CHARLESTON — Jeff Cooley, vice president for business affairs at Eastern Illinois University, has announced his retirement, effective Dec. 31, 2008.

            "Jeff's retirement will be a huge loss to Eastern's administrative team," said EIU President Bill Perry.  "His work has been absolutely critical to me in my first year at Eastern.  His leadership and knowledge of fiscal matters, of the university and of state offices has been of great benefit to Eastern for many, many years.
            "We will miss Jeff's energy, great sense of humor, expertise, ideas and dedication to the university's best interests. I wish him well in his upcoming retirement."
            In announcing his plans to retire, Cooley said he had been "truly blessed" during his tenure as vice president.
            "I’ve had the opportunity to work with some very dedicated and extraordinary people," he said.  "It wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun, though, without the support I’ve received from the members of my staff and the President’s Council over the years.  They’ve been great.
            "I’ve especially enjoyed the opportunity to work with President Perry this past year.  His vision for Eastern, and the leadership he provides, made my decision to retire more difficult than I would have preferred."
            But, Cooley added, the opportunity to spend more time with his wife, children and grandchildren ultimately was more inviting.
            Cooley, an EIU graduate and 25-year employee of the institution, was appointed vice president for business affairs in June 2001 by then-president Carol Surles, following a national search.  He was no stranger to the office, having served as assistant vice president from 1997 to 1999, and as acting vice president for business affairs following the 1999 resignation of Morgan Olsen.
            Previously, Cooley served as director of internal auditing (1983-1997), and spent four years (1979 to 1983) working in the private sector as a senior accountant in the Taylorville area.  He is a certified public accountant, internal auditor and fraud examiner.
            Cooley received his bachelor's degree in accounting from Eastern in 1979.
            According to Perry, a search advisory committee will be selected this summer and will begin its work in finding a new vice president for business affairs this fall.

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