President Farley Accepts Courageous Leadership Award


President Barbara Farley accepted the Courageous Leadership Award from Credo Higher Education on January 5.

Photo Credit: Andy Milne Photography

President Barbara Farley accepted the Courageous Leadership Award from Credo Higher Education on January 5. This annual award recognizes a college or university president who exemplifies leadership and dedication to the betterment of their higher education institution, its students, and the community it serves. 

In 2013, Farley started her tenure as the president of Illinois College. Since then, the Hilltop has grown and evolved exponentially. Farley is the 14th president of the College and the first woman to fill the chief executive role.  

In an ever-changing environment, Farley has modeled the College’s dedication to student success and strategic growth by expanding academic opportunities and flexible learning environments. During Farley’s leadership, Illinois College launched twelve new fully online degrees, including agribusiness, accounting, and alcohol and other drug counseling, along with new majors on campus such as criminal justice, exercise science, and engineering. The College also announced an academic partnership with Memorial Health, one of Illinois’ leading health care organizations. This partnership provides the College with $4.2 million over a 3-year period to grow IC’s nursing program.

“Leadership matters,” said Ed Curtis, President and Chief Executive Officer at Memorial Health, in congratulating Farley on the award. “Dr. Farley is an inspiring leader who draws on the strengths of those around her,” he continued. “Her compassion and empathy enable her to build strong, authentic relationships that are rooted in trust. She understands the most effective way to lead is by using your head and your heart, and I’m honored to work alongside her.” 

Along with providing opportunities to help the nationwide nursing shortage, Illinois College positions itself to fill the need for teachers across the state. An estimated 88% of school districts in Illinois are reporting a teacher shortage. In response, Illinois College partnered with Golden Apple Accelerators Program to provide a flexible, fully online program for individuals who have earned a degree and wish to become licensed teachers. The program allows participants to receive their secondary teaching licensure in as little as twelve months and elementary licensure in just over a year.

In 2022, IC announced the Illinois College Advantage Plus initiative, which guarantees a minimum of $20,000 in scholarships to all first-year students—scholarships they can keep for all four years. The benefits are even greater for Illinois residents with a minimum GPA of 3.0; these students have 100% of their financial need met. Additionally, all students are paired with academic “coaches” who help design success plans, work on time management, identify opportunities for internships, and provide career guidance. 

“This award recognizes what the Illinois College Board of Trustees has known for the last eleven years, that Barbara Farley’s courageous leadership meets this pivotal moment in higher education, said Chair of Illinois College Board of Trustees Steven R. Mills ’77. “Her vision for IC and dedication to student success ensures IC will begin its third-century inspiring achievement and empowering students to make a difference in the world.”


To read the official story, visit Credo’s site

About Illinois College

Founded in 1829, Illinois College is a residential liberal arts college fostering academic excellence rooted in opportunities for experiential learning while preparing students for lifelong success. The college is located in Jacksonville, Illinois. With an enrollment of more than 1,000 students, the college offers over 50 undergraduate programs. In 1932, the society of Phi Beta Kappa established a chapter at Illinois College, and it remains one of only 11 in the state.

Illinois College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.

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