Thursday, October 31, 2013

Chicken with the Chancellor...say what?

It’s become a tradition since I became Chancellor at UIS a few years ago, that I have regular gatherings with students. Food, of course, is an essential part of those events and so (apparently) is alliteration! We’ve had Chocolate with the Chancellor, Chili with the Chancellor, Cheesecake with the Chancellor, Chimichangas with the Chancellor …. well, you get the idea. One such event is coming up next week and this time it’s "Chicken with the Chancellor”. Co-sponsors of the event are the UIS Student Government Organization and several other student groups. My thanks to all the student leaders who have been promoting this event on campus. Please come and join the conversation and have some wings …. or a vegetarian alternative. Chicken with the Chancellor starts at 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 5, in the Lincoln Residence Hall Great Room.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Teacher/Scholars alive and well at UIS

Today I had the pleasure of joining my fellow faculty members and guests here at the Springfield campus of the U of I in honoring Dr. Hua Chen, Associate Professor of Biology, who has received the University of Illinois University Scholar Award, the highest award that the University of Illinois confers for scholarship. Dr. Chen's research focuses on ecosystems ecology and climate change. He is one of several faculty who are actively engaged doing research at Emiquon, our wetlands research station on the Illinois River. Dr. Hua Chen continues in the footsteps of a long and distinguished list of UIS faculty members who have been University Scholars. The award comes with a monetary award of $15,000 per year for three years that can be used to support research. Congratulations, Dr. Chen!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Just a little lunch with several hundred of our closest friends

Every fall on the UIS campus there comes a time where lunch is extra special. It’s the annual UIS Scholarship Luncheon – one of my favorite campus events! Guests include UIS supporters who provide funding for scholarships and students who are the recipients of those scholarships. We had a packed Sangamon Auditorium lobby for the luncheon. This event is a wonderful opportunity for  students to meet donors and say “thanks” and it's equally rewarding for donors to actually see where their "investment" is going. 

It was especially enjoyable this year to have Julie Staley, talented media personality and a UIS donor, serve as MC for the event. Student, Jasmine Torres-Gonzalez, who is the first member of her family to attend college,  gave a wonderful talk about what her scholarship has meant to her. Thank you donors for making a college education possible for so many of our students at the Springfield campus of the University of Illinois. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Halloween is coming

It seems as if Halloween is becoming a more and more visible holiday throughout the U.S. I'm sure students at UIS are thinking about their costumes; but Halloween at UIS has also become an important opportunity for students to contribute to the Springfield community.

We have many students every year who participate in "Trick or Treat for Canned Goods, " a project to benefit the Central Illinois Foodbank. Unfortunately, hunger is a reality for many families in Central Illinois and earlier this week, UIS students visited neighborhoods throughout the area distributing door hangers explaining the project to community residents and requesting their participation. On October 31st, from 4:30-8 p.m., our students will return to these neighborhoods to collect non-perishable food items that will be donated to the Central Illinois Foodbank.

I'm already assembling my contribution and looking forward to students' stopping by in my neighborhood. The UIS goal is to collect more than 7,000 pounds of food, and I have full confidence that we will reach our goal. Happy Halloween, everyone!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

UIS alum in Israel

I spent several days on an educational mission to Israel this past week, meeting with the presidents of several prominent Israeli universities to discuss possible collaborations and speaking at a national conference in Rehovat about the UIS Emiquon Project.

One of the highlights of my travels was connecting with UIS alum, Latrice Nettles. Latrice is a 2008 graduate of UIS who is now a graduate student in the Laudner School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy of the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya.

Latrice has already earned one master's degree at IDC with a specialization in Counter-Terrorism and Homeland Security Studies and is staying for another year to complete an additional program in International Diplomacy. The President of the IDC, Uriel Reichman, thinks highly of this UIS alum and invited her to be part of our meeting. Latrice is pictured here with me and President Reichman. 

Thank you, Latrice, for representing the University of Illinois so well on the international stage! It is going to be very interesting to see what this UIS alum and former Springfield resident is doing five years from now. Whatever it is,  I'm quite sure it will be interesting.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Who is taking those great UIS photographs?

I am hearing that there is lots of positive "buzz" about the wonderful photos displayed on the UIS homepage, our Facebook page and various other mediums. So just who is the person behind those great images? I'm proud to say that it is our own Shannon O’Brien, Senior Photographer in Campus Relations. Shannon is an outstanding professional and she combs the entire UIS campus, creating exceptional images of our faculty, students, and staff in action. Shannon's creativity and cutting-edge style has been noticed in many positive ways, especially since we've been featuring more of her work on the new UIS website. Thank you Shannon for being “picture perfect” for UIS! By the way, it is very difficult to get a photo of our Senior Photographer, but we managed to get one for this blog post!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The University of Illinois is global!

I am in Israel for several days this week promoting collaborations between UIS and several Israeli universities. I was pleased to be an invited speaker today at the Israeli Society  for Ecology and Environmental Health - talking about the UIS Emiquon wetlands restoration project on the Illinois River.  Emiquon has been recognized as a "Wetlands of International Importance", just like the Hula Nature Reserve here in the Jordan Rift Valley. We're hoping to bring UIS and Israeli faculty (and students) with shared interests together.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

UIS alum is Leadership lived

We have so many alums doing great things out in the world and here's an a example; we got word this week that Kathy Best, an alum of the renowned UIS Public Affairs Reporting Program has been promoted to Editor of the Seattle Sun Times. Kathy and her colleagues have received two Pulitzer Prizes and we were thrilled to have her serve as our commencement speaker just a few months ago. Congratulations, Kathy! We wish you all the best in this challenging new position.