ISU president Al Bowman has held the job since 2004. (Photo By Paul Morello/WJBC)
By Paul Morello
BLOOMINGTON - Now that Illinois State University president Al Bowman is about a month from retirement, he's taking a few moments to reflect on his time in the job.
Bowman told WJBC on Wednesday he's most proud of the improvement in Illinois State's academic reputation.
"We have, arguably, the second-highest admissions standards in the state among public universities right now," he said. "Clearly, Illinois State and the University of Illinois at Urbana are the two go-to public universities in the state and that's a good position to be in."
Bowman has been president since 2004. During that span, ISU achieved an average freshman ACT score of 24.3 and a freshman to sophomore retention rate of 85 percent.
Bowman said ISU has been able to stay competitive, stable and attractive despite a continuing drop in state support.
"As state funding has drained away, we were very strategic with our campus resources and we've invested in academics, academic departments, and we've stayed competitive in faculty salaries," he said.
Bowman has also overseen a number of campus improvements totaling about $230 million. That includes construction of the $50 million Student Fitness Center, the renovation of McCormick Hall, the building of the new Cardinal Court and the initiation of the $25 million Hancock Stadium renovation.
Overall, Bowman said he is happy with the direction the university is headed as he gets ready to depart.
"The four vice presidents that are in place are extremely capable. They have hired a very solid group of deans and I think everything is working right now," he said.
The four finalists to replace Bowman recently visited campus. The ISU Board of Trustees will hold a special meeting Saturday to compile public feedback on each candidate.
A new president is expected to be chosen in time for the fall semester.