James J. Stukel
President of the University of Illinois
James J. Stukel, President
James J. Stukel begins his fifth year as president of the University of Illinois. Since becoming the University's 15th chief executive officer, Stukel has taken his four-point plan to thousands of Illinois citizens, including alumni and friends of the University, through community visits and special events in Illinois and several states.
The first point of the Stukel plan is to strengthen the connections between the University and the people of Illinois, in a redefinition of the UI's traditional land-grant obligations. The second is to upgrade students' educational experience through smaller classes and best use of the educational technology. Third is to cut costs where possible, stress productivity and create a positive, business-like administration that reassures taxpayers, tuition-payers and private donors that their money is being used efficiently. And fourth is to maintain the highest quality in a niche filled by relatively few U.S. Universities - basic and applied research.
For four years before becoming president, Stukel served as chancellor and chief executive officer of the University of Illinois at Chicago, leading UIC into the first rank of research universities.
Stukel has been part of the University of Illinois family since enrolling in graduate school in 1962. He spent 23 years on the Urbana-Champaign campus as an administrator, engineering professor and researcher. He then moved to UIC, spending one year as vice chancellor for research and five years as executive vice chancellor and vice chancellor for academic affairs before assuming the chancellor position in Chicago.
Born March 30, 1937, Stukel earned his B.S. in mechanical engineering from Purdue University in 1959 and spent two years as a research engineer for the Virginia Pulp and Paper Co. In 1962, Stukel enrolled in graduate school at Illinois, earning his M.S. in mechanical engineering in 1963 and his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering in 1968.
He became assistant professor of environmental engineering and mechanical engineering at Illinois in 1968, associate professor in 1971 and full professor in 1975.
Stukel is a member of the Kellogg Commission on the Future of State and Land-Grant Institutions, as well as a member of the board and co-chair of the Council of Governmental Affairs at the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges. He also is on the executive committee of the Illinois Coalition and is a governing board member of the Illinois Council on Economic Education. In May 1997, he received an honorary doctor of engineering degree from Purdue University.
Stukel and his wife, the former M. Joan Helpling, have four children and three grandchildren.