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Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Office of the Controller. | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

Name: Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Office of the Controller.

Historical Note:

The Office of the Controller was an administrative office responsible for the collecting, handling, disbursing, and accounting for Southern Illinois University finances.  Various other offices reported to the Controller during its history, such as the Bursar, Disbursements, General Accounting, Methods and Procedures (now Records Management), and Payroll.  During its final years the Controller reported to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Administration.  The Office of the Controller was abolished at the October 11, 2001 meeting of the SIU Board of Trustees.

There was no Controller when Southern Illinois State Normal University began classes in 1874.  At that time the university’s fiscal affairs were handled by a Registrar, who was also a member of the Board of Trustees and of the faculty.  Professor Charles J. Jerome served as Registrar from 1874 until his retirement in 1890.  John Hull succeeded Jerome and served with the added title of Vice Regent until he was named SINU President in 1892.  Hull was followed by Daniel B. Parkinson who served as Registrar until he became SINU President in 1897.  Henry W. Shryock replaced Parkinson and was Registrar and Vice President until he became SINU President in 1913.

In 1917, the university shifted the management of fiscal affairs from the Registrar to the newly created office of the Business Manager.  Dr. Carlos Eben Allen and his assistant C. A. Lee had replaced Shyrock as Registrar.  Professor Richard V. Black, who was also head of the Commerce Department, served as the Business Manager and added the position of “institutional bookkeeper.”  Tracy L. Bryant, also in the Commerce Department, succeeded Black, who died in 1919, as Business Manager.  In 1926, Edward V. Miles became the Business Manager and held the position until his retirement in 1958.

The first attempt to create the position of Controller occurred in 1951, the result of the Klein Report and increased interest from the Board of Trustees to monitor university finances.  The position eventually created was Vice President for Business Affairs, filled by Dr. George H. Hand in June 1952, who reported to the SIU President.  Miles of the Business Office reported to Hand, as did Physical Plant (William A. Howe), the University Architect (Charles Pulley), the Personnel Office (Max M. Sappenfield), and Auxiliary Enterprises (Paul W. Isbell).  The Business Office continued as the primary unit responsible for university fiscal procedures and affairs, and served in an advisory role during budget preparation.  At this time the Bursar, Chief Accountant, Purchasing Agent, Auditor, and General Storekeeper reported to Miles, the Business Manager.

The Office of Business Affairs was reorganized in 1966.  The service functions were separated into Business Affairs – Services Division and the fiscal functions into Business Affairs – Fiscal Division.  The Services Division retained Physical Plant, University Architect, Personnel Office, and Auxiliary Enterprises.  Mr. C. E. Peebles was appointed Director of the fiscal division, which included Accounting, Bursar, Disbursement, Payroll, and Purchasing.  Both divisions reported to the Vice President for Business Affairs.  Peebles became Assistant to the SIU Chancellor in 1969.  At this time Board members and university officials believed there should be a controller responsible for the university’s finances, possibly in response to the University House controversy.  The Board of Trustees created the position of Comptroller (Controller) at the November 12, 1969 meeting.  However, this position remained in active until October 1971.  Peebles remained in charge of fiscal affairs while Assistant to the Chancellor.

Mr. Donald Arnold was appointed the first Controller on October 15, 1971 and served until 1972.  The position remained vacant from October 1972 until January 1974, when Mr. Dale Knight was appointed Controller.  Under Knight, the university more formally centralized collection, handling, disbursement, and accounting of funds to be in compliance with the Illinois State Controller Act.  Knight resigned on September 30, 1974 and Mr. Jack Simmons became acting Controller until he was officially appointed in February 1975.  In 1977 Simmons became Internal Auditor and Charles Bernardoni succeeded him as Controller until February 1, 1984, when Jeff W. Holder was appointed to the position.

In 2001 the Board of Trustees sought to reorganize the Associate Vice Chancellor for Administration and the units reporting to it, which included Controller, Purchasing, General Accounting, Accounts Payable, Payroll, and Human Resources.  At this time Payroll, General Accounting, and Accounts Payable were under the Controller’s Office.  To reduce administrative bureaucracy, the Board abolished the Office of the Controller at its October 11, 2001 meeting.  As a result, Payroll reported to the Director of Human Resources, Accounts Payable and Purchasing were merged into a single unit, and along with General Accounting, began reporting to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Administration.


Alumni Association.  Quarter Centennial Anniversary Souvenir of the Southern Illinois State Normal University.  Carbondale, IL: Carbondale Free Press, 1899.

George K. Plochmann.  The Ordeal of Southern Illinois University.  Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 1959.

Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees.  Annual Report of the Board of Trustees: 1969-1970.  Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University, Board of Trustees, 1970.

Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees.  Annual Report of the Board of Trustees: 2001-2002.  Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University, Board of Trustees, 2002.

Note Author: Matt Gorzalski

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