Tuesday, November 26, 2013



As I prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday, I’m reminded of so many things I’m thankful for here at UIS. Our outstanding students, faculty and staff remind me daily that UIS is a premier public university – and a wonderful place to learn and work. For example, many international students contributed this past week to the UIS International Festival, dancing, playing traditional instruments, serving food and sharing their cultural heritage. The International Festival is a tradition at UIS that is almost as old as the campus; it gets bigger every year and it is one of my favorite events. Our international enrollment significantly increased this year and the increasing presence of international students is a great asset for our campus. My thanks to all the students who contributed to the success of the International Festival and …..

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

By the way, the title of this blog post (if I can trust my online source) is Happy Thanksgiving in Mandarin Chinese.

Friday, November 22, 2013

UIS - Illinois' state capital University

As most people know, education in public affairs has been a central commitment of the Springfield campus of the University of Illinois since the campus was founded 43 years ago. The location of the campus in the state capital of Illinois and the home of Abraham Lincoln is an invaluable asset that provides a laboratory for future leaders like no other. Last night, the Induction ceremony for the Illinois Legislative Internship Hall of Fame at the Illinois Governor's mansion, was a premier example our excellence in public affairs. Since this program began in 1990, we have honored 59 former legislative interns – all UIS alums – with induction into this Hall of Fame and it was a delight to listen to summaries and stories about their achievements last night. The class of 2013 includes: Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, Assistant Secretary of the Illinois Senate Scott Kaiser, Chief of Staff for the Illinois House Republican Leader Scott Reimers, Contract Lobbyist Mona Martin and Retired Executive Director of the Illinois Petroleum Council David Sykuta. What a wonderful example of Leadership lived.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Unfinished Work

Today is a very, very important day in Springfield, Illinois and on the UIS campus. Today is the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. We're celebrating those 272 words tonight with a very special Lincoln Legacy Lecture event featuring our own Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies, Michael Burlingame and two other Lincoln scholars. Many of our faculty, staff and students are participating in related events sponsored by the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, where the Gettysburg Address, written in Lincoln's own hand, will be on display for a rare public viewing. This anniversary is an important reminder to all Americans of the “unfinished work” delegated by Lincoln in this immortal speech to all American citizens. It is also a wonderful reminder to the UIS campus of the unique opportunities we have here in the home of Abraham Lincoln to embrace and grow Lincoln Studies and the many leadership lessons such study offers our students.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The University of Illinois Springfield is global!

This week has been a big week at UIS with the University of Illinois Board of Trustees and many visitors on campus for the Board meeting and various associated events. We always enjoy hosting our trustees, each of whom is a distinguished Illinois resident and all of whom are very supportive of the UIS campus. A special highlight of this meeting for me was a musical performance provided for the Board of Trustees by two of our Chinese students, Yu Shao (Christina) and Ying Han. Christina and Ying are part of the new UIS Camarata,  a select group of highly talented students who have been recruited to contribute to the UIS Music Program's special focus on Ethnomusicology – the study of the social and cultural aspects music from around the world. Christina plays the Chinese zither and Ying plays the Korean version – a similar instrument. It was a wonderful performance and one that our board members (and the Chancellor) really enjoyed. Thank you, ladies!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Honoring our veterans today

Today, November 11, 2013, is Veterans Day in the United States of America. There could have been no better way to start the day, along with other UIS colleagues, than to gather for a campus flag-raising, listen to our national anthem, hear some words of inspiration from Dr. Clarice Ford, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Services, who is a veteran, and spend a little time thanking our veterans for their service. We have many faculty, staff and students who are veterans of military service and we also have a number of active duty military who are studying via our online programs. Thank you, veterans, for the service you have provided to our country.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Not just November, giving is year-round at UIS

Thanksgiving's month is usually a time when people think about the importance of giving.  Here at UIS, I think we are in that mode year-round. We have student groups and employees giving back to the community in many ways, shapes and forms throughout the year. An important employee-driven charitable campaign at UIS is SECA, which stands for State Employees Care A Lot. UIS employees from September to November have various events on campus that help raise awareness (and money) for various charitable organizations in the community and beyond. Employees also have an opportunity to make contributions on their own. Whether it’s learning how to better use an iPad or getting a lesson in how to make and preserve the Chancellor’s favorite applesauce, we have creative ways to give and help those in need. This photo shows UIS Chef-Extraordinaire, Randy Williams, who has written a book on food preservation, teaching a workshop on applesauce-making. The nice thing about it, was that we all had an opportunity to do some tasting! Yum.

Monday, November 4, 2013

UIS Alumni Gala rocks the Governor's Mansion

UIS alums were out in force on Friday evening for the 2013 UIS Alumni Gala and what a party it was! We had nearly 250 alums gathered at the Illinois Governor's Mansion on Friday evening and it was such a delight to talk with alums ranging from those who graduated in the early 70's when Sangamon State University was founded to more recent graduates of the Springfield campus of the University of Illinois. Whatever the graduation year, the enthusiasm and loyalty that our alums express for UIS is really exceptional and it was so much fun to hear folks reminiscing about their student days and talking about what they've been doing since graduation. 

Congratulations to Richard Osborne who was honored with the U of I Alumni Achievement Award and to UIS Professor Emeritus Charles A. Schweighauser who received the Distinguished Service Award! With over 33,000 UIS alums out there in the world, I'm looking forward to a lot more alumni engagement in the coming years!