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ISU President Terri Goss Kinzy resigns less than 2 years on the job

Emily Bollinger
WGLT
Emily Bollinger

Illinois State University President Terri Goss Kinzy has resigned after less than two years on the job.

The surprise announcement came Wednesday afternoon in an email to campus. Kinzy’s resignation is effective Tuesday, but she’ll paid an additional 20 weeks of salary (about $144,000) and her unused vacation time, plus get to continue living in the University Residence for up to four months, according to the terms of her separation agreement.

No reason was given for Kinzy’s abrupt resignation. Her separation agreement said only that ISU’s Board of Trustees and Kinzy had “agreed to amicably end” her employment.

The separation agreement also limits what Kinzy and the Board of Trustees can say publicly about her resignation. It allows for the distribution of a “mutually agreed press release” – which happened Wednesday – and that both parties “agree that other than (the press release), the parties will not issue further public comments regarding Dr. Kinzy’s separation from employment.”

“It has been an honor to serve the Illinois State University community as its 20th President. I have enjoyed the opportunity to engage with Illinois State students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends and being a part of this thriving academic community. At this time, I intend to pursue other opportunities,” Kinzy said in a statement.

ISU’s Board of Trustees will meet Friday and is expected to appoint Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Aondover Tarhule as interim president. He’ll serve in that role through June 2024. Information regarding a presidential search will be provided by the Board of Trustees later.

There have been a lot of vacancies and churn on the Board of Trustees as of late, including the appointment of two new members just last week. The Board of Trustees was forced to abruptly postpone a meeting last summer because it didn’t have enough members for quorum.

An ISU spokesperson said Wednesday that “the Board (of Trustees) will have a quorum for business on Friday. Even though (trustee) Kathy Bohn’s term officially expired in January, she will still be able to serve as a trustee for Friday’s meeting. The two new members can also be seated and sworn in to serve before official Senate confirmation.”

Kinzy took over in May 2021 from a retiring Larry Dietz, becoming ISU’s first female president. Her four-year contract called for a $375,000 salary.

“On behalf of the Board, we would like to thank Dr. Kinzy for her contributions during her time as President and wish her continued success in her next endeavor,” Kathy Bohn, secretary of ISU’s Board of Trustees, said in a statement.

ISU Academic Senate Chair Martha Horst declined to make a statement Wednesday and said the Campus Communication Committee will present one at Friday’s Board of Trustees meeting.

WGLT is part of ISU’s School of Communication and receives university support.

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Ryan Denham started his career as a copy editor and later business and city government reporter at The Pantagraph in 2006. He later worked for WJBC radio in Bloomington. He now works in website development for Illinois State University and is a freelance reporter for WGLT.
Lyndsay Jones is a reporter at WGLT. She joined the station in 2021. You can reach her at lljone3@ilstu.edu.
WGLT Assistant News Director Charlie Schlenker grew up in Rock Island, Illinois and graduated from Augustana College. He has spent more than three decades in radio and has won numerous state and national awards for journalism. He lives in Normal with his family.