Thursday, May 30, 2013

New UIS major in Information Security

As our undergraduate enrollments grows at the Springfield campus of the U of I, we're adding cutting edge academic programs in response to students' interests and needs. Yesterday, the University of Illinois Board of Trustees approved our proposal for a new bachelor's program in Information Systems Security. Congratulations to Computer Science Department Head, Ted Mims and all the faculty who have worked hard to develop this important new program that will be offered both on campus and online. This news article from a recent issue of the State Journal-Register discusses the new program – one of several technology degrees offered by our innovative Computer Science department.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Weathering the Storm

Mother Nature took a toll on Central Illinois over the Memorial Day Weekend. Our own UIS campus was among many areas hit with strong winds and heavy rain on Monday afternoon. Fortunately there were no injuries.  My sincere thanks to UIS grounds crew leader, Joan Buckles and her crew for going above and beyond the call of duty on a holiday to clear downed trees and other debris from campus roads. Thanks also to Campus Police Chief Don Mitchell and his staff for making sure the campus was safe for employees and others to enter this morning.  

Monday, May 20, 2013

UIS Grad is a Woman of Influence

I was delighted to be in the audience a few days ago when UIS alum, Janette Peak, received the Springfield Woman of Influence Award. The Women of Influence recognition program, sponsored by the Security Bank and the Springfield Business Journal, honors exceptional local women for their contributions to the Springfield area community. Janette earned her B.A. in Management from UIS in 1993 and is a partner in a successful auto sales and service company, PJP Auto, in Springfield. Janette is also an active volunteer in the Springfield community. We're proud to have a UIS alum recognized for her leadership and contributions to our community. Congratulations, Janette!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Graduation 2013

It was my great pleasure to shake the hands of 777 University of Illinois Springfield graduates this past Saturday in front of about 7,000 enthusiastic commencement guests.  What a wonderful day!  

There are undoubtedly thousands of photos from the many commencements on the three University of Illinois campuses.  Attached is one of my favorites.  This is UIS Computer Science graduate, Kudus Ogunseye, with his mother, aunts and the Chancellor.  Kudus was an active student leader during his years at UIS and has a job with the Springfield Urban League.  Congratulations Kudus and all UIS graduates!  

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Commencement Day

Today is Commencement at the Springfield campus of the University of Illinois and in a few hours I will be shaking the hands of nearly 800 graduates who have worked hard to earn their place on the commencement stage.  We'll be joined by over 6,000 family and friends from across the globe who are here to celebrate this wonderful day.  Graduates:  Congratulations!  Only you know the challenges you have overcome to get to this this moment.  I am so proud of you!  As you leave us,  I hope that you will take with you the values of our university – to aim high, to be accountable for your actions, to treat others with dignity and respect and to value excellence.  Thank you for all that you have contributed to our academic community during your time with us.  I like to think that we are a better university because you have been a part of it.  I hope that your University of Illinois degree will contribute to your realizing your true potential.  Again,  congratulations and best wishes.  

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Is French Toast really French?

Well,  that's the most intriguing question I got last night while serving French Toast to a few hundred hungry UIS students at our annual "Finals Week Late Night Breakfast." What a great night!
It was nice to see the cafeteria packed with students – some celebrating being finished with finals while others were taking a break from studying to fortify themselves for that last exam. I also enjoyed seeing some of our student-parents attending the event with their children. I've always admired the multi-tasking of our non-traditional students, who often balance classes, work and childcare and still manage to be very successful at everything they do. That’s what I call determination. These kinds of events really bring our community together and I hope we can find even more ways to do that next year. 

So is French Toast really French? Here's an answer via an internet search: Culinary historians disagree over whether French Toast has exclusively Gallic roots. The simple concoction of bread, eggs, and milk likely dates back to Medieval times, when the battering process was used to make stale loaves more palatable. The question is whether the French were truly the first to dip and fry their bread, or whether other Europeans stumbled upon the "invention" on their own. For example, a similar dish called suppe dorate was popular in England during the Middle Ages; it's unclear, however, whether it was brought over from what's now France by the Normans, who may have delighted in something called tostees dorees before toppling King Harold II in 1066.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Sweet Lovers Love the Spring

The weather has been a little uncooperative lately, but this week Spring has finally sprung on the UIS campus and, as you can see from the attached photo, it's beautiful! If you are on campus, I hope you can take a few minutes to notice all the flowers and trees in full bloom. It's all due to the creativity and hard work of our campus horticulturalist, Joan Buckles, and her dedicated crew.  I've been here almost two years and I still haven't made the time to take a walk around the pond. I'm determined to do that today! I wish I had put my fishing rod in the car this morning – but that will be something for another day – maybe after commencement! (By the way,  English majors may recognize the title of this post from Shakespeare's poem, "It Was a Lover and His Lass." I'm pretty sure that he loved Spring as much as I do.)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

New student union vision is taking shape

As surely every UIS student knows,  we're going to build a new Student Union at UIS and this week, with the architects on campus,  the excitement has been visible everywhere.  There were 28 architectural firms that submitted proposals in response to the announcement of the UIS Student Union project and we are thrilled to have selected the partnership of Dewberry Architects (from Peoria, Illinois) and Workshop Architects (from Milwaukee, Wisconsin).   Jan van den Kieboom is the design principal for our project and he and his team are bringing a wealth of creativity, talent and experience to what will be the social heart of our campus and an architectural landmark for the Springfield community.  This week,  Jan and other team members spent many hours interviewing individual students and leading various groups of students, faculty and staff through an exciting series of planning exercises.  During the next several weeks,  they'll meld all of our ideas and needs into a coherent plan for the student union and then bring it back to campus for further refinement.  We're expecting to have architectural drawings by early Fall.  Thanks to all the members of our campus community who have participated in the Student Union planning process this week!