U of I Chancellor Steps Down; Receives $400,000 Bonus

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Chancellor Phyllis Wise says she is resigning over concerns that what she called ``external issues'' involving her are a distraction to the university.

University President Timothy Killeen said he will appoint an interim chancellor to take over Wise's duties.

Her resignation is effective Aug. 12.  Friday, University of Illinois official said Wise will receive $400,000 as part of her resignation. U of I spokesman Tom Hardy says Wise's contract includes a $500,000 retention bonus - $100,000 for each year she stayed. Hardy says Wise has been chancellor for four years.

Wise has become embroiled in a number of issues for which the university has drawn criticism. They include the decision not to hire a professor over his controversial Twitter messages and allegations by athletes in three sports of mistreatment by coaches or other staff. Several of those issues have led to lawsuits.

Chancellor Wise statement:

“During the last four years, I have worked with an extraordinary team to realize our vision to be ‘the pre-eminent public research university with a land-grant mission and global impact.’ We have accomplished a great deal. Importantly, we have established the foundation for the first ever engineering-driven College of Medicine. This is just one example of the success of our campus-wide effort to be pre-eminent in everything we do.  

“Yet, external issues have arisen over the past year that have distracted us from the important tasks at hand. I have concluded that these issues are diverting much needed energy and attention from our goals. I therefore believe the time is right for me to step aside. I will resign from the chancellor's position effective August 12, 2015, and will resume my roles as a member of the faculty. I look forward to rededicating my efforts to teaching, research and service.  

“I would like to reiterate my commitment to this University and its role as a world-class educational institution. I have valued my time as chancellor and wish to express my deep gratitude to the many colleagues and friends who have been so essential to everything we have accomplished during my tenure.”