Search for next ISU president moves to next phase

By WEEK Producer

January 4, 2013 Updated Jan 4, 2013 at 7:24 PM CDT

NORMAL, Ill. -- One of Illinois State University's most popular presidents, Dr. Al Bowman won't be easy to replace.

"I have said to people that it will be impossible to replace Dr. Bowman," said ISU Chief of Staff Jay Groves, "but it will be possible to find the person who will become the next Dr. Bowman, in terms of the love he has at Illinois State University, the way he has moved Illinois State University forward."

Bowman, who is in his 10th year at ISU, announced last month he is retiring because of his health.

Groves says the school is in the process of hiring a firm that will assist with the search for a successor.

"Certainly somebody with an administrative college background, someone who is a fundraiser, someone who is charismatic, good with multiple constituencies, be it faculty staff or students," said Groves.

But Bowman will be a tough act to follow. He was ISU's biggest fan, often cheering with students at athletic events.

Also, he successfully navigated the school through a volatile economy while managing to see it through multiple campus renovation projects and increase enrollment.

Most of all, said Groves, Bowman constructed trust.

"He's brought harmony. He's communicated with faculty, staff and students in a way no president that I've worked for has ever done before," Groves said.

ISU hopes to name Bowman's successor in time for the start of the fall semester.