John L. Lewis, a champion of community engagement whose NIU career spanned nearly four decades, and whose work will live on through myriad economic development initiatives, died Friday, May 13, in Chicago. He was 71.
Lewis retired from NIU in June of 2014 as senior research scholar for health and information technologies, a role in which he also was the grant co-principal investigator for the Illinois Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center (IL-HITREC).
He also headed iFiber, provider of extremely high speed (up to 1Gb) network transport services to the public and private sector. Construction of the $69 million iFiber Broadband Project was completed Dec. 31, 2013.
“John was a driving force behind this division’s focus on regional development and engagement. His many connections with state agency staff and municipal officials led to multiple projects and ongoing partnerships,” said Anne Kaplan, vice president of NIU’s Division of Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development.
“He believed in the public purposes of public higher education,” Kaplan added, “and his career sets a high standard for like-minded colleagues.”
From 2004 until 2011, he served as associate vice president for what then was known as the Division of Administration and University Outreach, leading a team of professionals in building partnerships that provide support services, research and entrepreneurial solutions to regional issues.
Lewis became a senior research associate at the NIU Center for Governmental Studies (CGS) in 1991, climbing to associate director two years later. He delivered numerous community and economic development projects, health care research and data mapping services to community stakeholders.
Working with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs, now called the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, he led the CGS team in building the Land of Lincoln’s five-year development strategy in the late 1990s.
He also created a baseline economic development study with strategies for economic growth in northwest Illinois, frequently participated in Rockford community planning and helped to attract new industry to Rockford.
Lisa Bergeron, associate director of CGS and director of both IL-HITREC as well as Health & Technology Initiatives for NIU Regional Development, worked closely with Lewis on several initiatives.
“John had a unique ability to create synergies where little existed, pull together competing interests and build initiatives that served NIU, the region and the state,” Bergeron said.
Born Jan. 29, 1945, in Galesburg, Ill., Lewis held a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He earned a master’s degree in economics from Western Michigan University and a bachelor’s in business and economics from Monmouth College.
He trained educators to teach economics from 1974 to 1987, first as director of the Center for Economic Education at Ball State University and then as executive director of the Illinois Council for Economic Education, which is now an NIU Outreach unit.
Recent years saw Lewis leading many federal and state initiatives focused on broadband infrastructure development and health information technology. He also served as an adjunct professor, teaching the economics of health care within NIU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.
Beyond campus, he was a longtime member and current chair of the Sycamore Planning Commission. The former member of the Sycamore Community Unit School District 427 Board of Education also had been serving as president of the TAILS Humane Society Board of Directors.
In 2011, he opened J. Lewis & Associates, LLC, which provided consulting assistance to organizations involved in economic development and health care.
A memorial service begins at 4 p.m. Thursday, May 26, at Butala Funeral Home and Crematory, 1405 DeKalb Ave. in Sycamore. The visitation is scheduled from 4 to 6:30 p.m. that day.
Six Northern Illinois track athletes qualified to compete at the NCAA West Regional May 27 in Lawrence, Kansas.
DeKALB – The Northern Illinois baseball team rallied twice to beat Ball State, winning the first game of the three-game series, 14-8, Thursday at Ralph McKinzie Field.
DeKALB – Whenever the Northern Illinois baseball players headed over to visit the residents of the DeKalb County Rehab & Nursing Center on Monday nights, the conversation inevitably came around to America’s pastime.
The Northern Illinois University softball team was ousted by Ohio on Saturday at the Mid-American Conference Tournament, dropping a 3-1 decision that ended NIU’s season with a third-place finish after four days of softball at Firestone Stadium in Akron.
network.yardbarker.com – Peyton Manning Mike Freeman of B/R continues to hear that Peyton Manning wants to coach his alma mater — the University of Tennessee.
Freeman admits that he’s sure if this talk is accurate, but he’s heard it over and over against from NFL people he trusts. Jets According to Mike Freeman of B/R, there’s been “minimal movement” in regards to the Jets re-signing veteran QB Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Two sources have told him that the Jets and Fitzpatrick remain “far apart” in contract talks, but it’s possible things could change quickly.
Interestingly enough, Freeman admits that there’s a “small chance” Fitzpatrick could elect to retire from the NFL. However, he stresses that this is a “small chance.” Steelers Despite the Steelers speaking with free agent DL Jason Jones, Jeremy Fowler considers it unlikely that he’ll sign with Pittsburgh. Texans Texans signed second-round C Nick Martin to a four-year contract. (John McClain) Titans The Titans are bringing in 20 players for try
When the Kent State softball team won the series over Northern Illinois in DeKalb earlier this season, coach Eric Oakley said he was impressed with Huskies pitcher Alex Frenz and thought the two teams would likely meet again this year.
First pitch: 5 p.m. Friday; 2 p.m. Saturday; Noon Sunday
In an effort to mitigate a growing backlog of parking lot repair requirements, NIU administrators have approved parking permit price increases for the first time since 2011.
The new rates will help generate additional revenue necessary to address the current $5 million backlog of known parking lot repairs.
Parking lot repair demands are being prioritized into a long-range investment plan which will help determine a more stabilized permit pricing structure going forward.
Permit pricing increases were not made uniformly across all permit types. Reserved parking, in particular, was increased more than other permits because this type of parking typically underutilizes spaces when compared to open lot parking areas.
When compared to other universities, said Campus Parking Services Director Darren Mitchell, the new prices range from being 80 percent to 20 percent lower than most other institutions with only a couple examples of schools being lower in price.
The change to make remote (green permit) parking free also provides patrons with another option to fit their parking needs, Mitchell added.
Meanwhile, Parking Services is gearing up to promote more online transactions that eventually will reduce operational costs. To encourage the use of online purchases, a $10 premium will be added to some of the new prices for any in-person permit transactions.
- Blue Annual: $135 ($145 in office)
- Blue Fall/Spring: $100 ($110 in office)
- Blue Summer/Fall: $112 ($122 in office)
- Reserve Annual: $810
- Reserve Annual 24/7: $945
- Annual: $92 ($102 in office)
- Fall/Spring: $70 ($80 in office)
- Spring/Summer: $72 ($82 in office)
- Summer: $40 ($50 in office)
- Reserve Annual: $500
- Annual: $47 ($57 in office)
- Fall/Spring: $42 ($52 in office)
- Spring/Summer: $44 ($54 in office)
- Summer: $40 ($50 in office)
- Annual: $50 ($60 in office)
- Annual Reduce: $25 ($35 in office)
- Fall/Spring: $25 ($35 in office)
- Free permit parking will be available in lot C3 north of the Convocation Center. Permits will still be required and will need to be obtained from Campus Parking Services.
For more information, call (815) 753-1045 or email email@example.com.
- Parking Services urges online permit purchases for fall
- Trial period extended for campus parking changes
The Northern Illinois softball team claimed its first Mid-American Conference West Division crown since 2000 with an 8-3 win over Central Michigan on Friday in the second game of a doubleheader.