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From 1941 (when the Universities Retirement System was created by law) to 1953, the University of Illinois had its own advisory committee to advise the president on retirement system matters. The president then referred specific recommendations to the Board of Trustees of the Retirement System.

In 1953, the committee was expanded at the request of the Board of Trustees of the Universities Retirement System to include representatives of all institutions that would insure full representation of all employers and proper communication to the heads of the various institutions covered by the System.

A conference was held and it was proposed and approved that a committee of 17 persons be established which would be advisory to the Board of Trustees of the University Retirement System. Distribution of membership was based on the percent of total participants, with the individual member to be determined by the president or head of each employer.

In 1966, a committee was appointed to study the problem of reapportioning the membership of the Employees Advisory Committee to the Board of Trustees of the Retirement System.

The committee agreed that there should be equal representation from all institutions up to a predetermined size and that this representation should consist of approximately the same number of faculty members and nonacademic members. It was recommended that institutions with less than 5,000 participants in the retirement system would be entitled to one academic and one nonacademic representative to the Employees Advisory Committee. Institutions with more than 5,000 participants in the retirement system would be entitled to two academic and two nonacademic representatives. Further representation could be considered for any institution that had more than 8,000 participants in the retirement system. Community colleges would have both academic and nonacademic representation. This became effective on January 1, 1967.

In 1971, membership on the committee was expanded to include a retiree representative from the State-Wide Annuitants Association. In 1974, representation was increased to two.

On October 14, 1992, the Employees Advisory Committee approved changing the name of the committee to the SURS Members Advisory Committee (SURSMAC).