Monday, May 15, 2017

UIS graduates set example by getting degree

More than a dozen family members cheered Saturday as Duane Willingham, 21, walked across the stage at the Prairie Capital Convention Center and became the first person in his family to earn a college degree.

Willingham was one of 1,270 University of Illinois Springfield graduates to participate in commencement ceremonies at the convention center. He majored in sociology and anthropology and hopes to have a career in higher education.

Already, Willingham’s trailblazing role as the first in his family to graduate from college has turned him into a role model for family members and people in his south Chicago neighborhood.

Speaking just before the commencement ceremony, Willingham said he appreciates the opportunity to talk other people about the advantages of a college education. “The things you learn in college, you can’t get anywhere else,” Willingham said. “I talk to old high school friends, people in my community and church. A lot of them haven’t seen people go to college and come back with a degree. I’ve had the awesome opportunity of telling them they can do it.”

Denise Sagendorph, 25, of Palatine also is the first person in her family to earn a college degree. She took online courses from UIS and never actually stepped foot on the campus. She earned a degree in computer science in 4 1/2 years while working and raising her daughter, now 7.

While Sagendorph took classes online, Willingham attended classes in Springfield. He said he liked the small campus atmosphere of UIS.

UIS Chancellor Susan Koch said she was especially proud of students like Willingham and Sagendorph. “My final message, to all of the graduating students, is that I’m proud of you. Every single student has a story to tell,” Koch said. “There has been a moment of adversity somewhere along the line and there has been a great challenge somewhere along the line. Every one of these students, some more than others, have really been determined.”

Out of 1,700 students eligible to graduate at UIS, the 1,270 students who participated in commencement marked the largest in UIS’ history. To accommodate the large number, the university opted for two separate ceremonies instead of one large event.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on May 13, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

View commencement photographs from The State Journal-Register online.

Susan Koch: Lives transformed by UIS experience

The following is an excerpt from a column by University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor Susan Koch. This column appeared in The State Journal-Register on May 13, 2017.

"Today’s UIS Perspectives column appears just hours after the 2017 University of Illinois Springfield commencement. With 1,250 students crossing the stage at the Prairie Capital Convention Center in two separate ceremonies, UIS’ 46th commencement celebrated the largest graduating class in school history, and it was a memorable day for graduates and their families. Like every other faculty and staff member, I’m proud of our graduates — each of whom has worked with such determination to earn his or her University of Illinois degree. 

Among the many smiling graduates shaking my hand on the commencement stage was Jeremy Embalabala, who is now a two-time UIS graduate in computer science. Jeremy completed his master’s degree online at the same time he was employed at Horace Mann as a member of the corporate security team. 

“I decided to pursue my master’s degree because I wanted to challenge myself from a technical perspective,” says Jeremy. “The flexibility of online was key for me. I appreciated being able to take courses from professors with real-world experience who are on the cutting edge of implementation and execution. Thanks to the online program, I could go to work, come home and play with my kids, and then work on my online coursework.” 

Jeremy recently accepted a new position at HUB International in Chicago (a global insurance broker) where he is director of security architecture. 

Nathan Hoffman, a political science major from Springfield, and Noah Sisson, a business management major from Virden, may not know each other, but they have more in common than being in the same graduating class. Both came to UIS looking for opportunities to pursue their passions — Nathan for public service and Noah for business entrepreneurship. “I owe much of what I’ve learned at UIS to several outstanding professors, including Dr. Adriana Crocker and Dr. Richard Gilman-Opalsky,” says Nathan. Noah echoes that same sentiment. “Professors Nathan Steele and Bruce Sommer are both great teachers,” he reports. “Dr. Steele’s class on negotiations helped me successfully negotiate the purchase of a piece of land, and I’ve worked with Bruce to develop the concept for a firefighter accountability system — new technology to track a firefighter’s location inside a burning building.” Besides being a full-time student, Noah is a farmer, small business owner and EMT/firefighter. 

The mission of the University of Illinois is to “transform lives and serve society.” I am confident the lives of Jeremy, Nathan and Noah have, indeed, been transformed by their UIS experience. I’m also confident they, like the thousands of other 2017 graduates of all three University of Illinois campuses, will serve society in productive ways across Illinois and around the world for many years to come. 

Congratulations, graduates. We’re proud of you."

Read the entire column online.

Women's Soccer: UIS soccer season shapes up as new coach finalizes squad

Everything is new for the University of Illinois Springfield's women's soccer team: a new coach, new players and a new season.

Head coach Erin Egolf is also hoping for a new (and improved) record after the Prairie Stars finished four games below .500 last year. "I expect our program to do exceptional things," she told the Sangamon Sun. "This team has a lot of potential, and I think we can certainly achieve a lot. I expect this program to achieve success on the field and in the classroom, and this fall is shaping up to be an enjoyable season. This is an outstanding group of girls already, and I am excited to add our new players into the mix. The future is bright for UIS women's soccer, and I am looking forward to the upcoming season."

Egolf, who played soccer at UIS, was a three-time Great Lakes Valley Conference all-league selection and an assistant with the Prairie Stars for three seasons. She said she has big expectations in her first year at the helm, hoping to help her players perform well both on and off the soccer field.

This story appeared in the Sangamon Sun on May 14, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Men's Baseball: UIS baseball gets first postseason win

The University of Illinois Springfield’s offense came alive and with the help of pitcher Brayden Jensen, the Prairie Stars upset No. 24 Southern Indiana 7-1 in an elimination game at the Great Lakes Valley Conference Baseball Championship Friday.

It is the first postseason win in program history for UIS.

Jensen gave up a run in the top of the first inning, then retired seven of the next eight batters and did not allow another hit until the fourth. After allowing a hit in the fourth, he retired 14 consecutive batters. Jensen improved his pitching record to 7-0 with two strikeouts and one walk in eight innings. He gave up six hits.

Zach Patterson’s two-run single gave UIS a 2-1 lead in the fourth. Cole Taylor’s two-run home run in the seventh made it 5-1. Trey Hannam hit a two-run homer in the eighth. The Stars out hit Southern Indiana 16-7.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on May 12, 2017.

Read the entire story online.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Men's Baseball: Seven from UIS earn GLVC honors

Three University of Illinois Springfield players were honored on the Great Lakes Valley All-Conference Team on Wednesday, and four more made the second team.

Senior outfielder Trey Hannam, junior first baseman Michael Rothmund and junior shortstop Cole Taylor each made the first team.

Sophomore pitcher Adam Gregory, junior second baseman Myles Hann, junior pitcher Ethan Howard and senior outfielder Austin Muench were all named to the second team.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on May 10, 2017.
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Men's Golf: Stars’ Supak shoots school-record 64 at regional

University of Illinois Springfield senior Talon Supak shot a school-record 8-under-par 64 Wednesday in the final round of the NCAA Division II Central/Midwest Regional and tied for fourth.

Supak recorded a three-day total of 13-under-par 203 at Awarri Dunes Golf Course.

Supak just missed returning to nationals for the second straight year. He was the third-highest individual player. He put himself in the running with an unforgettable round that included two eagles and five birdies.

Supak, who started on No. 1, had eagles on the eighth and 12th holes. He had birdies on Nos. 1,7,9, 15 and 18. Supak opened the 54-hole tournament with rounds of 69 and 70.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on May 10, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Men's Baseball: UIS baseball splits doubleheader

James Battley had two hits, including a home run and two runs scored as the University of Illinois Springfield baseball team won the first game of a doubleheader over Indianapolis on Monday, 5-4. 

Michael Rothmund also homered for UIS. Adam Gregory got the pitching win, throwing five innings while giving up four hits while striking out three.

Jensen Brayden pitched the final four innings to earn his second save.

UIS was shut out in the second game 2-0.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on May 8, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Talon Supak ready to defend his NCAA regional title

University of Illinois Springfield senior Talon Supak looks to win his second straight NCAA Central/Midwest Regional Title.

Supak, one of five individual golfers selected, will tee off Monday morning in Axtell, Nebraska.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on May 7, 2017.

Watch the story online.

University of Illinois at Springfield faculty ends strike

University of Illinois at Springfield administration and faculty have reached a tentative contract agreement, ending a dayslong strike that fell on the last week of spring classes, both sides announced late Sunday.

UIS United Faculty, which represents about 160 tenured and tenure-track professors, went on strike last Tuesday. Striking instructors did not teach classes or hold office hours during the walkout, though university and union officials could not say how many classes were affected.

The strike is over," UIS Chancellor Susan Koch and union President Lynn Fisher said in a joint statement. "We are so glad to be finishing this academic year on a strong note, with the largest-ever graduating class receiving their diplomas on May 13. As we move forward, we will continue working together to realize more of the aspirations of our students, faculty and all those who belong to our university family."

No details of the tentative contract were released.

The final agreement needs to be ratified by a union vote, which Fisher said will take place before the end of the semester Saturday.

This article appeared in the Chicago Tribune on May 8, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Downtown shuttle for UIS students wraps up first semester

Robert Ewa sat in the parking lot of University of Illinois Springfield’s recreation center Friday night with the lights of his 16-passenger van flashing, waiting to shuttle college students looking to experience Springfield’s nightlife to downtown and back. “Some weekends, it’s crazy,” said Ewa, with more than a dozen students lining up for a ride each hour. “And then some weekends, maybe there’s other events, I carry only three (passengers).”

This past weekend marked the end of the semester-long test run for the free service that ran every hour between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.

UIS Student Government Association, several bars and Downtown Springfield Inc. sponsored the shuttle. Student government members said it went well and the incoming president is considering continuing the service in the fall.

Meanwhile, a couple of bar owners say they’d be on board to support the shuttle next semester as well. “This was more of test phase to see if students would be interested in it, and we found they are,” said outgoing student government president Austin Mehmet, who worked with downtown establishments and DSI to set up the service.

Knowing the shuttle is there for students to use was one hurdle in its first semester. Ewa said some passengers found out about the service from others who had used it.

The student government association put $3,000 of its $10,000 budget toward the shuttle, according to Mehmet. It’s up to the incoming government to decide whether to allocate the same chunk next semester. Garrett Nimmo, the incoming student president, said he’d be open to funding it again if students are interested, but he’s also heard about another transportation need on campus.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on May 7, 2017.

Read the entire article online.


UIS administrators, professors reach agreement; strike ends

Final exams will begin as scheduled at the University of Illinois Springfield on Monday after school administrators and the union that represents tenured and tenure-track professors reached a tentative agreement that will end the strike that kept instructors out of the classroom since Tuesday.

The deal was reached Sunday evening after three days of long bargaining sessions, including a meeting that went from 9 a.m. Saturday until 1 a.m. Sunday.

“This is a step forward in bridging the gap between faculty members and administration.” Exact terms of the agreement won’t be released until the contract is ratified by the union, UIS spokesman Derek Schnapp said.

UIS’ commencement ceremonies are scheduled for Saturday at the Prairie Capital Convention Center. “We are so glad to be finishing this academic year on a strong note, with the largest-ever graduating class receiving their diplomas on May 13,” UIS Chancellor Susan Koch said in a statement. “As we move forward, we will continue working together to realize more of the aspirations of our students, faculty and all those who belong to our university family.”

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on May 7, 2017.

Read the entire story online.

Friday, May 5, 2017

UIS takes back the night

The University of Illinois Springfield rallied against sexual violence at the 10th annual Take Back the Night event, held on April 28. Protesters gathered at the colonnade at 8:30 p.m. to march around campus, followed by a rally at the Lincoln Residence Great Hall.

The event, organized by the UIS Women’s Center and the Department of Residence Life, featured testimonies read by students, faculty and staff.

Campus sexual assault is pervasive. According to a 2015 report by the Association of American Universities, 23.1 percent of female undergraduate students and 5.4 percent of male undergraduate students experience rape or sexual assault through violence, physical force or incapacitation.

“The best part of Take Back the Night is that it brings everyone together,” said Lynn Otterson, Director of the UIS Women's Center. “Even if it’s not a lot of us, the event helps us understand that we have the same connections and that we have that sense of togetherness to go through these issues.”

This story appeared in The Illinois Times on May 4, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Three UIS softball players earn GLVC honors

University of Illinois Springfield softball players Jaycee Craver, Amanda Gosbeth and Katie Wooldridge received All-Great Lakes Valley Conference honors Wednesday.

Craver, a sophomore pitcher, and Gosbeth , a senior catcher/outfielder, were named to the second team. Craver had a 2.95 earned run average and a 10-9 record in the regular season.

Gosbeth hit .350, had 29 RBIs and 13 stolen bases and is a James R. Spalding Sportsmanship Award nominee. 

Wooldridge, a junior third baseman, appeared on the third team. She hit a team-high .355.

This is the fourth time in program history UIS has had three players named to the all-GLVC team.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on May 3, 2017.

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

UIS professors hit picket line; many classes called off

University of Illinois Springfield professors, both active and retired, and students formed a picket line Tuesday morning as members of the instructors’ union went on strike. Meanwhile, many students roamed the campus wondering how the remaining few days of the spring semester will play out, with final exams scheduled to start next week and graduation day coming May 13.

“My thoughts are in support of the faculty, but at the same time, I feel it’s kind of bad timing with finals week going on and a lot of the stress the students are under,” said Crystal Summerrise, a 19-year-old UIS freshman from Chicago.

“The cancellation of class has kind of put us at a halt.” University of Illinois Springfield United Faculty, the union that represents 168 tenured and tenure-track professors, announced Monday night they were going on strike after a seven-hour bargaining session earlier in the day didn’t produce an agreement.

Jon Welton, a 20-year-old freshman from the Decatur area, read the signs and wondered why the professors didn’t stay in the classroom and teach. “If you look at this from the outside, if you are here for the students, I feel that you would be teaching and fighting your battle on your own time,” Welton said. “If you’d rather be teaching, nobody has required you to come out here and protest. You could be teaching your class, in my eyes.”

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on May 2, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Women's Softball: Stars seeded sixth in GLVC tourney

The University of Illinois Springfield is the No. 6 seed for the eight-team Great Lakes Valley Conference Softball Championship Tournament starting Thursday in East Peoria.

UIS opens the double-elimination, three-day tourney against third-seeded Missouri-St. Louis Thursday at noon at EastSide Centre.

The Prairie Stars opened GLVC regular-season play with a split against the then No. 17 Tritons. Missouri-St. Louis won the first game 4-3 in 10 innings.

UIS won the second game 6-1. UIS is in the tournament for the first time since going 1-2 at the 2015 tournament.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on May 1, 2017.

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Men's Baseball: UIS baseball sets program record for wins

The University of Illinois Springfield set the single-season record for wins with an 11-5 victory over Saint Joseph’s in the second game of a Great Lakes Valley Conference doubleheader at Lenz Field Monday.

The win was the Prairie Stars’ 29th of the season, surpassing the 28 wins they had in the 2016 and 2014 campaigns. It also clinched a spot for UIS in the GLVC Baseball Championship Tournament. 

Brayden Jensen was the winning pitcher with eight strikeouts and two walks in eight innings.

UIS’ Cole Taylor was 4-for-5 with two doubles and had three RBIs. Michael Rothmund also drove in three runs for the Stars.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on May 1, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Men's Baseball: UIS baseball ties school record for most wins in a season

The University of Illinois Springfield had to move its game with St. Joseph's from the UIS Baseball Field to Lenz Field in Jacksonville.

The Prairie Stars split the double header 5-4 & 5-4.

UIS moves to 28-16 on the season and ties the school record for most wins in a single season.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on April 30, 2017.

Watch the story online.

UIS holds 10th annual "Take Back The Night" event

The Women’s Center and Residence Life at the University of Illinois Springfield held the 10th annual “Take Back the Night” to raise awareness about sexual assault.

The candlelit march went through campus, ending with a rally at Lincoln Residence Hall.

The theme for this year's event was "Be the Change."

This story appeared on WICS Newschannel 20 on April 28, 2017.

Watch the story online.

Local college commencements feature sports, business, government leaders

Ed Curtis, president and chief executive officer of Memorial Health System, will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters from the University of Illinois Springfield, which will hold two commencement ceremonies on May 13, both at the Prairie Capital Convention Center.

The 12:30 p.m. ceremony is for students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences while the 5:30 p.m. ceremony is for students in the College of Business and Management, College of Education and Human Services and College of Public Affairs and Administration.

Curtis, who began his career as a registered nurse, has made Memorial Health System, which includes seven affiliates, “a premium health care destination,” according to the award. Under Curtis’ leadership since 2008, the health system’s annual revenue has doubled to $1 billion.

Curtis currently chairs the Illinois Health and Hospital Association Board. He has served Springfield in volunteer leadership roles with several community organizations, including the Springfield Urban League, United Way of Central Illinois and Central Illinois Foodbank.

Kristi Barnwell, assistant professor of history, will serve as the grand marshal for both ceremonies.

The student speaker is Alexander William Camp, who will graduate with a master’s degree in public affairs reporting. He will address both graduations.

Both ceremonies will be webcast live at www.uis.edu/technology/uislive/.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 30, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

UIS students raise money for Hazel Dell school

Annette McCarthy of Auburn was tapping into her creative side Wednesday night during a special art fundraiser for Hazel Dell Elementary School.

The fundraiser, “Canvas with a Cause,” was organized by the 18 University of Illinois Springfield graduate students in the Social Justice and Advocacy class, which is part of the Human Development Counseling program. The students wanted to raise money for school supplies for Hazel Dell, and also shine a light on the inequities of public education funding for low-income schools.

Wednesday’s fundraiser was held at the Aqua Sports Club on Lake Springfield. The students raised about $700 to be used so Hazel Dell can buy school supplies such as notebooks, dry erase markers and an overhead projector.

Hazel Dell was singled out because its location at 850 West Lake Shore Drive is close to the UIS campus.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on April 27, 2017.

Read the full story online. 

UIS baseball, softball teams earn regional ranking

The University of Illinois Springfield baseball team has earned a regional ranking for the first time in program history.

UIS is No. 10 in the first Midwest Regional rankings released Wednesday.

The Prairie Stars are tied with Southern Indiana for first place in the Great Lakes Valley Conference East Division. UIS is 27-15 overall and 15-5 in the conference.

Meanwhile, the UIS softball team is No. 10 in the Midwest Region rankings released Wednesday.

The Prairie Stars (29-21) have swept four straight Great Lakes Valley Conference doubleheaders and are on a nine-game win streak.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on April 27, 2017.

Read the full story online.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Men's Baseball: UIS 1B Michael Rothmund earns GLVC award

University of Illinois Springfield junior Michael Rothmund has been named the Great Lakes Valley Conference Player of the Week and is the first player in program history to earn the weekly honor. 

The first baseman from Lombard hit .579 and was 11-for-19 in five wins last week. He hit a home run, two triples, two doubles and five RBIs and scored seven runs. He had 20 total bases and a 1.053 slugging percentage. He had multiple hits in four games.

Rothmund leads the GLVC in home runs, RBIs and slugging percentage. He ranks second in runs scores and is in the top six in hits.

Rothmund hit a pair of two-run home runs and the University of Illinois Springfield beat MacMurray 18-14 at UIS Baseball Field Tuesday.

UIS built a 7-1 lead in the first inning. The Prairie Stars hit five home runs and finished with 21 hits in their sixth straight win. Rothmund and Troy Cantu had four RBIs each. Zach Patterson was 4-for-4. Austin Muench was 2-for-3 with two doubles.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 26, 2017.

Read the entire article online.


Monday, April 24, 2017

Women's Golf: Hill leads UIS to victory

The University of Illinois Springfield women’s golf squad won its home Spring Invite Sunday.

Brooke Hill led the Prairie Stars with a second-place finish in the 46-player field, shooting a four-over-par 76 to gain one of only three scores under 80 for the day.

UIS shot a team-best 640 over the two-day event, beating Lewis by four strokes and easily outpacing five other Great Lakes Valley Conference teams in the field.

Jocelyn Matsen carded a 77 on Sunday and Maria Espinosa had a 78.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 23, 2017.

Read this article online.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Men's Baseball: Ramirez picks up 100th baseball win at UIS

The University of Illinois Springfield baseball team blew open a close game with five runs in their half of the seventh for a 6-2 win over visiting Truman State.

It marked the 100th victory of coach Chris Ramirez’s career.

UIS trailed the Bulldogs 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh before Cole Taylor doubled down the left field line and came home on a Trey Hannam RBI single.

Hannam later scored on a sacrifice fly by Kenny Hansen to give UIS its first lead at 3-2. Drew Harper followed with his fourth home run of the season and the Prairie Stars were on their way to their sixth consecutive home victory.

The Prairie Stars improved to 22-15 overall.

This game was recorded in The State Journal-Register on April 19, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Innocence Project director to speak in Decatur on Wednesday

John J. Hanlon, executive director and legal director of the Illinois Innocence Project, at the University of Illinois Springfield, is slated to speak at the Macon County Criminal Justice Group meeting Wednesday.

Hanlon's primary duty with the Innocence Project is to work on cases in which it is believed there is a reasonable possibility that DNA testing could lead to a wrongfully convicted prisoner's exoneration. 

He has served as adjunct faculty for the Legal Studies and/or Criminal Justice departments at the University of Illinois Springfield since 2004.

This story appeared in the Herald and Review on April 17, 2017.

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Union faculty at University of Illinois Springfield authorize strike

Professors at the University of Illinois Springfield have voted to authorize a strike.

The vote does not mean that the 168 tenured and tenure-tracked faculty will definitely be walking off the job, but it does give union leaders the ability to call a strike if a settlement can’t be reached.

“We remain hopeful that the university will show some meaningful progress at our next bargaining session,” said Kristi Barnwell, associate professor of history and vice president of University of Illinois Springfield United Faculty, the teachers’ union. “We are waiting to see where things are going and how much progress we can make before we commit to actually going on strike.”

The two sides are scheduled to resume negotiations on Monday.

Professors at UIS can’t strike immediately because Illinois law has a 10-day cooling off period. The last day of class at UIS is May 6, and finals will be held the following week.

The university released a statement Friday that said, “While negotiations have been underway for some time, the university received UIS United Faculty’s first proposal on salary and wages just this Wednesday via email. It is now under review, and everyone involved is committed to reaching a fair initial contract as soon as possible.”

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on April 15, 2017.

Read the story online. 

Rochester's Collin Stallworth commits to UIS

Rochester High School senior forward Collin Stallworth committed to the University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball program Friday, marking the first time in many years that the Prairie Stars landed a local player.

UIS pulled off a big-time score getting Stallworth. The 6-foot-6 forward was a star wide receiver on Rochester’s Class 4A state championship team last fall, but passed on the option to play NCAA Division I football to pursue his dream of playing college basketball.

“I’ve always grown up wanting to play basketball (in college),” he said. “It was my dream. But I had some pretty big football schools talk to me. I wanted to give that consideration because it was big football schools, but I wasn’t in love with football like I was in love with basketball. I knew I had to play basketball in college. If I were to play football, I don’t think I would have fun.”

So even though football programs such as Illinois, Michigan State, Penn State, Minnesota, Northwestern contacted him, Stallworth stayed with basketball.

He informed UIS of his decision to play basketball for the Stars Friday afternoon. He expects to sign a national letter of intent on Monday.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on April 16, 2017.

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Baseball: Muench’s clutch hit helps UIS gain split

Austin Muench drove in the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth inning and the University of Illinois Springfield won the first game of a doubleheader split with Bellarmine Saturday in Great Lakes Valley Conference play.

Muench finished 2-for-4 and his single gave UIS a 3-2 lead before the Prairie Stars tacked on one more run in the inning. Adam Gregory (7-2) pitched eight innings for the win, striking out eight.

Bellarmine scored a run in the bottom of the seventh inning to defeat UIS 9-8 in the nightcap.

Myles Hann went 3-for-3 with two RBIs. The Prairie Stars are 21-15 overall and 11-5 in the GLVC.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on April 16, 2017.

Read the story online. 

Softball: Stars’ winning streak

Ali Haesele and Jaycee Craver each threw a complete game as the University of Illinois Springfield extended its winning streak to five games with 12-1 and 8-1 wins Saturday over Indianapolis in a Great Lakes Valley Conference doubleheader.

Crave (7-9) allowed seven hits and one earned run in Game 2. She struck out two and walked one. Erin Stroup (2-for-3) and BriAnna Edgar each hit home runs and Morgan Edwards finished 3-for-4 with an RBI for UIS.

The Prairie Stars (25-21 overall, 11-11 in the GLVC) won the opener in five innings. Haesele (14-6) struck out six, walked two and allowed four hits. Lakyn Wagoner went 3-for-4 and Edwards finished with a double and drove in three runs.

The story was featured by The State Journal-Register on April 17, 2017.

Read the story online.

Friday, April 14, 2017

UIS’ Ramirez closing in on 100 career wins

University of Illinois Springfield baseball coach Chris Ramirez is just three wins shy of 100 for his career.

He has 97 wins in four seasons. UIS had 20-plus win seasons in each of his first three years.

Ramirez has a chance to reach the milestone this weekend, with the Prairie Stars playing doubleheaders at Bellarmine today and Saturday. UIS plays Tuesday at home against Truman State.

UIS is tied with Southern Indiana for first in the Great Lakes Valley Conference East Division with a 9-3 conference record. The Stars are 19-13 overall.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on April 14, 2017.

Read the story online. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Close friendship brings Nelson to Prairie Stars

University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball coach Bill Walker has signed Gilwan Nelson, a player who already has a strong connection to the program.

The 6-foot-5 wing from Mount Vernon is a close friend of UIS sophomore forward Bahari Amaya, who is from Harrisburg.

Nelson played the previous two seasons at Olney Central College. He averaged a team-high 14.5 points as a sophomore. He also averaged 3.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists.

“He is a good scorer and will be able to score at this level,” Walker said. “His best value for us is he is so versatile offensively and defensively. He can guard any position on the floor.” Nelson is expected to give the Prairie Stars different defensive options. He is interchangeable and really values defense. That’s really the kind of guy what we needed.”

UIS is expected to return everyone except senior forward Paxton Harmon from last season’s 9-18 team.

This story was reported in The State Journal-Register on April 12, 2017.

Read the entire article online.


UIS looks to recruit more child advocates

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. The University of Illinois Springfield is working to recruit more students to help the most vulnerable.

The Sangamon County Child Advocacy Center officials said they see around five to seven kids a week suffering from child abuse.

During a UIS panel, students from the UIS child advocacy studies certification program discussed their experiences in this field. There were about a dozen agencies on hand to allow students to seek internships and possible employment in their offices.

CAST's (Child Advocacy Studies) clinical assistant professor Betsy Goulet told the students be prepared to do more with less funding. "I hoped by the time when I was at this point in my life we would have made greater strides," said Goulet.

CAST is one of three child advocacy programs in the country to earn approval from the national training center.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on April 12, 2017.

Watch the story online.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

UIS child advocacy program, one of three in the country

The University of Illinois Springfield is now one of only three child advocacy programs in the country to earn approval from the national training center.

The Child Advocacy Studies Program began at UIS in 2015, but has quickly established itself as top contender in educating child protection professionals.

UIS said it's an important milestone for the program, but it also benefits the students.

“They know that they have completed a certificate that meets a national standard and I think that says something for our program that we have modeled our curriculum after a national program," said Betsy Goulet, professor and clinical assistant.

UIS uses a simulation lab and as well as a mock courtroom on campus to teach students how to help children-at-risk.

This story aired on FOX Illinois on April 11, 2017.

Watch the story online.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Slammers baseball: Roster gets boost from pitcher Ortiz

The Joliet Slammers’ 2017 roster is beginning to take shape.

The addition of Joseph Ortiz, a former Cubs prospect who pitched in 32 major-league games for the Texas Rangers in 2013, is being counted on to help the Slammers build on a 2016 campaign where they won the Frontier League East Division championship.

The Slammers also have some area products who will make their Frontier League debuts this season. Zach Jones, a Northwestern graduate from Glenview, will play the outfield and first base for Isom. Maxwell Biedrzycki, a University of Illinois Springfield graduate and Plainfield native, will add depth to the Slammers’ pitching staff.

The 2017 Frontier League Tryout Camp and Draft will be held April 24-25 at GCS Ballpark, home of the Gateway Grizzlies. All 12 teams will be present, along with scouts from multiple major-league franchises. The Slammers open at home on Tuesday, May 16, against the Traverse City Beach Bums.

This story appeared in The Herald-News on April 10, 2017.

Read the story online.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Women's Softball: UIS bounces back for split

The University of Illinois Springfield smoldered in a 6-3 loss to host Lewis University, then busted out in a big way for a 13-3 win in the second game of GLVC doubleheader.

The Prairie Stars fell behind early in the first game and rallied to within 3-2 in the fourth inning on a homer by Morgan Edwards and an RBI double by Ali Haesele, but stranded runners at second and third to end the threat.

But in game two, it was the Stars — and especially sophomore Amanda Gosbeth — who came out hot. UIS dropped four runs on the Flyers in the top of the first inning and never trailed in the 13-3 win. Gosbeth went 4 for 4 with two homers, five RBIs and three runs scored to lead the way for UIS. Haesele also homered in the game.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 9, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Men's Baseball: Prairie Stars complete sweep of Lewis

The University of Illinois Springfield finished off its second four-game sweep of a Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) opponent this season, decking visiting Lewis University 7-2 and 9-4 in the home portion of the four-game series.

In game one, Myles Hann tripled in a pair of runs in the sixth to snap a 2-2 tie and Drew Harper soon followed with a three-run homer to give the Stars control. Adam Gregory improved his pitching record to 6-2 with a career-high nine strikeouts.

In game two, the Stars pounced in the first inning, with Trey Hannam doubling in the first run before Hann uncorked a three-run homer over center field. UIS led 6-0 before the Flyers could get on the board. Braden Jenson improved to 4-0 with six solid innings of work for UIS in the second game.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 9, 2017.

Read the entire article online.


UIS demonstrates ruck march for Central Illinois Food Bank

Saturday, the Military and Veterans Club at the University of Illinois Springfield held a military inspired ruck march to bring more awareness to student veterans.

Participants were asked to carry their donations in backpacks as they would in the military, then take on the UIS Cross Country Course, before dropping off their donations at the end for the Central Illinois Food Bank.

The club has plans to hold more food ruck drives down the road and want to make it bigger and better each year.

This story aired in WICS Newschannel 20 on April 8, 2017.

Watch the story online.

UIS students presenting their research at national conference

Eleven students from the University of Illinois Springfield are presenting their work this weekend at the 31st Annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research being held through Saturday at the University of Memphis in Tennessee.

Some of the students’ research is already being used to solve problems around the world. “I think the water quality in The Gambia will improve in the next few years,” said 29-year-old UIS student Shyleen Frost of Pleasant Plains. “They hadn’t measured water quality at some sites in 10 years, so we gave them the updated data from our samplings, and they are now implementing better structures for water-quality impact, and have issued directives for a lot of programs like trash disposal.”

“It’s really great to represent the university in a national conference like this,” added Frost, and although she would like to pursue a career in virology, she chose water quality in the west African nation as her undergraduate research topic because “water quality is important and applicable to the field, since it is pretty essential to life.”

Other UIS students taking part in this week’s conference -- which drew some 4,000 from across the country -- include Turner Clark of Swansea, Ebony Forslund, Amanda Monke and Gabriel Broughton of Springfield, Marquiera Harris, Chicago; Elizabeth Karras, Des Plaines; Alex Skarr, Naperville; Allie McIntire, Washington; and Nhan Khanh Le of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. They are accompanied by Tiffani Saunders, UIS sociology/anthropology lecturer, and Keenan Dungey, associate professor of chemistry and director of the Undergraduate Research Support Program. “For some students, this is their first time to present outside a classroom setting,” Dungey said. “It also gives them some professional connections and opportunities to look at graduate schools and what their future careers might be.”

Several of the students in Memphis this week will also present their research on the UIS campus at the annual Student Technology Arts and Research Symposium April 20-21.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 7, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Susan Koch: STARS symposium to present sustainability theme

The following is an excerpt from a column by University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor Susan Koch. This column appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 9, 2017.

Less than a year ago, the University of Illinois board of trustees approved a new strategic framework for the three universities in the UI system with the goal to reaffirm the central role that higher education plays in promoting the public good in Illinois and beyond.

One of four strategic pillars of our framework is “Research and Scholarship with Global Impact.” 

Research and scholarship, including creative work in the humanities and the arts, not only generate new knowledge of great value to our state and to society but also provide students with valuable opportunities to enrich their educational experiences.

Providing opportunities for students to collaborate with faculty one-to-one is a particularly strong feature of the University of Illinois Springfield student experience, and the results of those opportunities will be “front and center” this month at the STARS Symposium.

STARS stands for Student Arts and Research Symposium, and this annual event offers a rich array of presentations and performances by UIS students, each of whom has worked closely throughout the year with a faculty mentor to complete an individual research or creative project.

With a special symposium theme of “Sustainability,” this year’s event, co-chaired by Mike Miller, associate professor of visual arts, and Carolee Rigsbee, assistant professor of management, promises to be especially intriguing.

The program includes student presentations of more than 80 projects representing the natural sciences, the social sciences, the arts, business, the humanities and technology.

A special addition to the symposium this year is a field trip (by charter bus) to the Emiquon Nature Preserve floodplain restoration project on the Illinois River near Havana, where participants will be hosted by Field Station Director Dr. Tom Rothfus for a tour of the preserve and opportunities to learn about research that faculty and their students are conducting at the UIS Therkildsen Field Station. 

“STARS represents so much of what we try to do and be as UIS faculty,” says Rigsbee. “It is a community of faculty, students and staff supporting student scholarship. Having the opportunity to help students strengthen their skills and abilities so they can be more successful in their careers while at the same time advancing work in your own area of study is a win-win proposition.”

Read the entire column online.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Illinois Innocence Project: Judge vacates conviction in Naperville murder case

A DuPage County judge on Thursday ordered a new trial for a man convicted 20 years ago and sentenced to 45 years in prison for arson and murder in his mother-in-law's death.

The ruling vacated the conviction of William Amor, 60, who is imprisoned at the Taylorville Correctional Facility in central Illinois.

The ruling follows a weeklong hearing in December when Amor's attorneys presented new arson-related scientific evidence. He is represented by the University of Illinois Springfield's Illinois Innocence Project. 

Amor's conviction was based on a false confession and arson findings that are no longer scientifically reliable, his attorneys said in statement.

His attorneys said the false confession to police came after 15 hours of questioning and Amor's being served divorce papers at the station.

Amor's attorneys said evidence points to the fire being accidental.

"It is undisputed by the experts in this case that fire science has evolved, and it has changed to such an extent that the original findings in this case are unreliable," said Amor's attorney Lauren Kaeseberg, legal director of the Illinois Innocence Project Chicago office.

A hearing is scheduled April 13 to determine if Amor will be released or if prosecutors will appeal, Amor's attorneys said.

This story appeared in the Daily Herald on April 6, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Loves Park resident receives journalism award

Jeff Burnett of Loves Park recently received an honorable mention at the annual Illinois College Press Association competition.

Burnett is a member of The Journal, a student newspaper at the University of Illinois Springfield. Burnett received the award for his story about the Sangamon County Drug Court, which was published in the fall 2016 Journal magazine, Beyond.

This story appeared in the Rockford Register Star on April 5, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

UIS softball splits with McKendree

Ali Haesele hit the game-winning RBI single in the fourth inning and the University of Illinois Springfield won 4-3 against McKendree in a Great Lakes Valley Conference doubleheader Tuesday. 

She also struck out seven and walked none to earn the pitching win. McKendree won the second game 5-2. The Prairie Stars are 20-18 and 6-8.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 4, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

UIS names new dean of College of Public Affairs

University of Illinois Springfield has named the new Dean of the College of Public Affairs.

Robert Smith previously served as the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Savannah State University, and Chair of the Political Science Department at Kennesaw State University.

He is scheduled to start on July 16 and said he's excited about his new position.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on April 3, 2017.

Watch the story online.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Women's Softball: Stars’ Wooldridge, Gosbeth hit back-to-back walk-off homers

Katie Wooldridge and Amanda Gosbeth hit walk-off home runs in each game of a Great Lakes Valley Conference doubleheader and the University of Illinois Springfield swept Bellarmine Saturday.

With two out, Wooldridge hit her first collegiate home run in the seventh inning and UIS won 1-0 in the first game.

Gosbeth led off the seventh inning of the second game with her homer, lifting UIS to a 3-2 victory. Teammate BriAnna Edgar was 2-for-3.

UIS’ Jaycee Craver struck out seven and walked one in 6 1/3 innings.

UIS hosts a doubleheader today against No. 10 Southern Indiana at noon.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 1, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Men's Baseball: UIS baseball wins on walk-off

Cole Taylor hit a walk-off home run in the 10th inning and the University of Illinois Springfield won 4-3 against Southern Indiana in a Great Lakes Valley Conference doubleheader Saturday.

Southeast High School and Lincoln Land Community College graduate Mike Ringer was pitching for Southern Indiana when Taylor hit the home run.

Ringer took the loss after striking out two and walking one in 1 2/3 innings. He only gave up one hit and one run. The Stars and Screaming Eagles split their doubleheader.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 1, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

UIS announces deputy athletics director

Roy L. Brown III has joined the University of Illinois Springfield Department of Athletics as the deputy athletics director.

He will be responsible for leading the external affairs efforts. He is a native of New Orleans and graduated from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Brown was the senior associate director of athletics for external relations and oversaw marketing and communications at Towson University the past 3 ½ years.

Prior to Towson, Brown was the associate director of athletics for sports marketing and promotions for seven years at Fairfield University. At Southeastern Louisiana University, Brown was the assistant director of athletics for marketing and community relations.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 1, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Friday, March 31, 2017

How to protect your information from being sold

If President Donald Trump signs the bill congress just passed, Internet service providers (ISPs) like AT&T or Comcast would be able to collect your search history or location data and sell it to the highest bidder.

Students at the University of Illinois Springfield are working on an app to protect yourself, and there are steps you can take to be safe.

Students and faculty at UIS say the thought of service providers selling your data is scary.

"Private companies can sell your data already, but the fact that ISPs have direct access to your data because you go through them when you use the internet, and now they can sell your data," Brian Rogers said. "That is worrisome for me."

Computer science professor Ronald Loui says it's not just a privacy issue, it's a national security issue.

He's worried criminals will buy data and use it to blackmail people working in high security government jobs.

"We know you do this," Loui said. "We know your sexual preference. We know your medical history. We know some of your browsing habits. Your employer would not like that. Maybe you're not embarrassed, but your employer would be. And all we ask is what time they lock the doors at night."

The story was reported by WICS-TV 20 on March 30, 2017.

Read the story online.

UIS alumni men's soccer game set for April 29

The University of Illinois Springfield men's soccer program is hosting an alumni game at noon April 29 at Kiwanis Field.

The game is open to all men's soccer alumni. To participate, contact assistant coach Nate Gaudreault to register at ngaud2@uis.edu.

A senior soccer banquet will take place at Piper Glen Golf Club after the game from 3-6 p.m. Tickets cost $30 and include a meal. A cocktail hour is from 3-4 p.m. A silent auction will be held. To register, log on to www.uisprairiestars.com.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on March 31, 2017.

Read the story online.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

U of I students ask lawmakers for education funding

Wednesday, more than 200 students from the University of Illinois system's three universities met with legislators during U of I Day at the state capitol.

Students had the chance to meet with their elected representatives to encourage funding support for the U of I schools and pose for a picture.

University of Illinois President Timothy Killeen said this is a great opportunity to put a face on their key role in moving Illinois forward.

"We're talking to our legislators and we're basically asking them to please come together, put aside the games, put aside the proxy war about education and come together and make decisions that their constituents would benefit from," said Marvin Slaughter with the Student Advocacy Coalition.

Slaughter said he was at the statehouse on Wednesday to make sure good professors, research opportunities, internships, and more don't leave Illinois.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on March 29, 2017.
Watch the story online.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Women's Softball: Stroup, Stars beat Lindenwood

Erin Stroup hit a three-run triple in the fifth inning and propelled the University of Illinois Springfield to a 8-2 win against Lindenwood Tuesday.

The Prairie Stars scored six runs in the fifth. UIS' Allison Rose finished 3-for-4.

Katie Wooldridge had three RBIs for UIS.

This game was written up in The State Journal-Register on March 28, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

UIS teachers stage “work-in” to try and get first contract negotiated

It’s been 18 months since a faculty union formed at the University of Illinois Springfield, and there’s still no agreement in place.

So a small group of faculty members staged a work-in outside Chancellor Susan Koch’s office on Tuesday.

“We keep asking the chancellor — just like we’ve been asking her today — why are you not talking to us? Why will you not meet with leadership at the union to talk about the slow pace of bargaining?” says Kristi Barnwell, vice president of UIS United Faculty. “We’ll just keep putting the pressure on until we get this contract. We want something by the end of this semester."

For its part, a UIS spokesman says it’s their practice to negotiate at the bargaining table not in the media.

Full Statement from Derek Schnapp, UIS Spokesperson:
“The university administration is anxious to get a contract agreement just as faculty members are. Any time you craft a first contract with a newly formed union, negotiations take considerable time. It is the university’s practice to negotiate with all unions at the bargaining table rather than through the media, as we believe this is most conducive to constructive, good faith collective bargaining.”

This story aired on WTAX on March 28, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Concert-goer dies after falling at Sangamon Auditorium show

A Petersburg man injured Sunday night after falling a total of 25 feet in an area beneath the stage at the University of Illinois Springfield's Sangamon Auditorium has died.

Audience member John Kremitzki, 51, was pronounced dead at 12:18 p.m. Monday at Memorial Medical Center, the Sangamon County coroner's office announced Tuesday. An autopsy conducted Tuesday indicated that Kremitzki died from "blunt force" injuries related to the fall, Coroner Cinda Edwards said. Foul play isn't suspected. "I think it was a pure accident," Edwards said.

During an intermission of a performance of Brit Floyd, a Pink Floyd tribute show, Kremitzki, who had been sitting in the pit area with other audience members in front of the stage, fell to his knees, UIS spokesman Derek Schnapp said.

According to witnesses, Kremitzki tried to stand up and stumbled forward toward the stage's front, then "rolled through an opening in front of the stage," Schnapp said. A male audience member who was sitting near Kremitzki tried to help and went through the opening after him, Schnapp said.

The State Journal-Register confirmed that the name of the man trying to help was Greg Hoffman, a Springfield resident. "The two dropped approximately five feet, onto a ledge area beneath the stage," Schnapp said. "A third audience member followed them onto the ledge area to assist."

Kremitzki, who "appeared to be in distress," rolled off the ledge and, with the first audience member who followed him, fell about 20 feet "into a deeper space beneath the stage," Schnapp said. Edwards said Kremitzki had "some underlying medical issues" that she didn't describe. But she said the autopsy showed that Kremitzki apparently wasn't having a heart attack or stroke at the time of the incident. The third audience member remained on the ledge and called for help, Schnapp said. 

Kremitzki and the audience member who fell with him were transported by ambulance to the hospital, Schnapp said.

The UIS Police Department is handling the investigation, Schnapp said. "The entire Sangamon Auditorium family was saddened by the tragic accident on Sunday night," Sangamon Auditorium director Bob Vaughn said in a statement Tuesday. "We extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of John Kremitzki," Vaughn said. "We also extend profound gratitude to the first responders and those in the audience who did all they could to help Mr. Kremitzki. Our staff is cooperating fully with medical and law enforcement professionals to determine what happened and to ensure a positive experience for all of our guests."

This story was published in The State-Journal Register on March 28, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

College students speaking out on P.E. requirements in Illinois

Dozens of students from Illinois State University and the University of Illinois Springfield made sure they're voices were heard throughout the capitol Tuesday.

Not only to voice their concerns with P.E. requirements in schools but also to support a tax on high-sugar drinks.

Students from the health education field met individually with state senators and representatives to make sure their voice was heard.

"All of us advocate for the health, especially of young students, elementary school, middle school, high school, because that's where the habits that people have later in life truly form,” said Alex Simko, a junior at ISU.

This story aired on Fox Illinois on March 28, 2017.

Watch the story online.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Papini to be University of Illinois provost, vice chancellor

Dennis Papini, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at South Dakota State University since 2012, has accepted the position of vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost at the University of Illinois at Springfield. 

UIS made the announcement Friday. “I want to thank Dean Papini for his leadership and vision during his time at South Dakota State University,” said Dennis Hedge, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “He has led an effort to revitalize liberal arts education at our university in a way that allows students in his college and throughout the entire university opportunities to grow and fulfill their academic potential. We are thankful for his many accomplishments at SDSU and wish him well in his new endeavor.”

Papini came to SDSU from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where he chaired the Department of Psychology in the school’s College of Behavioral and Health Sciences. He has also served on the faculty at Western Illinois University, University of Arkansas-Fayetteville and Southeast Missouri University.

Papini’s new role at UIS will begin July 1.

This article appeared in the Brookings Register on March 28, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Men's Baseball: UIS baseball sweeps McKendree

The University of Illinois Springfield busted out the lumber and finished off a four-game sweep of McKendree with a pair of victories Sunday afternoon.

Trey Hannam went 4-for-4 with two homers, four RBI and three runs scored in the Stars' 6-4 win in game one.

Michael Rothmund connected for his GLVC-leading 13th homer in the Stars' 9-3 victory in game two.

UIS scored three times in the first inning to take the lead in game one and pushed that lead to 4-0 on an RBI double by Hannam in the second.

In the second game, UIS actually trailed McKendree 1-0 before Austin Muench plated Cole Taylor with an RBI double in the third inning.

Later, Kenny Hansen belted a grand slam to give UIS a 5-1 lead.

Taylor leads the GLVC in runs scored (32) and hits (39) while Rothmund tops all league hitters in homers and RBIs (36).

This story appeared in The State Journal Register on March 26, 2017.

Read the article in its' entirety.


United Way: 30 minutes to improve our community

Four years ago, the University of Illinois Springfield Center for State Policy & Leadership, the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln, The Citizen's Club of Springfield and United Way announced we were conducting the first-ever Sangamon County Citizen Survey.

The initial survey was designed to focus on nine areas affecting quality of life, with subsequent surveys to focus on each of these areas. The survey is in an effort to help us better understand the issues affecting Sangamon County residents and provides a wealth of information concerning education, environment, social well-being, public safety, economy, infrastructure, culture and recreation plus government and civic participation.

Feedback and participation in these local surveys provide organizations with data and information needed to identify and address our community's greatest challenges. The survey also provided a benchmark from which we can measure changes within these areas and adjust strategies accordingly.

In a few weeks, the UIS Center for State Policy & Leadership will begin conducting the 2017 Sangamon County Citizen Survey. This year's survey will have a greater focus on economic and infrastructure issues, including employment, the local business environment, taxes, transportation and utilities.

This year's survey will be conducted by mail to allow participants more time to consider responses and complete at their convenience.

Results of the 2017 Sangamon County Community Survey will be available in late-July with a formal presentation of results at a Citizen's Club of Springfield meeting on July 28.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 25, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Friday, March 24, 2017

UIS adds assistant coach for men’s soccer

Nathan Gaudreault has joined the University of Illinois Springfield men's soccer program as an assistant coach.

He formerly coached with St. Louis Scott Gallagher.

He began his coaching career as an assistant at his alma mater, Truman State University.

He was a four-year starter for the Bulldogs and graduated in 2006.

Gaudreault has worked with the Wyoming Soccer Association as a technical adviser and Olympic Development Program coordinator. He is currently working toward a master's degree in public administration at the University of Colorado-Denver.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 23, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Arts residency in Enos Park

The University of Illinois Springfield Visual Arts Gallery is partnering with the Springfield Art Association and Enos Park Residency for Visual Artists to offer a funded residency and art exhibition for the summer of 2017.

The residency will last from four to eight weeks and is open to artists working in all media and at all stages of their career.

The Enos Park Residency for Visual Artists will provide studio facilities as well as living quarters and there will be a $1,000 stipend for expenses.

The residency will culminate with an exhibition at the UIS Visual Arts Gallery, opening June 30 and running through July 28.

“The idea is that the program will draw artists to Springfield, and ideally, over time, some of them will stay,” said Allison Lacher, manager of the UIS Visual Arts Gallery.

Applications for the residency and art exhibition are due by April 7 and need to include a detailed proposal, dates, artist statement, work samples, image list, resume and references. Artists from across the country are encouraged to apply.

This article appeared in the Illinois Times on March 23, 2017.

Read the full article online.

Illinois Innocence Project holds viewing party for award-winning film

The University of Illinois Springfield Illinois Innocence Project is devoted to proving innocence of the falsely accused. Now, the organization is holding a viewing party for one of the largest wrongly imprisoned scandals in history.

On April 12, the award-winning documentary "The Central Park Five" will play at the Hoogland Center for the Arts. The film is about five teens from Harlem who were wrongly convicted in 1989 of raping a 28-year-old woman in New York City's Central Park.

Intermission will include a question and answer session with local attorneys.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on March 22, 2017.

Read the article online.


Monday, March 20, 2017

UIS students spend spring break working on eco-restoration projects

Hailey Hawkins spent as much time around bleach as she did on a beach the past week while in Florida.

But the University of Illinois Springfield junior has no complaints.

"It was definitely a very different spring break," Hawkins said Sunday. "But I had a lot of fun." Hawkins was among 25 UIS students who traveled to Florida last week as part of the school's alternative spring break program.

The students helped with outdoor eco-restoration projects along the Florida panhandle Gulf Coast.

Past trips include building homes for Habitat for Humanity following Hurricane Katrina, cleaning up damage from Hurricane Ike in Texas and working with the homeless at soup kitchens in Washington, D.C., and New York City.

This year, the students assisted with shoreline restoration, native plant propagation, sea grass restoration, wildlife habitat improvement, dune restoration, storm water treatment, public land restoration and invasive species removal.

Hawkins said her favorite part of this year's trip was helping with an oyster-restoration project.

"It was cool because it was something that we couldn't possibly do in Illinois," she said.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on March 20, 2017.

Read the story online.

Baseball: UIS blanks Harris Stowe

University of Illinois Springfield pitcher Adam Gregory threw five innings of no-hit ball and struck out five Sunday as the Prairie Stars (10-8) earned a 9-0 win over visiting Harris Stowe.

Gregory (4-1) and Brayden Jensen and R.D. Lutze combined to hold Stowe to just one hit over nine innings. The Stars scored three runs in the bottom of the second inning and five more in the fourth to blow the contest open.

Drew Harper smacked a home run for UIS, his first of the season. Hje went 2-for-3 Sunday with four runs driven in.

The win was reported by The State Journal-Register on March 20, 2017.

Read the story online. 

UIS hitters set records in win over Robert Morris

Cole Taylor hit two home runs and two doubles in the University of Illinois Springfield's 31-4 non-conference win against Robert Morris University at Lenz Field Friday.

Thirty-one runs is a program record, erasing the mark of 21 set against Lindenwood last season. The 9-8 Stars set a record with 28 hits, six better than the previous mark.

Taylor and Ben Schanding both had five hits, which is a UIS record. Taylor's 13 total bases is also a new mark. The previous record was nine.

The win was reported by The State Journal-Register on March 18, 2017.

Read the story online. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

UI president aims to keep in-state students

Lawmakers rallied around UI President Tim Killeen Thursday to show support for keeping more students in-state for college.

Nearly half of Illinois' high school students pack their bags to head out of state. The university is on its way to getting help keeping them here.

The UI wants to provide $170 million in financial aid funding to students seeking higher education. They hope this will help them stay competitive with out-of-state universities.

Like never before, high school students are leaving Illinois for higher education. "This is the first time in our state's history where we have guidance counselors encouraging students to go out of state."

In 2015, 45% of high school students went out-of-state for college; a drastic jump from the 29% which left in 2009. "It's kind of sad knowing that we got a great university here and so many people are opting to leave just because they're unsure of the condition the state's going to be in when they graduate."

The state's budget crisis is why lawmakers and UI leaders ant more funding to keep students from fleeing. "We want to look at improving a world class education for as many qualified and talented Illinois' native students as we can." Killeen was at the Capitol Thursday trying to get support for his $170 million funding plan.

Senator Scott Bennett (D) says the state's support is key. "The best resources our state has is our people and, if the whole generation, or a lot of the generations of the best minds go out-of-state, they may never come back." The new funds would be accessible through scholarships and grants and would be separate from MAP Grant funds.

This story appeared on WCIA and illinoishomepage.net on March 16, 2017.

Watch the story online.

Women's Soccer: UIS signs three

Glenbard West High School's Izabel Pina and St. Louis area players Kayla Meyer and Amanda Meyer have signed to play for the University of Illinois Springfield women's soccer team.

Pina, a midfielder, appeared on the all-West Suburban Conference team. She also played for Chicago Magic and Team Chicago.

Sisters Kayla Meyer and Amanda Meyer play for Pattonville High School is suburban St. Louis. Both are four-year varsity players. Amanda plays midfield and forward. Kayla is a defender and became a starter as a sophomore. She's a two-time all-conference second team pick. Amanda received all-conference honorable mention honors as a sophomore. She had eight goals and six assists as a sophomore.

This article appeared in The State Journal Register on March 16, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Women's Softball: UIS softball wins pair

Freshman Lakyn Wagoner had a game-winning, two-run RBI in the seventh inning of the University of Illinois Springfield's 5-4 win over Millersville Wednesday morning.

UIS trailed 4-1 after three innings. Senior BriAnna Edgar scored on a wild pitch in the fourth inning that made it 4-2. Sophomore Madi Torry bunted in a run in the fifth as UIS pulled within 4-3. Wagoner hit the game-winning single to right field with two outs, scoring Edgar and freshman Erin Stroup.

Junior Rachel Goff was the winning pitcher.

In an afternoon contest, UIS scored six runs in the fourth inning and beat Hillsdale 7-3. Sophomore Alexa Brown's two-run single in the fourth put the Prairie Stars ahead 3-1. Torry then reached on an error and junior Katie Wooldridge scored. Stroup followed with a three-run home run and the Stars were up 7-1.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 15, 2017.

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U of Illinois aid amendment to be introduced in Springfield

The University of Illinois says a proposal will be introduced in the state Legislature that would provide at least $170 million in financial aid.

University of Illinois President Tim Killeen announced the Invest in Illinois, or Triple I, proposal on Wednesday. He says it would provide the money over five years with the goal of keeping Illinois high school graduates in state for college and stem a growing loss of students to out-of-state schools.

The university says the measure will be introduced as an amendment to a measure already pending in Springfield that involves university funding. The university says that in 2015, 45 percent of high school students who graduated in Illinois and were bound for college went to schools out of state.

This article appeared in The News Tribune on March 16, 2017.

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New proposal could make it easier to become a U of I student trustee

An Illinois lawmaker is sponsoring legislation that would change the residency requirements for students at the University of Illinois hoping to become student trustees.

The proposal comes after a student who was not registered to vote in Illinois was disqualified from running for the position.

Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) says this should not limit students wanting to participate in their university community. “If a student is enrolled in the university and wants to run for student trustee, there should not be barriers preventing them from doing so. We need to make sure all college students have opportunities to grow and participate in leadership opportunities while they’re on campus,” Martinez says.

The student who inspired this legislation was unable to run for the student trustee position, despite the fact that he was enrolled in the university and an Illinois resident.

The University of Illinois Trustee Act requires students to be residents of Illinois in order to be selected as a student trustee. Residency is currently demonstrated by three factors: Evidence of the student’s residence in Illinois for at least the previous six months, A valid Illinois driver’s license or Illinois identification card, Being registered to vote in Illinois.

Under Martinez’s proposal, Senate Bill 598, a student would have to provide proof of residence for the past six months and either a voter registration or driver’s license/identification to demonstrate Illinois residency.

The University of Illinois is a proponent of the initiative. Martinez passed similar legislation last year, but it was vetoed by Governor Bruce Rauner.

Senate Bill 598 was passed by the Illinois Senate’s Higher Education Committee yesterday and will now have to go before the full Illinois Senate for consideration.

This story aired on WAND TV on March 15, 2017.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Women's Softball: UIS wins twice

Ali Haesele struck out seven and allowed three hits over seven innings and the University of Illinois Springfield beat Ohio Dominican 6-1 Monday.

Lakyn Wagoner drove in three runs with a triple in the fifth inning. She was 2-for-3.

Rachel Goff threw a complete game one-hitter in the Prairie Stars' 2-0 victory against Ferris State in UIS' second game. Goff struck out two and walked one in seven innings. She retired the final 14 batters, not allowing a runner after an error with one out in the third inning. Goff hit a RBI double in the sixth and UIS took a 1-0 lead.

Alexa Brown's RBI single in the inning made it 2-0. Wagoner hit 2-for-3 with a triple. Wagoner, Goff and BriAnna Edgar all hit doubles for the Stars.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 13, 2017.

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Monday, March 13, 2017

Susan Koch: UIS’ wellness, recreation facility helps many

The following is an excerpt from a column by University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor Susan Koch. This column appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 12, 2017.

In 1948, the preamble of the new World Health Organization's constitution redefined "health" as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease." That unprecedented definition, conveying the more positive aspects of health, sparked the worldwide "wellness movement." 

Since then, wellness has become an important part of both community and university life across the U.S. 

The heart of campus wellness at the University of Illinois Springfield is the TRAC (The Recreation and Athletic Center), a 72,000 square-foot facility that opened in 2007 — thanks in part to a generous gift from the Hoogland Family Foundation of Springfield's own Charles and Kathleen Hoogland

A state-of-the-art wellness and recreation facility, TRAC houses multiple indoor sport and fitness venues, including basketball and volleyball courts, an elevated running track, cardio and weight training areas and a multipurpose exercise room. 

Led by director of Campus Recreation James Koeppe, TRAC staff provide a variety of wellness programs for students, faculty and staff, including group fitness classes (like strength and cardio training, Pilates, yoga, martial arts and dance), intramural sports programs and even personal training services. 

"TRAC is more than just a place to work out," says James. "It's a lively gathering place on campus. There's a real sense of belonging and community here; at the same time, the programs we offer encourage participants to develop healthy habits of exercise and good nutrition — habits that improve all aspects of their lives." 

TRAC is also home to UIS's Division II Prairie Stars athletics, and a valuable addition to the program this year is Chris Lowe, the new Strength and Conditioning coach. Thanks to a partnership with Springfield Clinic, Chris works with the 260 Prairie Stars student-athletes on all 15 athletic teams. "Though each team has their own strength and conditioning plan, I take an individualized approach," says Chris. "Teams with professional strength and conditioning programs are more competitive, and in addition to strength and conditioning workouts, I educate students about the importance of sleep, good nutrition and adequate hydration." 

Read the entire article column online.

Women's Softball: Haesele boosts Stars

Ali Haesele turned in a complete game three-hitter with eight strikeouts and hit 2-for-2 in the University of Illinois Springfield's 8-0 win against Cedarville Friday.

Haesele retired 11 of the first 12 batters, allowing just one walk through 3 2/3 innings.

She retired 10 of the last 11 batters. Her RBI single in the fifth inning put the Prairie Stars ahead 6-0. 

UIS' Erin Stroup doubled twice and drove in two runs. Lakyn Wagoner added two hits, two RBIs and a stolen base.

In the second game, Northwood edged UIS 5-4.

The Stars rallied from a 5-0 deficit. Morgan Edwards hit a RBI single in the sixth inning to get UIS within a run. Down a run going into the top of the seventh, Haley Inman led off with a single and advanced to second on Alexa McClaughry's sacrifice bunt. The Stars' rally fell short when the inning ended with a ground out and a strikeout. Madi Torry finished 2-for-4 for UIS.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 10, 2017.

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Women's Softball: Edwards’ clutch hit lifts UIS softball

Morgan Edwards had a two-RBI single in the top of the seventh inning Saturday to give the University of Illinois-Springfield softball team a 4-2 win over Findlay in Clermont, Fla.

BriAnna Edgar and Erin Stroup scored on the play for UIS, which had a second game in Florida on Saturday evening that ended too late for publication.

Edwards, Rachel Goff and Madi Torry had two hits apiece for the Prairie Stars, while Jaycee Craver pitched 1 1/3 innings in relief to earn the win.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 11, 2017.

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UIS students travel to Florida for Alternative Spring Break

Some University of Illinois Springfield students will be spending time giving back during spring break. 24 students are set to travel to the Florida panhandle gulf coast to volunteer with environmental restoration projects.

The annual trip is organized by the student-led Alternative Spring Break organization.

The organization's president says the trip offers more than just the chance to volunteer.

"It's just a different experience for college students to have on spring break and good to help others and it's a just a fun way," President of Alternative Spring Break, Haley Hawkins said. "It's a different group of people on campus and it's really diverse. We just all come together and spend spring break helping others and the environment in a different community."

Alternative Spring Break started back in 2009. Past trips included rebuilding homes in states hit by hurricanes and working in soup kitchens in Washington D.C and New York.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on March 9, 2017.

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Thursday, March 9, 2017

UIS hosts panel discussion to dispel myths associated with immigration

Just this week President Trump signed a new executive order banning immigration from six Muslim-majority countries.

Faculty at UIS are addressing students' concerns about the executive order.

The university held a panel discussion Tuesday night to help clear up any misunderstandings. 

Students packed inside the auditorium to learn the facts about immigration and how they could be affected by the travel ban or deportation at University of Illinois Springfield.

The student body is a melting pot of people from around the globe. "17% of our population are international students and we have students who are first generation from Latin American countries," said Sophia Gehlhausen Anderson, coordinator of programs and outreach at UIS.

Students like Crystal Terrazes whose family immigrated to Chicago from Mexico. Terrazes attended the panel discussion on immigration at UIS hoping to learn more about the hot-button issue.

"People just have all these stereotypes about undocumented immigrants who are coming into this country and they don't know really why they're doing it. Or what the actually numbers or statistics are," said Terrazes.

"Many students are very worried about the situation. They don't know what the future is going to be or what the affects of this new policies.... The American policies are going to be," said Adriana Cocker, associate of political science at UIS.

Terrazes tells us there are many international students who live in her dorm and she hears their concerns first-hand. "They're definitely worried about everything that's happening. I've had a lot of them come up to me and ask what's going to happen with their visas...Are they going to be able to go back home? Are their families going to be able to come here for graduation?"

In addition to the large international student population at UIS, we're told there are a number of professors who are in the U.S. on visas. An estimated 15 students at the campus are undocumented.

This story aired in WICS Newschannel 20 on March 7, 2017.

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UIS hosts free child safety seat check

Wednesday at the University of Illinois Springfield, the Department of Transportation hosted a free child seat safety check.

Certified safety seat technicians educated parents on proper installation procedures.

Statistics show nearly 80 percent of child safety seats are installed improperly.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on March 7, 2017.

Watch the story online.

Former Illini star Dee Brown hosting UIS softball fundraiser

Former Illinois basketball star Dee Brown is helping host a fundraiser for the University of Illinois Springfield softball program March 16 4:30-9 p.m. at Win, Lose or Draught in Piper Glen Plaza.

The proceeds will go toward the construction of a planned softball complex located south of The Recreation and Athletic Center on the UIS campus.

Several elected officials and local celebrities will participate or serve as bartenders.

A short program will take place at 8 p.m. with comments from Brown, UIS softball coach Shannon Nicholson Guthrie and other officials.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 8, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Local colleges in a bind again over unfunded MAP grants

Delayed state funding for higher education continues to plague local colleges and universities, forcing many again this spring to replace promised Illinois Monetary Award Program grant funds with institutional money.

The University of Illinois Springfield will continue to cover the unfunded MAP grants as it and the other U of I campuses have done in the past. That will total $2.4 million for 742 students this academic year.

"It's a tough time for students to worry and stress, so when it's time to register for classes, we told students to go ahead and register because we will cover that MAP grant," said UIS spokesman Derek Schnapp. "We've had to dip into reserves, we've done a lot of cost-cutting everywhere we can, and that's how we are continuing to move on.

"It would help the anxiety of many students and families if a state budget could come forward and higher education is fully funded. It would take a lot of pressure off of a lot of families in Illinois."

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on March 6, 2017.

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Monday, March 6, 2017

College Report

Alexandria Quarton, of Litchfield, took fifth in the second heat of the 800-meter run at the Illinois College Alumni Classic, which was held at King Field House.

The University of Illinois Springfield freshman finished with a time of 2 minutes, 39.86 seconds.

UIS took sixth with 23 points. Washington University won the meet with 163 points.

This story appeared in The Journal-News on March 6, 2017.

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People in the News: Meagan Cass

Meagan Cass, assistant English professor at the University of Illinois Springfield, recently was awarded the Katherine Porter Prize for her short story collection "ActivAmerica."

Her work will be published by the University of North Texas Press in November.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 3, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Information on immigration

On Tuesday, March 7, the University of Illinois at Springfield will present a panel discussion designed to clear up myths associated with immigration and provide a clearer understanding of the hotly-contested subject.

Panelists Adriana Crocker, UIS Associate Professor of Political Science; Anette Sikka, UIS Assistant Professor in the Legal Studies Department; and Yona Stamatis, UIS Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology will discuss the history of United States immigration, the United States’ current immigration policy, the effects of immigrant populations on American culture, and how border patrol efforts fail to deter immigrants from coming to work in America.

This article appeared in the Illinois Times on March 2, 2017.

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Men's Basketball: UIS finishes the season

The season ended February 23 for former Bloomfield standout Brandon Van Sant and the University of Illinois Springfield Prairie Stars, an NCAA Division II school. They defeated McKendree University 83-75 to finish the season 9-18, 4-14 in Great Lakes Valley Conference play.

In seven minutes of action against McKendree, Van Sant missed both of his shots, but stole the ball once. He played 19 games for the Prairie Stars, starting three.

Van Sant averaged 15.5 minutes of action per game. Van Sant shot 33-71 from the field, including 8-17 from three-point range, and 19-23 from the line to score 93 points.

The former Cardinal also grabbed 68 rebounds, dished out six assists, swiped the ball seven times, and blocked five shots.

This article appeared in the Greene County Daily World on March 2, 2017.

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34,000 Pillows casting a spotlight on immigration reform

“34,000 Pillows” at UIS are helping to cast a spotlight on immigration reform.

The new exhibit, featuring their latest project, "34,000 Pillows", opened at the University of Illinois Springfield Visual Arts Gallery Thursday.

It's titled, Safe Harbor, Work By Diaz Lewis, and was developed in response to the congressional mandate enforcing immigration and customs enforcement to detain at least 34,000 immigrants every day in over 250 private prisons and county jails across the country.

"Safe harbor; A harbor is a place where a ship can come into and be safe during a storm, and that's what we're hoping for the immigrant community as well," artist Cara Megan Lewis said.

The exhibit will run through Thursday, April 13. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on March 2, 2017.

Watch the story online.