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Scientist secures top university job.

Byline: Robin Turner Reporter robin.turner@walesonline.co.uk

WELSH space scientist Tim Killeen has landed an out of this world job - after getting one of the biggest jobs in American academia.

Dr Killeen, 62, originally from Cardiff, has been named president of the University of Illinois, Chicago, in a role which will see him overseeing 78,000 students and a $5.6bn (PS3.5bn) budget with a $600,000 (PS380,000) basic salary which could rise to more than $700,000 (PS450,000) with bonuses.

The top academic has spent three decades working in public higher education and earned his doctorate in atomic and molecular physics when he was just 23 at the University of London. As well as a massive salary and an on-campus mansion and city condominium, the university also will provide him with a chauffeur-driven car.

Before joining the State of New York's Research Foundation, he worked as an assistant director for geosciences at the National Science Foundation in America which provides about 25% of research funding to US colleges and universities.

Dr Killeen's wife Roberta Johnson is executive director of the National Earth Science Teachers Association.

She also is a clinical professor of atmospheric and environmental sciences. The couple, who have three children, met at a science conference.

To relax, Dr Killeen reads history books and plays classical guitar.

He is learning some pieces by Paraguayan composer Agustin Barrios and recently finished a book about ancient European history.

"When I need a little break from other things, I go and play the guitar," he said.

Opening up on being named the university's 20th president, he added: "The University of Illinois, with its three distinctive world-class campuses, stands poised to build on its tremendous and ongoing history of accomplishment to envision and define the future of public comprehensive higher education.

"I will devote myself to this noble enterprise with every ounce of my energy and thank the board for its confidence in me."

Previously, Dr Killeen worked at the University of Colorado, as director for the National Centre for Atmospheric Research, and spent 20 years as a faculty member and researcher at the University of Michigan, where he was also research vice president.

Among the university's alumni are Steve Chen, one of the founders of YouTube and astronaut Scott Altman, who commmanded the mission to repair the Hubble telescope.

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Timothy Killeen has been named president of the University of Illinois in Chicago, |overseeing more than 70,000 students and a budget of $5.6bn

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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Nov 22, 2014
Words:420
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