Gov. Quinn Appoints Former U.S. Attorney to U of I Trustees

By Sean Powers

Former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald  has been appointed to the University of Illinois' Board of Trustees.

Fitzgerald's appointment was announced Friday morning. In an interview with Illinois Public Media on Friday afternoon, Fitzgerald said he has always appreciated the role of education, and he looks forward to immediately getting to work.

"I'm going to walk in without per-conceived notions, but I think my job is to learn a lot and ask a lot of questions and just make sure that I feel comfortable that I'm dong everything I can to make the university a better place every time we meet," Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald joins the board at a time when there is lagging state support for higher education, and increased costs for tuition.

"My job on the board will be to dig down, and see how to make sure we can deliver the best education as possible for the lowest cost," Fitzgerald added.

Fitzgerald may be best known for investigating and prosecuting former Illinois Governors George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich.

Tthe former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois said he could not turn down the chance when Gov. Pat Quinn asked him to serve on the U of I board. He said he wants the chance to see how he can help the U of I to have the greatest impact.

“Patrick Fitzgerald is a friend of mine, and I think a friend of anyone who is looking for education in Illinois that’s open to everyone that gives us the opportunity to make our society better," Quinn said. "He’s a very committed person.”

His wife Jennifer is a teacher and University of Illinois graduate, and Fitzgerald said he has visited the Urbana campus several times.

Fitzgerald is now a trial lawyer based in Chicago, and he will be sworn in as a new trustee next week when the board meets in the city. He said he looks forward to bringing a fresh set of eyes and ears to the board.  

Meanwhile, Gov. Quinn also reappointed Dr. Timothy N. Koritz and James Montgomery to the University of Illinois’ Board of Trustees.

Story source: WILL