CHICAGO - Governor Pat Quinn today made a number of key appointments to the state’s boards and commissions. In addition to three university boards, the governor filled positions on the Illinois Arts Council, State Museum Board and the Illinois Department of Public Health. Today’s announcement continues the governor’s commitment to making Illinois government more accountable, transparent and effective.
“These accomplished individuals will serve the people of Illinois well on our state boards and commissions,” Governor Quinn said. “With their commitment to public service, I am confident they will do great things for our state.”
As a result of Governor Quinn’s efforts to make the executive appointment process more accessible and transparent, residents who are interested in serving on boards and commissions can now apply online.
The governor’s appointments are as follows:
Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees:
Dr. Shirley J. Portwood, of Godfrey, is a retired professor of history who taught at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville from 1980 until 2010. She earned a Ph.D. in history from Washington University-St. Louis in 1982, after completing bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history from SIU-Edwardsville. She has served as a member of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency Board of Trustees since Governor Quinn appointed her in March of 2010, and was recently appointed to the Illinois Amistad Commission. Dr. Portwood also has organized a scholarly symposium examining the history of African Americans in Illinois. Her two brothers and daughter are also SIU alumni.
Major General (ret.) Randal Thomas, of Springfield, served as the 36th Adjutant General of Illinois -- the highest National Guard post in the state. General Thomas is a graduate of Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in English in 1973 and a Master of Science degree in Education in 1980. He also has a master’s degree from the U.S. Army War College. General Thomas received his commission as an Infantry Officer in 1967, served in the Army Special Forces from 1966-1969, and was awarded a Purple Heart and Bronze Star for valor for his 1968-1969 combat service in Vietnam. Prior to his appointment as Adjutant General, General Thomas worked for 30 years as an English teacher, librarian and media director in Hillsboro, Illinois. General Thomas also served on the Illinois Executive Ethics Commission for three years. He is a lifetime member of the SIUE Alumni Association and a member of the 2011 SIUE Alumni Hall of Fame.
Eastern Illinois University Board of Trustees:
Jan Spivey Gilchrist, of Olympia Fields, has a B.S. in art education from Eastern Illinois University, an M.A. in painting from the University of Northern Iowa, an M.F.A. in writing for children from Vermont College, and a doctoral degree in English from Madison University. Gilchrist was inducted into the International Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent in October of 2000. She was also inducted into the Society of Illustrators in 2001.
Northeastern Illinois University Board of Trustees:
Dr. Darlene Ruscitti, of Bloomingdale, holds a Doctor of Education Policy Studies and Administration degree from Loyola University, and a M.A and B.A. from Northeastern Illinois University. Dr. Ruscitti currently works for the DuPage Regional Office of Education and has served in the education profession for more than 30 years.
Illinois Arts Council:
Gary Matts, of Darien, has a B.S. in music from Roosevelt University and has served on the Board of the Chicago Federation of Musicians, Local 10-208, since 1992 and most recently as president since 2004. A professional musician, Matts also serves as a trustee of the Chicago Federation of Musicians Employers Welfare Fund and the American Federation of Musicians and Employers Pension Fund.
Richard Daniels, of Evergreen Park, holds a B.A. in music composition from DePaul University and is the musical director for The City Lights Orchestra in Chicago. Daniels is the current chairman of the board at Chicago's Mercy Home for Boys & Girls, chair for the dean's advisory board at the DePaul University School of Music, and he is a delegate to the Chicago Federation of Labor. Daniels is also the senior board member at the Chicago Federation of Musicians.
State Museum Board:
Leo Welch, of O'Fallon, was a biology teacher at ROVA High School in Oneida prior to becoming a professor of biology at Southwestern Illinois College, where he currently serves as professor emeritus. Welch has been a member of numerous professional societies, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Institute for Biological Sciences, the Illinois State Academy of Sciences and the St. Louis Academy of Sciences. Welch received the 1991 Excellence in Teaching Award from Emerson Electric for outstanding achievement for higher education in the metropolitan St. Louis area. Welch, who obtained his bachelor's and master's degrees from EIU, went on to receive an Ed.S. degree from Southern Illinois University.
Illinois Department of Public Health:
Dr. David Gill, of Bloomington, received his bachelor’s and medical degrees from the University of Illinois and has served as a family practice doctor and emergency room physician for more than 20 years. Most recently an emergency room doctor at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Gill has been named Assistant Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Earlier this year, following an extensive review, Governor Quinn issued an executive order eliminating dozens of dormant or redundant state boards and commissions. Following the governor’s action, Illinois now has 317 boards and commissions. Of those, 24 are compensated: eight of which are full-time, paid positions while the remaining 16 are part-time or per diem. The remaining 293 boards are unpaid, volunteer boards. Board salaries are set by Illinois statute.
For more information on all of the state’s boards and commissions, or to apply to serve on a board, please visit Appointments.Illinois.gov.