WIU Board of Trustees approves 12th president

By DEVIN BROOKS, News Reporter

MACOMB, Illinois (NEWS3) — After a months-long search process, Western Illinois University named its 12th president on Nov. 16.

The WIU Board of Trustees unanimously voted Dr. Guiyou Huang to be the university’s next president. Huang is the current president of Edinboro University in Edinboro, Pennsylvania. Huang served in that position since July 2019. 

Dr. Martin Abraham has been WIU’s interim president since October 2019. Abraham initially was hired as provost but took on the role of acting president in July 2019 after former WIU President Jack Thomas stepped down.

“We are so pleased to have Dr. Huang serve as the 12th president of this outstanding institution. He is ready to continue moving Western Illinois University forward and to keep WIU on the forefront,” Polly Radosh, WIU BOT chair, said. “We would also like to extend our sincere appreciation to Dr. Martin Abraham for stepping into the role of interim president during these challenging times. He hit the ground running and helped right the course for our University.”

The board of trustees approved in December 2019 to conduct a national search for its next president. The board interviewed six candidates for the position, including Abraham.  

Radosh said Huang was prompted to look for a new job after he learned of plans to consolidate Edinboro University with other schools.

“It is an honor and a privilege to be selected as the 12th president of Western Illinois University,” Huang said. “I appreciate the Board’s and search committee’s confidence in my abilities to lead this great institution, as well as the faculty, staff, students, alumni and many others who took part in the interview process. I am excited to meet everyone in person, to work with the Board, the University and regional communities, and to lead Western Illinois University forward.”

Huang will start on Jan. 1, 2021. Abraham’s contract was set to end in June 2021 or when the new president started work. WIU University Relations told NEWS3, “Dr. Abraham is reviewing the options set forth in his contract.” 

According to WIU’s public relations, Huang previously served as the chancellor of Louisiana State University from January 2017 through June 2019. He has also served as the senior vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty, acting chief international officer and professor of English at Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont. Huang was the founding dean of the Biscayne College of Liberal Arts, dean of Undergraduate Studies and Programs and professor of English at St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens, Florida.