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NEIU President Sharon Hahs Announces Retirement

 Sharon Hahs has been at the helm of Northeastern Illinois University since 2007.
Sharon Hahs has been at the helm of Northeastern Illinois University since 2007.
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DNAinfo/Patty Wetli; Northeastern Illinois University

NORTH PARK — After nearly a decade at the helm of Northeastern Illinois University, Pres. Sharon Hahs has announced her retirement, effective Sept. 30.

Hahs, 68, shared the news Wednesday at a town hall meeting with the university community, officials said.

She had delayed her plans to step down while the university's financial situation remained in jeopardy due to the state budget impasse, according to a statement from the university.

NEIU, 5500 N. St. Louis Ave., is among the Illinois public universities owed millions in backlogged appropriations from the state.

With the passage of a stopgap budget, NEIU is in better position for a leadership transition, according to officials.

Hahs became president in 2007, having previously served as provost at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Her tenure at NEIU was marked by a number of developments, including the opening of the university's El Centro campus in Avondale, but it was marred by controversy as well, particularly the use of eminent domain to procure land on Bryn Mawr Avenue in order to build residential housing.

NEIU's board of trustees is expected to meet in the coming weeks to discuss plans for hiring a successor. Hahs has put forward Provost Richard Helldobler as her choice for interim president, and is recommending the board postpone a search for a permanent replacement until Illinois has undergone one full regular budget cycle.

Hahs has spent more than four decades working in higher education. Though she didn't announce any post-retirement plans, she and her husband Billy are known to have traveled the world to view solar eclipses.

Founded in 1867, Northeastern enrolls approximately 10,000 students and offers more than 80 undergraduate and graduate programs.

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