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.