On February 26, 2016, Gov. Bruce Rauner announced the appointment of Tom Cross to head the Illinois Board of Higher Education. According to the Illinois Pension Code, Cross will also serve as chairperson of the State Universities Retirement System (SURS) Board of Trustees.
Cross, an attorney from Oswego, served in the Illinois General Assembly for 22 years. He was the House Republican Leader from 2002-2013. Currently, he is a distinguished fellow at Aurora University and a senior consultant at Culloton Strategies. He is a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University and Samford University.
Cross replaces Lindsay Anderson, who resigned on Feb. 19 to take a position with the University of Illinois. Anderson served as SURS chairperson for two and a half years.
“The trustees and staff of the State Universities Retirement System sincerely thank Ms. Anderson for her stewardship and invaluable contributions to SURS over the past few years and extend an enthusiastic welcome to Mr. Cross,” said Executive Director W. Bryan Lewis. “We look forward to working with him to secure full state funding for our system and its members.”
The State Universities Retirement System (SURS) is one of five Illinois state retirement systems, providing retirement, survivor, disability, and death benefits to over 220,000 employees and retirees from 61 public universities, colleges and state agencies. SURS is funded by employee/participant contributions, state/employer contributions and investment returns. As of June 30, 2015, SURS assets were approximately $17.5 billion.
The SURS Board of Trustees is comprised of 11 members: four appointed by the Governor, four active participants elected by the contributing members of SURS, two annuitants elected by the annuitants of SURS, and the chair of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.
Cross will begin his new role immediately, but will still need to be confirmed by the Illinois Senate. The chairmanship is an unpaid position.