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NIU president announces he will step down in June 2013

Published: Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012 5:27 p.m. CDT

DeKALB – John Peters said Thursday that his final day as the president of Northern Illinois University will be June 30, 2013.

In his State of the University address, Peters counted off a list of the university's achievements since his tenure began in June of 2000. Among those achievements included an expanded university honors program and, by 2013, five new buildings on campus.

And while Peters said he still has energy for the job, he said he thinks it's his time to "pass the torch" to someone else.

"In recent months, after several discussions with (my wife) Barbara and my son Russell, I have decided that this is the time," Peters said. "This is the time for me to pass the torch to another who will carry out the noble mission of leading this great university."

Peters took on a greater leadership following the Feb. 14, 2008 shooting, in which a former NIU student walked into Room 101 in Cole Hall shortly after 3 p.m. that day and opened fire, killing five students and injuring at least 16 others, before turning the gun on himself.

Cole Hall was closed until being re-opened in Jan. 2012 with a brand new look and feel. Peters took special note of the building in his speech. He said he wanted the building torn down before seeking state support to renovate the building so that it could "rise again."

"It is personally inspiring for me to know that this building will now foster learning for tens of thousands of 21st century students," Peters said. "Once a symbol of tragedy, Cole Hall is now a symbol of rebirth, resolve and resilience."

NIU Trustee Marc Strauss said the Board of Trustees – the university's top decision-making body – will have to form a search committee to find Peters' successor. Strauss said they will talk about the committee at their Nov. 8 meeting, but he is not sure if the committee will get off the ground then.

Strauss predicted there will be a “great pool of candidates” for the committee to choose from, and that he felt that there was plenty of time for the committee and board to do its job.

Peters said he will provide support to his successor during the transition process. In an interview after the meeting, Peters said he will still be involved with raising money for the university.

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