Monday, July 30, 2012

UIS Men's Soccer: Miech brings in diverse group of recruits

It’s a mix of recruits for University of Illinois Springfield men’s soccer coach Jesse Miech.

“We went after everything,” Miech said. “We have a few kids that come from some bigger clubs like Scott Gallagher and Chicago Magic. We also have some players that come from smaller clubs and smaller areas. We also have two junior college transfers.”

When practice begins in two weeks, Miech will match 11 recruits with nine players from last year’s squad that compiled an 0-14-2 overall record.

“We had to bring in all positions,” he said. “We have a good balance. We have good athletic kids."

Miech was featured in a July 29, 2012, article in the State Journal-Register.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

UIS professor's research on self-defense featured by the New York Times

Many women are turning to self-defense events and classes that emphasize fewer scary scenarios and grim statistics about violence against women and more fitness, friendship or just plain fun.

New research to be presented at the American Society of Criminology’s annual meeting in November has found that women are more likely to enroll in classes if they are more sociable, comfortable and convenient. Leanne Brecklin, the study’s author and an associate professor of criminal justice at the University of Illinois-Springfield, discovered that women can also be lured by data showing how helpful self-defense skills can be — and have been.

“Sharing women’s success stories demonstrates that fighting back is not only possible but also effective, and that might help recruit women who are reluctant to enroll,” Ms. Brecklin said.

Brecklin was featured in an July 25, 2012, article in the New York Times.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Future UIS golfer plays 100 holes for charity

Despite scorching conditions, Woodlawn grad and golfer Nick Tannahill walked 100 holes for charity on July 23, 2012. He said the idea came to him in the shower, as a way to raise money for the United Methodist Children's Home in Mt. Vernon.

Tannahill started at 6 a.m. and was through about 60 holes by 1 p.m. He enlisted the help of a couple friends to keep him company throughout the day. The 18-year-old will play for University Illinois-Springfield in the fall.

Tannahill was featured by WSIL-TV in a July 23, 2012, report.

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Foot in the Door career fair set for Sept. 6

Area businesses and organizations are invited to register for booth space at the 2012 Foot in the Door career fair from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sept. 6 in the Public Affairs Center, 1 University Plaza, on the University of Illinois Springfield campus.

The event is designed to bring students, local employers, and organizations together to discuss career opportunities in a broad range of available positions. Local businesses who are seeking students to fill part-time jobs, internships, and volunteer and other career opportunities are invited, and should have immediate openings for students. There is no cost to employers or students.

For more information or to register, contact the UIS Career Development Center at 206-6508, or via email at Visit

The story was featured in a July 24, 2012, edition of the State Journal-Register.

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Hogan will be highest-paid employee at UI-Springfield

The appointment of former University of Illinois President Michael Hogan as a history professor at the UI Springfield makes him the highest-paid employee on that campus.

Hogan, who made $651,000 as president, is now earning $285,100 a year as a professor, under a formula set when he was hired as president in 2010.

Only one other employee at UI Springfield earns more than $200,000, according to the UI's "gray book" of salaries. Vice President and Chancellor Susan Koch is listed at $220,000 annually. Former Chancellor Richard Ringeisen, who stepped down in October 2010, earned $281,705 as chancellor emeritus in 2011, but his appointment expired last November.

Hogan is spending a year on sabbatical, living in Ohio near family, and is scheduled to teach at UI Springfield starting in 2013-14.

The story appeared in an July 22, 2012, edition of the Champaign News-Gazette.

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Follow File: Chick-fil-A at UIS remains up in the air

Whether or not a Chick-fil-A fast-food chicken restaurant will return to Springfield is still up in the air, according to a University of Illinois Springfield spokesman.

News broke in April that Chick-fil-A was considering the UIS campus as a possible location for a new restaurant in Springfield. Chick-fil-A had an outlet in White Oaks Mall a number of years ago.

The announcement created a controversy because objectors say the company has given financial support to anti-gay organizations.

In response to those concerns, student government members decided to hold off on supporting the restaurant.

The Student Government Association instead voted to create a task force to study potential restaurants – including Chick-fil-A – that could be brought to UIS.

That decision was made only weeks before the end of the semester, UIS spokesman Derek Schnapp said, so there’s been little more discussion. When students return this fall, he said he expects the task force to make a recommendation to university leaders.

The follow-up was published in an July 23, 2012, edition of the State Journal-Register.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Former U of I president to teach at UIS

Former University of Illinois president Michael Hogan, who resigned in March after his leadership was questioned, will become a history professor at the University of Illinois Springfield, although he will be on sabbatical for the coming school year.

Hogan was succeeded by Robert Easter as U of I president on July 1.

According to the terms of his employment agreement, Hogan was allowed to join the university faculty as a distinguished professor of history at the campus of his choosing. He chose UIS in part because of its online programs and the proximity of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

“Dr. Hogan is an accomplished scholar in history, and we expect he will be a positive academic addition to our outstanding faculty,” UIS Chancellor Susan Koch said in an email from an out-of-state conference.

Lynn Pardie, vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost at UIS, informed faculty in an email Tuesday that Hogan had decided to join the Springfield faculty.

“Dr. Hogan, as you may already know, is an accomplished scholar whose areas of expertise include American foreign policy and international relations,” Pardie said in the email. “Dr. Hogan will be on sabbatical leave for the 2012-2013 academic year and I look forward to the contributions that he will make to the intellectual vibrancy of UIS.”

The appointment was reported in a July 18, 2012, article in the State Journal-Register.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Oruche goes from UIS to Olympics

Richard Oruche was a child the last time he set foot in Nigeria.

The former University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball player can’t recall how old he was when he last visited the homeland of his parents, yet he has a big-hearted affection for the African nation that he will represent at the upcoming Summer Olympics in London.

Oruche, who graduated from UIS in 2010 with a degree in business administration, is a member of the Nigerian basketball team. He was born in Oak Park and holds dual citizenship in Nigeria and the United States.

His mother, Harriet Adenle-Ouma, and father, Osita Oruche, were in their 20s when they immigrated to the U.S., according to Richard.

“I grew up hearing all the stories about what my parents went through in Nigeria,” Richard said via telephone from Chicago. “Being a part of their African and Nigerian tradition is a big part of my life. I was exposed to two sides of the world.

“It feels real good to represent all they went through and for my country. I have a lot of family still in Nigeria. My whole family is supporting me. I hope to make them proud.”

Oruche was featured in a July 14, 2012, article in the State Journal-Register.

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Art fun in the summertime

Since mounting its first group show on 11/11/11, upstart local art collective The Pharmacy has already become something of a Springfield institution. Along with providing work space for a variety of area visual artists, the 401 South Grand Ave. West location has also become a haven for local writers via its “Pharmacy Literati” wing, as well as something of an ad hoc community center, playing host to numerous events and workshops. This Saturday, The Pharmacy will not only hold a third group show in its warehouse space at 1022 S. Pasfield, it will also simultaneously debut a new permanent gallery space next door.

The gallery will be run in part by Alison Lacher, the Visual Arts Gallery Manager at UIS, who plans to bring in work from New York and Chicago artists as well as some from the Rhode Island School of Design and Michigan’s Cranbrook Academy. There will also be guest curators from like-minded arts co-ops in other Illinois communities such as Peoria and Bloomington.

Pharmacy openings have earned a reputation as vibrant, eclectic social events and Saturday promises to up the ante. The warehouse portion will be familiar to previous attendees, featuring a variety of work by member artists, while over at the gallery, UIS professors Mike Miller, Shane Harris and Dave Kube have constructed an elaborate installation involving video projection, sculpture and other disparate elements.

The UIS artists were featured in a July 12, 2012, article in the Illinois Times.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Former UIS guard Oruche makes Olympics with Nigerian basketball team

Former University of Illinois Springfield basketball player Richard Oruche earned a spot in the London Olympics over the weekend when his Nigerian team qualified for the Games with a win over the Dominican Republic.

Oruche, who holds dual Nigerian and United States citizenship, is believed to be the first UIS athlete to play in the Olympic Games, according to a news release issued Wednesday by the university.

Oruche, 25, graduated from UIS in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He has been playing basketball professionally in Portugal for two seasons. He was invited to play on the Nigerian basketball team earlier this year. The team defeated the Dominican Republic 88-73 on Sunday in Caracas, Venezuela, to earn the country’s first-ever berth into the Olympic Games.

Oruche was featured in a July 11, 2012, article in the State Journal-Register.

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Monday, July 9, 2012

UIS artist spotlighted by Chicago Tonight

Allison Lacher is a Springfield-based installation artist. Her work playfully explores the themes of adolescence, naïveté and vulnerability, often associated with coming of age transitions. She uses ambiguous narratives, which blur the lines between fantasy and reality, to evoke an emotional response from the viewer. Lacher’s installation, That’s Love, Baby, is a culmination of these working narratives. The installation is an emotionally charged space that the viewer interacts with, imposing their own personal narratives to help craft the story.

That’s Love, Baby was first exhibited at the University of Illinois Springfield Visual Arts Gallery, where Lacher is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Visual Arts and Gallery Manager. The installation is now remounted at the Backspace Collective in Peoria through the end of July.

Lacher was spotlighted on a July 3, 2012, broadcast of "Chicago Tonight" on WTTW (PBS).

Watch the feature story online

Woman convicted of shaking baby has new hope

Thirteen years after she was imprisoned for the murder of a 2-year-old Bartlett boy, Pamela Jacobazzi is still quick to declare she’s innocent.

Jacobazzi, 57, is eligible for parole in just three years — but she hopes to clear her name before then.

That’s because the former Bartlett day care provider convicted of fatally shaking Matthew Czapski is getting a new evidentiary hearing, which could result in a new trial.

She also has picked up backing from the Illinois Innocence Project, which is calling on Gov. Pat Quinn to grant her clemency.

Medical witnesses for the prosecution contended at trial that Matthew’s injuries were so severe his symptoms would have shown almost immediately if that had been the case.

“There was testimony that the only other thing that could have caused this was an automobile wreck or a fall from several stories,” said investigator Bill Clutter, of the Illinois Innocence Project at the University of Illinois Springfield.

The case was featured in a July 9, 2012, article in the Chicago Daily Herald.

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Illinois services threatened as pension hole grows

The threat that the state of Illinois will come after veteran workers has led to an exodus of public employees like Brenda Allan.

After more than 23 years as a secretary at the University of Illinois-Springfield, Allan is calling it quits. As she steps away from the retirement party being held in her honor, Allan says she had thought about retiring for a couple of years.

"But also there is the concern of, you know, what the General Assembly is doing and what impact that is going to have on both current and future retirees. What goes on down at the statehouse certainly has been a concern," she says.

Allan's comments were featured by National Public Radio (NPR) in a  July 3, 2012, report.

Read the full story and listen online

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Essay: What the U.S. flag means to me

The following is a portion of an essay written by UIS Chancellor Susan Koch. It was published in a July 3, 2012, edition of the State Journal-Register.

"What does the flag mean to me? Any other year but this year I might have answered this question by discussing, as a university’s chancellor probably should, that important purpose of a university education — the preparation of citizens in a country that needs citizenship.

But this year when I think about what the flag means to me all I can think about is a woman I know who, like me, is a mother of four."

Read the full essay on the SJ-R website

New UI President Easter says his first priority is budget issues

His colors have been orange and blue for almost four decades, but Bob Easter is adding several other color schemes to his wardrobe: red and blue for the University of Illinois at Chicago and blue and white for the UI at Springfield.

"I truly do look forward to the time before us," he said on Monday, his first official day as president of the University of Illinois.

The soft-spoken Easter, a native Texan who has spent nearly 40 years on the Urbana campus, will lead the UI and its three campuses for the next two years. He takes over presidential duties for Michael Hogan, whose nearly two-year, often rocky tenure culminated with his resignation at the end of March.

Easter, who joined the faculty as an animal sciences professor in Urbana after earning his doctorate here and was most recently the UI's interim chancellor, said one of his goals was to create a sense of stability.

Easter was featured in a July 3, 2012, article in the Champaign News-Gazette.

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