URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — The University of Illinois’ Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost is leaving the university to take a leadership position in Saudi Arabia.

Andreas Cangellaris joined the university faculty in 1997 and served as the dean of the Grainger College of Engineering before being appointed to his current post in 2018. During his time at Illinois, Cangellaris played a major leadership role in maximizing safety during the pandemic, laid the groundwork that secured a private donation for the Siebel Center for Design and helped develop the vision that led to the Carle Illinois College of Medicine.

After 25 years at Illinois, Cangellaris will leave the university in August to become the first president of the newly-founded NEOM University in Saudi Arabia.

“I am sorry that our university will lose such a dynamic, innovative and empathetic scholar, teacher and leader,” said U of I Chancellor Robert Jones said in a message to the university community. “But it is hard to feel anything but excited for Provost Cangellaris about this chance to shape the future of the first university in this new sustainable regional development in Saudi Arabia.”

The U of I plans to name an interim vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost in the coming weeks before starting an international search for Cangellaris’ permanent successor. The new provost would begin working by the start of the spring 2023 semester.