NORMAL — Diversity, college costs and keeping students in the state are among the issues of concern for two new trustees appointed to the Illinois State University board of trustees earlier this month by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
Dr. Kathy Bohn, a Bloomington physician, and Robert Navarro of Plainfield were among seven people appointed by Pritzker but the only two who had not previously served on the board. Bohn and Navarro are both ISU alumni.
Bohn said cost, enrollment and diversity are key issues facing higher education in general and ISU in particular.
“Cost is a big issue,” she said. “Students are getting out and they're in debt.”
Bohn also said, “Diversity is important. I think ISU is on the right road, but there's room for improvement.”
Navarro also cited diversity as one of the issues facing ISU.
A founding member of ISU's Latino Alumni Network, Navarro said the campus still has issues with racial diversity and inclusivity — not only while students are on campus but after they graduate.
Navarro said it is important for the university to keep in contact with its alumni.
He noted that ISU was able to “weather the storm” during the state budget impasse by being “fiscally responsible.”
Bohn said, “Keeping enrollment up is very important” and ISU is fortunate that its enrollment has been “strong and steady.”
Navarro said the state needs to take a closer look at how students decide where to go to college.
“Illinois is losing residents, and that includes students. Other schools have been hit harder with that than ISU,” but “we need to do what we can do” to stop that loss, he said.
Bohn, a partner at Vein Specialists in Bloomington, received bachelor's and master's degrees from ISU before receiving her medical degree from the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.
A member of the ISU Alumni Association board of directors, Bohn said she is “very honored to have been chosen” for the board of trustees.
“I love ISU. I've been a supporter of ISU for a long time,” she said. “They do a good job of educating students.”
Navarro, CEO of the Heritage Corridor Convention and Visitors Bureau, said he is looking forward to serving on the board. He received his doctoral degree in educational administration and foundations from ISU in 2002.
He formerly was an assistant director of housing and a director of housing services at U.S. Equities Realty, where he worked to open 18-story University Center, which houses college students from three institutions in downtown Chicago.
The five trustees re-appointed by Pritzker are Bob Dobski, Rocky Donahue, Julie Jones, Mary Ann Louderback and Sharon Rossmark.