Led decade of transformation at campus
SPRINGFIELD – University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor Richard D. Ringeisen, who led the campus through a decade of transformation to become ranked among the top universities of its size, announced today that he will retire as chancellor effective October 31.
Ringeisen, 65, described his tenure at UIS since April of 2001 as the pinnacle of a long career in public higher education despite the nearly constant challenges during that time posed by state financial crises and the loss of state support for public universities.
Since Ringeisen took the helm, UIS has transitioned from a two-year, upper division institution of mostly commuter students to a four-year university with a more traditional, residential campus atmosphere while continuing to serve those commuter students. Enrollment has increased by 16%; UIS achieved a high ranking in U.S. News & World Report in 2009 and 2010 as one of the best small public liberal arts universities in the Midwest; and the campus is a nationally recognized leader in online education.
“It will be difficult to leave a job I love, an institution I love, and the city that has become a wonderful home to Carolyn and me. But every time we travel east to visit our two children and five grandchildren – maybe three times a year – we literally see them growing up too quickly. We want to be more a part of their lives, and our children want us to be there, too,” Ringeisen said Monday in announcing his plans at the Public Affairs Center.
UIS has seen substantial growth since Ringeisen arrived in 2001. Not only has enrollment increased 16% (4,288 in fall of 2002 to 4,961 in fall of 2009), but also faculty has increased 24% (170 to 211). Several facilities have been established (The Recreation and Athletic Center, Founders Hall, University Hall, the Quad and its colonnade, Emiquon Field Station, and the new Peoria Center downtown location).
Also during his tenure, UIS has successfully transitioned to a four-year university and led the movement from NAIA to NCAA Division II.
UIS has received nearly $23 million dollars in pledges and gifts in the “Brilliant Futures” campaign. Many new scholarships have been established.
“I am sure that we’ll be doing more reminiscing in greater detail sometime this fall,” added Ringeisen. “Today, all I really want to say is that I am absolutely confident that UIS has a great future. We have great leadership in our colleges. We have recruited and retained outstanding faculty, and we have an increasingly diverse student body that expects and receives highly personalized attention from our faculty and staff. It is an honor for me to be the chancellor here.”
The University of Illinois Board of Trustees is expected to consider Ringeisen’s retirement at its next scheduled meeting March 10 in Urbana.
Ringeisen is the fifth chief executive in the nearly 40 year history of the university. It was known as Sangamon State University for 25 years, and has been part of the University of Illinois since 1995.
Ringeisen previously served at East Carolina University as Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer. He was also Dean of College of Sciences and Professor of Mathematics at Old Dominion University; and Mathematics Professor and Department Head at Clemson University. Ringeisen has been very active with various community organizations along with serving on many boards in Central Illinois. He will turn 66 years old on March 18.
Statement from University of Illinois President Stanley O. Ikenberry
“Chancellor Ringeisen and his team have moved UIS forward in many ways in the past nine years. I enjoy hearing people say how much they admire what’s happening at UIS, our youngest and smallest campus and certainly an outstanding one. UIS is well-positioned to advance and progress in every way, which is very good news for students and faculty.
Chancellor Ringeisen jokes that he has never had a good budget year since he arrived in 2001, and it’s true. He arrived at UIS just five months before 9/11. The fact that he has been able to lead so effectively in trying times is remarkable and impressive. At UIS, the academic programs are stronger than ever, and the quality of the faculty continues to get better and better.
Rich and his wife Carolyn, have been very good for the campus, the Springfield community, and the U of I family. On behalf of the U of I community, I commend Rich for his great leadership and wish him and his family all the best.”
Statement from Board of Trustees Chairman Christopher G. Kennedy:
“I am very proud of what UIS is doing. Be assured that I am among those spreading the word about the great, small public liberal arts university that the University of Illinois has in Springfield. I have enjoyed getting to know Chancellor Ringeisen and working with him. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I extend our gratitude for the great leadership he has provided at UIS.”
Read Chancellor Ringeisen’s remarks, bio and accomplishments
Watch Chancellor Ringeisen's retirement press conference online