Susan J. Koch, chancellor of the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) since 2011, has announced she will retire as chancellor of UIS and vice president of the University of Illinois System effective June 30. She is currently the longest-serving chancellor of the U of I System.
“The past nine years have been among the most fulfilling of my career, and it has been a privilege to work with so many outstanding faculty, staff and students,” Koch said. “I love the university and the community my husband Dennis and I have called home for nearly a decade, and I am so proud of everything this young university has achieved.”
Since her appointment in July 2011, UIS has added numerous academic programs including programs in information systems security, data analytics, theater, exercise science and a new bachelor of science in nursing through a partnership with University of Illinois at Chicago and Memorial Health System.
Record fundraising under Koch’s leadership has resulted in construction of a new Student Union, the first on the UIS campus, and an increase in scholarship support.
Private giving has also led to the creation of “The Sangamon Experience,” a unique exhibition space and research initiative opened Jan. 30 that will support faculty and students and spur new research, teaching and community engagement about the Sangamon region of Illinois. A new Center for Lincoln Studies, also supported by private gifts, will open later this spring.
Koch was instrumental in the university’s August 2018 acquisition of Innovate Springfield. In joining UIS, the downtown innovation and business center became the first hub of the Illinois Innovation Network, a network of research and education centers across the state led by the U of I System. They will partner will the system’s Discovery Partners Institute in Chicago to foster the innovation and talent that drives progress and economic growth.
“While I am looking forward to having time that my husband and I can devote to enjoying our family and to unlocking new possibilities to grow and contribute, this was a bittersweet decision,” Koch said. “What makes it easier is my confidence that UIS will continue to be an asset for our community and our state thanks to dedicated colleagues, alumni and donors who believe in our vision to be a pathway of opportunity for the thousands of students we educate each year.”
Koch is the sixth chief executive in the nearly 50-year history of the university. It was known as Sangamon State University for 25 years and has been part of the U of I System since 1995.
Koch’s career encompasses more than four decades in education, with the last 35 years in higher education. Before her appointment as UIS chancellor, Koch served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Northern Michigan University. She also served as associate provost and graduate dean at the University of Northern Iowa, where she began her career in higher education as a professor of community and public health.