CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn hosted the state’s private colleges and universities today at a Diversity & Inclusion in Higher Education Forum held on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday. The forum was held at the University of Chicago and sponsored by the Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities. Today’s event is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to ensure all people have the opportunity to follow their dreams and reach their full potential.
“I am proud to continue collaborating with these institutions of higher learning as they enhance diversity and inclusion on their campuses throughout Illinois,” Governor Quinn said. “Meaningful programs like this are helping us ensure a level playing field for everyone in Illinois. I thank these schools for honoring the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by working to increase their diversity on campus.”
Illinois private colleges and universities have received a total of $406 million over the past two years, and will receive about $94 million this year under Governor Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program for needs on their campuses. This funding gives these institutions the opportunity to select diverse contractors and service providers while improving the campus environment for students and faculty.
Today’s forum focused on ensuring that private colleges and universities had the tools they need to continue making strides toward promoting equal opportunity for all. Attendees heard success stories from other institutions, and several of the participating schools were recognized for their dedication toward the ideal of inclusion as envisioned by Dr. King, who said: “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
Many private Illinois colleges and universities have a good track record of promoting diversity and inclusion on their campuses. According to a recent assessment from U.S. News & World Report, the Illinois Institute of Technology, Northwestern University, DePaul University, The University of Chicago and Loyola University were among the top private institutions in the nation for diversity. They join Illinois public institutions like the University of Illinois at Chicago, Northern Illinois University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Southern Illinois University Carbondale as very highly rated for their diverse and inclusive curriculum, campuses, faculty and programs.