Thursday, October 12, 2017

State Journal-Register - Our View: Fundraising initiative points to even stronger future for UIS

The following is an editorial from The State Journal-Register that appeared on October 11, 2017.

The University of Illinois Springfield is arguably already stellar. 

It boasts excellent public affairs programs, offering students unmatched hands-on experience through internships at the Statehouse. The Computer Science Department has been designated a national Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education, which aims to reduce vulnerability in the nation’s information infrastructure. The Illinois Innocence Project has been involved in freeing 10 people who were wrongly imprisoned. 

Past studies have shown UIS and its alumni provide $176.8 million in income to the local economy. 

Dig into just about any program at the university and you’re likely to find something outstanding. 

And yet, the title of the school’s new fundraising campaign — Reaching Stellar: The Campaign for the University of Illinois Springfield — is fitting, too. It indicates that no matter how good, UIS will continue to strive toward even greater excellence. 

The new $40 million fundraising campaign — of which $18.5 million has already been raised through gifts, grants and pledges — is an ambitious goal that if achieved, can help accomplish that vision. 

The largest fundraising campaign in UIS’s history was announced Tuesday and will go through 2022.  
It’s appropriate that a priority goal of the campaign would be the UIS Center for Lincoln Studies, which will examine the legacy and lessons of the nation’s 16th president. 

With his museum and library, home and tomb already here, UIS is the perfect place to establish the national base for scholarship, teaching and public history about Abraham Lincoln’s life, leadership and legacy.

A successful program would involve research, course work and policy development, according to UIS officials, and connect UIS students with local opportunities to delve into Lincoln’s life and find ways to connect Lincoln to a national and international context. 

Other areas to benefit from the effort include scholarships, academic excellence, facilities, technology and programs that contribute to the public good, such as National Public Radio Illinois, the Illinois Innocence Project, Sangamon Auditorium and others. 

Read the entire editorial online.