences building and $53 million for a Pharmacy Building at UIC; and
substantial commitment to technology transfer in both Chicago and Urbanaall
under the umbrella of the Governor's Illinois VentureTech program.
We are extremely
heartened by the Governor's recognition of the strong linkage between
university-based research and a prosperous, forward-looking economy.
His plan focuses
on economic development through information technology and biotechnology,
two areas of enormous strength at the U of I. Many of our faculty in
agriculture, in engineering and computer science, in medicine and pharmacy
are already deeply involved in basic research, applied research and
commercial applications that create new products and processes that
improve life and create jobs.
has a track record and the desire to build on its reputation and history
in assisting Illinois economic development. We trust the General Assembly
will see the enormous practical benefit to this state and its people.
We pledge to work vigorously with the governor and the legislature to
achieve the goals of VentureTech.
endorsement of the Illinois Board of Higher Education's recommendations
for the general operations of the U of I would provide very generous
funding for enhanced undergraduate educational programs and library
- Expansion of
the freshman Discovery Program at Urbana-Champaign and an increase
in the number of students who can participate in exciting living-learning
- Getting ready
for the Capital Scholars Program at Springfield, which, starting in
fall 2001, will give freshmen and sophomores interested in public
affairs an excellent opportunity to live and learn in our State's
- Expansion of
course availability in areas of greatest student demand in Chicago
and for K-12 partnerships at UIC.
for $1.6 million in library improvements and $500,000 for further development
of University of Illinois Online round out the University's ability
to serve not just its existing students but the people of Illinois.
The Governor's recommendations also acknowledge the importance of good
teaching and learning through the $4.3-million Faculty Excellence Program
and student financial aid through continuing generous increases to the
Illinois Student Assistance Commission.
His FY 2001 budget
underpins the idea of higher education as absolutely essential to a
strong state. We hope the Illinois General Assembly concurs in this
spring session. We believe our thousands of Illinois alumni, our many
friends in business and industry and citizens across the state will
join us in support of the Governor's plan.