B. Joseph White, who during his 30-year tenure at the University
has been a professor, dean and interim president, was been named
the next president of the University of Illinois Tuesday and will
leave for the post in February.
“It’s really a matter of taking on this new
challenge in Illinois,” White said. “I love the
University of Michigan, and I always will.”
Currently a researcher at the Life Sciences Institute, White
served as interim president of the University for the first part of
2002, after a 10-year stint as dean of the BusinessSchool. He also
took a leave of absence in early 2003 to work for Fred Alger
Management Co., a New York City-based asset management firm.
During his brief presidency, he created a scholarship for 11
children of the 18 University alumni who died in the Sept. 11
When he stepped down in the summer of 2002 before Mary Sue
Coleman assumed the presidency, both the regents and students
praised him for his work, but some faculty members wondered why he
had not been chosen as University president.
White said he has no regrets about Coleman being selected as
In an interview with The Michigan Daily before he left his job
as interim president, White expressed excitement about getting back
“I fundamentally think faculty work is much more
important than presidential work. Faculty work is what we’re
here for. The presidential work is to support the faculty and
students,” White said.
But faced with the opportunity to run the University of
Illinois, a large research institution with about 70,000 students,
White chose a new opportunity, a chance “to build upon the
stature, performance and resources at the university,” he
Coleman, who said White had “worked hard to ensure (she)
would have a smooth transition as the new president,” wished
him the best in his new endeavor.
“I am grateful for his support, and I am delighted that he
has an opportunity to share his considerable talents with the
University of Illinois system,” Coleman said in a
Administrators at Illinois expressed enthusiasm at naming their
16thpresident, saying White is someone uniquely suited to perform
“Joe brings Midwestern values and sensibilities to
the job, knows how Big Ten and major research universities operate
and has demonstrated an ability to raise funds from friends and
alumni of a university to provide the margin of excellence in a
time of less reliance on state support,” University of
Illinois Board of Trustees Chairman Lawrence Eppley said in a news
White received his bachelors degree from GeorgetownUniversity
and an MBA from HarvardUniversity. He received his doctorate in
business administration from the University.