- Associated Press - Thursday, March 27, 2014

CHARLESTON, Ill. (AP) - The president of Eastern Illinois University announced Thursday that he plans to retire in 2015, stepping down from the post when his contract expires next June.

Bill Perry joined the university in Charleston in 2007 after spending more than 30 years working at Texas A&M; University. His contract expires June 30, 2015.

In a statement, the 68-year-old said he will continue working to “forge opportunities and meet our challenges” while trustees search for a successor.

Perry announced his retirement more than a year in advance to give the school time to find a successor.

School officials said they will conduct a national search to find a replacement, which they expect will begin this summer.

Dr. Perry has created an atmosphere of excellence and helped lead the university to become more student-focused than ever,” EIU Board Chairman Joe Dively said. “He has been a hard-working leader and his shoes will be hard to fill.”

Eastern Illinois has about 10,000 students.

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