University president looks to build on relationship with capital city

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA)– The Southern Illinois University (SIU) system has a new president. While many think about the southern part of the state when they think about the school, SIU’s new leader says he has big plans in the central part of the state.

Dan Mahony is the system’s latest president. “It was a really great opportunity,” Mahony said about receiving the offer for president. “I mean it’s a big system, it covers a large section of Illinois with opportunities to work with a medical school, a dental school, a law school, pharmacy, all kinds of different professional programs.”

“I think the biggest thing is to get people looking forward, ” said Mahony. Looking ahead past a former president who was found trying to dissolve the system through legislation.
Though Mahony wants to be close to the capitol, he said he wants the campuses to feel more connected.

“I’m going to actually be spending nine months in Carbondale, living there then moving to Edwardsville for seven months and then actually living here permanently in Springfield, so this will be my home base starting in the summer of 2021,” Mahony said.

Details are still limited about the system’s plans in downtown Springfield but leaders at SIU’s School of Medicine in the capital city are hopeful.

“We are excited about what may happen in downtown Springfield, we don’t know what will at this point,” said Jerry Kruse, SIU School of Medicine Dean and Provost. “But President Mahony has a vision for the entire area, a vision for bringing the system together to actually, really, energize things and to put things together in a way they haven’t been before.”

Though Central Illinois has another university system already covering this territory, Mahony said he is looking forward to working together, rather than competing.

“I think the more we can partner across all of the universities, actually, in the state the better. Certainly, the opportunity to partner with, because we both have a presence here in Springfield, the University of Illinois, I think there are some real advantages to that,” said Mahony.

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