City Club of Chicago: Robert J. Jones, Chancellor of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

City Club of Chicago

Robert J. Jones, Chancellor of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, speaks to the City Club of Chicago, September 14, 2021 (City Club of Chicago)

September 14, 2021

Chancellor Robert J. Jones – University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Chancellor Robert J. Jones

Robert J. Jones is the 10th chancellor of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He previously served as president of the University of Albany, State University of New York following a 34-year career as a faculty member and senior administrator at the University of Minnesota. His leadership at Illinois, the state’s flagship public research university, has seen the launch of the Carle Illinois College of Medicine, the nation’s first engineering-based medical school, the receipt of two of the largest gifts in the university’s history resulting in the endowed naming of two colleges, the launch and achievement of a historic $2.25 billion fundraising campaign goal more than a year ahead of schedule and the invention of a novel, affordable, accurate and rapid COVID-19 testing ecosystem that allowed the university to safely resume in-person instruction during a global pandemic. His tenure has also been distinguished by significant initiatives to increase access and affordability for all students and to foster a more diverse and inclusive university. Jones created the first vice-chancellor-level diversity office and senior leadership position at Illinois. And he established the Illinois Commitment Scholarship program that offers four years of free tuition to nearly 2,000 Illinois families each year. Throughout his career, Jones has worked to make education available to promising young scholars around the world. From 1984-1994, he worked with Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s South African Education Program (as an academic and scientific consultant) which educated more than 3,000 black South Africans in American Universities. Jones also serves on the Board of Directors of APLU, Campus Compact, the Farm Foundation, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, and the National 4-H Council. He is a fellow of the American Society of Agronomy and the Crop Science Society of America. He was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2019.

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