“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”
There’s no doubt about that when it comes to the case of NIU President John Peters. In recent years, NIU has faced sub-par state funding, declining total enrollment, pension problems, community violence and more. Peters has faced all this with his characteristic cautious optimism. He is a man who believes in NIU and believes this university can overcome the challenges it has been presented with.
When Peters visits Springfield—which is not infrequently—he attempts to secure greater funding for NIU and works to fix the pension system so NIU faculty and staff can have a more secure future. He brings in a great deal of private donations, something imperative as Illinois faces an enormous budget deficit. When the everyone was horrified in the wake of the Feb. 14, 2008, shootings, he brought the community together and showed the world that NIU would go on but never forget. He helped arrange for university resources to be used in locating Antinette “Toni” Keller when she went missing.
The Northern Star Editorial Board does not necessarily support everything that Peters has done or everything that has occurred during his term: we are still troubled by several aspects of Vision 2020, like the extreme focus on freshmen; we believe the administration should be more transparent, especially in regard to recent investigations; and we are frustrated with the poor state of many academic buildings, among other issues. We hope Peters’ successor can address these topics.
However, Peters could have sat back and done nothing. He didn’t have to travel to Springfield, he didn’t have to meet with and comfort those who have lost NIU students to violence. That metaphorical crown would have sat much lighter if he didn’t become as involved with the university and its troubles as he did.
Peters has worked for us, has fought for us. He has seen students struggling to pay for an education, has seen professors uneasy about their pensions, has seen the need for more funding. He wants better for us and will continue toward that goal.
Dr. Peters, thank you for believing in us.