President Larry Dietz has appointed Jonathan Lackland as the new director of state government relations at Illinois State University, effective March 2. Lackland, who will report directly to President Dietz, fills the position vacated by Phil Adams, who retired after serving Illinois State for 16 years. His duties will include advising the president, Board of Trustees and University staff on issues relating to the Illinois General Assembly and state government.

“We’re glad to have Jonathan on our team,” Dietz said. “His extensive knowledge of state government and the legislative process will benefit Illinois State as we tackle the issues facing higher education.”

Lackland comes to Illinois State from the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE), where he served as deputy director of advancement, external and government relations. There, he provided legislative guidance to the IBHE executive director and board. He also served as a legislative advocate for Illinois’ higher education system.

Prior to his time at the IBHE, Lackland was the senior advisor to the secretary and chief counsel of the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). His role included acting as department liaison to the Illinois General Assembly and the Office of the Governor, as well as the U.S. Department of Transportation.

A graduate of Bradley University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology, Lackland earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Illinois at Springfield. He has been active in work with not-for-profit organizations, and served as director of public policy for the Alzheimer’s Association-Greater Illinois Chapter, and the senior administrative director for legislative services for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Lackland was also the Midwest regional director for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence – an organization whose roots began after former press secretary Jim Brady was shot along with President Ronald Reagan in 1981. Lackland has also worked with the Illinois Department of Human Services and the Illinois Association of Minorities in Government.