White's speech is the lead-off event for the Illinois Summit on Early Childhood and Healthy Beginnings, which will take place the next day. The summit will serve as a "call to action" on key policies and issues facing early childhood educators and child-care providers in promoting healthy development during the preschool years.
"It's essential that we find a way to protect children and vulnerable families in our state during the challenging economic times. Early childhood programs have proved to be some of the best investments with the biggest payoffs," said Barbara Fiese, director of the U of I's Family Resiliency Center.
"President White has a deep and informed understanding of the link between positive early childhood development and later success. He has championed investment in early childhood education as key to building strong families and thriving communities," she said.
White took office as the 16th president of the University of Illinois on January 31, 2005. Familiar with both public higher education and the Midwest, he was affiliated for nearly three decades with the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he received his Ph.D. in business administration in 1975 and served for a decade as dean of its top-ranked business school.
He also has private-sector experience, including six years at Cummins Engine Co., Inc., from 1981 to 1987, and in 2003 he spent a year helping rebuild a Wall Street firm devastated by 9/11. He is a director and trustee of several companies and has served on the boards of two health care systems.
The evening program will also include remarks by Doris Kelley Christopher, founder and chairman of The Pampered Chef, Ltd.
The lecture is sponsored by the Pampered Chef® Family Resiliency Program, a partnership based in the U of I's Family Resiliency Center, established through a gift from The Pampered Chef, Ltd., in 2000. The program, directed by Dr. Barbara Fiese, strengthens families' abilities to meet life's challenges through research, education, and outreach.
The event is free and open to the public. The Alice Campbell Alumni Center is located at 601 S. Lincoln Avenue, Urbana. Parking is available in metered spaces in university parking lots after 5 p.m.