Friday, May 31, 2013

UIS men add size to backcourt

A pair of 6-foot-3 guards have signed with the University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball program.

Wes Koral is an NCAA Division I transfer from Texas-Pan American. Kendall Guyton graduates this weekend from Bolingbrook High School.

“We’re trying to get longer and more athletic on the perimeter,” UIS coach Ben Wierzba said. “We were needing bigger guards. Those two guys fill needs.”

Koral was a redshirt at Texas-Pan American last season. He will have four years of eligibility at UIS.

Guyton averaged 10 points and four rebounds his senior year. He was named to the Joliet Herald News all-area second team and described as a “highlight reel waiting to happen.”

“Kendall is very athletic,” Wierzba said. “He’s good in the open court, attacking the rim and finishing at the rim. He’s a very explosive athlete.”

The story was published by The State Journal-Register on May 31, 2013.

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

UIS seeks to offer computer security degree

The University of Illinois Springfield hopes to offer a new degree major in fall 2014 in response to what experts say is a growing need for computer systems security specialists.

“We pinpointed a need for more systems security professionals in Illinois,” said Lucas Vespa, assistant professor of computer science at UIS who wrote the proposal for the new degree. “We felt a major was needed to cover the breadth of knowledge that is needed.”

The University of Illinois Board of Trustees is scheduled to vote on approving the new major at its meeting Tuesday in Chicago. If the trustees OK the major, it will go to the Illinois Board of Higher Education for final approval.

Computer security breaches — or at least the number we hear about — seem to be increasing. Most recently locally, the Schnucks supermarket chain suffered a breach that potentially affected up to 2.4 million credit and debit card users.

“The severity is increasing,” Vespa said. “It’s much harder to maintain these systems. It is a constant uphill battle.”

UIS currently offers a bachelor of science degree in computer science on one of two tracks — programming and information systems security.

The story was featured by The State Journal-Register on May 27, 2013.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Jim Ruppert: UIS, city should team up for new ballpark

The following was written by Jim Ruppert, sports editor for The State Journal-Register. It was published in the May 21, 2013 edition.

"The University of Illinois at Springfield is looking for a new baseball coach. That makes three times in the four years UIS has had a baseball program that the Prairie Stars will start the season with a new head coach.

Time will come when the Prairie Stars will be competitive in the Great Lakes Valley Conference and on the NCAA Division II level. That day will come when there is coaching stability, and there won’t be coaching stability until a perfect fit is discovered. And that perfect won’t take place until there are some on-campus facilities that make UIS baseball more attractive for coaching candidates and players.

All that being said, it’s time for action. It’s time the university and the city formed an athletic partnership unlike one ever formed in the 40-plus years Sangamon State/UIS has been a part of the Springfield landscape.

I have personally talked to UIS athletic director Kim Pate, Springfield Mayor Mike Houston and Paul O’Shea, planning and design coordinator for the city of Springfield, about this project. The longer we wait, the less of a chance we have of ever having it work."

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Monday, May 13, 2013

Koch: UIS students committed to civic engagement

The following is part of a column written by UIS Chancellor Susan J. Koch. It was published in the May 12, 2013 edition of The State Journal-Register.

"Our goal is to make civic engagement a part of the educational experience for every student, preparing students to do the 'work' of citizenship wherever they may go after graduation. I recently had the opportunity to meet three UIS students who are doing just that.

A few weeks ago, the University of Illinois Springfield was named to the President’s Community Service Honor Roll—one of the highest national recognitions a college or university can receive for its commitment to civic engagement.

We are on the leading edge of a much larger movement in higher education that last year included 3.1 million student volunteers and 118 million hours of community service valued at $2.5 billion. UIS students contributed about 65,000 hours, the equivalent of over $1 million, to those totals."

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Pomp and circumstance for UIS graduates

When they started this journey, it looked so distant, but the future starts now for more than 1,000 graduates from the University of Illinois Springfield. 1,362 graduates, to be exact--who each have a story.

“It's always my dream to come and do my master's in United States and I’m so excited because it's a big day,” computer science major Pavan Vooka said.

Vooka came to Springfield from India. To get here, he packed his ambition, but left family and friends behind. Saturday, he leaves with a tight group of buddies, a master's degree in computer science and a smile.

“I came here so long, far from my parents and struggled a lot to get this and I'm so happy finally I'm here," Vooka said.

So is Chris Kullstroem, who earned her master's in philosophy online while living in Connecticut. She had never stepped foot in Illinois but she just had to for graduation.

“It's a day I'll never forget," Kullstroem said. It's just been an experience I'll never forget. The people are so great. Getting to meet them for the first time in person. It's incredible."

The story aired on WICS-TV 20 on May 11, 2013.

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Let passion be your guide, speaker tells UIS grads

After trying everything from English to oceanography, Kathy Best told University of Illinois Springfield graduates Saturday she finally found her calling when she discovered journalism in college.

Through strenuous times covering politics as a young reporter in Washington, D.C., she said, it was her passion for journalism that kept her career from being derailed.

Hopefully, you have found that passion, Best told the 2013 UIS graduating class during her commencement speech.

“Your passion may not take you farther than your backyard, but that’s OK,” Best said. “What’s important is that you can wake up and be excited each day.”

Best, 56, graduated from UIS, which at the time was called Sangamon State University, in 1990 with a master’s degree in public affairs reporting.

The story was featured by The State Journal-Register on May 12, 2013.

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

UIS' Baker earns postseason honor

University of Illinois Springfield junior utility player Blake Baker has been named to the Great Lakes Valley Conference West Division Second Team.

The first baseman/catcher was second on the team in batting average (.308), fielding percentage (.983), hits (49) and runs scored (24). He had eight doubles, four stolen bases and two home runs for the 13-31 Prairie Stars.

The story was featured by The State Journal-Register on May 9, 2013.

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

UIS' Vorreyer just misses spot at national tournament

University of Illinois Springfield senior golfer Abby Vorreyer was in the first group to tee off for the final round of NCAA Division II East Super Regional Tuesday, which made for a long wait after she putted out on the 18th hole at Joliet Country Club.

Vorreyer fired a 78 and finished with a three-day score of 21-over-par 237. She tied for ninth in a 50-player field and missed qualifying by one stroke for the national championships next week in Daytona Beach, Fla.

With a score on the bubble, it came down to the last few scores for Vorreyer.

“I grinded it out to shoot a 78,” she said. “I had my ups and downs. You always look back and think, ‘I should have done this,’ or, ‘I could have done this,’ but overall I played well.”

The top three teams and the top three individuals not on advancing teams qualified.

The story was featured by The State Journal-Register on May 8, 2013.

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Monday, May 6, 2013

UIS considering smoking ban; bill may require it

University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor Susan Koch wants the campus community to know the reality they face if state lawmakers pass legislation that bans people from smoking outdoors on all state-supported campuses.

Koch sent a letter to students, faculty and staff Thursday informing them of a task force being formed in coming months to look into the issue. The notice came one day after a ban bill passed out of the Senate with the minimum 30 votes needed. It now heads to the House.

But will UIS ban smoking outdoors even if lawmakers vote down a state mandate? “I don’t know if there’s that commitment yet,” UIS spokesman Derek Schnapp said Friday. “We just want to make sure our community is aware that this (legislation) could move quicker than they think … It needs to be on their radars, that this could very well be a reality anyway for any campus across-the-board.”

If Senate Bill 2202 is signed into law by Gov. Pat Quinn, an outdoor smoking ban on campuses would be in full force by July 2014.

The story was featured by The State Journal-Register on May 5, 2013.

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Stars' Amos earns first-team honors

University of Illinois Springfield sophomore third baseman Jordyn Amos is among 16 players named to the Great Lakes Valley Conference first team.

Amos tied teammate Brooke Carroll with a team-high 37 RBIs. She hit .301 with 11 doubles and six home runs.

Four UIS players received second-team honors, including Carroll.

Carroll, a first baseman and graduate student, had the Prairie Stars’ second-best batting average at .329 and drove in 37 runs. She was first in home runs with 10 and hit eight doubles. Her fielding percentage was .978 with six errors.

Junior utility player Katelyn Weaver hit .270 and recorded 16 stolen bases. She had a .976 fielding percentage with only three errors.

Freshman Cheyanne Bowman posted the top earned run average (4.62) of any UIS pitcher. She finished with a 13-13 record. She had 118 strikeouts in 161 2/3 innings.

Senior shortstop Sarah Gray rounds out the list. A broken leg ended her season after only 17 games. She hit .288 and stole 15 bases.

The team was featured by The State Journal-Register on May 4, 2013.

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Professor John Martin part of Springfield stargazing event

Join Lincoln Memorial Garden in an evening of stargazing on Friday, May 3. Dr. John Martin from the University of Illinois Springfield’s Astronomy and Physics program will kick off the agenda with an hour talk about planets, meteors and meteorites that can be seen in the night sky.

There will be an opportunity to gaze through a telescope, thanks to Sangamon Astronomical Society members. Bad weather would postpone the program until Sunday, May 5. Questions as to whether the program is postponed should be made between 3-4 p.m. via phone to the garden.

The event is free, but reservations are required. Donations are always welcome.

The event was featured by the Illinois Times on May 2, 2013.

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

UIS golfer Vorreyer makes Super Regional

University of Illinois Springfield senior Abby Vorreyer was one of four individuals selected to play in the NCAA Division II East Super Regional women's golf tournament next week.

Nine teams will also compete in the 54-hole tournament starting Sunday at Joliet Country Club. The top three teams and the top three individuals not with a team advance to the championships May 15-18 in Daytona Beach, Fla. Vorreyer is UIS’ first golfer to earn a Super Regional bid.

The Chatham Glenwood High School graduate tied for ninth at the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament and earned a spot on the GLVC first team Sunday. She won three tournaments this spring and was chosen as the GLVC Women’s Golfer of the Month in March.

Vorreyer was featured by the State Journal-Register on May 1, 2013.

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