Wednesday, January 29, 2014

UIS to keep Prairie Stars nickname

University of Illinois Springfield athletic teams will be keeping the same nickname they have had since 1977.

In a letter emailed to campus Tuesday, Chancellor Susan Koch said the name Prairie Stars is part of the school’s heritage and “is more than an athletics team name.”

“It is also an important part of campus identity at this relatively young university,” Koch wrote. “It is a name that was chosen in part because it provides a sense of place and it resonates deeply with many of our 33,000-plus alumni regardless of whether they graduated with Sangamon State University or the University of Illinois on their diploma.”

Dana Goodrum, a UIS alum in Springfield, was one of the organizers of a petition drive to retain the Prairie Stars nickname. She's very happy the chancellor “heard us and embraced our passion.”

But she said alumni have to focus on the next step — showing current students where that passion comes from.

“Clearly, the message to us was that they didn’t get it,” she said. “So we’ve got to be focused on bridging that gap with current students and athletes. We want to support them wherever we can, to support that legacy.”

The process to examine alternatives to the Prairie Stars nickname began in 2012, when the Student Government Association conducted an on-campus survey that indicated 75 percent of respondents wanted a change.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on January 29, 2014.

Read the article online