Thursday, March 22, 2012

We're here to help

In case you didn’t know, we had a group of UIS students that spent their spring break volunteering in New Orleans, a city that is still recovering from the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Gustav. They focused their efforts on rebuilding a home in a New Orleans neighborhood where residents are still suffering the after-effects of the hurricanes. If you haven’t seen the video that UIS student volunteer Paige Heiser helped put together, you should. Just click here. I know we have many UIS students, faculty and staff that do more than their part in Springfield and other communities as volunteers or mentors - who really bring to life our mission "to serve local, regional, state, and international communities;" I can’t say enough of how proud I am of all of you.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

This little light of mine

What a gift it was this past Sunday to attend the performance of the Soweto Gospel Choir in our own Sangamon Auditorium with members of our UIS Gospel Choir and Dance group. Musical Director, Vusimuzi Shabalala and three other members of the Choir were kind enough to meet with us before the performance and tell us a little bit about the Choir and their current U.S./Canada tour. We even sang a verse of "Amazing Grace" with them – a little warm up for their absolutely amazing performance. The Grammy-winning Soweto Gospel Choir is known all over the world for their beautiful voices, pristine musical harmonies and wonderful interpretations of traditional African songs and American gospel favorites like "This Little Light of Mine" and "Bridge over Trouble Water." Every member of the group is an artist in their own right; but I think my favorite performer on Sunday was Shimmy Jiyane, the choir choreographer and a lead singer – what a great talent! My special thanks to Teresa Haley, President of the Springfield NAACP and UIS graduate, for being my special guest for this performance. Thank you, Soweto Gospel Choir for bring so much joy to the UIS campus!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Catching up with some alums

I've been in Chicago this week for several appointments and to participate in our UIS Alumni Advisory Board meeting. We have so many alums leading interesting and successful lives and I'm grateful especially to those who volunteer their leadership to serve on our Alumni Board. Alum Thom Serafin is a great example. Thom hosted our meeting in his company headquarters in Chicago. Serafin and Associates is a PR firm that specializes in public affairs and crisis communications, providing consulting services to help people achieve success. Thanks Thom for all that you do for your alma mater!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Happy International Women's Day

Happy International Women's Day today to all the women in my life that I admire and appreciate - students (the Presidents of the UIS Student Government Association, Black Student Union and Organization of Latin American Students are all women), colleagues, friends, daughters, daughter-in–law, granddaughters and so many women who are making a difference in the world today. In honor of all of you I made a donation to Women for Women International, an NGO that supports women in war–torn regions with aid, job skills training, education and small business assistance so they can rebuild their lives.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Signs of Spring

March is well underway and I've seen (and heard) several sure signs of Spring here on the UIS campus:
  • A robin was sitting on the hood of my car when I left the office last night,
  • Several students told me about their Spring Break plans for next week,
  • I'm reviewing the commencement script today,
  • Our softball and baseball players have started their seasons,
  • I've been hearing rumors about a UIS event called "Springfest" and apparently it is a LOT of fun!

Friday, March 2, 2012

"What kinda people kill each other most? Family people! Brothers!"

You've only got one more chance to attend the UIS Theatre Program's performance of "True West" and find out more about these two brothers and since I attended the show last night I can heartily recommend it. It's a great comedy (with some surreal underlying themes) written by Sam Shepard and directed by our own very talented Theatre Professor, Missy Thibodeaux-Thompson. We loved the way the scene was set the minute we walked into the Studio Theatre by the authentic ole' timey Western music and the set was straight out of the California 1980's including a lot more toasters that any one kitchen should have. The highlight of the play for me was the spot-on performance of Professor Eric Thibodeaux-Thompson (yes, they are related) who played Lee, the drifter … con-man … bad-guy. He was hilarious, brilliant and scary all rolled into one. The last night is Saturday, March 3!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Definition of Health

The World Health Organization defines "health" as "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease" and, as a health education specialist, I've spent my faculty career promoting many aspects of health. I appreciate that the great Leadership Team at UIS Recreational Sports offers many ways for us to maintain and improve our personal health. I'm currently one of the 160 campus participants in the “100 Mile Club” fitness challenge. It should be easy (and fun) for everyone to get that 100 miles and earn the t-shirt, especially if we just go for a stroll each day on our very own beautiful UIS campus. It’s great to see so many participants in this fitness challenge and I loved seeing some of the creative names of the teams...”Pedominators”, “Sole Sisters”, “Accountabilibuddies”, and “Un-PAC the Pounds” are just a few that caught my eye. We’ve been blessed with some mild weather during February and now here we are in March. So get out there and get healthy!