DeKALB – Touting a list of the university’s achievements since his tenure began in 2000, Northern Illinois University President John Peters said Thursday that he will step down from his position June 30.
Peters, who led NIU through a tragic shooting that killed five students in 2008, said in his State of the University address that he still has the energy for the job, but that he thinks it’s time for someone else to play that role.
“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.”
NIU Trustee Marc Strauss said the Board of Trustees will form a search committee to find Peters’ successor. Strauss said it will talk about the committee at its Nov. 8 meeting, but is uncertain whether 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 he felt there is plenty of time for the committee and board to do their job.
School officials and community leaders who were present for the speech described Peters’ announcement as bittersweet.
DeKalb Mayor Kris Povlsen said he hopes the partnership between the city and the university continues under the successor. Povlsen pointed to the cooperation between the police departments and university involvement in the city’s housing task force as examples.
It hasn’t always been a smooth partnership. Povlsen was critical of the university in the public hearing on the housing task force recommendations for not sending any representatives to it.
“I was disappointed there was not representation at that meeting,” Povlsen said. “But I think overall ... we’ve seen necessary cooperation between NIU and the community.”
Peters said he will provide support to his successor during the transition.
In an interview after the meeting, Peters said he will remain involved with raising money for the university.