The Board of Trustees of Illinois State University has appointed Terri Goss Kinzy, Ph.D., vice president for Research and Innovation at Western Michigan University, as the University’s 20th president. Her appointment is effective July 1, 2021. 

Dr. Kinzy brings to Illinois State an academic career that spans more than 25 years. She previously served as vice president of research and professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; and as senior associate dean for the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Research at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. She is a tenured professor of biological sciences. 

“Dr. Kinzy rose to the top of a deep, diverse, and talented pool of candidates, and we are thrilled she will be the next president of Illinois State University,” said Board Chair Julie Annette Jones. “She is a forward-thinking leader who is personally committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as University and community engagement. As we welcome Dr. Kinzy to campus, I also want to thank the great many students, faculty, staff, and alumni who participated in the search process, along with our University support staff and WittKieffer consultants. Throughout the search process, Illinois State’s shared governance model once again displayed its steadfast integrity and effectiveness.” 

With a background in research and development, Dr. Kinzy has received international recognition for her work in understanding how mRNAs direct the way in which proteins are made. In 2017, she was named as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She has been published and cited in numerous academic and professional outlets. Additionally, Dr. Kinzy has secured more than $8 million in funding, nationally and internationally, for various projects including anti-fungal drug discovery, understanding how bacterial toxins affect cells, automated DNA analysis, and many more. 

Dr. Kinzy received a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Case Western University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in molecular genetics from Carnegie Mellon University. She was named by Crain’s Detroit Business in its listing of Notable Women in STEM in 2019 for her leadership in the workplace, contributions to her community, and accomplishments in research, teaching, and administration. 

“I am honored to be appointed as the next president of Illinois State University. I have enjoyed my interactions with the Board of Trustees, the president’s team, the search and governance committees, and learned so much about the mission, vision, and values of the University,” said Dr. Kinzy. “I look forward to interacting with our Illinois State and greater communities, learning about our hopes and dreams for the University, and working together to elevate the institution. These are both exciting and challenging times in higher education and Illinois State is clearly poised to thrive.” 

Dr. Kinzy will replace Dr. Larry Dietz, who announced last November he would step down as Illinois State’s 19th president after a 50-year higher education career, including 10 years at Illinois State, and over seven years as the University’s president. 

Comments from Search Participants 

“Dr. Kinzy’s experience, enthusiasm, and philosophy of putting ‘students first’ is authentic and inspiring. She is equally committed to academic excellence and collaborating with faculty, staff, alumni, community partners, and parents. I can’t wait for everyone to meet her and to see her lead ISU as our new president.” 
Steve Smith President, ISU Alumni Association 

“Being a part of this experience was so rewarding. The level of care, passion, and commitment to having a large group of individuals, who come from all over the University, continues to show how ISU goes above and beyond their commitment to shared governance and inclusion. Dr. Terri Kinzy was a standout during this process, and I have nothing but complete confidence in her skills and ideas.” 
Beth Theobald, Civil Service Council Representative 

“I am excited to work with Dr. Terri Kinzy, the first female president of Illinois State University. At ISU, we can now say that the glass ceiling has been shattered.” 
Martha Horst, Academic Senate Chair

“The search committee brought a wide diversity of thought to the process, which allowed us to have productive and insightful conversations about the candidates. Dr. Kinzy brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to this role and will be a great fit for the ISU community. She has a strong vision for ISU’s future, along with a collaborative leadership style and passion for all University constituents. I’m pleased with the outcome of the search and hopeful for a bright future with our next president.” 
Elizabeth Chupp, Administrative Professional Council Chair

“I am happy to have participated in the search committee for the next president of Illinois State University. I appreciated the large number of representatives from across the University who were part of the deep conversations we had at every level. I am excited to welcome the 20th president of Illinois State University to campus and look forward to working with her to create an inclusive and equitable University.” 
Rocío Rivadeneyra, President’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council 

“Dr. Terri Kinzy is poised for success—a strong leader, a fine communicator, an expert in higher education, a knowledgeable fundraiser, and a skilled advocate. We look forward to her leadership at Illinois State University.” 
Jim Knecht, ISU Foundation Board 

“Dr. Terri Kinzy is committed to student success, and I am confident in her abilities to lead Illinois State. The search process was an excellent experience, and I commend the large group of students, faculty, staff, and alumni who were fully engaged in the effort.” 
Jada Turner, Student Trustee