Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Chancellor Randy Pembrook today announced his intent to retire at the end of the 2021-22 academic year. Pembrook became the ninth chancellor in SIUE’s history on Aug. 1, 2016.
“After the last 15 months, nearly losing my father to COVID, seeing our two daughters spend some time in Edwardsville and then move away to Chicago and Pittsburgh, respectively, and realizing that the pace I believe the chancellor’s position requires is no longer sustainable for me, I think the institution would be better served by a new leader with a fresh spirit,” Pembrook said.
Despite the challenges, Pembrook did find the 2021 academic year rewarding.
“The last 15 months have deepened my respect for this institution even more,” he said. “In March 2020, we pivoted quickly with a concern for COVID safety while maintaining educational excellence, led by core values related to equity and inclusion. We truly can shape a changing world and have continued doing that under extremely challenging conditions. This is a tribute to our outstanding faculty, staff, students and administrative leaders.”
The Metro East native earned both a bachelor’s and master’s in music education/piano performance from SIUE in 1978 and ’80, respectively. “For a student to return to his alma mater and serve as chancellor is a remarkable honor,” he said. “To see how this institution has progressed since I left in 1980 is tremendously satisfying. Our returning alumni are awed by the changes. That is an ongoing tribute to those who have invested their careers in this institution.”
SIU System President Dan Mahony thanked Pembrook for his assistance during Mahony’s first year in office. “He has been helpful to me in many ways as I transitioned into this new role and dealt with all of the challenges we faced,” Mahony said. “I have also truly been impressed by the fact that he is a consistently compassionate leader who always considers the impact of every decision on faculty, staff, and especially students.”
Mahony said the search for the 10th SIUE chancellor is in its earliest stages.
“We will quickly engage a search firm and begin moving forward with a national search,” he said. “In the coming weeks, we will hold a series of town halls to gather feedback from the SIUE campus community on what qualities the next chancellor should possess. We will convene a search committee that is representative of the University and its many stakeholders which will review applications, conduct initial interviews, and assist in bringing candidates to campus during the fall semester.”
Mahony hopes to make a candidate recommendation to the SIU Board of Trustees at its December meeting.
Photo: Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Chancellor Randy Pembrook.