“Further testament to Katie’s hard work, dedication, knowledge, and skills is her promotion to a position on the House Democratic Staff. Board members congratulate Katie on her new position and on her outstanding service on the Board of Higher Education, and we wish her well in her future endeavors in higher education and for the State of Illinois.”
The resolution passed by acclamation.
Chairman Lesnik continued, “We would also on behalf of the Board like to extend our congratulations to McKendree College which is celebrating its 175th anniversary, a significant milestone for an institution. Let the record reflect our congratulations to McKendree College. I will now introduce the President of Northwestern University, Dr. Henry Bienen.”
2. Remarks by Dr. Henry Bienen, President, Northwestern University
Dr. Bienen said: “I am very pleased to greet you this morning. I give you words of welcome on behalf of our students, our faculty, and our staff, and extend to you our gratitude for the outstanding work of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.
“It is often and correctly said that the United States has the finest system of higher education in the world and among the states, Illinois’ system is certainly one of the best. Indeed, Illinois exemplifies the finest features of America’s higher education system. It emphasizes access and provides opportunities for all types of students from traditional students at research institutions of the highest order of excellence to nontraditional learners at our outstanding network of community colleges. It recognizes the important role that higher education plays in our society by helping businesses and our economy grow and by providing qualified teachers in elementary and secondary education. It sets high expectations as to performance and accountability and it supports all sectors of higher education, public and private.
“I want to emphasize this last point. One reason that higher education has enjoyed strong bi-partisan government support in both Washington and Springfield is that, for the most part, we have spoken with a single voice on the key issues affecting our common enterprise – access, choice, affordability. We need to continue to speak with one voice, especially as we face lean years and lean budgets. If we do not speak with one voice, if we send mixed signals to our legislators and other decision-makers, we make it much more difficult for them to support our common cause and easier for our government leaders to spend on other also worthy competitors for scarce government resources.
“Before I conclude, I want to highlight one other issue that affects higher education and which is much in the news these days after the recent statements made by the Bush administration in connection with the University of Michigan’s affirmative action case. At our recent observance at Northwestern celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on our Evanston campus, I discussed Northwestern’s policy regarding the use of race as a component of our admissions processes. I said the following: ‘At Northwestern, we continue to believe strongly that racial diversity enhances the educational program and mission of the University. We believe that the pursuit of racial diversity among our students, faculty, and staff is related to our institutional mandate to achieve the highest order of excellence in the work of the University. Furthermore, we believe that we have achieved at Northwestern an effective balance between the necessity of fair evaluation of candidates for admission and our institutional responsibility to pursue racial diversity. We will be committed to these policies and we will argue forcefully for them. I believe we are in the spirit and beliefs of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as we strive, as he did, in our own way to contribute to making the United States a better and more fair society, and as we
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