Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Here Are the Three Finalists for the Chicago State Presidency: Our Clueless Board Completely Misses the Mark?

OK Folks, here are the three finalists for the president's job at Chicago State. We haven't been told yet by that "transparent" bunch conducting the search, but apparently the Civil Service Employees know. Drum roll please:

Jerry D. Blakemore, J.D., Currently the General Counsel at Northern Illinois University. No experience on the academic side of the university, no teaching experience. Here's a brief biography:

Blakemore earned his bachelor's degree in political science in 1976 from Princeton University. He went on to study law at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago. As the deputy governor and legal counsel to former Illinois Governor James R. Thompson, Blakemore became the youngest person, at the age of 30, and the first African American to hold that title. Blakemore served as a member of the Illinois Board of Higher Education for 12 years and was appointed to chair the board in 1992. Blakemore's experience also includes heading the Regulatory and Governmental Affairs Practice group and managing the Chicago office of Sales, Goodloe, Golden, & Blakemore law firm, where he also served as a managing partner. Blakemore was also an assistant secretary within the US Department of Labor for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs. Blakemore held the position of general counsel to a manufacturing company in St. Louis and worked with the Chicago-based law firm, Carney & Brothers.

Immediately before taking on the position of vice president and general counsel with Southern Illinois University, Blakemore served as CEO and general counsel to the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority. He is a current member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys and participates in regulatory work with the Illinois Commerce Commission. In the past, Blakemore served as chair of the Midwest Higher Education Compact and still serves as a member.

Thomas J. Calhoun, Ph.D. in Educational Leadership in 2008. Former High School Principal in Chicago. No teaching experience, three years administrative experience on the academic side of the University of North Alabama (Provost). Google Thomas J. Calhoun, redacted resume for a c.v.

Dennis J. Shields, J.D. Currently the Chancellor of Wisconsin-Plateville. Primary experience in various law schools. Google his linkedin page for more information.



  1. It doesn't seem like any of these folks have much university experience. Are any of them scholars? Do they meet the criteria as suggested by Madhubuti's letter? Have they taught? I must investigate further but I don't understand how people without faculty experience could understand the academic side of the university which, of course, is why we exist.

  2. For what it’s worth, I actually know Thomas Calhoun and have for more than twenty years. We were neighbors for a long time. That said, other than that he did his PhD at the University of Chicago, I know very little of his scholarly and professional life. He was the principle of Hales Franciscan High School before moving into positions in higher education administration. He has worked his way up the administrative chain.

    He’s a good guy. I know he has mentored young men, even taken them into his home to raise them, and I know these young men have grown up to be terrific people. I also know that, unlike Li’l Wayne, Tom is unfailingly polite.

    I have no idea what Tom would be like as the president of the university, but he at least understands the academic side of the university. He is familiar with what a disaster Li’l Wayne has been…neighbors talk.

    At least he’s not a lawyer.

  3. At this point, will all of the king's horses and all of the king's men will be able to put Humpty Dumpty back together again?

  4. The qualifications of the three were released, as all bad news is, on the Friday before a holiday weekend. All I can say is, "we paid for this"?

  5. The announced "schedule" consists only of "meet and greets", followed by a tour and a reception. No address. No forum for Q&A. On three consecutive days (I myself will be in class during two of the three faculty availabilities, such as they are). This is complete bullshit.