Tuesday, January 29, 2013

UIS Public Affairs Program has produced top notch grads

I was delighted to be part of the UIS Public Affairs Program's Hall of Fame Induction celebration last evening. This UIS Master's program is the best in the nation at preparing journalists for successful careers in public reporting, in part because students get so much hands-on experience working in the state capital with professional journalists. Our three 2012-13 inductees, all alums of the program, include Nina Burleigh, author of five books including the best seller, The Fatal Gift of Beauty, Jim Prather, Executive Vice President of Journal Broadcast Group and Jim Webb, Editor for the Chicago Tribune. The keynote speaker last night was Patty Culhane, another PAR grad who is the White House correspondent for Al Jazeera. Nina, Jim, Jim and Patty are among the over 500 graduates of the UIS PAR program who have gone on to exceptional careers in journalism. I am so proud of these UIS graduates and so admire the dedication and commitment of PAR Program Director Charlie Wheeler and all the faculty who contribute to delivering this exceptional program or our students. And by the way, another PAR graduate is going to be the UIS Commencement speaker this May … Kathy Best, who has won a Pulitzer Prize and works for the Seattle Times.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Deep in my heart, I do believe

My husband and I were so pleased yesterday to celebrate Martin Luther King Day by participating with several UIS student leaders and UIS staff in Springfield's 38th Annual MLK Memorial Breakfast.  The event was sponsored by the Springfield Frontiers International Club, a service organization that has been serving the community for 60 years.  Leon Taylor and  Richard Bowen, who are also good friends of UIS,  are two of the exceptional community leaders who make this event happen every year.  Thank you,  Leon, Rich and all the members of Frontiers International who work every day to advance the ideals and ideas of Martin Luther King in our community and thanks also to Ashley Harris, Robyn Crutchfield, Bamba Njie, Aireon Wright, Dominique Wilson, Lincoln Blacktom, and Jeffrey Cosby for representing the UIS student body at this important community celebration.  

Friday, January 18, 2013

Celebrating the Presidential Inauguration and MLK Day

My husband and I are representing UIS and the University of Illinois at several events occurring in Washington this weekend to celebrate the second inauguration of President Barack Obama. The highlight is the Illinois Ball, sponsored by the Illinois State Society of Washington, D.C. and I am looking forward to talking with members of our Illinois delegation and other dignitaries about our university and the value it brings to our state and to our communities. I'm proud to represent UIS at these important events; but I am more proud to know that we have over 50 students who will be volunteering on Monday for the MLK Day of Service here in Springfield! UIS student volunteers for many student organizations will be going door-to-door distributing fire safety and disaster preparedness information to thousands of homes on Springfield's east side. The goal is to increase safety awareness in these at-risk neighborhoods. Thanks to all those UIS students and to Mark Dochterman, Director of the UIS Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center for giving of your time and talent to our community and for representing our university in such a positive way.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Welcome Back Students!

Welcome to the UIS 2013 Spring Semester!  Though it is a chilly 14 degrees today, the sun is shining brightly and we're looking forward to an interesting and exciting semester here on campus.  It was my pleasure this past week to welcome over 40 new international students from around the world to our academic community and I hope you will join me in offering an especially warm welcome to them as well as to other students who are new arrivals at UIS this semester.  With over 1,100 course sections being launched this week, both on campus and online, UIS faculty are offering exceptional courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.  I encourage you to invest  your efforts deeply in this abundance of opportunities  to collaborate, learn and prepare for your future.  In addition to courses,  the Spring, 2013 semester also offers countless other opportunities for leadership and engagement on campus and in the community.  I've enrolled in the upcoming UIS MOOC (massive open online course) and I invite you to do so as well by visiting  https://uis.coursesites.com/.  The topic of the MOOC, which is a free, eight-week online course open to anyone worldwide who wants to join, is the Emancipation Proclamation, an appropriate topic during this sesquicentennial year of President Lincoln's issuance of that document.  

I encourage you to support and enjoy our men's and women's basketball teams during the next several weeks of GLVC Conference play.  Both the women and men are next at home in the TRAC on January 24th and our student/athletes are providing many exciting moments on the court this season.  We're also looking forward to Black History month activities in February, Women's History Month in March, and of course, Springfest, a highlight of the Spring semester at UIS.

Finally, the next Chancellor-student gathering, cosponsored by SGA and other student organizations, is "Cheesecake with the Chancellor" and is scheduled for February 13 at 9:00 PM in the Lincoln Residence Hall Great Room.  I look forward to seeing you there.

Best wishes for a productive and enjoyable semester!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

"Determine the thing that should be done and then we shall find the way."

The title of this blog post is a quote from Abraham Lincoln that appeared on a banner on the stage of our Sangamon Auditorium yesterday  as we welcomed 118 members of the IllinoisHouse of Representatives and several hundred of their colleagues, friends and family members for the swearing in of the 98th Illinois House of Representatives.  UIS is Illinois's state capital university and, with our exceptional opportunities and connections in public affairs, it only makes sense that UIS hosted this important inaugural for our state.  It was even an extra special day for one UIS student.  Senior Tyler Scherer was able to soak up the festivities with his mother Sue, as she took the oath of office as the new Illinois state representative for the 96th district.  My thanks to the many UIS staff members and volunteer who did such a great job hosting this important event!