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Framingham State leader leaving for new job

Framingham State University president Timothy Flanagan announced Friday that he will step down this summer to take on the presidency at Illinois State University.

Flanagan, 61, has served as president at Framingham State since 2006. He is slated to begin his new job Aug. 15. His contract lasts for three years and will begin with a salary of $350,000, say Illinois State officials.

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At a press conference Friday morning in Normal, Ill., ­Flanagan said he was attracted to Illinois State, which has a student body of more than 20,000, because of the school’s rigorous academic reputation, high rank among public colleges, and renowned faculty.

“Illinois State is recognized as a national leader for educating students who are prepared to take their place in this world,” Flanagan said. “The faculty is outstanding, not only committed to the classroom, but also to ­research.”

Flanagan said by phone Friday that Illinois State approached [him] about the president’s job in January. It was the first he considered while at Framingham State.

Illinois State is “a much larger institution, so it’s a much more comprehensive university,” Flanagan said, adding that he hopes to foster close personal relationships with students and faculty there, as he did at Framingham State. “There is a different set of challenges and opportunities.”

Flanagan said he will focus on fund-raising at Illinois State when he gets there, after he finishes wrapping up his capital investment campaign at Framingham State this summer. “Illinois, like Massachusetts, has resource issues, so it’s a challenge.

“We’ll need real momentum going forward during these difficult budget times,” he said, noting that his main goal is to keep the public university’s ­education valuable with affordable costs. “Keeping higher ­education in reach of middle-class kids is a challenge moving forward everywhere.”

Officials at Illinois State said Flanagan was selected because of his experience as both a teacher and a leader, a track ­record of boosting school programs, and commitment to funding $175 million in capital projects during his tenure at Framingham State.

The chairman of Framingham State’s board of trustees, Joe Burchill, said the board would be discussing over the next few weeks whom to select as interim president while it conducts a national search for a new president.

“We plan to compile a pool of exceptionally qualified and diverse candidates and are confident the next president of Framingham State University will continue to strengthen our reputation as one of the top public universities in Massachusetts,” Burchill said.

His statement praised Flanagan for his accomplishments over the past seven years. Burchill said the university saw a healthy growth in enroll­ment and had strong fiscal guidance through the recession. There was also a new state-of-the-art 410-bed dormitory; a new honors building; and additions and renovations to other buildings on campus.

“President Flanagan’s legacy at Framingham State is secure,” Burchill said. “We’ve expanded our undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as our inter­national education opportunities. It was also Dr. Flanagan’s leadership that led to our emergence as a leader in green energy and environmental stewardship.”

Before Framingham State, Flanagan served as provost and vice president for academic ­affairs of the State University of New York in Brockport for eight years. He also served the faculties of Marshall University, the State University of New York at Albany, and Sam Houston State University, where he was dean of the College of Criminal Justice.Flanagan also was director of the nonprofit Criminal Justice Research Center in New York, and served as a consultant to numerous federal and state criminal justice agencies.

He earned a bachelor’s ­degree at Gannon University in Erie, Pa. , a master’s degree and doctorate from the State University of New York at Albany, and completed various education programs and fellowships at Harvard University.

Flanagan will replace Al Bowman, who served Illinois State for 35 years.

Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com
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