Jerome Sachs, First President of NEIU, Dies
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
||Media Contact: Dana Navarro|
|Octoboer 16, 2012
Jerome Sachs, First President of Northeastern Illinois University, Dies
Sachs Developed One of the Nation’s First Programs for Nontraditional Students and Led Transition of NEIU from a Teachers College to a Comprehensive State University
CHICAGO – Jerome Sachs, Northeastern Illinois University’s first president, has died. Dr. Sachs passed away peacefully at his home on Friday, October 12. He was 98.
A lifelong educator, Dr. Sachs was a professor of mathematics at Chicago Teachers College-South before being appointed in 1962 as head of Chicago Teachers College-North, which later became Northeastern Illinois University. During his administrative tenure, he saw the name of the institution change several times and led its transformation from a teachers college to a comprehensive university. He was installed as dean of Chicago Teachers College-North in 1962, which became Illinois Teachers College Chicago-North in 1965. He was installed as president in 1966 and led the college through the transition of becoming a comprehensive state institution of higher education, first named Northeastern Illinois State College in 1967 and Northeastern Illinois University in 1971.
Under Dr. Sachs’ leadership, Northeastern Illinois University experienced enormous growth and change. He advocated for nontraditional and experimental degree programs, establishing the University Without Walls nontraditional degree program at a time long before other schools created special programs for this student population. During his tenure at Northeastern, many programs were added including the Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies, which was founded to help prepare new and experienced teachers for work in marginalized areas of the city, and El Centro program, established to focus on the city’s Latino community. The University also founded the College of Arts and Sciences, the business program and the University’s first graduate programs.
Sharon Hahs, current president of Northeastern Illinois University, said, “Dr. Sachs’ legacy includes his spirit of innovation and experimentation, ideals that we continue to strive for today as higher education navigates new challenges. Northeastern Illinois University is the thriving place that it is in part due to his vision and commitment to urban leadership and excellence.”
Outside of Northeastern Illinois University, Dr. Sachs championed new ideas for higher education. He was one of the founding members of the Union of Experimenting Colleges and Universities and served on various master plan committees of the Illinois Board of Higher Education. He also served as executive officer of the Illinois Board of Governors of State Colleges and Universities.
His scholarly work includes several journal articles and two books that he authored: Basic College Mathematics (1960) and Exploring Mathematics (1961).
After devoting more than 36 years to higher education, Dr. Sachs retired from Northeastern Illinois University in 1973. The administration building at NEIU is named for him, the Jerome M. Sachs Administration Building.
A Chicago native, Dr. Sachs attended Hyde Park High School and earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Chicago. He also served in the U.S. Navy in World War II.
He is survived by a daughter, Jennifer Donovan; son and daughter-in-law, Jonathan and Katharine Sachs; grandchild Ayn Sachs; and great-grandchildren Es Swihart and Malachi Skjeie. He enjoyed two long, happy marriages, the first to Joan Frankenstein Sachs, and after her death, to Irene Gottilieb Sachs, who also predeceased him.
A memorial service will be held on Monday, November 5 at 3:30 p.m. in the Recital Hall at Northeastern Illinois University, 5500 N. St. Louis Ave. in Chicago. Memorial donations may be made to the NEIU Presidential Scholars Program through the Northeastern Illinois University Foundation, 5500 N. St. Louis Ave., Chicago, IL 60625.
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