About University Center

Governing Board

According to the University Center of Lake County By-laws, the Governing Board acts as the Board of Directors of the corporation and is composed of the following members:

Up to 8 residents of Lake County, including one member of the College of Lake County Board of Trustees. Members shall reflect the diverse regions, groups, and employers that reside in the county.

Up to 6 representatives from the member institutions including one student. The representatives of member institutions shall include the Chairperson of the Council of Member Institutions and up to four other representatives chosen by the Council of Member Institutions from among its members. Of these four Governing Board positions, only one seat can be held by a representative of a proprietary institution.  The student member shall be elected by the Center’s Student Advisory Committee. 

One representative from Northern Illinois University, for as long as a Memorandum of Understanding concerning organizational alignment is in effect between the University Center and Northern Illinois University.

2019 Governing Board Members

Matthew J. Hlinak
Assistant Provost for Continuing Studies & Special Initiatives
Dominican University

Jackie Tompkins
Controller, Business Development, External Affairs & General Counsel

Anne Kaplan
Vice President, Outreach, Engagement, & Regional Development
Northern Illinois University

Laura Dreyer
Director of Educational Partnerships
Olivet Nazarene University

Catherine Finger
College of Lake County Board of Trustees

Luis Fuentes
Luis Fuentes Group
Remax Showcase

Carolyn Waller Gordon
Communications Manager
Woodland School District 50

Kathy Johnson
Regional Director/Program Coordinator
University of Illinois

Martin Mireles
Student member

George Rattin
Executive Director of Development
Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science

Mandara Savage
Executive Director, SIU Extended Campus
Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Pamela Walker
Director of Community College & Four-Year Institutional Partnerships
National Louis University


UC Names New Executive Director

The University Center of Lake County has named Joel Williams as the Executive Director who will succeed G. Gary Grace when Grace retires March 31, 2019.  Williams will begin work at the University Center on March 18, 2019 to ensure a smooth transition as the Center’s founding executive director retires.  He is currently serving as the Executive Director of PADS Lake County, a role he has held since January of 2013.  Previously, he spent six years working for Lake County government in various roles within the Planning, Building & Development Department.  He has also served as a part-time political science faculty member for Elmhurst College, one of the Center’s 18 member institutions.

“We were impressed by the strong pool of candidates who came forward when we announced the job opening and were pleased to select Joel Williams as Gary’s successor.  His experience as an executive director of a small nonprofit organization, coupled with deep ties within Lake County and his enthusiasm for the Center’s mission, have positioned him well to help the Board chart the next steps in the Center’s evolution,”  said Matthew J. Hlinak, Chair of the University Center’s Governing Board.  “He will inherit a well-organized administrative structure and a strong staff through the efforts of Gary Grace, and I am confident that he will bring creativity and new energy to the challenges of making the Center more widely-known and financially sound.”

The University Center of Lake County is a partnership of eight public universities and ten private non-for-profit colleges and universities that collaborate to provide higher education to those living or working in or near Lake County.  It builds on the offerings of Illinois community colleges by providing transfer programs leading to 45 bachelor’s degrees, as well as 45 graduate degrees and an equal number of certificates.  These programs are available through evening, weekend, or online study so that students can remain living and working in Lake County as they complete their education.  The University Center’s Grayslake facility also supports workforce development efforts in the region by doubling as a conference center for corporate meetings and training.  The University Center was created by the Illinois Board of Higher Education in the late 1990s and became an independent 501(c)(3) organization in 2001.

University Center of Lake County Partnership with Northern Illinois University

On September 30, 2013, the University Center of Lake County formally began a new partnership with Northern Illinois University designed to increase the Center’s financial sustainability. The process that led to that decision and the goals for the partnership are described in a statement released by University Center of Lake County Governing Board Chair Tony Thompson.

University Center of Lake County Governing Board Statement on Partnership with Northern Illinois University