New SIUC chancellor discusses his vision for university

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - The new leader of Southern Illinois University Carbondale discussed his vision for the university on Monday, July 17.

Carlo Montemagno will start his duties on August 15.

"I'm excited about having the opportunity to lead this transition as we advance SIU to the future," Montemagno said.

He met with students and reporters on campus on Monday and talked about his plans for the university.

"My plan is that we are going to put together in the next week or two, hopefully it will get launched about coincidently just with my arrival, a website and an email blast that will go out to the faculty, student staff, alumni, stake holders, people of interest, to ask their ideas of what they perceive SIU being in 2025," he continued.

Montemagno explained he wants to include all of SIU in his vision. He said he will have the "shared governance" vision defined by October.

Students on campus talked about what they think of the new chancellor.

"I like his character. I've gotten to talk to him on a more personal level and he is a very respectful, older gentleman."

Student Body President Joshua Bowens had the chance to learn more about the man who will lead SIU and Carlo Montemagno's track record at previous universities.

"I do also like the fact that he has been at institutions that are way more cripple that we have and he's definitely brought them out of the ranks to a better situation," Bowens said.

He asked the chancellor a few questions about SIU's financial stability, but he wasn't completely satisfied.

"I am a little optimistic, but then I'm also a little concerned just due to the fact that this is the same script we just heard when he came and gave his presentation when he was just here back in June," Bowens said.

While excited about the optimism of the SIU community, Montemagno said he does have some concerns.

"My second near term fear is that we allow a population of nay-sayers and disillusionists to put a damper of the vision moving forward and the optimism that we should have about the best of SIU are going to be ahead of us," Montemagno said. "It's no doubt in my mind about it, that the best days are ahead of us."

System President Randy Dunn recommended Montemagno for the position. The Board of Trustees approved the appointment on Thursday, July 13.

Montemagno currently serves as a professor of engineering at the University of Alberta in Canada. He also founded the interdisciplinary Ingenuity Lab at the University of Alberta. Montemagno has also served as a dean at the University of Cincinnati and a department chair at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Montemagno said he is up to the challenge.

"SIU Carbondale is an institution that possesses the DNA of greatness. It is an institution with strong genes that enable opportunity, creativity and discovery," he said. "By engaging with the entire SIUC community -- including faculty, staff, students, alumni, friends, the Southern Illinois community and industry -- we will fully activate SIUC's DNA to realize the possible."

Dunn said Montemagno stood out.

"It was clear through the search process that the campus community desired a transformative change agent for its next chancellor, and Dr. Montemagno will fulfill that role well," Dunn said. "I congratulate him on his selection and look forward to welcoming him to campus."

As for Dr. Brad Colwell who is currently serving as interim chancellor and was a finalist for the job, Dunn said he is recommending that Colwell be appointed as vice president for academic affairs for the SIU system.

"I am grateful for Dr. Colwell's service as interim chancellor and pleased that he will continue to serve SIU in this new role," he said.

Colwell will continue to serve as acting chancellor until Montemagno starts. Colwell's appointment to his new role will become effective July 17.

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