MACOMB, Illinois -- A stand-in president for Western Illinois University started on July 1, about two weeks after the former university president announced he would step down.
Martin Abraham is the new Provost and Academic Vice President of the university. He was appointed to be the acting president until the Board of Trustees appoints a long-term president, according to a statement from the school. This was decided at a meeting on June 14.
Abraham's temporary role change comes after the WIU Alumni Council sent a letter to the Board of Trustee's asking for the removal of the university's president, Dr. Jack Thomas. Thomas ultimately stepped down, saying he believed the school "would best be served by new leadership."
"Dr. Abraham has a distinguished academic career and outstanding administrative credentials," said Board Chair Polly Radosh. "We are confident he will provide solid leadership to the University during this time of transition."
During the summer before the 2019-2020 school year begins, Abraham planned to hold meetings aimed at setting the university's direction and focus. Those meetings will be with members of the university's community as well as state and city leaders.
"Regardless of whatever role the board determines I should have in service to WIU, we will work tirelessly to serve our students and the people of western Illinois, the state and beyond," Abraham said. "Together, we will re-affirm our University's commitment to social justice, equity and diversity, and my expectations are that each one of us play a vital role in ensuring a climate that is respectful, civil and supportive for all students, faculty, staff and guests. I especially look forward to working with University and community members as we turn the page together to build this great institution."