The Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at the University of Illinois Springfield has died. Dr. Clarice Ford passed away at Memorial Medical Center after a brief illness, according to the university.
In an email announcement sent to the campus community Sunday morning, Chancellor Susan Koch called Ford “a profoundly important voice for students and an essential member of the UIS leadership team.”
Ford came to UIS in 2008, from Berry College in Rome, Georgia. Prior to that, she would at Youngstown State University and The Ohio State University.
After arriving at UIS, she was Executive Director of the Diversity Center and Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Services. She served in her most recent role since 2014.
“Dr. Ford has been a leader who was dedicated to cultivating inclusive communities and ensuring that every student, regardless of background, has an opportunity to succeed,“ said Chancellor Koch. “She has been the embodiment of "Leadership lived.” Her impact on the University of Illinois Springfield will live on in the many students, faculty and staff she has guided and influenced.”
Ford was mentioned in one of Koch’s recent columns, published during the pandemic. She was quoted as saying one asset that has served students well during this challenging time is trust. “We rely on the people we trust to get things done. And during this uncertain time, students have looked to those they trust -- including Student Affairs staff -- to guide them through,” said Ford.
While UIS is teaching remotely and few students remain on campus, online tributes flooded in after news of Ford’s death. The posts from students past and present, as well as colleagues, called her a mentor and friend who was able to guide and inspire.
“I had the privilege of working with her closely for six years. I always admired the gift she had to encourage and challenge students in a loving and firm manner all at the same time. What a great person she was,” said former UIS Associate Chancellor Ed Wojcicki.
A cause of death has not been released. Funeral arrangements are pending. UIS officials mentioned there will be a celebration to honor Ford’s contributions to the school at a later time.
While the campus remains closed, the UIS Counseling Center is available for anyone who needs assistance at 217-206-7122.