University Park, IL,
12:26 PM

"A Key Builder of GSU"

As the GSU community expresses gratitude to Gebeyehu “Gebe” Ejigu for his innumerable contributions to the university during his 11-year tenure, President Elaine P. Maimon calls her longtime colleague “a key builder of GSU.”

Here, he reflects on his own successes.

Throughout my life, I have held many titles and have had plenty of achievements that I am proud of. As I look back and reflect on my life, I consider none of them as dear and meaningful to me as the titles of “dad” and “grandpa.” I now wish that I had recognized this earlier than I did.

The achievements at GSU during my 11-year tenure that I am most proud of include:

The revamping of the resource allocation and reallocation process through the establishment of the Planning and Budget Advisory Council (PBAC). Through this 21-member council, GSU  created an open, inclusive, participatory, and accountable system of resource allocation in which all internal stakeholders of the university had a say in this most critical area of institutional leadership.


The successful initiation and completion of the deferred maintenance initiative. GSU’s buildings and grounds were in an unsustainable level of disrepair in 2007. Within a few years, the university received  a much-needed facelift by renovating, upgrading, or replacing almost all electrical and mechanical systems, elevators, parking lots, streets, and signage systems.


The replacement and modernization of the outmoded information technology infrastructure and ERP system, and the complete redesign and modernization of the university’s website, which has improved its world-wide presence and visibility.


The initiative to improve GSU’s global engagement in a strategic manner, which led to the increase in international student enrollment from about 75 in 2012 to more than 400 in 2016. This dramatic increase has contributed at least $10 million in tuition and fees to GSU’s operating revenues.


The complete renovation of the E / F Wing, through which GSU’s dilapidated science instructional and research labs were completely upgraded and modernized.


The successful initiative to develop on-campus student housing in four-phases, which resulted in the design and construction of  Prairie Place as its first phase.


The initiative to introduce competitive athletics, and the completion of the associated facility improvements to make it possible.


The initiative to reorganize, staff, and finance GSU’s marketing and communication operations, which has dramatically improved the university’s market presence and effectiveness.


Through careful and strategic management of GSU’s finances, GSU was able to renovate computer labs and the library and to set aside significant reserves to help GSU survive the budget impasse.


Launching the Strategic Enrollment Task Force sets an agenda for restoring enrollment after the budget crisis.