May 31, 2019
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. –– Eric R. Jensen, president of Illinois Wesleyan University since 2015, has announced to the University’s Board of Trustees and the campus community that he will retire and subsequently resign his position as president at the end of May, according to Board Chair Timothy J. Szerlong.
Szerlong noted that, “Eric has left a lasting imprint on the University, with many significant accomplishments that have changed IWU for the better. As he looked to the future, with a new strategic plan to be developed and implemented over a number of years, he felt strongly that this would require continuity of leadership and a single ‘face’ of the University throughout that journey. Upon careful reflection, Eric felt he would not be able to make that commitment.”
Szerlong said on behalf of the Board, “We understand and respect Eric’s decision about his future, and wish him, his wife, Elizabeth, and First Dog Calvin all the best in the coming years. As President, Eric valued the importance of the University investing in itself for a healthy future in a challenging higher education landscape. His achievements are significant, including a personal commitment to diversity which has inspired all of us.”
Under Jensen’s tenure, domestic diversity increased 72%. Illinois Wesleyan’s incoming class for 2018-19 was the most diverse in school history.
The University accomplished many other milestones during Jensen’s presidency, including the introduction of five new majors and six new minors, hiring and development of a strong senior executive team, a realigned admissions and marketing program, and new branding for the University. Other hallmarks include the addition of Esports to the co-curricular offerings and a new, state-of-the-art maker space for student use and for the University’s DTE (Design, Technology and Entrepreneurship) program. The McLean County Scholarship program, which guarantees residents of McLean County a total scholarship package of at least $27,000 per year, was also launched during Jensen’s time at IWU.
Szerlong said that an interim president will be brought on board later this summer, and until that time, former Illinois Wesleyan President Richard F. Wilson will serve as acting president. Wilson was president from 2004-2015 and is an emeritus trustee of the University.
The University will conduct a national search and will welcome its 20th president by the beginning of the 2020 academic year.