Wednesday, April 30, 2014

State offers no help, local colleges pick up veterans tuition tab

Attending college is a dream for many military members once they return home from service. In Illinois, veterans can get their tuition paid for by the state, but now the state legislature is letting that promise slip away.

Colleges across the state are now paying for veterans' tuition. While officials say they don't mind covering the cost for those who risked their life for our freedom, frustrations are growing with state government.

The University of Illinois Springfield spent $1.3 million on veterans' tuition last year.

"These men and women have provided a service and this was a promise that was made to them when they enlisted," said Carolyn Schloemann from the Office of Financial Assistance at UIS.

Now it's a broken promise by the state of Illinois, who is struggling with a budget deficit of their own. Legislators cut funding to higher education, further increasing the frustrations of state colleges.

"Would we like for the governor or legislators to work towards putting more dollars into higher education, yes," said Schloemann.

The story was reported by WICS-TV 20 on April 29, 2014.

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Monday, April 28, 2014

Walgreens exec, alum is UIS commencement speaker

A top Walgreens executive and University of Illinois Springfield alum will be the speaker at the university’s commencement exercises on May 17.

Donovan Pepper, national director of local government relations for Walgreens, will address the 732 students participating in the ceremony. A total of 1,311 students are eligible to graduate.

Pepper is responsible for local legislative and lobbying efforts for the Deerfield-based drugstore chain at the municipal and county levels in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

He earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political studies from UIS. As a student leader in the early 1990s, he was so highly regarded as Student Government Association president that his peers renamed the student leadership award after him while he was still a student. For the past 20 years, the SGA leader who demonstrates the most outstanding leadership earns the Donovan Pepper Award.

Springfield business leader Evelyn Brandt Thomas will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at the ceremony. She is the co-owner of BRANDT, a multimillion-dollar international agriculture company based in Springfield.

At age 90, Brandt Thomas continues to have an active role in the business, going to work nearly every day.

The story was featured by The State Journal-Register on April 28, 2014.

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UIS event raises awareness of sexual assault

Students at the University of Illinois Springfield held a rally and candlelight march Friday night to protest rape and all forms of violence against women.

It’s the seventh year at UIS for the annual Take Back the Night rally and march aimed at empowering people to reclaim their right to feel comfortable and safe in the evening hours.

Lynn Otterson, director of the Women’s Center at UIS, said that while someone can be raped at any age, most victims are in the 18- to 24-year-old range, which includes most college students.

The story was featured by The State Journal-Register on April 26, 2014.

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Exonerated football player guest at Innocence Project dinner

A former high school football star who spent five years in prison after being falsely accused of rape is the special guest at the Illinois Innocence Project’s awards dinner next month.

In 2002, Brian Banks was a 17-year-old high school junior in his hometown of Long Beach, Calif., and had orally committed to continue his football career at the University of Southern California.

But after being accused of kidnapping and rape by a classmate, he spent five years in prison before having his conviction overturned in 2012 after he secretly recorded his accuser admitting that she had made up the rape story.

After his release from prison, Banks tried to resurrect his football career and attended several NFL teams’ mini-camps before signing with Las Vegas of the United Football League. The league suspended its season in October 2012, however, and Banks signed with the Atlanta Falcons of the NFL in spring 2013. He made two tackles in a preseason game before being released by the club on Aug. 30, 2013.

Justin Brooks, director of the California Innocence Project, was the attorney who helped exonerate Banks. He will be honored with the Illinois Innocence Project’s Defender of the Innocent Leadership award at the May 3 dinner at the President Abraham Lincoln Doubletree Hotel.

Anthony Sassan, an attorney with the Crystal Lake firm Zukowski, Rogers, Flood and McArdle, will receive the project’s Pro Bono Award for more than 11 years of work on behalf of Pamela Jacobazzi.

The Illinois Innocence Project, which is part of the center for State Policy and Leadership at the University of Illinois Springfield, is working with Sassan to free Jacobazzi.

The story was featured by The State Journal-Register on April 27, 2014.

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Marsaglia leads UIS to fifth in GLVC women's golf

Casara Marsaglia shot a season-best, 3-over-par 75 on Sunday to tie for fifth individually and lead the University of Illinois Springfield to a fifth-place finish in the Great Lakes Valley Conference Women’s Golf Championship at Annbriar Golf Course.

Marsaglia, a Virden High School graduate who’s a graduate student at UIS, finished with a two-day total of 11-over-par 155. The finish earned her a spot on the 11-player All-GLVC Team, which was led by tourney champion Anastasia Carter of Southern Indiana. Carter finished at 1-over 145.

The Prairie Stars had a 323 total on Sunday, giving them a fifth-place two-day score of 649. Indianapolis won its third straight team championship, posting a 618 for a nine-shot win over Southern Indiana.

UIS senior Caitlin Osborn shot an 83 Sunday for a 163 total, tying for 19th place. Teammate Becca Ramirez, a Springfield High graduate, had an 81 Sunday for a 165 and tie for 26th. The Stars’ Jocelyn Matsen, a Rochester High graduate, had an 84 Sunday and tied for 29th.

The story was featured by The State Journal-Register on April 28, 2014.

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Stars' Smith sets record

Sophomore Alex Smith set the single-season strikeout record and the University of Illinois Springfield secured a berth in the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament in 6-3 and 6-0 wins over Wisconsin-Parkside.

Smith’s five strikeouts in the second game of the doubleheader gave her 121 on the season and put her above the previous record of 118 set by teammate Cheyanne Bowman last year. Smith also tied the single-season win record with her 15-11 pitching mark. She has four shutouts.

UIS (25-22, 16-16) won a tiebreaker over Rockhurst for a spot in the eight-team conference tourney.

The win was reported by The State Journal-Register on April 27, 2014.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

UIS baseball team rolls past Benedictine

With the regular season winding down, college baseball coaches are getting their teams prepared for the postseason.

A non-conference game between the University of Illinois Springfield and Benedictine University of Springfield at UIS Athletic Field on Tuesday gave them a tune-up before the final push through conference play.

UIS won 12-1 in eight innings. It was the first meeting between the teams since 2011 when the Stars won 6-3 in their inaugural season.

A trio of seniors powered the Stars at the plate. Infielder Nick Sanders went 2-for-5 with four RBIs. Infielder Blake Baker scored three runs, hit a double and had a RBI. Outfielder Adam Unes went 2-for-4 with a double.

The Prairie Stars (23-18) have nine games left before the postseason gets underway.

The win was featured by The State Journal-Register on April 23, 2014.

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Softball: Stars’ Amos hits game-winner

Jordyn Amos hit the game-winning RBI double in the University of Illinois Springfield’s 1-0 victory over McKendree in the second game of a Great Lakes Valley Conference doubleheader.

It was the third shutout for UIS sophomore pitcher Alex Smith. She struck out five and improved to 14-11. She needs to two strikeouts to tie sophomore teammate Cheyanne Bowman’s single-season record of 118 strikeouts. Smith is one win from tying the single-season win record of 15.

Amos hit a double in McKendree’s 3-2 win in the first game. Amos went 2-for-4 with a RBI for the Prairie Stars (23-22, 14-16).

The win was reported by The State Journal-Register on April 23, 2014.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

U of I asks state legislators to prevent retirement rush; could affect 200 at UIS

The University of Illinois board of trustees held a special meeting by video conference Friday afternoon to discuss a quirk in the state’s pension reform law that officials are worried could trigger major brain drain across the system’s three campuses this summer.

Because of an “unintended drafting error,” thousands of university employees hired before 2005 stand to lose a significant portion of their lifetime retirement income if they don’t retire before July 1, Avijit Ghosh, senior adviser to university president Robert Easter, told the board.

Chancellor Susan Koch said UIS has about 200 employees eligible to retire. Among those opting to do so, even though they’d prefer not to, are the math department head, the chief financial officer and the campus horticulturist, she said.

“Although, of course, the scale at the Springfield campus is different, the problem is the same,” Koch said.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on April 19, 2014.

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Friday, April 18, 2014

UIS, Beck plan camp for diabetic kids

University of Illinois Springfield senior Mallory Beck is a two-sport athlete who shows others living with diabetes what is possible. Now she’s taking that a step further.

Beck is the driving force behind the UIS Student-Athlete Advisory Committee’s Sports with Diabetes Day May 3 from 8:30 a.m.-noon at The Recreation and Athletic Center.

The event is for campers ages 6-16 who have diabetes. They will learn sports skills and ways to live healthy and active lifestyles. It costs $10 with the proceeds going to the American Diabetes Association.

Beck, 22, will draw upon personal experience. She was diagnosed with Type 1 juvenile diabetes in kindergarten. She is vice president of the SAAC and has managed her diabetes since fourth grade by wearing an insulin pump.

“I’ve experienced a lot through my sports career,” said Beck, who removes the pump when participating in sports.

“I learned how to manage my diabetes while participating in sports. Anything motivational I could have gone to would have been awesome. That’s where I got the idea.”

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on April 17, 2014.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

UIS baseball team hits 20-win mark

Lance LeBaron’s first home run of the season in the fourth inning broke a tie and sent the University of Illinois Springfield to a 5-3 victory against McKendree in the first game of a Great Lakes Valley Conference doubleheader Wednesday.

LeBaron’s two-run shot put UIS ahead 3-1. The Stars were up 5-1 in the sixth. UIS junior Kyle Schildroth struck out seven and allowed 11 hits over seven innings in his first career complete game. He leads the team in wins with a 5-1 record.

McKendree won 8-0 in the second game.

UIS has an overall record of 20-16 and is fourth in the GLVC East Division with a 12-12 mark. It is the first 20-win season for the Prairie Stars.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on April 17, 2014.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

UIS and Habitat for Humanity team up

A new home is in the works for a foster mother who's also a student at the University of Illinois Springfield. UIS and the Sangamon County Habitat for Humanity are teaming up for a "Youthbuild" to make this woman's dream come true.

Students spent Tuesday putting up all the exterior and interior walls for a house that will be owned by Barbara Bell, who is also a foster parent.

Due to recent rains, construction on the building got off to a late start, but that hasn't dampened anyone's spirits. More than 150 students are coming out in groups of roughly 15, over the course of this week.

The story was reported by WICS-TV 20 on April 16, 2014.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Susan Koch: UIS’ library is lively, digitally sophisticated

The following is a portion of a guest column written by UIS Chancellor Susan J. Koch. It was published in the April 13, 2014 edition of The State Journal-Register.

"One of my favorite locations on the University of Illinois Springfield campus is the Norris L. Brookens Library.

Dedicated in 1976, the library was the first permanent building on the campus. During the nearly four decades since its construction, the Brookens Library, like many other academic libraries, has been transformed to become much more that a repository and circulator of books.

Thanks in part to the strong leadership of Library Dean Jane Treadwell, the legendary hushed atmosphere is long gone and in its place is a lively, digitally sophisticated and entrepreneurial “learning commons” where professional librarians and peer support staff provide all manner of resources and services and make possible—for students, faculty, staff and visitors—the vibrant circulation of ideas.

And when you think of a librarian, what words come to mind? Quiet, stuffy, drab, timid, puritanical, strict, fastidious? Well, that’s another thing about libraries that has changed. Sarah Sagmoen, whose official title is director of Learning Commons and User Services, is a perfect example.

Sarah has just been named a 2014 “Mover and Shaker” by the American Library Association. This prestigious national recognition is given each year to 50 emerging leaders in the library profession who are innovative and creative and who are moving libraries ahead to be more relevant and to better serve library users."

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

UIS softball team tries to warm up in homestretch of season

The sun was shining and temperatures reached into the 60s Wednesday, when the University of Illinois Springfield softball team reveled in the great outdoors.

UIS has practiced outside once for almost every 12 games it has played. The Prairie Stars have 35 games under their belts, yet have practiced outdoors only three times, twice this week and once last week.

A break in the weather has made it possible for the Stars to finally take to their diamond two-thirds of the way through the regular-season schedule. An extended winter and wet weather had kept the Stars inside at The Hitting Center since January.

“Now that we’re outside and practicing, our defense has gotten a lot better,” UIS sophomore pitcher Cheyanne Bowman said. “Usually we are inside on turf and weren’t used to dirt so at the beginning we were a little shaky.”

The team was featured by The State Journal-Register on April 10, 2014.

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Prairie Stars beat Western Illinois

The University of Illinois Springfield’s Alex Bradley hit a two-run single in the fifth inning and was 4-for-6 with four RBIs in a 17-10 win over Western Illinois University.

UIS (18-12) raced to a 9-0 lead in the third inning. The 17 runs were a season high for the Stars.

Winning pitcher Kyle Schildroth had one strikeout and allowed four hits and one walk in three innings.

Adam Unes hit a two-run double in the first for the Prairie Stars, who lost four previous games to the Leathernecks (6-18). He was 3-for-5 and had three RBIs.

The win was reported by The State Journal-Register on April 10, 2014.

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Cloudy conditions cancel first UIS star party; more events set for April

Stargazers will be able to get a look at some of Earth’s celestial neighbors during upcoming Friday Night Star Parties at the University of Illinois Springfield.

The weekly parties were to start Friday night, but the first one had to be canceled because of cloudy conditions. Additional events are scheduled for April 11, 18 and 25 between 8 and 10 p.m. at the campus observatory on the roof of Brookens Library. The door for the observatory is on the southeast side of the library.

A typical star party begins with a presentation about galaxies, the sun and stars as people ascend the stairs to the observatory. On the roof observation deck, visitors can view the skies through telescopes and ask questions.

John Martin, associate professor of astronomy/physics at UIS, said that as long as the weather cooperates, Jupiter will be visible during all of April, and Mars will be visible at the end of the month.

Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, should be an interesting sight.

“Sometimes you can see the different-colored bands around its equator and atmosphere,” Martin said. “You can also see that it isn’t round. It’s oblate because it’s spinning so fast. You can also see that it has four bright moons.”

The event was featured by The State Journal-Register on April 5, 2014.

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

UIS faculty part of Springfield Art Association exhibition

The latest exhibition at Springfield Art Association is the new work of University of Illinois Springfield faculty. An opening reception is Friday, April 4, from 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Featured faculty artists include Brytton Bjorngaard, Shane Harris, Tim Kowalczyk, Allison Lacher, Mike Miller, Michael Prault, Megan Rigoni-McCormic, Jeff Robinson and Clay Stalter.

The event is in conjunction with the DEMO Project Opening Reception of UIS Professor of Art Mike Miller’s “Please to See You” exhibit. What’s unusual about Miller’s presentation is his use of a drone to get video and re-create a simulated paparazzi response to Abraham Lincoln’s probable attendance at an onsite Edward’s Place event in 1857.

DEMO Project is located on the grounds of Springfield Art Association. Both exhibits are on display throughout April.

The story was featured by the Illinois Times on April 3, 2014.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

UIS baseball team sweeps McKendree

Senior Adam Unes and junior Alex Bradley both hit two-run homers in the University of Illinois Springfield’s 6-3 win over McKendree in the first game of a Great Lakes Valley Conference baseball doubleheader Tuesday.

The Prairie Stars shut out McKendree 10-0 in the second contest.

UIS (17-8 overall, 10-4 in the GLVC) has seven wins in eight games.

Unes leads the conference with six home runs. His home run in the third inning of the first game gave UIS a 2-1 lead. McKendree tied the score at 2 in the bottom of the inning. Bradley’s home run in the fourth put UIS out front 4-2. The Stars held the lead the rest of the way.

Senior Jared Massengill finished 3-for-5 with one RBI.

In the second game, UIS freshman David Mead struck out seven, walked none and allowed four hits in four innings. Bradley went 2-for-4 with two doubles and had three RBIs.

The win was reported by The State Journal-Register on April 2, 2014.

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