Monday, December 10, 2018

UIS holds #TaylorvilleStrong Day before women's basketball game

A week after the Taylorville tornado ripped through the town, the University of Illinois Springfield Prairie Stars wanted to find a way to give back to a community in need.

During their women's basketball game against Lincoln Christian University, they took donations that would go towards the Taylorville Food Pantry and the Mission for Taylorville.

Assistant athletic director Ashlyn Beasley said, "I come from a small town in Illinois. Hearing about the impact and the destruction that happened in Taylorville, it really hit home for me because I do know people in that area. I know that I would want the same in my small town. So I worked with our assistant women's basketball coach, Cameron Clayton, whose dad and family and friends live in Taylorville, and thought that there's something that we need to do. We have a basketball game Saturday afternoon. Let's make it our Taylorville Strong game. Be able to bring the community in, embrace them, raise some funds and be able to give back to Missions for Taylorville as well as the Taylorville food pantry."

This story appeared on WICS Newschannel 20 on December 8, 2018.

Watch the story online.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Men's Basketball: Allen powers UIS past Maryville in GLVC

Peyton Allen scored a game-high 28 points and had nine rebounds Thursday night to lead the University of Illinois Springfield past Maryville 85-70 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference opener for both teams.

Allen, a Chatham Glenwood High School graduate, was 6-for-13 from 3-point range to lead the Stars to a 11-for-26 night beyond the arc, good for 42 percent.

After trailing 43-38 at halftime, UIS went on a 15-1 run to take command in the game.

Aundrae Williams, a Lanphier graduate, added 19 points for UIS while Gilwan Nelson chipped in 18 points and nine rebounds. Cole Harper, another Glenwood graduate, had a team-high 10 rebounds and four assists for UIS. 

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 29, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Susan Koch: Reaching Stellar through donor giving

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 December 3, 2018.

One of my favorite quotes is strategically posted just below my computer screen where I can read it each day when I get to work. The author, Andrew Heiskell, was chairman of Time Inc. and a renowned philanthropist who raised millions of dollars for the New York Public Library. Heiskell asserted the best strategy for successful fundraising is to first “create a place where people want to be involved.”

UIS is creating just such a place at One University Plaza on the south side of Springfield — a place where people increasingly want to be involved.

The best proof of Heiskell’s assertion may be the progress of the current UIS capital campaign. The largest philanthropic effort in the University’s history, “Reaching Stellar” has already raised over $25.2 million — 63 percent of its $40 million goal.

Priorities for the campaign include: increasing scholarship support, enhancing academic excellence, establishing a new Center for Lincoln Studies, bolstering the “public good” UIS provides through its outreach programs, and enhancing facilities and technology.

According to Dr. Jeff Lorber, UIS Vice Chancellor for Advancement, “the success to date of the Reaching Stellar campaign has being achieved in large part because of the increasing engagement of alumni and community friends in the life of the University.”

Anne and Ray Capestrain are among those valued friends. “We believe in UIS’s mission to provide a quality, cost-effective college education to the community,” says Anne. “Scholarships are an important priority for us because students need more support than ever to realize their academic goals without accumulating debt that negatively impacts their future choices.” “The Student Union was an attractive project, too,” she continues, “because we believe it will draw more students to the university — which will contribute to the diversity of the campus as well as our community.” (The Capestrains, along with other family members, have named a conference room in the Student Union in honor of their parents, Robert and Dorothy Tracy.)

Longtime educator, community leader and philanthropist Mary Loken is another “Reaching Stellar” contributor who believes deeply in the value of UIS in the community. “A vibrant UIS is essential for the growth and enrichment of Springfield, and I applaud each exciting priority in the campaign,” says Loken. “Scholarships are especially important to me and I’m proud the Loken Family Scholarship has provided numerous area individuals with the opportunity to earn their college degrees at UIS and become teachers.”

Mark and Julie Staley are contributing to the “Reaching Stellar” campaign in many important ways, including by providing financial support for scholarships, the Student Union and athletic facilities. Julie also serves on the campaign planning committee. “Investing in UIS means investing in the future of this community,” says Julie. “We’re always honored to support scholarships and bring more ways for students to get the help they need to pay for college.” “The proposed Center for Lincoln Studies is also incredibly important,” she adds. “Lincoln changed the world forever, and it is the duty and honor of UIS to keep his legacy alive – nowhere else would such a center be so important.”

As I conclude this column, I’m reflecting on a new favorite quote now posted next to Heiskell’s. It’s from Dennis Sedlak, an early SSU/UIS alum who created a scholarship at UIS for students (like he once was) who need financial help to accomplish their aspiration to earn a college degree. Speaking at the annual UIS Scholarship Luncheon a few weeks ago, Sedlak expressed the personal satisfaction he’s gained from meeting his scholarship recipients.

“Whenever we give, whatever we give,” he said, “it always comes back.” I’m so grateful to the many UIS supporters who, like donors mentioned in this column, are expressing their confidence in the future of UIS with their generous financial support and who — like Dennis Sedlak — appreciate seeing their gifts “come back.”

Read the entire column online.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Men's Basketball: Aundrae Williams leads UIS victory

The University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball team shot over 50 percent from the field to defeat MacMurray College at the TRAC Center on Saturday, 84-59.

Lanphier graduate Aundrae Williams led the all scorers with 17 points, shooting 7-for-9 from the field and 3-for-4 from the free throw line. Williams also added four steals and two assists for UIS. 

Vince Walker added 13 points, shooting 3-for-6 from behind the 3-point line.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 24, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Men's Basketball: Harper sparks UIS to win

Chatham Glenwood High School graduate Cole Harper scored only two field goals but sank a layup with six minutes to go to put the University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball team ahead for good in an 82-71 defeat of Arkansas Tech in the first game of the Fairfield Inn Classic Friday. 

Harper’s basket jump-started a 7-0 UIS run.

Daniel Soetan added five points in the run, including a 3-pointer with just over four minutes remaining. The Prairie Stars went 21-for-27 from the free throw line, including a 7-for-8 stretch to end the game, not allowing the Wonder Boys closer than four.

Fellow Glenwood graduate and transfer Peyton Allen led UIS with 22 points, going 11-for-13 from the free throw line. Lanphier graduate Aundrae Williams added 14 points.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 16, 2018.

Read the entire article online.


Friday, November 16, 2018

UIS students eligible for additional $1.1 million in scholarships

Students at the University of Illinois Springfield will be eligible for more than $1 million in additional scholarship money starting next fall through a new state pilot program, the university announced Wednesday.

UIS was awarded $543,000 through the AIM HIGH grant, a pilot program designed to keep Illinois’ high-performing students in state for college.

Public universities around the state, pledged to match the state’s $25 million total contribution, bringing the new amount of financial aid available to UIS students up to nearly $1.1 million and up to $50 million for public university students across Illinois.

“The state is really trying to address the issue of sort of the brain-drain — for lack of a technical term — that the state is going through,” said Natalie Herring, UIS’ associate provost for enrollment management. “And so we want to do everything that we can to keep our young, bright scholars here in the state.”

The AIM HIGH grant will give more students access to a high-quality UIS education,” UIS chancellor Susan Koch said in a statement. “We hope this additional financial support will keep more Illinois students living and working in Illinois and encourage them to come to UIS.”

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 14, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Women's Volleyball: Hasler named to all-region team

University of Illinois Springfield senior middle blocker Alyssa Hasler has been named to the All-Region Team by the NCAA Division II Conference Commissioners Association.

The 6-foot Hasler, who hails from South Bend, Indiana, is the first UIS player to earn NCAA first-team all-region honors.

Hasler is ranked second in Division II at 1.53 blocks per set, and she leads the nation with 170 total blocks. She is the Prairie Stars’ all-time leading blocker and has 15 solo blocks and 155 assisted blocks this season. Hasler also is averaging 2.11 kills per set and his hitting .266 this season.

A two-time All-Great Lakes Valley First Team selection, she has more than 1,000 career kills.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 14, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Women's Volleyball: UIS prepares for first NCAA DII Tournament game against Rockhurst

The University of Illinois Springfield Prairie Stars are in preparation mode for a rematch game that happens to be in their first ever NCAA DII tournament appearance.

Coaches and players are ready to show the Hawks that they are a better team than who they played back in September.

Head coach Trey Salinas said, "I think we've developed a little bit since then. I think we've been able to execute more game strategy down the stretch. That's been nice. Rockhurst is definitely a team that we wanted to have a rematch with. We're more excited than not."

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on November 12, 2018.

Watch the story online.

Dress to impress: UIS helping students prepare for future jobs

The University of Illinois Springfield is helping students dress to impress with their annual suit drive.

It’s all for National Career Development Month.

From now, Monday, Nov. 12, through Nov. 16, UIS will be collecting suits, blazers, slacks, ties, anything you would wear to an interview.

This story aired on Fox 55 News on November 12, 2018.

Watch the story online.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Women's Volleyball: UIS volleyball reaches NCAA tourney

The University of Illinois Springfield volleyball team will make its first trip to the NCAA Division II Tournament.

The Prairie Stars (25-7) picked up the No. 6 seed Sunday night in the Midwest Region and will play in the first round against No. 3 Rockhurst (30-6) at Drury University in Springfield, Mo.

Drury is the top seed and matches commence Thursday. Times are yet to be announced.

“We are excited about making our first appearance in the NCAA tournament,” said head coach Trey Salinas in a press release. “We had a nice five-set battle against Rockhurst at their place in the regular season. They have a very talented group of kids and we will be preparing appropriately for the tough matchup.”

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 11, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

UIS Student Union wins design award

The University of Illinois Springfield's new Student Union building was awarded an excellence in design award by the American Institute of Architects earlier this month.

The two story, 52,028-square-foot building, designed by Milwaukee-based Workshop Architects and Peoria-based Dewberry, was lauded by AIA judges for its “striking, inviting sculptural form” as well as for what it represents: “a central place for what’s otherwise a commuter campus.”

“The project offers a modern, fresh and spacious interactive space,” AIA judges wrote. “The proposed program with flexible work spaces and overlapped activities seems very appropriate as a social catalyst for students on campus.”

In a short period of time, the building has become a one-stop shop for the UIS community, housing campus dining services, a Starbucks coffee shop, a ballroom with seating for up to 450 people and a Student Leadership Center that houses student government, volunteer offices and workspaces for student organizations.

The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce will host its 2018 Economic Outlook Breakfast at the UIS Student Union on Tuesday morning. The keynote speaker will be economist James Glassman, a former Bush administration official who’s now a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and the head economist of commercial banking for JP Morgan Chase.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 10, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Men's Basketball: UIS men's basketball wins season opener over Malone

The University of Illinois Springfield Prairie Stars held their Prairie Stars Tipoff Classic at the TRAC for a two-day tournament.

UIS opened their season up with a 81-70 win over Malone.

Gilwan Nelson led the Prairie Stars with 22 points and seven rebounds, followed by the former Glenwood Titan in Peyton Allen with 16 points and six rebounds.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on November 9, 2018.

Watch the story online.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Women's Volleyball: UIS volleyball gets share of GLVC title

The University of Illinois Springfield earned a share of the Great Lakes Valley Conference title after rallying from two sets down to defeat Bellarmine Saturday in the regular-season finale.

UIS finished in a three-way tie with Lewis and Drury with a 15-3 mark in the GLVC.

The Prairie Stars trailed by five points late in the fourth set and fell behind 11-4 in the final set before coming back to win.

Taylor Bauer led UIS with 15 kills and Alli Splitt followed with 12. Tiffany Wentworth provided 39 assists and 15 digs and Alyssa Hasler tallied 11 blocks. Jailyn Borum led the Prairie Stars with 18 digs.

UIS advances to the GLVC Tournament, which will be held this week in East Peoria. The Prairie Stars’ 24-6 record is the best since moving into NCAA Division II competition.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 3, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

UIS hosts the 41st Annual International Festival

The University of Illinois Springfield hosted the 41st Annual International Festival Friday evening.

The event featured games, cultural performances, and food from around the globe.

"Multiculturalism and immersing yourself in different culture and just experiencing something new is good for the soul, and good for the planet, and good for America," said Graduate Assistant Luke D'Elia.

According to UIS, over 400 international students are enrolled at the university from 32 countries.

This story aired on Fox Illinois on November 2, 2018.

Watch the story online.

Monday, November 5, 2018

UIS Bookstore moves locations on campus

Those visiting the campus of the University of Illinois Springfield will have to go to a slightly different location to buy their Prairie Stars swag.

The university’s bookstore reopened in the lower level of the Public Affairs Center in the space formerly occupied by the PAC Food Emporium.

The bookstore was previously located in Founders Hall.

According to UIS spokesman Derek Schnapp, Follett, the company that operates UIS’s bookstore (and more than 1,000 campus bookstores around the country), requested the move when the space opened up.

The space became available when university’s dining services relocated to the UIS Student Union, which opened in January.

Schnapp said the newly vacated space in Founders Hall will be converted to office space for the university’s Division of Student Affairs.

The university and Follett recently signed a new contract which will see the company continue to operate the campus bookstore through at least June 2028.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 2, 2018.

Read the article online.


Thumbs Up: To helping those in need

The editorial board of The State Journal-Register offers this week’s Thumbs Up to students at the University of Illinois Springfield who collected more than 18,000 pounds of food for those in need. 

Instead of seeking treats on Halloween night, 262 UIS students went trick or treating for canned goods and other non-perishable food items. They collected 18,095 pounds of food, most of which will be donated to the Central Illinois Foodbank, according to a news release from UIS.

About 900 pounds will go to the campus UIS Cares Food Pantry, which assists students in need. The students had previously canvassed the neighborhoods to inform residents of what they were doing, before returning Halloween night to collect items.

Thousands of area residents rely on the generosity of others in order to put food on their tables. The hunger of many of our neighbors should trouble all of us — and push us to do more than just worry about it.

We thank the UIS students for taking the time to collect food, and for all those who donated the items, for putting thoughts into action.

This opinion article appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 2, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Women's Volleyball: UIS ranked sixth in regional poll

The University of Illinois Springfield is ranked sixth in the latest NCAA Regional volleyball poll released Wednesday.

The poll serves as the official rankings for the eight-team NCAA regional field at the conclusion of the regular season.

The Prairie Stars have two regular-season matches remaining: at Southern Indiana on Friday and at Bellarmine on Saturday.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 31, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

UIS students trick-or-treat for canned goods

Wednesday, University of Illinois Springfield students went trick-or-treating for canned goods.

A group of about 300 students went door-to-door to collect donations for the Central Illinois Food Bank.

Students said it's been a UIS tradition for around 10 years.

“A lot of people are very open to donating,” Leadership for Live Volunteer Ben Paoletti said. “We've gotten garbage bags full of canned goods. It's really exciting to see the smiles on the people's faces when they hear that we're doing this kind of thing and they often thank us and appreciate what we're doing."

UIS students collected a little over 18,000 pounds of food total.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on October 31, 2018.

Watch the story online.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Susan Koch: Learners grow into leaders at UIS

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 October 27, 2018.

The University of Illinois Springfield is known for leadership lived — a reputation that reflects the university’s roots in the home of Abraham Lincoln — an educational community where talented faculty and staff help learners become leaders in a broad range of endeavors.

As Chancellor, I have the privilege of getting to know many UIS students each year, observing firsthand this learner-to-leader transformation that ultimately results in college graduates who contribute to their professions and their communities — human capital that serves the public good for Illinois and beyond.

I recently spent time with three UIS students, all seniors, each of whom has their own leadership lived story: Will Newton didn’t know what to expect a few years ago when he left Chicago to attend UIS and major in Political Science.

“It was rough at the beginning and I don’t think I was ready to live independently at first,” says Newton, “but now as a Student Ambassador working in Admissions, I’m helping other students like me make a successful transition to college.”

Newton recently started working as a communications intern for the Illinois Senate Republican staff.

He plans to become a college admissions counselor after graduation and may eventually go into public service.

Like many Chicagoland students, Newton traveled about 200 miles to attend UIS, but Maria Espinosa followed a much different — and more lengthy — path.

Espinosa is from Ibagué, a city about 2,600 miles southeast of Springfield in the heart of Colombia, South America.

A top performer on the UIS Women’s golf team, Espinosa graduated from high school at 16 and declined numerous Division I offers in favor of the then up-and-coming UIS Division II women’s golf program where she knew she could pursue ambitious goals in both academic studies and athletics.

“UIS — my teammates, coaches and faculty — have become my second family.” In addition to competing on the Prairie Stars women’s golf team, Espinosa is completing a rigorous Biology major with a minor in Public Health.

She worked with a UIS research team last summer in Ghana, West Africa, and is now applying to graduate schools with aspirations to earn a graduate degree and do medical research in microbiology and immunology.

Almost every day, I walk past “The Young Lawyer,” a beautiful Lincoln sculpture that was a gift to the UIS campus a few years ago. On the edge of the sculpture plaza is a stone with the following Lincoln quote: “You cannot fail if you resolutely determine that you will not.”

The quote always makes me think of the many resolutely determined UIS students I’ve known over the years, learners who have become leaders while earning their University of Illinois degree at UIS.

I’m proud of each one of them and grateful for the contributions they are making every day as alums and citizens. That’s leadership lived.

Read the entire column online.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

UIS Names Director Of Economic Development And Innovation

A Springfield businessman has been named as the new director of Economic Development and Innovation at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Bruce Sommer is the co-founder of Innovate Springfield, which was recently acquired by UIS when it was named as the first hub of the state’s Discovery Partners Institute.

The university says he will lead the UIS effort to spur more business growth and development in Springfield.

This story aired on 970 WMAY on October 17, 2018.

Read the entire story online.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Men's Soccer: UIS clinches postseason men’s soccer berth

The University of Illinois Springfield scored twice in the first 12 minutes of the game and defeated University of Missouri-St. Louis 2-0 in a men’s soccer game at Kiwanis Stadium.

Mario Falsone scored both times for UIS. The first came 3 minutes into the game on an upfield pass from Harry Hiscock leading to a 1-on-1 breakaway. Daniel Kemp assisted on Falsone’s second goal, 9 minutes later.

UIS remains in second place in GLVC behind Southern Indiana. The Prairie Stars clinched a berth in the conference playoff for the second consecutive season.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 19, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Men's Soccer: UIS ranked sixth in Midwest Region

The University of Illinois Springfield men’s soccer team is ranked sixth in the NCAA Divison II Midwest Region.

It’s the first-ever appearance in the NCAA regional rankings for the Prairie Stars (7-4-3).

Ohio Valley University (13-2) is ranked No. 1, followed by No. 2 Southern Indiana (10-2-1) and No. 3 Saginaw Valley State (8-1-5).

UIS hosts Missouri-St. Louis at 5 p.m. Friday, followed by another home match against Truman State at noon Sunday.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on October 19, 2018.

Read the story online.

Women's Basketball: UIS No. 11 in GLVC preaseason poll

The University of Illinois Springfield was selected 11th in the Great Lakes Valley Conference Preseason Women’s Basketball Poll, which was announced by the conference on Wednesday.

UIS went 13-13 with a 7-11 GLVC record during the 2017-18 season. The Prairie Stars set program records for wins, conference wins and a program-best 10th-place finish in the GLVC.

Lewis barely edged Drury for first in the poll. The Flyers earned 175 points and seven first-place votes. Drury tallied 174 points and six first-place votes to land second place in the poll. The Panthers have captured the past two GLVC regular-season titles and the past two GLVC Tournament titles. Taking third in the preseason poll was Southern Indiana with 155 points and the final first-place vote.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on October 19, 2018.

Read the story online.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

UIS series to discuss Frank Warren's 'PostSecret' project

The University of Illinois Springfield's Engaged Citizenship Common Experience Speaker Series is hosting Springfield High School alumnus Frank Warren to talk about his work, "PostSecret: Creating Community through Confessions."

Warren will give his discussion Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the UIS Student Union Ballroom.

Warren started his PostSecret project in 2004.

PostSecret invited strangers to anonymously reveal their secrets on a homemade postcard.

More than one million postcards were sent from around the world. Most were published in his book "PostSecret."

The story was reported by WAND-TV on October 17, 2018.

Watch the story online.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

UIS offers free flu vaccines Monday

University of Illinois Springfield hosted a free flu vaccine clinic Monday.

Vaccines were available free of charge to students and employees and retired employees with state benefits.

The flu shot is also available for employees who do not have state health insurance for $20.

There are several other clinics for students and employees. For more information on upcoming flu shot clinics, click here.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on October 15, 2018.

Watch the story online.

Monday, October 15, 2018

History Harvest gets more personal

An NAACP pin given to a nurse during a 1966 Chicago riot, articles about Vice President Walter Mondale’s 1979 visit to Loami and photographs of a Lithuanian family were some of the items 40 to 50 people brought to the University of Illinois Springfield’s History Harvest on Saturday at Innovate Springfield.

The History Harvest was the UIS history department’s second. The first was held in 2016.

This year’s was a bicentennial event; organizers asked people to bring items connecting them or their family to Illinois history.

It drew more people and items than the first, according to UIS assistant professor of history Devin Hunter. “It seems the quality of the items are a little more interesting this time,” Hunter said. “Last time, we had a theme about political campaigns, so we got a lot of campaign buttons and stickers which were interesting, but we didn’t get the breadth of materials that we’re getting now: family photo albums, things from the Lithuanian-American and African-American communities, people who have deep roots in the Springfield area. We’re getting a lot more of that this time around.”

As with the first History Harvest, UIS students asked owners about the items they brought and then scanned them to be archived online.

The history department will develop the online archive of items collected Saturday and continue work on the 2016 archive.

Hunter said. UIS will hold a third History Harvest in 2020, he said, but its theme hasn’t been finalized.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 13, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Women's Soccer: Stars get second victory on the road

The University of Illinois Springfield fell behind early but answered quickly with three unanswered goals for a 3-1 victory against Drury College at Harrison Stadium.

The Panthers scored just under 12 minutes into the first half on a 12-yard score from Gabe Millot with an assist from Brinn Cooper.

UIS answered six seconds later with an 8-yard goal from Amanda Meyer. Meyer also scored the first goal of the second half for the stars.

Valentina Rodriguez added the third goal with 20 minutes remaining in the game.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 12, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Women's Volleyball: Bush, UIS volleyball win 10th straight match

Brianna Bush had 16 kills, 10 digs, two assists and one ace to lead the University of Illinois Springfield volleyball team to a four-set win over Findlay (Ohio) at the Midwest Region Crossover on Saturday.

The Prairie Stars have won 10 matches in a row. That mark ties its longest winning streak since it moved from the NAIA level to NCAA Division II in 2009.

Taylor Bauer added 12 kills and Alyssa Hasler finished with 11 for the Prairie Stars.

UIS went 3-0 in the Midwest Region Crossover, one of just two teams to do so.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 13, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Friday, October 12, 2018

UIS students gather to celebrate National Coming Out Day

Dozens of colleges students in Springfield shared their stories during National Coming Out Day.

One by one, UIS students shared their stories.

Many faced the challenge of revealing their true sexual identity to their father or mother.

"I came out when I was in eighth grade and she said that I was too young to know and that I'm probably not, so whatever. Then I came out to my father and he said that he hopes it's not true, but if it is, alright. And just kind of got up and walked away," Freshman student Cielo Delgado said.

They all stood behind one word Thursday, broadcast in bold across their shirts: Human.

"It's been two years since I came out and it hasn't gotten any easier. It doesn't really get easier, ever. But being here and doing it in front of all these people somehow makes it feel alright," Junior student Spencer Voyles said.

The story was reported by WICS-TV 20 on October 11, 2018.

Watch the full story online. 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Women's Volleyball: UIS volleyball sets sights on GLVC title and higher

Four years ago, new University of Illinois Springfield volleyball coach Trey Salinas was selling a vision of success.

It’s all he had. He was taking over a program that had won a total of 14 Great Lakes Valley Conference matches over the previous six seasons.

“I started going out (recruiting) thinking that I needed to change UIS volleyball’s reputation. Because I assumed we had a bad reputation,” Salinas said. “What I quickly found out was that we had no reputation. Most players, even in the Midwest, had never even heard of UIS."

“We tried to make that work for us because I quickly found out that I could get kids to come here if I could get them to visit campus -- if I could show them what UIS has to offer as an athlete and as a student. Once they knew that stuff was really good, I could share with them where we wanted the volleyball program to be and how they could thrive in it.”

Two current seniors believed in that vision and the program started to change.

Middle blocker Alyssa Hasler and setter Tiffany Wentworth came to Springfield in 2015 believing this is what they would help build.

“When I had my one-on-one conversation with coach, I realized I really wanted to play for him,” Wentworth said of her recruitment to UIS. “He told us it was going to be a work in progress and I was ready and wanted to be a part of that.”

The destination wasn’t always apparent during the journey.

Hasler, from South Bend, Indiana, leads all NCAA Division II players in total blocks and is third in blocks average. She originally came to Springfield largely based on the opportunity for immediate playing time for a team that had been 10-18 in 2014. She did get on the floor right from the start and led the 2015 team in blocks. She is now the school’s all-time leader in that category and is on the verge of reaching 1,000 career kills.

“The first two years were really tough for me, because I was coming from a high school program (Mishawaka Marian High School) where I was losing maybe two games a season,” Hasler said. “So coming here, where we knew we might only win two games a season was a big change. I want to win -- I want that competition. And sometimes I felt we didn’t have that as a team, which was frustrating."

“But as the time grew and as we got more confidence in ourselves that built up. That was important. Because we knew there was a lot of talent on the team but we weren’t winning. So we had to work through that.”

That team-first philosophy has paid off.

Last season the Prairie Stars finished 22-11 and 12-6 in the GLVC. It was the third straight season UIS’ win total jumped under Salinas.

They’re goals for the rest of the season are high. “We, for sure, want to win a conference championship,” Salinas said. “But our bigger goal is to make it to regionals.”

The players might be looking even higher. “We want to win regionals and make the school’s first NCAA Tournament appearance,” Wentworth said.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 10, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Men's Golf: UIS men’s golf 8th in Midwest Fall Regional

Steffen Heckele tied for 15th individually to lead the University of Illinois Springfield to eighth place in the 18-team Midwest Fall Regional that concluded Tuesday at Fox Run Golf Club.

Heckele shot a 71 in the first round, followed by a 77 for a two-day total of 148.

Teammate Jaime Kreisler finished 31st with a 151 as the Prairie Stars had team scores of 300 and 306 for a 606 total.

Other UIS totals were a 153 by Dnaile Miller, a 154 by Sabastian Trujillo and a 158 by Daniel Nyman. The Stars’ Louis Bagur competed individually and had a 161.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 9, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Women's Volleyball: Borum and Cobert playing pivotal roles, putting up big stats for Illinois Springfield

The University of Illinois Springfield volleyball team is off to a 14-4 start to the season, including an 8-1 mark in Great Lakes Valley Conference play, thanks to a pair of local 2016 graduates.

Sterling native Jay Borum has become the Prairie Stars’ most reliable defensive specialist, while Erie native Rachel Cobert clobbers kills and collects digs when called upon.

The Division II school picked up three GLVC wins in a 5-day stretch recently, while the former Golden Warrior etched her name into the school record books.

Borum recorded a single-match school record for digs with 43 last Saturday in a 3-2 home win over 10th-ranked Drury.

The total now ranks in the top-10 all-time in GLVC history, and is the fifth-most in DII this season.

This story appeared on saukvalley.com on October 5, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Men's Soccer: Javier Milla goal gives UIS men’s soccer a win

Javier Milla scored the University of Illiniois Springfield’s lone goal on Friday in a 1-0 victory over McKendree at Kiwanis Stadium.

Milla connected on a pass from Rory Carlson, as UIS improved to 5-4-2 overall and 4-2-1 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

UIS’ keeper Pijus Petkevicius had a four-save shutout.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 5, 2018.

Read the entire story online.

Women's Volleyball: Stars sweep McKendree

University of Illinois Springfield took control on the defensive side of the net to defeat McKendree in three sets.

Brianna Bush led the Prairie Stars with 10 digs, two blocks and five kills.

Alli Splitt added two blocks and nine kills for UIS. Jailyn Borum recorded 16 digs.

The victory was the 15th victory of the season and the Stars are now 9-1 in Great Lakes Valley Conference play. It is the first time UIS has defeated McKendree in conference play.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 6, 2018.

Read the entire story online.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Wrongful Conviction Day

Tuesday was Wrongful Conviction Day. One of the places taking note was the quad on the University of Illinois Springfield campus.

“Sometimes there was evidence that should have been looked at that wasn’t,” says Lauren Myerscough-Mueller, a staff attorney with the UIS-based Illinois Innocence Project.

“Sometimes there’s evidence that was hidden that could have exonerated someone, but sometimes it’s very simple that there is DNA that can be tested. We have had a few exonerations based on DNA, and it’s kind of the gold standard in our kind of work.”

Black and blue flags formed a bullseye on the quad, the blue for Illinois exonerations (more than 200) and the black for those elsewhere in the U.S. (more than 2,000).

Myerscough-Mueller says the Illinois Innocence Project claims credit for eleven exonerations, with more attempts in the works.

This story was published online at WTAX News Radio on October 2, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Women's Volleyball: 6 numbers behind Illinois Springfield's first DII volleyball top 10 upset in program history

University of Illinois Springfield is following up its record-setting 2017 DII volleyball season with quite the encore.

The Prairie Stars upset No. 10 Drury on Saturday in five sets, earning them their first-ever upset of a top 10 team.

The win extends the Prairie Stars current win streak to five games and puts them in a three-way tie atop the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

Here's what you need to know about the Prairie Stars latest win.

3: Sets short senior MB Alyssa Hasler is shy of setting the program record of 412. Hasler set the program kills record in the historic upset and now owns five of the program's all-time marks.

13-4: The Prairie Stars improved their record to 13-4 on Saturday, which is the best start for the program.

43: Digs by Jailyn Borum, the single-match program record.

56: Match-high assists, recorded by UIS setter Tiffany Wentworth.

70: Total kills by Illinois Springfield, the most it has recorded in a match this season. Four Prairie Stars finished in double-digit kills. Brianna Bush tied for a match-high 19 kills, Hasler had her 15 record-setting kills, Alli Splitt added 13 and Taylor Bauer finished with 10.

908: Hasler had 15 kills, giving her 908 in her Prairie Stars career. Her 907th kill set the program record for most kills during the NCAA era.

This information was published on www.ncaa.com on September 29, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Women's Cross Country: UIS’ Christy breaks school record

Taryn Christy broke the school record and placed 18th individually in leading the University of Illinois Springfield to 17th in the team standings Saturday at the Greater Louisville Classic.

Christy, a freshman, finished the 5k-race in 18 minutes 33.8 seconds. She beat the former record by 59.8 seconds.

UIS finished with 483 points.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on September 29, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Men's Cross Country: Prairie Stars place eighth at Classic

The University of Illinois Springfield finished with 309 points and placed eighth as a team Saturday at the 8k Greater Louisville Classic.

UIS senior Kenton Wilson finished 39th individually in a time of 25 minutes 43.7 seconds.

Teammate Tyler Hiserole (25:55.7) had a personal-best and placed 50th for UIS.

St. Francis won the 45-team meet with 146 points.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on September 29, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Study: UI system makes up 2.2 percent of state's economy

A new economic-impact study commissioned by the University of Illinois concludes that the UI system pumps $17.5 billion into the state economy each year and supports 171,300 jobs — about 2 percent of the statewide total.

The report, to be presented today to UI trustees, says that spending by the three universities in the UI system, their employees and students, and increased earnings by their graduates, account for 2.2 percent of the Illinois gross state product of roughly $820 billion.

The largest share of the $17.5 billion — about $10 billion of it — comes from spending by UI graduates who live and work in Illinois. The rest comes from spending by the UI system's academic and research operations ($4.9 billion), hospital and health-care operations ($1.5 billion), companies launched through research (nearly $679 million), students (nearly $306 million), and visitors to the universities (nearly $40 million).

For every dollar that Urbana students put into their education, they receive $4.70 in career earnings — a 14.5 percent annual return. The average bachelor's degree graduate will earn $30,800 more annually than a high school graduate, netting about $1.4 million more in career earnings. In Chicago, students received $5.30 in career earnings for every dollar investment, at 16.5 percent annual return, and UI Springfield students received $6.30, a 20.1 percent return.

This story appeared in The News-Gazette on September 27, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Men's Soccer: UIS’ Petkevicius named Player of the Week

Pijus Petkevicius, a freshman goalie from the University of Illinois Springfield men’s soccer team, was named the NCAA Division II Player of the Week Tuesday by the United Soccer Coaches. 

Petkevicius led the Prairie Stars to two shutout wins last week, defeating No. 9 Indianapolis 1-0 and Lewis 2-0 in Great Lakes Valley Conference play.

Petkevicius, from Vilnius, Lithuania, collected four saves in the win against Indianapolis and finished with three against Lewis.

UIS is 4-2-2 overall and is tied with McKendree, Quincy and Southern Indiana with a 3-0-1 record in the GLVC.

Petkevicius won back-to-back Defensive Player of the Week honors in the GLVC the previous two weeks.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on September 26, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Voter registration push underway in Springfield

Tuesday was National Voter Registration Day.

A group of volunteers from various community agencies were out trying to boost voter registration in Springfield and Sangamon County.

Registration efforts were made at the Lincoln Library, Lincoln Land Community College, the University of Illinois in Springfield and at the bus transfer station at 5th & Capitol.

Gail Fobbs of the Faith Coalition says she would like to improve voter registration and turnout this year. “A lot of people don’t vote but they complain about what’s happening in this city,” Fobbs told WAND’s Doug Wolfe. “If they want change they need to vote in order to have a chance.”

People who wish to register can do so at their county clerks office in the country where they reside. The first day of voting in Illinois is Thursday.

This story aired on WAND 17 on September 25, 2018.

Read the entire story online.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Civil Rights Leader Urges Students: Keep Fighting, With Love

Earlier this month, Diane Nash told a full auditorium of University of Illinois Springfield students that she and fellow civil rights activists, “Loved you before we met you.”

She said efforts to make the U.S. a more equitable place had been done, and are still being done, “For generations yet unborn.”

And she urged others to join the cause, or risk sliding into what she sees as an increasingly authoritarian state.

Nash, a native of Southside Chicago, was a key strategist and leader of the student faction of civil rights efforts during the sixties and beyond. She co-founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which aimed to create a participatory democracy and helped initiate efforts that led to the march from Selma to Montgomery, and ultimately the Voting Rights Act, signed into law in 1965.

Nash is a lesser-known civil rights leader in comparison with her male peers, though as time marches on, her contributions are becoming more widely heralded. In the 2014 film Selma, she is portrayed by actress Tessa Thompson.

Nash is one to cut right to the heart of the matter. “No one can give you what you want unless you know what it is,” she told students.

As a young person, she asked Nashville’s mayor, on the steps of City Hall, if he believed it was wrong to discriminate against people based on the color of their skin. He said he did believe it was wrong, and Nash said that led to a positive shift that ultimately helped lead to the desegregation she and others fought for.

Nash favors a term she coined in place of “nonviolence.” She calls “agapic energy” a force based on the love of all humankind. It’s a force that can be used to “wage war without weapons of violence,” with energy produced from love versus hate, she said.

According to her philosophy, individuals are never the enemy. Unjust political and economic systems are the enemy, racism is the enemy - but you can love an individual regardless of their beliefs and actions while confronting the systems they represent.

This story appeared on NPR Illinois on September 21, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Women's Volleyball: Cobert delivers for UIS

Rachel Cobert racked up 12 kills, 11 digs and two service aces to lead the University of Illinois Springfield past Missouri St. Louis in a Great Lakes Valley Conference match Friday at The Recreation and Athletic Center.

Brianna Bush and Alli Splitt added 11 kills apiece and Alyssa Hasler had 10 for UIS. Tiffany Wentworth finished with 36 assists, while Jailyn Borum compiled 22 digs for the Prairie Stars, who are now 10-4 overall and 4-1 in the GLVC.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on September 21, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Men's Soccer: UIS men’s soccer upsets nationally-ranked Indianapolis

Edward Rose headed a ball into the back of the net and the University of Illinois Springfield upset nationally-ranked Indianapolis 1-0 Friday in a Great Lakes Valley Conference game.

Rose’s goal was the first of his career.

It came at 82 minutes 22 seconds of the second half when he received a corner-kick pass from Emmanuel Nhonga, who got the assist.

UIS remained unbeaten in the GLVC and improved to 4-2-2 overall and 3-0 in the conference.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on September 21, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Susan Koch: Communication skills key to success in life

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 September 22, 2018.

Thousands of Illinois residents headed off to college this fall — most not at all certain how best to navigate these pivotal years. 

A recent op-ed piece in the New York Times by longtime reporter and columnist Frank Bruni offered wise advice to new collegians about how to best shape a college life that yields success and satisfaction beyond the higher education experience. 

The suggestion that most caught my eye in Bruni’s piece was that students should insist on acquiring specific skills while in college— skills that “transcend any particular career.” Such skills, he argues, include communication, clear writing and cogent speaking, as well as storytelling, the ability to explain an idea with “shape and logic” – the art of persuasion. 

I had an opportunity to explore Bruni’s premise recently with three faculty who live these convictions every day at the University of Illinois Springfield. 

Elizabeth Ribarsky, from the Communication department, teaches and studies interpersonal communication. Missy Thibodeaux-Thompson, a professional actor and director, teaches in the Theatre program and is directing the campus theatre production Silent Sky this term. Stephanie Hedge, Assistant Professor of English, teaches rhetoric and composition, does research on writing in digital spaces and directs the University’s first-year writing program. 

“During the first week of the semester,” Hedge says, “I taught a session on ‘Critical Reading and Writing’ where I explained to my students that good communication skills will empower them to affect change in the world.” 

“Well-expressed language,” she continues, “whether oral or written, whether used in a class assignment, blogging online or messaging on your phone, is powerful! It’s about having your ideas read, understood and respected.” 

According to Thibodeaux-Thompson, one thing she finds so interesting and challenging in today’s age of electronic devices is getting people to make eye contact.

“I encourage all students regardless of major to take an acting class during college,” Thibodeaux-Thompson continues. “You’ll walk out of the class a little taller, stronger and more comfortable with yourself.” 

In Ribarsky’s “Oral Communication” class, she explains that the class is a requirement for first-years because it’s where they develop confidence to share their ideas.

“Communicating well – speaking, listening, being able to understand and make an argument —is the number one reason people get hired,” she says. “Communication is not a soft skill. It’s intrinsically linked to effectiveness in your job and your profession.” 

A report in the Washington Post a few months ago summarized Mr. Bruni’s and my UIS colleagues’ convictions: Even in high-tech environments like Google, the story explains, evidence shows the top characteristics of success include skills like communicating and listening well, possessing insights into others, and being able to make connections across complex ideas.

I’m proud to say that with the support of faculty mentors like Ribarsky, Thibodeaux-Thompson and Hedge, UIS students are acquiring those skills on the way to becoming productive citizens and University of Illinois Springfield alums!

Read the entire column online.


Thursday, September 20, 2018

C-SPAN bus makes stop at University of Illinois Springfield Wednesday

A bus aimed at educating communities about Washington D.C. came to the University of Illinois Springfield Wednesday.

The C-SPAN Bus is traveling to all 50 U.S. capitals with a goal to teach about Congress, the White House, legislative processes and more.

Students could also see what it was like to do a live interview, experience a 360-degree video station and take selfies in a D.C. - themed area.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on September 19, 2018.

Watch the story online.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

UIS unveils new name, searchlights for performance venues

If you were at Sangamon Auditorium at the University of Illinois Springfield Sunday night for comedian Jay Leno’s show, you noticed some changes in the facility surrounding you.

The university introduced a new name, “UIS Performing Arts Center,” to describe a collection of performing arts entities at the school, including the 2,000-seat Sangamon Auditorium, the smaller Studio Theater and the ticket office.

The names “Sangamon Auditorium” and “Studio Theater” will still be used to describe the specific venues.

Bryan Rives, the director of the now-named UIS Performing Arts Services, made the announcement Sunday night at Leno’s performance.

The changes also comes with a new name — Friends of UIS Performing Arts Center — for the existing donor support group, a new logo, and a new website: www.UISpac.com.

In addition, officials on Sunday unveiled five new bright searchlights, which were installed on the roof of the auditorium building and were ceremoniously activated by Leno at the end of his show. The rotating lights will shine into the sky on show nights.

In a phone interview Monday, Rives said the rebranding campaign accomplishes two things. The first was to make sure more people understand the center’s connection to the university. He said in the past, many people who attended the shows at Sangamon Auditorium didn’t understand that the programming was an arm of UIS. The second was to look ahead toward the celebration of Sangamon Auditorium’s 40th anniversary in 2021.

Several other changes are coming to the newly named UIS Performing Arts Center in the coming months and years, ahead of 2021.

The closest change on the horizon is construction of a new concession stand in the lobby. The project is underway, and it could be open by spring.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on September 17, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Women's Soccer: Mraz’s goal gives UIS first victory

Taylor Mraz scored the game-winning goal at 88 minutes 31 seconds of the second half to give the University of Illinois Springfield a 1-0 victory over Maryville in the Great Lakes Valley Conference opener for both women’s soccer teams Friday at Kiwanis Stadium.

Paloma Guijarro delivered a cross-field pass and got the assist on Mraz’s goal.

It was the first win for UIS, which is 1-2-2 overall.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on September 14, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

C-SPAN bus coming to Springfield next week

A 45-foot customized C-SPAN bus will be in Springfield Tuesday and Wednesday as part of the public affairs channel’s “50 Capitals Tour.”

The tour began in September 2017 and is scheduled to be completed in November.

At each capital city, the bus is opening its doors and also gathering viewpoints on politics.

On Tuesday, the bus will be open to the public from 9:30 to 11 a.m. outside the Statehouse on Capitol Avenue, near Second Street.

Earlier that day, state Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield, will be interviewed aboard the bus for the channel’s “Washington Journal” program.

The bus also will be at Springfield High School in the afternoon.

On Wednesday, the bus will be open to the public while parked near the Student Union at the University of Illinois Springfield from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The bus will be at Grant Middle School earlier in the day.

The bus is equipped with a TV production studio, a smart TV and classroom area for conversations with students and teachers, and a D.C.-themed selfie station where visitors can share their bus experiences through social media.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on September 14, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Leno Assists With Rebranding Of UIS Performing Arts Center

Comedian Jay Leno has helped to launch a rebranding of the main stage at the University of Illinois Springfield.

The building is being renamed the UIS Performing Arts Center, home of Sangamon Auditorium.

At the conclusion of his show there Sunday night, Leno flipped a symbolic switch to turn on large roof-mounted spotlights, which will illuminate the night sky during major shows at the university.

This story aired on NewsTalk 94.7 and 970 AM, WMAY on September 16, 2018.

Read the entire story online.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Men's Soccer: Prairie Stars win GLVC opener

Mario Gonzalez scored a goal at 58 minutes 2 seconds of the second half to lift the University of Illinois Springfield to a 1-0 win over Maryville (Mo.) in the Great Lakes Valley Conference opener Friday at Kiwanis Stadium.

Mario Falsone assisted Gonzalez on the game-winner.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on September 14, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

UI Springfield sees freshmen bump

University of Illinois Springfield has grown by 14 percent according to new numbers.

The fall semester enrollment numbers show that the total number of first-year students sits at 316, compared to the 278 counted in the fall semester last year.

Additionally, 90 percent of the new freshmen are Illinois residents and 47 percent are self-reporting as a minority.

Of the university’s 4,575 students, 9.5 percent of students are international students.

UIS saw an increase of students from Illinois, from 72.2 last year to 75.5 this year, according to the school.

The total student body has fallen from 4,956 last year and total undergraduate stands at 2,814 down from 2,932 recorded last year.

This story appeared online on MyJournalCourier on September 12, 2018.

Read the entire story online.

UIS hosting Diverse Business Opportunity Fair

The University of Illinois Springfield is hosting a Diverse Business Opportunity Fair Wednesday. 

Diverse businesses in the Springfield community interested in doing business with the state of Illinois' public universities and community colleges are invited to attend from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the UIS Student Union Ballroom.

The goal is to increase participation by minority, women, persons with disabilities and veteran-owned firms.

The Diverse Business Opportunity Fair is sponsored by the Chief Procurement Office and organized by the University of Illinois.

It is open to all businesses who desire to do business with the state of Illinois public universities and colleges

This story aired on WAND TV 17 on September 12, 2018.

Read the entire story online.

UIS enrollment drops 7.7 percent compared to last year

Fall semester enrollment at the University of Illinois Springfield fell by 7.7 percent compared to last fall, according to statistics released by the university on Wednesday.

After the first 10 days of classes, the total number of students enrolled in fall classes at UIS stands at 4,575 compared to 4,956 students in fall 2017.

It’s the second year in a row UIS has seen enrollment losses and the lowest the campus’ headcount has been since 2005, when fall enrollment was 4,517.

UIS Chancellor Susan Koch said the university was “fully expecting” the drop, given the large graduating class last year and the decline in the international student population, a nationwide trend brought on by prospective students’ safety concerns and uncertainty over visa statuses.

“Of course, we’d love to say that our headcount is higher this year than last year,” Koch said. “But we were expecting this and that’s OK.”

UIS is not alone in losing students. Northern Illinois University, Western Illinois University and both Southern Illinois University campuses also announced enrollment drops. The continued declines illustrate the reputational challenges many of Illinois’ public universities still face as they continue to recover from the two-year state budget impasse, which decimated funding for higher education. 

“Of course, it helps tremendously that we’re a part of the University of Illinois system,” Koch said. “That’s a big part of our ability to continue to press on and position ourselves for growth. So we’re going to continue with the strategy that we’re currently employing because we believe it’s working well. “At the same time, we’d like to build back that international enrollment that we’ve lost,” Koch continued. “We’ve had delegations go to India and China, and we’ll be continuing to do that.”

In the past few years, the university has added new academic programs ranging from a nursing partnership with UIC to degrees in growing fields like exercise science and data analytics.

The university also has made a number of facility improvements to its campus, including the opening of the new student union. Such investments are yielding results, Koch said. Most notably, there’s been a 14 percent increase in freshman enrollment, which jumped from 278 last fall to 316 now.

Of this group, nearly 90 percent were from Illinois. “We have made a commitment to focus, first and foremost, on serving Illinois families,” Koch said. “And I think we see that across the system this year in the success we’ve had. And part of the strategy that we’re using is to continue those efforts to make the University of Illinois experience both affordable and to continue the excellence.”

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on September 12, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Men's Cross Country: Pasley leads UIS to win

Sophomore Tyler Pasley won the 3.73-mile race and the University of Illinois Springfield posted a perfect score Friday in capturing the UIS Prairie Stars Invitational for the second straight season. 

Pasley finished in 20 minutes 41.78 seconds as UIS scored 15 points, taking the first six spots.

Kenton Wilson (20:55.91) was second for UIS, followed by teammates Brendan Kroeger (21:04.09), Blake Jones (21:12.86), Ryan Stark (21:16.78) and Tyler Hiserote (21:20.18).

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on September 7, 2018.

Read the entire story online.

Women's Volleyball: UIS volleyball picks up third straight win with doubleheader victories

The University of Illinois Springfield Prairie Stars are riding a winning streak after a doubleheader victory this weekend.

They swept both McKendree and Lindenwood, 3-0.

This story appeared on WICS Newschannel 20 on September 8, 2018.

Watch the story online.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Men's Soccer: UIS men’s soccer gets win

The University of Illinois Springfield men’s soccer team scored two goals in the final 10 minutes for a 4-3 win over the University of Wisconsin-Parkside on Thursday.

The Stars’ Thiago Fernandes tied the game with just over four minutes remaining and Mario Falsone scored the game-winning goal with just under a minute remaining in regulation.

The Prarie Stars collected their first win and are 1-2.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on September 6, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Women's Cross Country: Christy, UIS win own invitational

Freshman Taryn Christy took first place to help the University of Illinois Springfield repeat its title Friday at the UIS Prairie Stars Invitational on the UIS campus.

It was Christy’s first collegiate race and she finished the 2.49-mile race in 15 minutes 40.64 seconds.

Freshman Morgan Suttles (16:39.70) finished fifth, Alexa Thomsen was seventh (16:41.11) and Savannah Brannan (17:04.31) placed 10th for UIS, which scored 26 points.

This story appeared in The State Journal Register on September 7, 2018.

Read the entire story online.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

University of Illinois Springfield earns re-accreditation from HLC

The University of Illinois Springfield received institutional re-accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

The 10-year re-accreditation as approved at a meeting on July 31.

UIS has been accredited by the commission since 1975.

"This re-accreditation is a testament to the quality of academic programs that are offered at the University of Illinois Springfield," said UIS' Chancellor Susan Koch.

This story appeared on FoxIllinois on September 5, 2018.

Watch the entire story online.

UIS announces men’s, women’s basketballs schedules

The University of Illinois Springfield’s 2018-19 men’s basketball schedule was released on Wednesday, with 15 home games and some noteworthy non-conference tests early in the season.

UIS opens the season by hosting the Prairie Stars Tipoff Classic on Nov. 9-10 at The Recreation and Athletic Center. UIS will play Malone that Friday night before facing Hillsdale on Saturday afternoon.

An important road trip ensues when the Prairie Stars travel to the Central Missouri Classic on Nov. 16-17. UIS then plays defending national champion Northwest Missouri on Nov. 19 at the Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo.

The Great Lakes Valley Conference schedule starts on Nov. 29 at Maryville.

UIS finished last season with a 14-14 overall record and a 6-12 mark in the

The University of Illinois Springfield women’s basketball schedule was announced on Wednesday. 

The season begins at the Purdue Northwest Cross Conference Classic when the Prairie Stars face Tiffin and Purdue Northwest, respectively, on Nov. 9-10 in Indiana.

The Great Lakes Valley Conference schedule begins at Maryville on Nov. 29.

The Prairie Stars will have a five-game homestand from Jan. 5-19 with NCAA Division II regional finalist and GLVC champion Drury, coming to UIS on the final night.

UIS ended last season with a 13-13 overall record and a 7-11 mark in the GLVC.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on September 6, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

UIS students kick off school year giving back to community

On Friday, the University of Illinois Springfield held its annual Welcome Week Service-A-Thon.

This is an event encouraging students to get involved in their community.

There were 80 UIS students who volunteered at nine locations throughout Springfield.

"It gives students an opportunity to explore their interests which then leads to other volunteer opportunities they take part in,” Connie Komnick, with UIS.

The volunteer opportunity was open for the entire campus.

One student who volunteered, Ella Snyder, also participated in the event last year. This year, she had the opportunity to volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House, a place that lent her family a hand when her brother received a heart transplant.

"They took us under their wing and helped us, so it was really great being able to help,” said Snyder, a student at UIS.

School officials said the event is also a great way for first-year students to get to know their new home.

The goal of the service day is to give students an opportunity to try something new and hopefully encourage them to volunteer all year long.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on August 31, 2018.

Watch the entire story online.

Women's Volleyball: UIS volleyball splits matches

The University of Illinois Springfield Prairie Stars split matches in the Warriors Classic on Saturday, losing in four sets to Wayne State before defeating Kentucky State in three.

Tiffany Bauer collected 13 kills in a win over Kentucky State and 21 in the loss to Wayne State. Bauer also led UIS with 11 digs against Kentucky State.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on September 1, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Women's Soccer: UIS draws at home

Paloma Guijarro was in net for the University of Illinois Springfield Prarie Stars, who played to a 0-0 draw against Lindenwood University at Kiwanis Stadium.

Guijarro collected three saves in the draw. The Stars have played to a draw in both matches this season.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on September 1, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

UIS to offer new dual credit course

A new dual credit course for high school seniors in Menard and Sangamon counties will be offered by the University of Illinois Springfield's Teacher Education Department.

The goal is to encourage more students to become teachers.

This is the second year UIS has offered dual credit courses to area high school students.

The new course being offered is titled "Foundations of American Education." It counts toward general education credits for those students who attend UIS to complete their bachelor's degrees.

The dual credit Teacher Education course costs $50, plus the cost of a textbook.

This story aired on WAND TV 17 on August 29, 2018.

Read the article online.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

UIS awarded first hub in statewide innovation network

The University of Illinois Springfield, through the recently acquired business and social innovation incubator Innovate Springfield, will house the first hub of the Illinois Innovation Network, state and local officials announced Tuesday.

The announcement comes months after state legislators appropriated $500 million in seed money to the U of I system-led initiative, which will have hubs across the state connecting to the Chicago-based Discovery Partners Institute.

The goal is to accelerate economic growth statewide through research and innovation.

“We could not be more pleased to be playing a key role to help facilitate this milestone moment in our collective history,” UIS Chancellor Susan Koch said. “I am confident the Springfield hub will be a smashing success.”

The university took ownership of Innovate Springfield on Aug. 1. It will be supported initially by $1.5 million seed money over the next three years from the university, city of Springfield, the Land of Lincoln Economic Development Corporation and the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln.

Koch said the university has submitted a proposal to the DPI, which will likely tap into that $500 million for “a significant investment in building and expanding” the hub in downtown Springfield. 

For now, the incubator will continue to be located at 15 S. Old State Capitol Plaza, but it is widely expected that it will move in the near future to a larger location somewhere else downtown.

While Mayor Jim Langfelder has pushed for the university to have a presence on the YWCA block at Fourth Street and Capitol Avenue, the university has yet to commit to a site. But no matter where the permanent home of the Springfield hub ends up being, university officials believe it has the potential to transform the city’s economy along with the broader region.

“Together, though, this effort will make Springfield part of a network that will be home to literally hundreds of world-class researchers, thousands of students and partners at top universities and corporations,” said U of I system president Timothy Killeen. “It will give this community access to the very best intellectual power that we can muster in every discipline.”

Killeen said the network has the potential to “foster pioneering discovery that will not just rival Silicon Valley, but leapfrog it.”

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on August 28, 2018.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

UIS acquires downtown’s Innovate Springfield

In a move that’s been alluded to for more than a year, the University of Illinois Springfield has acquired Innovate Springfield, the downtown social innovation and business incubator founded in 2014 to spur economic growth in the capital city.

The incubator, 15 S. Old State Capitol Plaza, was officially turned over to the university on Aug. 1. City and university officials, including U of I system President Timothy Killeen, will announce the acquisition at a press conference on Tuesday.

The move immediately bolsters UIS’s downtown presence and gives the university a solid foundation on which to apply for one of several statewide innovation hubs to be established as part of the University of Illinois system-led Discovery Partners Institute.

The incubator has received a $500,000 funding commitment for each of the next three years. The city of Springfield and Land of Lincoln Economic Development Corporation will contribute $100,000 each, with the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln chipping in $50,000.

With local support locked down, the University of Illinois has agreed to match the funding with an additional $250,000 per year for the next three years.

“This will have more of an impact on the university coming truly more into the community than I think anything since the founding of Sangamon State University,” said John Stremsterfer, president of the Community Foundation.

“To have a sign on the building that says ‘University of Illinois Springfield’ is a great symbol, but I think the substance of work that will be created here, and hopefully in a bigger, more robust facility soon thereafter, is really exciting for the city.”

The incubator was founded in 2014 as a subsidiary to the Community Foundation, but UIS was “always squarely in my mind to be an ultimate repository for Innovate Springfield,” Stremsterfer said.

Though UIS has been a member of Innovate Springfield since its founding, conversations about the university taking over operations began in earnest in late 2017. And once the things got rolling, it was a fairly smooth process.

“They’re already successful,” said UIS chancellor Susan Koch. ”... One of the first things our team is going to do is work with them to expand the impact of what they are doing.”

Stakeholders say the university’s takeover will provide the incubator programmatic support, sources of startup talent, talent to help guide and mentor entrepreneurs, access to the U of I system alumni network and additional financial resources.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on August 27, 2018.

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Monday, August 27, 2018

Women's Volleyball: UIS' Alyssa Hasler breaks school career block record against MWSU

The University of Illinois Springfield Prairie Stars volleyball program has a new career block record.

Alyssa Hasler broke that record in the game against Missouri Western State University in the 2018 Capital Classic.

The record heading into this game was held by Audra Roach with 441.

Hasler holds it with 444 blocks.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on August 25, 2018.

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Sunday, August 26, 2018

Women's Volleyball: UIS starts with two wins in own tournament

The University of Illinois Springfield won its season-opening matches with a pair of straight-sets wins over Walsh and Cedarville on Friday in the Capital Classic Tournament at The Recreation and Athletic Center.

UIS defeated Walsh 25-20, 25-20, 25-20 in its opener.

Brianna Bush recorded 13 kills and teammate Alyssa Hasler provided eight kills and a match-high seven blocks for UIS.

Tiffany Wentworth had 34 assists, along with 12 digs, and Jailyn Borum collected a team-high 16 digs for UIS.

The Prairie Stars handed Cedarville a 25-16, 25-19, 25-15 defeat in the nightcap.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on August 24, 2018.

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Saturday, August 25, 2018

Good Deed: Thanks to the UIS women’s soccer team

Last weekend was the start of the fall YMCA soccer schedule and the University of Illinois Springfield Women’s Soccer team came out to help us get the season started.

With all of the demands on a student athlete’s time (and after a week of Coach Egolf’s two-a-day practices) these young women used part of their Saturday to volunteer as referees in a youth soccer league.

"They are a delightful group of young women and this is not the first time they have volunteered. We always enjoy their company and we really appreciate their contribution to this community program," said Brent Crossland, YMCA Soccer Referee Coordinator.

This story appeared in The State-Journal Register on August 24, 2018.

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Thursday, August 23, 2018

Freshmen students move in to UIS Wednesday

New freshmen students are calling the University of Illinois Springfield home!

The annual move-in day kicked off at UIS Wednesday.

 "Just getting to know everyone makes it more comfortable to walk around campus and just not be afraid of talking to new people," Freshman student Hannah Piel said.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on August 22, 2018.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Women's Volleyball: University of Illinois Springfield Volleyball Preview

2017 was a breakthrough year for the University of Illinois Springfield.

“In a lot of ways last year was a huge year for us,” UIS coach Trey Salinas said.

The Prairie Stars posted their best NCAA Division II record, qualified for the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament for the first time and just missed out on earning a berth to the NCAA Tournament.

They also put players on the all-GLVC team for the first time. An impressive preseason ranking is proof that UIS is a rising program.

The Stars are voted to finish third in the GLVC out of 14 teams in a preseason coaches poll.

Most of last year’s starters are back, including Alyssa Hasler and Taylor Bauer.

Hasler, a GLVC first-team pick, is 12 blocks from setting the program’s all-time blocking record and is on track to finish second in career kills. Bauer, who received GLVC second team honors, had a team-high 332 kills.

UIS hosts the 2018 Capital Classic on Friday and Saturday.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on August 21, 2018.

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Women's Volleyball: UIS to host Capital Classic

The University of Illinois Springfield volleyball team will host the Capital Classic tournament Friday and Saturday at The Recreation and Athletic Center at UIS.

McKendree and Missouri Western both qualified for the NCAA Division II National Tournament, and each team in the Classic finished with a winning record last season.

UIS and McKendree are both preseason top-four picks in the GLVC, while Missouri Western is sitting just outside the top 25 national poll.

The Prairie Stars finished with a 22-11 record last season and reached the GLVC tournament semifinals.

UIS was picked third in the preseason GLVC poll, its highest ranking in school history.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on August 21, 2018.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

UIS track and cross-country teams clean up downtown Springfield

Members of the University of Illinois in Springfield track and cross-country teams were downtown Monday cleaning up Capitol Street.

One of their coaches said he wanted to find a way for the teams to give back to the community and worked collaboratively with Springfield Public Works to set up the event.

He said this is not only a good way for the team to bond but also to gain appreciation for their city. 

“Being a college team, we want to get our team together and do group work. So, this is another opportunity for us to get out and really do something, especially make a good impact for the city,"
UIS Cross Country and Track Assistant Coach Tyler Pence said.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on August 20, 2018.

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Monday, August 20, 2018

Susan Koch: A beautiful, functional and improving campus

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 August 19, 2018.

Though summertime at the University of Illinois Springfield entails a variety of both educational and recreational pursuits, the end of the academic year and the arrival of warmer weather also presents opportunities for campus improvements that will enhance the college experience for students as well as improve the environment for faculty, staff and visitors.

For students, research shows a functional and beautiful campus can be a deciding factor in their college choice and UIS students often tell me they “fell in love” with the campus itself when they made their first visit.

With a property consisting of about 750 acres and, with recent additions including the Lincoln sculpture, a Shakespeare Garden and the new Student Union, the UIS campus is, indeed, both welcoming and beautiful.

Chuck Coderko, Associate Chancellor for Facilities and Services, can attest better than anyone that Summer 2018 has been particularly busy!

“The biggest transformation underway this summer,” says Coderko, “is the main floor of Brookens Library — a project that started in mid-May and will be completed in early October.”

University libraries are no longer the quiet repositories of books they were when Brookens opened its doors about 40 years ago.

The renovation includes a more open layout, state-of-the-art LED lighting, modern and durable flooring, mobile furniture, and collaborative spaces that encourage group interaction and active learning. The project also adds a high-tech classroom for library instruction and workshops.

The second-oldest building on campus, the Public Affairs Center (circa 1980), has also been undergoing major improvements this summer including a new roof, completion of a stair rail safety project and various enhancements and safety improvements to Sangamon Auditorium, which launches its 2018-19 season September 16 with a performance by acclaimed comedian Jay Leno.

The newly acquired UIS Field Station at Lake Springfield, formerly the FOP lake club, is also undergoing transformation. Just a short walk from campus, the facility will enable easily accessible opportunities for education, research, recreation and community outreach on and near the lake. Director of Field Stations Dr. Tom Rothfus tells me several classes are already scheduled to use the new lakeshore location this fall.

Superintendent of Grounds Brian Beckerman and his talented team spend the summer months maintaining and improving the entire landscape which includes nearly 500 tree and shrub varieties, about 375 distinct flowers and ornamental grasses, and acres of lawn and sports fields for recreation, youth sports and intercollegiate athletics.

“We’ve adopted a more sustainable philosophy in recent years,” says Beckerman, “using native grasses and other materials that have natural beauty and require less mowing and maintenance. We’ve been pleased to work with the university’s new Green Fee Committee and others,” he continues, “on projects like the green roof on the Student Union (expected to achieve LEED Gold recognition later this year) and the campus community garden.”

“Members of the Facilities and Services team have a tremendous sense of pride and ownership in their work at UIS,” says Coderko. “If it touches the ground, it’s ours,” he continues, “and we want to make it better, safer and more enjoyable for students, faculty, staff and visitors.”

Read the entire article online.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Women's Volleyball: Bauer named UIS athlete of month

University of Illinois Springfield volleyball player and Watseka graduate Taylor Bauer has been selected as the Female Spotlight Athlete for the month of August.

Bauer garnered second-team all-Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) recognition in 2017.

The 6-foot senior outside hitter from Watseka set the UIS Division II school record with 332 kills.

Bauer also ranks third among UIS Division II single-season leaders with 379.5 points. She averaged 2.96 kills and 3.39 points per set, while finishing with a season hitting percentage of .221.

The Prairie Stars compiled a 22-11 overall record and a 12-6 GLVC record, which doubled the UIS Division II school record for wins and tripled the program record for GLVC wins. UIS earned fifth place in the GLVC standings, which is the program’s best conference finish. The Prairie Stars also secured the program’s first-ever GLVC Tournament berth.

This story appeared in Iroquois County's Times Republic on August 13, 2018.

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11th Street extension ‘an invitation’ for UIS, community interaction

It is only about a half-mile stretch of road, but University of Illinois Springfield officials and community leaders believe the 11th Street extension, which opened Saturday, will have a far-reaching, positive impact that will bind the city and university closer together.

The extension, which is five lanes (two in each direction with a center turn lane) with sidewalks and a bike lane, establishes the first-ever direct connection between downtown Springfield and UIS. 

Decades in the making, it began construction in early 2017. Its estimated price tag was $7 million, with $5.4 million covered by federal funding and the rest by the city.

“It feels great. I think not only is it a real achievement for the city, but I think it really is going to have a very positive impact on the interaction between the city and the university,” said UIS chancellor Susan Koch. ”... It’s going to make the downtown area more accessible to our students, but it’s also going to make the university more accessible to the community.”

Words like “interaction” and “cohesion” were common among those who spoke of the effect the connection will have on Springfield and the university.

Though within Springfield city limits, UIS has historically been at arm’s length from the city, separated from each other by Interstates 55 and 72 and, until now, the lack of a direct link between the two.

“Growing up in Springfield my whole life, people describe where UIS and Lincoln Land are in our town (as) — even though it’s only 10 or 15 minutes away — it’s way out there, it’s way out there on the edge of town,” said state Rep. Sara Wojcicki Jimenez, R-Leland Grove. “And I think what this will do and what I hope it continues to do is spur those connections between the university and downtown.”

Jimenez, herself a graduate of UIS, said even up until a few days ago, she had to think about how she normally traveled to the university, with all its zigs and zags. 

Under the Dome Podcast Click to listen University officials say the opening of the street arrives at the “perfect time” as the university gears up to increase its presence in downtown Springfield.

UIS is preparing to apply for an innovation hub as part of the Discovery Partners Institute.

While not committed to a specific site and still formulating plans, Koch said, in addition to an incubator, a downtown university presence could include housing its Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center and Statehouse-based programs like the Illinois Legislative Staff Intern Program and the Public Affairs Reporting Program.

Koch, pointing to the new UIS Student Union and the variety of shows offered at the Sangamon Auditorium, among other things, said she hopes “the opening of the street as an invitation for (the community) to come out to campus.”

“People should remember, this is a public university. It doesn’t belong to me, it belongs to the people of Illinois,” Koch said. “And they should feel like it’s theirs. And I think the opening of this street could be an invitation.”

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on August 11, 2018.

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Women's Basketball: UIS women’s basketball adds four players

University of Illinois Springfield women’s basketball coach Mark Kost has signed four players, including three incoming freshmen.

Carson Vance is a combination guard. She averaged 12.1 points, 3.3 assists and 2.2 steals as a senior at Roselle Lake Park High School.

Point guard Lauren Ladowski received Associated Press all-state honorable mention honors in her final year at Lake Central High School in St. John, Indiana.

Forward Ellie Mitchell helped Owensboro (Kentucky) Catholic High School reach the state quarterfinals last season.

Rounding out the list is forward Myka Roth, a transfer from Vincennes University.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on August 14, 2018.

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