Dakota State University (DSU) in Madison, SD, on Saturday, May 7, 2016. Koch will also be presented an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree during the ceremony.
Koch was born and raised in Madison. She earned a bachelor’s degree with honors from DSU in 1971 where her father, William Bulfer, was a faculty member, coach and administrator for more than 30 years. She earned graduate degrees in Community Health and Education from the University of Northern Iowa (UNI). Koch and her husband, Dennis, also a DSU alumnus, raise and show purebred Angus cattle.
Appointed UIS chancellor in 2011, Koch has overseen significant enrollment increases, growth in NCAA Division II Athletics, and development of several new academic programs including Information Systems Security, Athletic Training, Exercise Science and Biochemistry. Koch led the successful completion of the Brilliant Futures Campaign, surpassing its $28 million fund-raising goal for scholarships and university initiatives. She and her advancement team have raised more than $5 million for a new student union currently under construction.
Koch is an active member of the Springfield community, serving on the Memorial Health Systems and United Way of Central Illinois boards of directors. She writes a popular monthly column for The State Journal Register. Last fall, Koch received the newspaper's inaugural Educator Legacy Award, a recognition to honor extraordinary leadership in education in Sangamon County.
In addition to leading UIS as chancellor, Koch also serves as a vice president of the University of Illinois, assisting the president and Board of Trustees in guiding operations of the University of Illinois system that serves more than 80,000 students and includes 25,000 employees. Before her appointment at the University of Illinois, Koch was provost at Northern Michigan University, associate provost and graduate dean at the University of Northern Iowa, and a professor at UNI. Her scholarship and teaching focuses on health education, conflict resolution, and health and human rights.