Community College President Wants Stronger U of I Presence in Peoria
By Sean Powers
The president of a community college in the Peoria area wants to expand his school’s relationship with the University of Illinois. It is unclear whether that could lead to the U of I setting up a new campus in Peoria.
Illinois Central College President John Erwin said he does not want to add to existing financial pressures in the state, which means building a brand new U of I campus, he said, may not be a viable option.
“Part of the answer for economic vibrancy is education,” Erwin said. “So, we’re wanting to do the things that make sense to keep costs down, but also enhance opportunity.”
Erwin said the U of I could become a transfer school for students at Illinois Central, who are thinking about going into different fields, like agriculture, criminal justice, and engineering.
Erwin met Wednesday with U of I President Robert Easter about how the two schools can combine services.
The U of I currently has a College of Medicine office in Peoria, and Easter said he’d like to see the university’s role there expand.
“I think it’s been a very positive relationship. We not only want to sustain that; we look for opportunities to grow our engagement in the conversation with community leaders,” Easter said.
Erwin said he hopes to see some developments between the U of I and Illinois Central College within the next year.