Thursday, March 31, 2016

UIS students and faculty hold Day of Action

As the budget impasse drags on, some universities are struggling to continue helping students.

Some even wondering how they will keep the doors open.

Students at the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) say they're sick and tired of the politics coming from Springfield.

They say the state made them a promise and lawmakers and the Governor need to make good on that promise, or they're risking the future of this state.

275 days without a budget and the inaction leaving state universities and low income students without a way to make ends meet.

Educators call it a failure of government.

"The loss of MAP Grant funds represents a loss in students and a really critical failure for public higher education particularly because it's about access. It's about making higher education and a college degree accessible to as many Illinoisans as possible. We don't want to lose those opportunities for our students," said Lynn Fisher, professor, University of Illinois Springfield.

The story was reported by WICS-TV 20 and Fox Illinois on March 31, 2016.

Watch the story online.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Bernard Schoenburg: Senate staffer to speak

A graduate of the University of Illinois Springfield who is now a staffer for a member of the U.S. Senate will present a program at UIS Wednesday discussing his work on anti-violence legislation.

Kyle Simpson works as an aide to U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. His talk will be about his role working on legislation to address and reduce violence against women and to fight college sexual violence.

The free, public program, part of the UIS Engaged Citizenship Common Experience speaker series, will be at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Brookens Auditorium, on the lower level of Brookens Library on the Springfield campus.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on March 30, 2016.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

UIS baseball team beats Division I Western Illinois

University of Illinois Springfield juniors Jason Galeano and Trey Hannam both hit three-run homers Tuesday in the Prairie Stars’ 13-5 baseball win over NCAA Division I Western Illinois.

Galeano’s home run put UIS up 4-0 in the first inning. The Stars took a 7-2 lead on Hannam’s home run in the fifth inning. Senior Adam Warda hit UIS’ third homer in the seventh and the Stars led 8-2.

Nick Schrader’s two-run double pulled the Leathernecks within 8-4 in the eighth. UIS (9-10) responded by tacking on five runs in the ninth.

Galeano finished with five RBIs and was 2-for-5. Warda and Austin Muench were both 3-for-4.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on March 29, 2016.

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Some local businesses encourage children in the workplace

Other Springfield-area employers have received kudos for providing on-site day care opportunities for employees, including the University of Illinois Springfield, which has been ranked 17th in the nation by for its child-care accommodations for staff and students.

“UIS has always tried to be accommodating to students with any type of needs that they may have. Cox Children’s Center is a resource for not only our students, but for the whole university and community,” said UIS spokesman Derek Schnapp.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on March 28, 2016.

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Monday, March 28, 2016

UIS star parties set to resume April 1

When you hear someone mention Friday Night Lights at the University of Illinois Springfield, they may not be talking about high school football.

The lights on Friday nights at UIS, at least in the spring and fall, come from above, when the nearly 40-year-old Friday Night Star Parties are held.

Those free parties resume next month at the UIS Observatory on the roof of Brookens Library. They’ll be from 8 to 10 p.m., weather permitting, on April 1, 8, 15, and 22, then resume after school begins in the fall.

John Martin, associate professor of astronomy and physics at UIS, hosts the events, during which the observatory’s telescopes are used to view a number of celestial objects including Jupiter, the moon, the Great Nebula in Orion and other stars and star clusters when they are visible.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on March 28, 2016.

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UIS women's track team ready to head outdoors

Outdoor track season is here, and the novice University of Illinois Springfield women’s team has stepped up its training big-time.

“I trained them as a good high school team in cross country season,” UIS coach Mike De Witt said. “During indoor track, I set the workouts up more like good high school kids . . . state meet quality. This outdoor season we’re training like college freshmen.”

The UIS women’s team is coming off a seven-meet indoor track season that culminated with the Great Lakes Valley Conference Indoor Championships late last month in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The highlight was the Prairie Stars’ Krissy Finley finishing ninth in the 800 meters.

“In cross country, we weren’t competitive," De Witt said. "Krissy just missed scoring in the 800. She just missed scoring a point, which would have been neat. In the 4x400, we were really competitive and everybody ran PRs.”

The Stars will not have Finley or Riverton’s Lexi Yoggerst for the outdoor season. They are redshirting in order to save a year of eligibility. Instead, they will run as unattached individuals in meets where UIS is not competing. Finley, a Rochester High School graduate, was UIS top female cross country runner last fall.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on March 27, 2016.

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UIS baseball team splits with McKendree

Max Biedrzycki struck out eight, walked one and gave up one run, and the University of Illinois Springfield defeated McKendree 7-1 Saturday in the first game of a Great Lakes Valley Conference doubleheader at UIS Field.

The Prairie Stars’ Adam Warda was 3-for-4 with a home run and double.

Connor Devault reached on an error and Brendan Madden scored an unearned run in the eighth inning of McKendree’s 1-0 victory in the second game.

UIS is 8-10 and 2-2.

The win was reported by The State Journal-Register on March 27, 2016.

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Monday, March 21, 2016

Galeano's clutch single lifts UIS baseball

Jason Galeano hit an RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning to lift the University of Illinois Springfield past Rockhurst 5-4 Saturday.

Gabriel Acevedo had two doubles for the Prairie Stars (6-7). Trey Hannam was 2-for-3.

Adam Gregory got the win with two strikeouts and one walk in one inning. Richard England earned the save.

The win was reported by The State Journal-Register on March 20, 2016.

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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Peoria firm picked to build UIS student union

A Peoria construction firm has been awarded a $12.7 million contract to build the first-ever student union building at the University of Illinois Springfield.

The U of I board of trustees approved the contract with William Brothers Construction Inc. at its meeting Wednesday in Urbana.

William Brothers will be the general contractor for the $21.7 million project. Four other contracts totaling almost $6.1 million for plumbing, electrical and ventilation work have already been awarded and did not require board approval.

Work is expected to begin on the two-story, 50,000-square-foot building in May, with completion scheduled for early 2018.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on March 17, 2016.

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Monday, March 14, 2016

UIS students helping NYC homeless over break

Instead of sunning themselves on a beach in Florida, a group of University of Illinois Springfield students will spend their spring break in New York City helping the homeless.

The 26 students are part of the UIS Alternative Spring Break program. They will be leaving this weekend to spend a week in New York, where they will be volunteering at soup kitchens and other locations that work with the homeless.

Brittani Provost, 22, a senior at UIS, is president of the program. In past years, she’s spent her break helping children at a Head Start program in Biloxi, Mississippi, and working with the homeless in Washington, D.C.

“I’m really interested in social services and do a lot of volunteer work,” Provost said. “It’s something that’s very important for me.”

Mark Dochterman, a faculty member and adviser for the group, was on the D.C. trip two years ago with Provost. He said the students saw firsthand that the homeless don’t always fit the stereotype of someone who just doesn’t want to work.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on March 12, 2016.

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Williamsville teacher selected for NASA 'flying telescope'

Jennifer Hubbell-Thomas is hitching a ride on a star. Or at least on an instrument to study the stars.

Hubbell-Thomas, an eighth-grade science teacher at Williamsville Junior High School, is to be a part of 11 educator teams participating in NASA's Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors program. The teams will be flying this fall and winter on NASA's "flying telescope," the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA.

As part of the application process, Hubbell-Thomas has made several public presentations in astronomy, including at Girl Tech, a two-day technology summer camp at the University of Illinois Springfield for girls entering the seventh, eighth and ninth grades. Hubbell-Thomas has also volunteered at the Henry R. Barber Research Observatory, owned and operated by UIS, near Pleasant Plains, and been part of the popular UIS Star Parties.

Hubbell-Thomas, who earned a master's degree from UIS, was mentored by Charles Schweighauser, a professor emeritus of English and astronomy/physics.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on March 14, 2016.

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Baseball: Stars, Miners split

Richard England earned the save and Chance Simpson got the win in the University of Illinois Springfield’s 3-2 victory against Missouri S&T in the first game of a doubleheader.

England allowed one hit in one inning. Simpson had three strikeouts and one walk in six innings. He allowed five hits and two runs.

John Sechen scored an unearned run and the Prairie Stars led 1-0 in the third inning. Adam Warda had an RBI bunt and Sechen scored in the fifth. Jason Galeano’s RBI single in the fifth extended UIS’ lead to 3-0. In the sixth, Nick Ulrich’s two-run single made it 3-2.

Galeano finished 2-for-3.

A five-run seventh inning carried Missouri State to a 5-2 victory in the second game.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on March 13, 2016.

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Monday, March 7, 2016

Baseball: Prairie Stars split with Tritons

Gabriel Acevedo’s RBI double and Austin Peterson’s two-run double spotted the University of Illinois Springfield a three-run lead in the first inning of the Prairie Stars’ 5-0 win over Missouri-St. Louis.

Chance Simpson was the winning pitcher. He had six strikeouts and allowed four hits.

UIS’ Matt Farrington struck out seven in the first game, but the Tritons won 2-1.

Acevedo hit a home run in the second inning. Matt Foster hit the winning two-run single in the fourth.

Acevedo and Kenny Hansen were 2-for-3 for the Stars (2-1).

The win was reported by The State Journal-Register on March 6, 2016.

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Softball: Stars sweep Oakland City

Ashli King, Amanda Gosbeth and Molly Manietta all hit home runs in the University of Illinois Springfield’s 6-3 win in the first game of a doubleheader against Oakland City.

King’s two-run homer tied the game at 2-all in the fourth inning. Oakland City regained the lead. Rachel Goff’s RBI single tied the score at 3-all. The Prairie Stars took a 5-3 lead on Gosbeth’s two-run home ruin in the eighth. Manietta also hit a homer in the eighth.

Goff finished 3-for-4.

UIS pitcher Jaycee Craver struck out three batters, walked two and allowed five hits.

Eight extra-base hits led UIS to a 10-1 victory in the second game.

King and Gosbeth had home runs in the game. Gosbeth also had a double. Manietta and Goff hit two doubles apiece. BriAnna Edgar hit a double and was 3-for-4 for the Stars (6-10). Gosbeth had three RBIs and two hits.

Craver earned the win. She allowed four hits, one run and struck out two.

The wins were reported by The State Journal-Register on March 6, 2016.

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Friday, March 4, 2016

UIS receives $1.5M gift toward student union building

A Chicago businessman and University of Illinois Springfield alum and his wife have pledged $1.5 million to support the college’s student union building.

Construction is scheduled to begin in May on the $21.75 million building, which is being paid for largely with private donations and student fees. Officials hope for an early 2018 opening date.

Richard Osborne received an MBA from UIS, then called Sangamon State University, in 1973. He is senior managing director of Madison Industries, a private equity firm in Chicago.

UIS Chancellor Susan Koch said the gift by Richard and Charlene Osborne demonstrates the couple’s “generous spirit and strong confidence” in UIS.

“Dick attended UIS in the early days of the university, and since his graduation, he has seen the university grow and flourish,” she said. “With their gift, Dick and Charlene can know they will have a personal and lasting impact on the future of our campus. Their gift is that important.”

Having a student union is seen by university administrators as a way to attract new students and improve the quality of campus life for the current ones.

Jeff Lorber, UIS vice chancellor for advancement, said the Osbornes’ gift is the largest announced gift toward construction of the student union.

The largest lounge in the student union, a prominent feature of the first floor, will be named the Osborne Lounge.

The union, designed to be the focal point for campus life and activities, will include campus dining services, a coffee shop, a ballroom with seating for up to 450 people and a Student Leadership Center to house student government, volunteer offices and space for student organizations.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on March 5, 2016.

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UIS women's basketball players go right back to work

Women’s basketball season at the University of Illinois Springfield ended just a week ago, and you’d expect players to stay as far away from The Recreation and Athletic Center as possible for a couple weeks.

That hasn’t happened.

“When I’ve come in the morning or walked downstairs to do something, I’ve seen our players in the gym and I’ve seen them in the weight room,” UIS coach Mark Kost said. “I came in one day at 7:45 in the morning and two players were in the gym.”

That has Kost feeling encouraged following an 8-18 record in his first season. UIS finished with more wins than the previous three seasons, but had a 2-16 Great Lakes Valley Conference record and lost its last six league contests.

“We had eight games where we had a chance to win it with five minutes to go in the fourth quarter and I think we won one,” Kost said. “We have to figure out how to close out those games. If you get eight of those games, you should win five of them. We won one. Think of how good of a year we would have had if we won four more games.”

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on March 4, 2016.

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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Stars' Patterson earns all-GLVC hoops honors

University of Illinois Springfield sophomore guard Shelbi Patterson received Great Lakes Valley Conference third-team honors Wednesday.

She averaged a team-high 10.1 points per game and 3.0 assists per game. She was first in steals with 44. She grabbed 3.4 rebounds per game.

Patterson is the first UIS player named to the GLVC since Megan Bergerud earned second-team honors in the 2012-13 season.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on March 3, 2016.

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UIS athletic director Kim Pate leaving post

University of Illinois Springfield athletic director Kim Pate is leaving her position to become the director of intercollegiate athletics at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, North Carolina.

The news was announced Tuesday. Pate leaves June 1 for NCAA Division II Lenoir-Rhyne. She was selected from more than 100 candidates to replace Neill McGeachy, who is retiring after 14 years.

Heading to North Carolina is a homecoming for Pate, her husband, Rick Pate, and the couple’s daughter, Carsen.

Kim Pate has strong ties to the state. She moved from Saskatchewan, Canada, to North Carolina when she was in high school and still has family in the area. She played, coached and was athletic director at Brevard College in Brevard, North Carolina, before arriving at UIS.

“It’s great for us to go back and be closer to family,” Pate said. “We’ve enjoyed our time here. It’s been a great opportunity for us personally and professionally.”

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on March 2, 2016.

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Maturity should be strength for UIS baseball team

University of Illinois Springfield baseball coach Chris Ramirez has a battle-tested corps of veterans back in the fold for the 2016 season.

“Experience is going to be our strength,” he said.

That was not the case last year. The Prairie Stars had players with college experience, but they didn’t know what it was like to play in NCAA Division II.

“Last year we had 20-something junior college guys who transferred,” UIS sophomore first baseman Michael Rothmund said. “We didn’t really know each other. This year having a second year, I think we’re going to gel really well.”

Rothmund is one of six returning everyday starters. The other five are seniors: Aaron Kuper (catcher), Adam Warda (second base), Kyle Hunsinger (shortstop), Gabriel Acevedo (third base) and Jake Redlinger (center field).

The team was featured by The State Journal-Register on March 2, 2016.

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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Over 250 U of I students to Rally at Capitol on March 2

More than 250 students from the University of Illinois’ three campuses will be in Springfield on March 2 to meet with legislators.

This gathering coincides with U of I Student Day, which is coordinated by Illinois Connection, the legislative advocacy network of the University of Illinois Alumni Association. This annual event allows students to come together to deliver a unified message to lawmakers on behalf of their University.

Students will be meeting with their elected representatives to encourage funding support for the University of Illinois and higher education in general. U of I President Tim Killeen also plans to be present to take part in the effort.

“As an economic engine with a $14 billion a year impact, the University of Illinois provides value to every citizen of the state through a comprehensive range of educational, research and outreach programs,” Killeen says.

The story was reported by WAND-TV on February 29, 2016.

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Report: State Board of Higher Education finds minority enrollment declining

A report to be presented Tuesday at the State Board of Higher Education's March meeting shows that minority enrollment in higher education is declining.

The 66-page report published by the Board of High Education entitled 'Report To The Governor And General Assembly On Underrepresented Groups In Illinois Higher Education,' the report found that underrepresented minority students is a problem before many of them even get there.

Jamie Anderson, a senior at the University of Illinois at Springfield, is a first generation college student and one of a shrinking group of African-Americans in colleges across the state.

"Growing up in the community that I grew up in, I wasn't comfortable. I didn't know who I was. I wasn't allowed to figure out who I was because I didn't have too many people that looked like me to be a role model," said Anderson.

The story was reported by WICS-TV 20 on March 1, 2016.

Watch the story online.