Since Jerry Blakemore has not been the chief executive of any university, there is far less data on him than existed for Dennis Fields. Anecdotally, I understand that several persons spoke of his high level of integrity, and that he has on occasion opposed the NIU president when he felt his actions were detrimental to the school. Overall, NIU has seen its enrollment decline by 13.6 percent since 2010, from 23,850 to 20,611 in Fall 2014. However, the General Counsel bears no responsibility for that drop. I am including an e-mail received from one of the NIU faculty. I must emphasize that Jerry Blakemore has not been involved in any of the problems to which the e-mail’s author refers.
“I am afraid that I really don't know anything about Jerry Blakemore. I have never met him or seen him. I assume that he is rarely actually on campus, since he seems to primarily provide legal counsel to the Board of Trustees.
That said, I cannot say much positive about the Board of Trustees or the university administrators at Northern Illinois. Simply search in Google for the news stories about NIU (other than sports) in the past several years, and you will see ample evidence of numerous scandals and administrative problems.”
Objectively, what I do know is that he has been well regarded by Republican leaders, including former Illinois Governors James R. Thompson and James Edgar, as well as Ronald Reagan. He has served as Illinois Deputy Governor and an Assistant Secretary of Labor under Reagan. Blakemore has also been heavily involved with the Illinois Board of Higher Education and has worked as General Counsel for both SIU and NIU. While he has worked in higher education administration as a General Counsel for a number of years, he is tabula rasa as far as presidential qualifications go.