The process to search for the 20th president of Illinois State University has begun. Led by Julie Annette Jones, chairperson of the Board of Trustees of Illinois State University, the search committee held its first meeting February 1, via Zoom.

The 32-member committee includes broad university community representation, and is comprised of students, faculty, staff members, alumni board and foundation board members, and trustees.  In addition, several Illinois State diversity and inclusion groups are represented, including the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council, Black Colleagues Association, Latinx Alumni Network, Association of Black Academic Employees, and LGBTQA Alumni Network.

The committee will screen applications, interview candidates, and issue a report to the Board of Trustees, which makes final decisions regarding presidential appointments. Jones hopes the search process can be completed by the end of the academic year.

“I am grateful to everyone who is investing their time in this important process,” Jones said.  “Illinois State is an outstanding institution, and I am confident this committee will do an excellent job in screening and interviewing candidates.”

The search committee will be assisted by WittKieffer, a global executive search firm that has partnered with Illinois State on several searches, most recently for director of Intercollegiate Athletics and vice president for Academic Affairs and Provost.

The presidential search will remain confidential throughout the process. Committee members, and additional governance representatives who meet with candidate finalists, will sign confidentiality agreements.

“We have a large search team that provides excellent representation of the Illinois State community, and other university governance representatives will also have an opportunity to meet and interview finalists once confidentiality forms are signed,” Jones said. “It is the goal of the Board of Trustees to attract the best candidates possible and offering confidentiality throughout the process will likely increase the number of high-quality applicants. Additionally, search consultants believe confidential searches attract more interest from females and individuals from underrepresented groups.”

The search follows President Larry Dietz’s November 20, 2020 announcement that he will retire on June 30, 2021, capping a 50-year career in higher education, including 10 years at Illinois State.

On Wednesday, February 3, a presidential search website will be launched at  The link will include the roster of search committee members, opportunities to provide input, and updated search information.