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Numerous University of Illinois leaders descended on Washington, D.C. last week for meetings on Capitol Hill and with key federal agencies.

The Illinois congressional delegation—particularly Rep. Rodney Davis—devoted significant time and attention to the U of I ambassadors who were in town to advocate and strengthen partnerships.

Pres. Killeen Delivers U of I's FY2018 Programmatic Requests

With a new strategic approach, the Office of Governmental Relations (OGR) targeted key congressional offices as preparation for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 appropriations cycle is beginning to get underway. University of Illinois President Tim Killeen and OGR started communicating the U of I System's programmatic requests for FY2018 to the Illinois congressional delegation. These initial meetings will be supplemented over the next couple of weeks by additional meetings conducted by OGR and various campus leaders to further elaborate on the importance of particular funding lines.

The individual agency appropriations advocacy documents that we are using will soon be available for review on the OGR federal webpage.

Urbana Deans Kidwell and Constable Promote College Priorities
Rep. Davis Introduces Dean Kidwell to the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, Rep. Mike Conaway 

Kim Kidwell, dean of Urbana's College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES), was in D.C. for the annual Council for Agricultural, Research, Extension and Teaching (CARET) meeting, which brings together agriculture school deans and volunteer representatives selected by their land-grant universities. Dean Kidwell took to Capitol Hill to introduce herself and provide an update on the College of ACES. The group also discussed issues surrounding the National Institute of Food and Agriculture at USDA and the upcoming Farm Bill reauthorization—particularly its research, education and extension titles. They met with Illinois' three agriculture committee members—Reps. Mike Bost, Rodney Davis, and Cheri Bustos—as well as the offices of Sen. Dick Durbin, Sen. Tammy Duckworth, and Rep. John Shimkus. These meetings opened the door to many future interactions in which Dean Kidwell plans to be a go-to resource in advising Members of Congress and their staff on the Farm Bill as reauthorization efforts evolve.


Peter Constable, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, attended the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) annual conference in D.C. He met with several IL delegation offices to provide updates on the College and its federal priorities.

Chancellor Jones, VCR Schiffer Visit Hill, Federal Agencies

Urbana Chancellor Robert Jones and Vice Chancellor for Research Peter Schiffer spent an afternoon on Capitol Hill and a full day meeting with federal agency officials. While on the Hill, they met with Rep. Rodney Davis, Rep. Darin LaHood, Sen. Tammy Duckworth, and the office of Rep. Jan Schakowsky to provide updates on Urbana, its research enterprise, and to delve deeper into Urbana-specific appropriations priorities. These visits provided an opportunity for Urbana's leadership to highlight accomplishments from the last 150 years while looking ahead to the next 150 years and the future of public higher education.

The next day, they met with the director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Sonny Ramaswamy; the director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), France Cordova; the assistant director for the Biological Sciences Directorate at NSF, Jim Olds; and the acting director of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science, Steve Binkley.

Additionally, VCR Schiffer participated in a DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Academic Research Roundtable and met with several NSF Assistant Directors.

Additional Urbana Representatives

Josh Whitman, Urbana's director of athletics, was in D.C. for the Big Ten Basketball Tournament. He spent time on Capitol Hill meeting with Rep. Rodney Davis and Rep. Darin LaHood to provide an overview of the Illini athletic program, including the positive impact of college athletics on our state.

Three of Urbana's National Research Center (NRC) leaders—Kasia Szremski, Dara Goldman, and Maureen Marshall—were in D.C. to participate in a Title VI and Fulbright-Hays advocacy day organized by the Coalition for International Education. Urbana hosts a total of six federally-funded U.S. Department of Education Title VI Centers in international and area studies, each focusing on a different world region or issue.

Enhancing Alumni Engagement

The Office of Governmental Relations partnered with the University of Illinois Alumni Association (UIAA) to host two events engaging alumni in the Washington, D.C. area.

The first was a luncheon meeting with alumni representing corporations. The second event was a dinner meeting with the newly-formed Hill Alumni Advisory Group, which was created to engage U of I alumni working on Capitol Hill. Chancellor Jones and Vice Chancellor Schiffer participated in the event and shared updates on both the campus and its research portfolio. The group is intended to be another platform between these alumni and the University on U of I's federal advocacy initiatives, legislative events and activities in Washington, D.C.


Rep. Bill Foster recently visited UIC. During his visit, he started on the east side of campus with a meeting with a group of UIC faculty members who use Argonne facilities or receive direct funding. Vice Chancellor for Research Mitra Dutta led the discussion, which centered around how Argonne leverages UIC to provide a direct transfer of cutting-edge knowledge to undergraduate and graduate students and how Argonne and UIC partner together to answer pressing research questions. Rep. Foster then stopped by the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) to see several demos within CAVE2. Then, Rep. Foster went over to the west side of campus, where he met with the UIC Sickle Cell Center. He received a briefing on the center's clinical infrastructure and patient volume, their current translational research, and bone marrow transplantation. He was welcomed to the center by Robert Barish, UIC's Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs.


UIC's Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research issued its FY 2016 Annual Report. Click here to read the report. 


Thank you,

Melissa Haas | Acting Director | OGR Federal Relations