SIU picks new board of trustees chairman

Former judge and Cardonale native J. Phil Gilbert will become the Southern Illinois University board’s new chairman.

Gilbert was elected at a meeting Thursday, while five other trustees’ futures on the board are uncertain as it prepares to make some big decisions.

Joel Sambursky, Shirley Portwood, Randal Thomas, Marsha Ryan and Tom Britton could either be reappointed or replaced by any new appointments made by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

The board needs to hire a new university system president and then, with that new leader’s help, decide whether or not to send more state money to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville as its enrollment surpasses the flagship campus in Carbondale.

In a submitted statement, Gilbert said budgetary issues would be a concern for the board in the year ahead because of “declining state resources.” He wants to focus on attracting more students to the university system and collaborating between the campuses.

He also mentioned building relationships in Springfield to “bolster the system’s stature and fight for capital funding.”

Gilbert has experience as a federal judge for the Southern District of Illinois. He was appointed to the SIU Board of Trustees by former Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2015.

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The metro-east is home for investigative reporter Lexi Cortes. She was raised in Granite City, went to school in Edwardsville and now lives in Collinsville. Lexi has worked at the Belleville News-Democrat since 2014, winning multiple state awards for her investigative and community service reporting.
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