"I am grateful for the time I have spent leading the Illinois community college
system," said Obrzut. "It has been a privilege to work with the excellent staff
at the ICCB, and I want to thank them for their professionalism and their
dedication to the service they provide to the state and the community colleges.
"I also want to convey my heartfelt gratitude for the support I have received
over the years from the board and from the Illinois Community College Trustees
Association and the Presidents' Council," said Obrzut. "It has been crucial to
maintaining a strong and united system. No state surpasses the quality of
education and the dedication to students and their communities that we find with
Illinois community colleges."
Under Obrzut's leadership, the ICCB has undertaken a Homeland Security and
Campus Safety Initiative, advocated for additional resources for adult education
and family literacy, and completed comprehensive reports on textbook costs,
baccalaureate degree access, and funding of grants for Illinois veterans and
National Guard members.
"Geoff has been a true public servant and champion for the Illinois community
colleges and the Illinois Community College Board," said Alexi Giannoulias, who
chairs the board. "His passion, commitment and leadership will truly be missed.
Geoff is a good friend and I am sad to see him go, but am excited to see what
the future holds for him."
"Geoff has served the Illinois Community College System with integrity and
has led the system in some of the most financial and political turbulent times
in Illinois history," said Guy Alongi, former board chairman. "I wish Geoff well
in his retirement and will always consider him a dear and personal friend. The
Illinois Community College System owes Geoff a great deal of gratitude for his
service over the past 9 1/2 years."
Obrzut has served citizens of the state of Illinois for more than 30 years in
government work. His background includes serving as a state representative for
the 52nd District in the Illinois General Assembly, where he represented both
Triton College and Oakton Community College in his district. He had been elected
to the board of trustees of Triton College in River Grove and served on the
board from 1981 to 1987.
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Obrzut's achievements include his service as a past officer and
chairman of the State Relations Committee of the Illinois Community
College Trustees Association. He was named the Outstanding Alumnus
of the Year by the Illinois Community College Trustees Association
in 1986 and received the Outstanding Service Award from the Illinois
Student Association in 1992. Obrzut also served as chairman of the
National Council of State Directors of Community Colleges from July
1, 2009, through June 30, 2010.
Obrzut also initiated the formation of the ICCB Latino Advisory
Committee in March 2008. The committee, composed of statewide
advocates on Latino educational issues, members of community
colleges and representatives from partner agencies, has helped
inform the Illinois community college system on student needs,
educational best practices and legislation that affects the Latino
Prior to coming to the Illinois Community College Board, Obrzut
was the director of the Division of Developmental Disabilities in
the Illinois Department of Human Services.
Obrzut received his bachelor's degree in political science from
the University of Illinois at Springfield and graduated from Triton
College in River Grove. He graduated from West Leyden High School
with the Class of 1970. While at West Leyden and at Triton, Obrzut
was very active in the environmental movement, founding a group
called SOAP, Students Organized Against Pollution. He also played
competitive sports, serving as the captain of his high school and
college basketball teams.
"This is a true retirement, and I plan to spend a lot of time
fishing at my cabin in northeast Wisconsin and golfing in South
Carolina," Obrzut said.
The ICCB is the state coordinating board for community colleges.
Illinois is home to 48 community colleges in 39 districts and has
the third-largest community college system enrollment in the nation.
Illinois Community College Board
file received from the
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]