University Welcomes its 19th President on His First Day

Eric Jensen
New President Eric Jensen says he wants to take advantage of every opportunity to get to know Illinois Wesleyan students.

Nov. 1, 2015

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — A new page in the history of Illinois Wesleyan was turned with President Eric R. Jensen officially beginning his duties as the University’s 19th chief executive officer.

While Jensen’s first official day began with a move into his second floor Holmes Hall office on Nov. 1, he was on the job last week attending Board of Trustees meetings, the Mirza Theatre gift announcement, attending newly retired President Wilson’s farewell dinner, introducing himself to students at The Ames Library, meeting faculty while grabbing lunch at the Faculty and Staff Dining Room, discussing plans for the coming weeks with Cabinet members and his office staff, and cheering on the Titan football and volleyball teams on a rainy weekend.

As a first-time president, there will be many firsts on his schedule in the weeks to come. “It’s really difficult to express just how much I’ve looked forward to today,” said Jensen. “I’m anxious to get started and my first priority is to continue getting to know our students, faculty and staff, so I can hear what’s on their minds with respect to the challenges we’ll be facing together.”

To that end, Jensen’s first few weeks will be non-stop meet and greets, with a heavy emphasis on listening and learning about those issues that the campus community feels are important. The first group that he’ll be hearing from will be the Illinois Wesleyan faculty. As president, Jensen will convene Monday’s faculty meeting. He understands the importance of engaging his faculty colleagues on the important issues facing the University and hopes to begin that process at this first meeting.

“I was a faculty member for 30 years, so I know a bit about faculty meetings, but this will be the first time that I’ve had the honor of leading one,” noted Jensen, who taught economics and public policy at the College of William and Mary and served as provost at Hamline University. “I’ve been brushing up on Roberts Rules of Order and will count on Provost Green and the faculty parliamentarian to steer me in the right direction when necessary.”

Jensen also commented on how important he feels it is to begin connecting with Illinois Wesleyan students. “I want to take advantage of every opportunity I have to get to know our students, in the weeks ahead,” he remarked. “Whether it’s meeting with a student organization, attending a Student Senate meeting, or introducing myself when I run into a student on campus, I want them to know that I’m interested in what they have to say.”  

While the president moves into his new office today, it will be another couple of weeks before his wife, Elizabeth, a former middle school science teacher, and Calvin the family dog, join him at Illinois Wesleyan.