Thursday, March 21, 2019

Dancing for Children's Miracle Network

Students at the University of Illinois Springfield will be dancing for a good cause this month.

UIS students will hold a dance marathon to help raise money for the Children's Miracle Network (CMN) at HSHS St. John's Children's Hospital in Springfield.

The event will be held in the UIS Student Union Ballroom from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 23rd.

The theme for this year’s Dance Marathon is Olympics.

Over the past five years, the event has raised more than $25,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on March 20, 2019.

Read the story online.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Susan Koch: Economic development for the public good

The following is an excerpt from a column by University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor Susan Koch. This column appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 16, 2019.

Since its first graduates completed their degrees in 1971, the University of Illinois Springfield has been a launch pad for professional and personal success for thousands of alums — many of whom identify their UIS experience as central to their own well-being and social mobility. 

But UIS and the entire University of Illinois system is also a public good — one that is increasingly indispensable across the entire state and beyond. 

What does this commitment mean for UIS, for Springfield and for Central Illinois? Plenty! 

As some SJ-R readers will recall, UIS recently acquired Innovate Springfield, the downtown business incubator founded by the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln. Thanks in part to financial investments by the Foundation, the City of Springfield, and the Land of Lincoln Economic Development Corporation (as well as matching funds from the UI system), Innovate Springfield is becoming a catalyst for economic development in the region — a place where ideas and startups can ignite and expand. 

According to Executive Director Katie Davison, the new alignment with UIS is already producing impressive results. “Since becoming part of UIS, Innovate Springfield has grown to serve 64 members today, including 14 UIS students,” says Davison. 

“We’re providing members with access to legal and financial consulting, workshops and mentors, as well as a creative environment that is nurturing both new business success and innovation.” 

“We have more activity and energy in the space every day,” she continues, “and we’re becoming a bridge between the University and the business community that provides clients with better access to the intellectual capital the University has to offer.” 

In joining UIS, Innovate Springfield has also been announced as a hub of the UI’s Illinois Innovation Network (IIN) — a system of interconnected university-community-industry-based hubs throughout the state. 

The Network will be anchored by the Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) in Chicago that will coordinate efforts and initiatives statewide. The Illinois General Assembly appropriated funding to help launch the DPI/IIN last spring. 

UIS is expected to receive part of that funding, and conceptual planning and design is now underway for a downtown Innovation Center that will include an expanded Innovate Springfield and other related activities. 

Bruce Sommer, the University’s new Director of Economic Development and Innovation, is part of the intellectual capital being invested in this exciting project. A Springfield native who grew up in successful local businesses including Harper Oil Company, Bruce left Illinois after college and spent several years on the East coast as a venture capitalist and angel investor. 

“When I came back to Springfield, I simply didn’t see the entrepreneurial culture I was used to on the East Coast,” says Sommer. “Innovate Springfield and the Springfield hub will provide that culture and will enable us to start new companies, which in turn can attract a wealth of talent and opportunity.” 

In addition to teaching entrepreneurship classes on campus and at Innovate Springfield, Sommer is fostering the development of local university-business partnerships to create the capacity for Springfield to be a vital and sustainable hub in the statewide network. 

Keenan Dungey is another essential asset for the project. A graduate of the University of Michigan and professor in the UIS Department of Chemistry, Dr. Dungey leads Research and Institutional Effectiveness for the University. 

“Thirty UIS faculty are already engaged in system-wide DPI working groups focused on key themes including: Computing and Data, Environment and Water, Health and Wellness, and Food and Agriculture,” says Dungey. 

“The intellectual capital this project is harnessing is tremendous,” he continues, “and it is providing new ways for us to intentionally reach outward and consider how faculty, students and programs can be stronger assets for our local community and across the state.” 

Innovation is the driver of economic development and now is the time to expand our thinking about what is possible for a more prosperous future.” ... and that’s a public good we need for Springfield and for Central Illinois!

Read the entire article online.

Women's Softball: UIS softball sweeps GLVC doubleheader

The University of Illinois Springfield pounded out 20 total hits and swept Bellarmine 8-5 and 12-1 in the opening games Saturday of the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

Morgan Edwards had a two-run home run in the top of the first inning, and teammate Carolyn Franke delivered a three-run double in the Prairie Stars’ four-run third. Edwards finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs and Bree Derhake added two hits, an RBI and scored twice. Starting pitcher Jaycee Craver went the distance, striking out six and walking three.

Ali Bortmess belted a grand slam in the nightcap and Payton Long pitched a two-hitter, striking out seven and walking one, as UIS completed the sweep.

Bortmess finished with five RBIs and Franke had two hits and drove in two for the Prairie Stars.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 16, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

UIS baseball, softball teams split doubleheaders

Carolyn Franke delivered a pinch-hit, two-run single in the bottom of the fourth inning and the University of Illinois Springfield softball team defeated Missouri Western 3-2 in the second game of a doubleheader split at UIS on Tuesday.

In the nightcap, UIS loaded the bases with no outs and got within 2-1 with a sacrifice fly. That led to Franke’s two-run single that gave the Prairie Stars the lead. Payton Long was the winning pitcher in relief, throwing three innings of one-hit scoreless ball. She struck out five and walked three.

In baseball, UIS had a five-run lead after four innings and Ruben Markham sealed the victory with a grand slam in the bottom of the eighth of the Prairie Stars’ 14-3 triumph over Wisconsin-Parkside in the second game of a doubleheader.

The Prairie Stars finished with 14 hits.

These stories appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 13, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Women's Softball: Derhake lifts Stars to a sweep

Bree Derhake hit a solo home run in the fourth inning of Game 1 and went 1-for-4 with an RBI in Game 2, leading University of Illinois Springfield to a couple of victories against Southwest Baptist University, 1-0 and 3-1.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 11, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Men's Baseball: Speaker named GLVC player of the week

University of Illinois Springfield outfielder Zach Speaker was named Great Lakes Valley Conference player of the week on Monday.

Speaker, a senior from Frankfort is batting .366 for the year and has a team-high 19 RBIs.

This is the first time winning the award for Speaker.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 11, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Men's Baseball: No. 3 UIS baseball wins first conference series

The No. 3-ranked University of Illinois Springfield baseball team won its first series of the Great Lakes Valley Conference season, defeating Truman State 19-6 in the rubber match at UIS.

The Prairie Stars offense smashed early, scoring 14 runs in the first four innings. All nine starters collected a base hit, led by Chris Monroe going 5-for-6 with four RBIs, two runs scored and two doubles. Nick Wisz went 3-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored, and Nick Mayerhofer went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI. Austin Alderman went 2-for-5 with three runs scored and a home run.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 11, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Springfield’s Tyler Pence training for U.S. Olympics Trials marathon

Tyler Pence never struggles to get out the door.

Well, unless there’s a freakish snowstorm not unlike the one in January. That forced him to stay indoors and run on a treadmill.

“But usually 99 percent of the time I’m running outside,” said Pence, who graduated from Springfield High School in 2011.

That’s because the 2016 USI grad is prepping for his first appearance in the U.S. Olympic Trials marathon scheduled Feb. 29, 2020 in Atlanta.

“That’s something that I really wanted to accomplish,” Pence said. “The marathon, it’s a gamble. Things can go wrong. It’s such a long period of racing that something can go wrong at any moment, so to put it together and have the day that I had, I was very happy with how it went.”

Pence had only attempted one other marathon – the Las Vegas Rock n Roll Marathon in 2016. Pence said that was just for fun. Sacramento was different.

Pence started training rigorously in August, approximately the same time he won his third straight 10-kilmometer Abe’s Amble road race at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. His training spanned four months, running 110-120 miles a week. Sundays were always his big runs, reaching up to 20-24 miles.

His job was not a hindrance. Beginning in 2016 under Mike De Witt, Pence has been the assistant coach on the University of Illinois Springfield cross country and track programs. He often did morning practices with UIS runners, in addition to a second jaunt in the afternoon. It was the source of his inspiration.

“I’m a big believer in practice what you preach. That’s definitely what got me back into getting motivated to run at the next level.”

”Tyler’s now turning his eye toward higher altitude during the summer, specifically Colorado Springs. He doesn’t have any real goal in mind, except one thing. “I’m just going to go there to compete and give it 100 percent,” Tyler said of Atlanta. “I just want to leave there knowing that I left it all out there for sure.”

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 10, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

UIS students to join volunteer efforts over spring break

Local University of Illinois Springfield students will be looking beyond the beach for spring break to help with something meaningful.

As part of "Alternative Spring Break" - an organization on campus - two groups of students will spend their entire Spring Break, helping to rebuild Puerto Rico and Florida following Hurricanes Maria and Michael that left devastation.

"Alternative Spring Break - that's our main mission - utilizing recess to dedicate it to something better and bigger than yourself...," President of Alternative Spring Break Maddie Reuss said. "Those who choose ASB - their hearts are really in it."

This trip marks the 11th anniversary of Alternative Spring Break at UIS.

Each year, the students go to different locations throughout the U.S., in need, to volunteer.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on March 8, 2019.

Watch the story online.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Decorated recycling bins not increasing recycling on UIS campus

A new study from the University of Illinois Springfield now shows decorated recycling bins aren't increasing recycling on campus.

As part of the study, researchers put bedazzled bins or bins with positive messages made people more likely to recycle.

The study was funded by a $3,600 grant from Pepsi Co.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on March 7, 2019.

Watch the story online.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Men's Baseball: Undefeated UIS wins, ties in baseball home games

The University of Illinois Springfield defeated William Jewell 10-1 in the opener, and then tied the Cardinals 2-2 in the nightcap in a game that was called due to darkness Friday in a doubleheader at UIS Field.

Chris Mathieu and Ruben Markham had three hits apiece and two RBIs each as the Prairie Stars compiled 14 hits in Game 1.

Justin Revels (2-0) was the winning pitcher, allowing just four hits in six innings with six strikeouts and no walks.

UIS was one out away from the sweep when William Jewell (5-5-1) hit a game-tying single that forced the tie.

This story was published in The State Journal-Register on March 2, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Women's Basketball: Stars pick up win against Bellarmine

University of Illinois Springfield ended the regular season on a positive note, defeating Bellarmine 90-81 at TRAC for the first victory over the program in school history.

UIS connected 11 times from deep, including three players with three apiece. Val Meissner, Carson Vance and Tehya Fortune all had three 3s and finished in double figures; Meissner with 11, Vance with 10 and Fortune with 23 off the bench.

The team went 11-for-20 from 3-point range. Lauren Ladowski also had 23 points for UIS, with eight coming from the free throw line.

Ladowski went eight of 10 from the line and 7-for-9 from the floor. She also added nine assists and three steals.

 UIS finished the season at 8-18 and 5-13 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 2, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

UIS hosts open house for Women's History Month

The University of Illinois Springfield is kicking off women's history month with an open house.

The Women's Center at UIS held an open house Friday to let everyone know what they offer.

For more than 25 years, the center has offered a variety of services and events - often challenges women face every day.

"As part of this month, we're doing a age negotiation workshop. It's not just limited to women - anyone can go to our wage negotiation workshop, but the focus is on the fact that women often struggle with that sort of thing in the workplace," Program Director of the Woman's Center Rexann Whorton said.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on March 1, 2019.

Watch the story online.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Men's Baseball: UIS baseball starts with sweep at home

The University of Illinois Springfield opened its season-opening home games with a 9-4 and 5-1 doubleheader sweep over visiting Purdue Northwest on Friday at the UIS Baseball Field.

In Game 1, UIS rallied from a 3-1 deficit, scoring one run in the bottom of the seventh inning and seven in the eighth to take the lead.

The Prairie Stars benefited from six walks and three hit batsmen during those two innings.

Nick Mayerhofer had a two-run single in the eighth, and Chris Monroe smacked a three-run double for UIS.

Brayden Jensen threw two shutout innings in relief to earn the win, while striking out four.

In the nightcap, UIS starter Andrew Dean threw six scoreless innings as the Prairie Stars completed the sweep to improve to 5-0. Dean allowed just three hits.

Leadoff hitter John Sechen went 2-for-2 and scored twice, and Ryan Fish had a pair of hits for UIS.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 23, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Men's Basketball: UIS breaks slump, 3-point record in close win

The University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball team made a school-record 18 3-pointers, and Vince Walker’s 3-point basket was the biggest.

Walker drained a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1 minute remaining in the game and the Prairie Stars defeated McKendree 76-75 on Saturday in a Great Lakes Valley Conference game at the Statham Center.

Walker’s shot helped UIS snap a six-game losing streak, as he finished with six 3s and 19 points.

The Prairie Stars’ 18 3-point field goals broke the previous record of 17 that was set in a win over Ashford during the 2005-06 season.

The Prairie Stars improved to 14-12 overall and 7-9 in the GLVC.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 23, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Local kids take part in UIS baseball camps

Some local kids in Springfield had the chance to spend Presidents Day learning about baseball.

The baseball camps were hosted by the University of Illinois Springfield and were open to kids from five to 12 years old.

Campers worked with current UIS players to learn the basics of the sport and get to know the players.
"The main thing is just to connect with the community, youth baseball in Springfield. Then, have some fun playing baseball in the gym," Coach Chris Ramirez said.

UIS baseball does host other camps and clinics throughout the year.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on February 18, 2019.

Watch the story online.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Art Express gives people with dementia creative outlet

An art expression class for people with dementia and their care partners learned of a new way of creating art that even one who balks at creativity may like.

University of Illinois Springfield graduate student Cheyenne Snodgrass told people gathered Wednesday afternoon for the Art Express class at Hope Presbyterian Church how they would work on abstract painting using acrylic paints and palette knives that day.

Established in 2012, the Art Express class is co-hosted by Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Neuroscience Center and the University of Illinois Springfield Human Development Counseling Program.

Art Express gives people with dementia an outlet to creatively express themselves without needing memory, management or verbal communications skills. It promotes creativity, self-expression, social engagement and autonomy in a supportive environment. Its goal isn’t to produce beautiful artwork, but that can be a by-product.

Meeting weekly for a 2-hour session on a semester basis, the class is led by Karen Lee, UIS clinical instructor of Human Development Counseling, and Maggie Schaver of the Neuroscience Institute, SIU School of Medicine.

Graduate students from the UIS Human Development Counseling Program, community and church volunteers also assist with the class, partnering with individual participants.

“I was out at UIS, and I had this idea that it would be fun to bring some of my graduate students with me so that they could get experience in art therapy and working with this population,” said Lee, a trained art therapist.

UIS graduate student Rachel Stewart was helping a woman Wednesday with the painting project, first asking her if she wanted to paint on a big piece of paper or a smaller one. “You get to pick,” Stewart said. “What colors are your favorite colors?”

 Stewart is in her second semester helping with Art Express. “I just really like working with people with dementia. I think they’re super honest, and they’re just genuine, and I like interacting with them and helping them to feel normal, even if it’s just for the two hours that we’re here,” Stewart said.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 16, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Women's Softball: UIS pounds Davenport, wins sixth straight

University of Illinois Springfield collected 14 hits and won its sixth straight game by beating Davenport 15-3 Saturday at Drake Creek Field.

The Prairie Stars scored three runs each in the bottom of the second and third innings and plated nine runs in the fourth to blow the game open. The bottom order of the lineup, consisting of Kendra Peifer, Hunter Niebrugge and Natalie Cokel combined for eight hits and eight RBIs.

Peifer and Niebrugge both went 3-for-3 and drove in three runs apiece, and Cokel finished 2-for-3, drove in two and scored twice. Winning pitcher Jaycee Craver threw 4 1/3 innings, allowing two earned runs and four hits. UIS improved to 6-2.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 16, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Susan Koch: Embracing history with Lincoln studies 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 February 9, 2019.

February commonly brings predictions of spring’s arrival provided by a groundhog named Phil or handfuls of candy conversation hearts to celebrate Valentine’s Day. 

Here in Springfield, Illinois, however, February’s center stage goes to our own hometown hero — Abraham Lincoln

With Mr. Lincoln’s 210th birthday only two days away, my thoughts, too, are with the 16th president. Fortunately, resources for contemplating Lincoln are close at hand here at the University of Illinois Springfield. 

The study of Abraham Lincoln — his leadership and his legacy — is a unique point of pride for the University that continues to grow and contribute to the education of tomorrow’s leaders as well as to the Springfield community. 

Though UIS faculty in many areas of study engage in teaching and research about Lincoln, Professor Michael Burlingame, who occupies the Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies, is most prominent. 

The author of many critically acclaimed Lincoln books including a biography titled Abraham Lincoln: A Life, Burlingame believes learning about Lincoln ”... deepens students’ understanding of what it means to be an American.” 

Devin Hunter, who joined the UIS faculty after working at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., and earning a Ph.D. in Public History from Loyola University, agrees. “Studying Lincoln’s life,” says Hunter, “enables better understanding of how others navigate challenges — some of which are similar to what we see today.” 

Professors Burlingame and Hunter take full advantage of their location in Lincoln’s hometown where resources for teaching and research about Lincoln and his time abound. “I have a 75-step commute from my residence to do my research at the Lincoln Presidential Library,” says Burlingame, “which has a fabulous collection of primary source materials, books and journals.” “Next to the Library of Congress,” he continues, “it’s the premier place to do Lincoln research.”

(Burlingame’s current project is focused on Lincoln’s many interactions with African Americans throughout his lifetime.) Hunter, who is currently teaching a course titled “Monuments, Museums and Memory,” could not agree more with his colleague’s assessment. “To have local, state, and federal sites all within a small radius is uncommon,” he says, “and it creates an opportunity for faculty and students to have unparalleled access to a variety of important historical sites and information.” 

Local resources also create opportunities for hands-on learning and community engagement. One of Dr. Hunter’s classes recently served as an advisory panel for Springfield’s African American History Museum. His students also help conduct a local “History Harvest” — inviting Illinois residents to bring historical items to a site where they are digitized and become part of an online exhibit. 

Many UIS graduates who studied Lincoln at UIS have gone on to successful careers in a variety of leadership roles. Claire Jerry is one of them. 

Jerry earned a master’s degree in public history from UIS and then a Ph.D. from the University of Kansas. She is now at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. where she is the Lead Curator in Political History at the National Museum of American History. 

“My experiences at UIS were absolutely essential to my career as a museum professional,” says Jerry. “Professor William Siles’ insistence that I pursue increasingly challenging opportunities gave me the confidence to do more than I had ever thought possible and Dr. Cecilia Cornell not only insisted I do my best work, but that I strive for more. “I would not be where I am today,” she concludes, “without the education I received at UIS.” 

Lincoln Studies at UIS will take another important step forward in the coming year with the formal launch of the Center for Lincoln Studies — a priority of the current Reaching Stellar fundraising campaign. 

With planning underway for collaboration with the ALPLM, the Abraham Lincoln Association and other Lincoln-oriented organizations, the Center will provide new opportunities for learning about Lincoln and the impact of his contributions. 

I’m so pleased the growing Lincoln Studies agenda at the University of Illinois Springfield will enable us to further embrace, rather than escape, history.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Lincoln!

Read the entire article online.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

UIS Black History Month event examines NAACP history

As part of Black History Month, the University of Illinois Springfield’s Engaged Citizenship Common Experience (ECCE) Speaker Series, the UIS Diversity Center and the Springfield NAACP will co-host a film screening and panel discussion on “The History of Springfield – From 1908 to Now.”

This event will begin with a screening of the 30-minute film Springfield Had No Shame: The Springfield Race Riot of 1908.

The film will be followed by a panel discussion led by Teresa Haley, president of the Springfield and Illinois chapters of the NAACP. The panel will also include previous NAACP presidents and members who will discuss the history and plight of the NAACP since its establishment in 1909.

This story appeared in the Illinois Times on February 7, 2019.

Read the entire story online.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Women's Basketball: UIS outlasts Indianapolis for fourth conference win

The University of Illinois Springfield women's basketball team outlasted the University of Indianapolis with a 68-65 victory during Saturday's Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) matchup at TRAC.

UIS topped the Greyhounds for the first time in program history.

"It was a great team effort with balanced scoring and contributions from our bench," UIS coach Mark Kost said.

Influencing much of the game was the battle in the paint, which accounted for 51.1 percent of the game's scoring. Both teams turned in 34 points apiece in the paint.

Throughout the game, the Prairie Stars were able to receive the benefits of the home-court crowd. "Our crowd was awesome and energized our team. We need that to continue when we return home."

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on February 2, 2019.

Watch the story online.

Men's Basketball: Vince Walker breaks UIS' career three-point record

Vince Walker broke the University of Illinois Springfield men's basketball career record for three-pointers on Saturday, but his five three-pointers in the game were not enough for the Prairie Stars as they fell to Indianapolis by an 86-76 score at TRAC.

Walker hit his 193rd three-pointer of his career with 2:20 left in the first half, tying him with Jamall Millison who set the previous mark in 2016.

That tie lasted just 78 seconds into the second half when Walker hit another long distance shot. He added one more later in the half and is now just five away from 200 for his UIS career.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on February 2, 2019.

Watch the story online.

UIS moving forward with downtown plans despite SIU proposal

Despite a proposal unveiled last week that would allocate funds for another public university to build a campus in downtown Springfield, officials from the University of Illinois Springfield say they are continuing to move forward unimpeded with plans for an increased downtown presence.

Last August, the university acquired business and social innovation incubator Innovate Springfield, which was founded in 2014 as a subsidiary to the Community Foundation, but with UIS squarely in mind as a future repository. Soon after, the university was awarded the first hub of the Illinois Innovation Network, a University of Illinois system-led initiative meant to foster economic growth through research and innovation by connecting satellite hubs spread across the state with the flagship Discovery Partners Institute, a research institute to be based in Chicago.

More than $500 million was appropriated toward the statewide initiative in the fiscal year 2019 state budget, approved by lawmakers last year. Though most of it will go toward the construction of the Chicago-based institute, at least $15 million has been set aside for UIS to build a hub somewhere in downtown Springfield.

Innovate Springfield remains at 15 S. Old State Capitol Plaza, but university officials have made clear their intention to move into a larger space.

In addition to the innovation hub, Chancellor Susan Koch said other programs could make the move to a new downtown space. “We haven’t made final decisions, but we really believe there are some other entities that being downtown would be a great match for them,” Koch said. While cautioning that nothing is yet conclusive, Koch said moving the university’s Illinois legislative staff intern program and NPR Illinois have been discussed.

Koch said university leaders are trying to strike the “right balance” between having a robust downtown presence and increasing the vitality of the main campus.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 2, 2019.

Read the entire story online.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

UIS cancels class as temperatures drop

The University of Illinois Springfield announced that all classes are canceled for Wednesday, January 30th.

The school also canceled classes in the evening after 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 29th.

However, the campus is still open.

This story appeared on WICS Newschannel 20 on January 29, 2019.

Watch the story online.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Women's Basketball: First quarter run seals win for Stars

University of Illinois Springfield trailed 7-5 early in the first period but closed out the quarter on a 14-0 run and a 12-point lead that they would ride to the finish for a 77-65 win over Quincy University at the Pepsi Arena.

Tehya Fortune led the Stars from 3-point range, shooting 5-for-12 and scoring 23 points. Fortune sank three 3s in the first half. UIS shot 43.5 percent from deep. Val Meissner went 7-for-11 from the floor for 16 points.

UIS breaks a four-game losing streak in the conference, moving to 3-6 in the GLVC and 6-11 overall.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on January 26, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Renovations set to begin at University of Illinois Springfield

University of Illinois Springfield will be making major structural improvements to its studio theater.

The theater received a $150,000 grant from the university to modernize its facility. The improvements will include new seating, a new curtain system and upgrades to lighting and sound.

Bryan Rives, the director of performance arts services, said the renovations will support UIS as well as the outside community. "These upgrades were definitely necessary and it's going to help us be more cost-effective in the daily operations of the building and by bringing the operating cost of the building down, we're also hoping that new community arts organizations will start popping up that will use this space as their performance home," Rives said.

The grant money will be combined with money from outside donors to pay for the total renovation cost of $200,000. Work is set to be complete by the end of the summer.

This story aired on Fox 55 Illinois on January 25, 2019.

Watch the story online.

UIS Mock Trial team wins awards

The University of Illinois Springfield Mock Trial team recently received the Spirit of American Mock Trial Association Award at the first Scarlet and Cream Invitational hosted by the University of Nebraska.

Area team members are Chance Austin, of Rochester; and Adeola Babington, Andrew Jarmer and Jade Sisti, of Springfield.

Jarmer was recognized with an Outstanding Attorney award for his competition performance.

The American Mock Trial Association has awarded the team that best exemplifies its ideals of civility, justice and fair play with the Spirit of AMTA Award since 2000. The award is given to only one team at each tournament and is voted and scored by competing teams.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on January 24, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Softball: Prairie Stars No. 2 in GLVC preseason poll

The University of Illinois Springfield is No. 2 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference preseason softball poll.

The Prairie Stars, defending regular-season GLVC champions, received one first-place vote and 149 points. They finished No. 2 behind defending national champion Southern Indiana (11 first-place votes).

UIS is coming off its best season in program history, going 40-19 overall and 22-6 in the GLVC. The Stars eventually reached the NCAA Super Regionals and finished No. 12 in the national rankings.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on January 25, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Baseball: UIS receives preseason honors

Four players from the University of Illinois Springfield have been named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association NCAA Division II Preseason All-Midwest Team.

UIS players named to the first team were senior pitcher Andrew Dean from Alvin, Texas; senior pitcher Justin Revels from Peoria, Arizona, and senior catcher John Sechen from Ashland, Wisconsin. UIS junior pitcher Cameron Zunkel, who’s from Lombard, was named to the second team.

The Prairie Stars also were rated No. 2 in the NCBWA NCAA Division II Midwest Regional preseason rankings.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on January 25, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

UIS students volunteering for MLK Day of Service

More than 80 students from the University of Illinois Springfield are volunteering for the national Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.

Students will be helping six community organizations in Springfield.

They will volunteer at Concordia Village, Computer Banc, Habitat for Humanity ReStore, HSHS St. John's Hospital, Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, and Ronald McDonald House. At Concordia Village students will sort through donated computers at the Computer Banc, prepare items for sale at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and prepare stuffed animals and cards that will be donated to children at HSHS St. John's Hospital. They will also help around the house and sort donated items at the Ronald McDonald House.

The largest group will be stationed at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church to assemble valentines and crafts for donation to mothers and children at Sojourn Shelter & Services, MERCY Communities and Contact Ministries.

Students will also assemble food bags for PGBC's food pantry and prepare garbage bags to be used in flood relief and tornado tubs for the Midwest Mission Distribution Center.

This story aired on WAND 17 on January 21, 2019. 

Watch the story online.

Men's Basketball: Bahari Amaya, UIS men rally over Drury

Bahari Amaya came off the bench to score a career-high 24 points, including a 3-point basket with 10.4 seconds left in regulation, on Saturday to lift the University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball team to a come-from-behind, 88-87 Great Lakes Valley Conference victory over Drury at TRAC.

UIS trailed by 16 points early in the second half and still was down by 10 with 7 minutes 16 seconds left. But the Prairie Stars made an 8-0 run that gave them an 85-54 lead with 1:49 to go.

Both teams shot well, with UIS 33-for-52 from the field for 63 percent and the Panthers 34-for-63 for .540. The Stars also shot 59 percent from 3-point range.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on January 19, 2019.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Man wrongfully convicted of attempted murder exonerated after death

A wrongfully convicted Illinois man will be exonerated decades after he died in prison.

The Illinois Innocence Project at the University of Illinois Springfield said the person granted clemency will be Grover Thompson, who was convicted after the 1981 death of a Mount Vernon woman.

Grover decided to rest in the lobby of a Mount Vernon post office during a bus journey to see family in Mississippi while, at the same time, a man broke into the home of 72-year-old widow Ida White, hid in her shower and stabbed her.

The Innocence Project says Lt. Paul Echols, a now-retired member of Carbondale’s police department, ended up getting a confession to the crime from Tim Krajcir, who it says was “sometimes mistaken for a dark-complexioned man”.

Krajcir has a history of sex crimes dating back decades and admitted to killing nine people, police say.

This is the first posthumous exoneration in Illinois history and the 21st nationwide.

This story aired on WAND on January 14, 2019.

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UIS Student Union celebrates one-year anniversary

The University of Illinois Springfield's Student Union celebrated its one year anniversary since its opening in 2018.

The Student Union serves as the center of students' social and organizational activities.

"This building is such an amazing piece of this campus now and has really changed how students interact and have a good time on this campus and connect with one another," Executive Director of the Student Union Ann Comerford said.

Some of the one-year celebration activities included license plate personalizations, giveaways, a DJ and a game show.

This story aired in WICS Newschannel 20 on January 14, 2019.

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Monday, January 14, 2019

Men's Basketball: Peyton Allen, Cole Harper pave way for UIS victory

The University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball team overcame a long drought in the second half and escaped with the 81-70 Great Lakes Valley Conference victory over Maryville on Saturday at the TRAC.

A couple of Chatham Glenwood High School grads quickly fueled a 7-0 run to grab the lead for good.

UIS senior guard Cole Harper ended the rut with a jumper and junior teammate Peyton Allen reclaimed a 68-66 advantage with a 3-pointer with 5 minutes 2 seconds remaining. It was Harper’s first appearance since he twisted his left ankle on Jan. 2. He finished with three points, three rebounds and two assists in 22 minutes off the bench. Allen contributed 15 points for UIS, which snapped a two-game skid and improved to 10-5 overall and 3-2 in conference play.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on January 12, 2019.

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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Women's Basketball: UIS guard Sangster tabbed Player of the Week

University of Illinois Springfield’s Jasmine Sangster earned Great Lakes Valley Conference Player of the Week after leading the women’s basketball team to a 84-73 victory over McKendree University on Saturday.

She scored 33 points, shooting 11 of 16 from the field and 3 of 5 from 3-point range while going 8-for-8 from the free throw line. That was the highest single-game performance since Dec. 10, 2014.

Sangster, a junior guard, averages 14.2 points per game.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on January 7, 2019.

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Monday, January 7, 2019

Susan Koch: Career development 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 January 5, 2019.

As the new year begins, college students across the country will soon return to their studies following the winter break. More than 20,000 of those students will begin their final semester at the University of Illinois, including about 1,500 whose hands I’ll proudly shake on the University of Illinois Springfield commencement stage in May.

According to the Pew Research Center, a college degree is worth more today than ever before in terms of employment prospects, higher salaries and job satisfaction; but managing the transition from college to career can be intimidating.

Fortunately for UIS students, that’s exactly where Kathyy Battee-Freeman, Director of the UIS Career Development Center, can help.

With a background including degrees in Human Resources, Career Counseling and Applied Psychology and with more than 18 years of Career Development experience, Battee-Freeman and her team provide essential resources for students, faculty and employers to ensure the college-to-career transition has a positive outcome for all.

“Our first goal is to serve as a partner with students to develop tailored, realistic career strategies and obtainable goals,” says Battee-Freeman. “Starting with Freshman Orientation, we work with students throughout their educational experience — providing individualized counseling to help clarify goals and aspirations, connecting students to resources both on and off campus, and helping them develop skills such as resume writing, using digital job search tools like LinkedIn, interviewing and presenting themselves professionally — all so important for a successful transition from college to career.”

Jodi Weiss, CEO of EverythingSmart (a career strategy organization), advises students to plot their career roadmap throughout the college experience.

For this reason, Battee-Freeman and Career Center staff also partner with UIS faculty to integrate career readiness components across the curriculum — elements tailored to specific programs and majors.

Professor Hilary Frost, Director of the Global Studies program at UIS, is one such faculty partner.

Dr. Frost begins her Freshman Seminar by engaging students in a self-assessment to determine what kinds of careers might be a good match for their interests. She then takes her students on a “field trip” to the Career Development Center where they learn about services offered, interpret results of their assessment, and explore opportunities and networks that will lead toward career goals during their college experience.

“The UIS Career Development Center is key to a successful college experience,” says Dr. Frost. “It provides a strategic bridge between the theoretical ideas of the classroom and the working world.” “Over many years collaborating with the Center, I’ve learned what employers in my field are seeking from new college graduates (e.g., language skills, international experience and intercultural communication skills),” she adds. “I’ve developed my courses accordingly to ensure students build those skills. This ultimately enables students to truly put their education to work.”

A third strategic partner is the employer, and the Center maintains relationships with employers, large and small, throughout Springfield and beyond.

A special opportunity will occur next month when the UIS Career Connections Expo is held in The Recreation and Athletic Center (TRAC). This annual event, scheduled for February 14th, draws more than a hundred employers and several hundred job-seekers.

Read the entire column online.

Women's Basketball: Sangster dominates off the bench for UIS

Jasmine Sangster went 11-for-16 from the field and 8-for-8 from the foul line for 33 points in 27 minutes off the bench to lead the University of Illinois Springfield to an 84-73 victory over McKendree at the TRAC.

The Prairie Stars shot well from the field, shooting 27-for-50 for 54 percent. UIS also went 7-for-16 from 3-point territory and 23-for-29 from the foul line.

Lauren Ladowski was the only other player in double figures for UIS, scoring 11 points on 5-for-6 shooting from the line. Ladowski also dished out six assists. Tehya Fortune added seven points and six rebounds.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on January 5th, 2019.

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Friday, January 4, 2019

Men's Basketball: Stars gear up for GLVC run

The University of Illinois Springfield extended its winning streak to seven games in the last battle before GLVC play resumes, defeating Lincoln Christian 101-77 at TRAC.

 The Prairie Stars collected the ninth win of their season but suffered a costly loss with 1:19 remaining in the first half, when senior Cole Harper went down with a twisted left ankle. Harper was assisted off by the medical staff and was seen on crutches after the game.

 “Cole’s situation really puts a cloud on the win,” said UIS head coach Bill Walker. “I haven’t seen any x-rays, but I’d say he’s going to miss three or four games.”

Harper had scored only three points when leaving with the injury but had grabbed a team-high six rebounds and three assists in the first half.

The UIS bench stepped up big in the loss of Harper with 20 points, led by Bahari Amaya’s nine.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on January 2, 2019.

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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Men's Basketball: Peyton Allen, UIS claim sixth straight win

A long break didn’t disrupt University of Illinois Springfield’s torrid offense.

UIS junior guard Peyton Allen manufactured a game-high 25 points and the Prairie Stars captured their sixth straight win 89-81 at Missouri Western State University on Sunday.

UIS (8-3) has scored at least 80 points in five of its last six games. Allen, a Chatham Glenwood High School graduate, also pulled down a team-high eight rebounds while going 8 of 19 from the floor and 9 of 11 from the free throw line in the non-conference matchup.

Gilwan Nelson posted 16 points, followed by Vince Walker (15), Aundrae Williams (12) and Bahari Amaya (11). Fellow Glenwood graduate Cole Harper had three points in 30 minutes of action. 

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on December 30, 2018.

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Local kids learn new basketball moves from UIS players

Local kids are ending 2018 by learning some moves on the basketball court.

This is the second year for the University of Illinois Springfield's holiday basketball clinic.

More than 100 kids were a part of the clinic, learning from UIS basketball players.

Coaches said it's a great way to get one-on-one time with their littlest and biggest fans. "Some of these kids come to our camps in the summer, so there's a lot of familiar faces and they know our players so that makes it fun and we see friendly faces at the games throughout the year," Head Women's Basketball Coach Mark Kost said.

UIS coaches said the holiday clinic also helps parents get their kids out of the house during Christmas break.

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

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