Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

As I look ahead to our Thanksgiving celebration this week, I am mindful of all we have to be thankful for here at UIS. I am personally thankful for the exceptional faculty and staff who make this university such a wonderful place to learn, work and grow. 

I'm equally thankful for our hard working and talented students, especially the many who provide such thoughtful leadership for our many student organizations. And at this particular moment in our history, I'm thankful for the soon-to-be new President of the University of Illinois, Dr, Tim Killeen. Dr. Killeen was introduced to our campus just a few days ago and I'm looking forward to our work together. 

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Congratulations to one of our best!

I was delighted to participate in the investiture ceremony of UIS Business Dean RonMcNeil as the PNC Distinguished Professor in Banking and Finance. In the world of higher education, being appointed to a distinguished professorship is a high honor indeed and this one was most certainly well-deserved.

Dr. McNeil has had a long and successful career that includes serving as the Dean of the UIS College of Business and Management since 2002. I have especially appreciated Dr. McNeil’s understanding of the importance of internationalization on the UIS campus. He has been a champion for the recruitment of international students as well as for study abroad opportunities for American students. He has also led the College to a successful outcome of its AACSB reaccreditation process as well as substantially increased enrollment in the College. 

Thanks to the support of PNC bank, this professorship will enable Dr. McNeil to expand his efforts for the benefit of UIS even further. It was a pleasure to see so many members of Ron’s family at the ceremony to celebrate with him. Congratulations, Dean McNeil!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Prairie Stars Shine Bright

I enjoy attending a great many events as Chancellor of UIS, but I have to say that alumni events hold a special place in my heart. Friday night’s annual UIS Alumni Gala gave several hundred of our alums and friends an opportunity to connect and in some cases reconnect with fellow alumni and friends. 

I witnessed more than one of those reconnecting moments on Friday night at the Abraham Lincoln President Museum – a great venue for a party. It is truly heartwarming to see our seasoned alumni take time to connect with younger alums and offer words of encouragement. At the gala, we honored four remarkable members of the UIS family for their professional achievements and service; Ralph Blackman, June Agamah and Julie and William Kellner. 

Each of these award winners acknowledged the important role that their college experience had played in their life and their stories were shining examples of how every person can make a difference in his or her corner of the world. These individuals are just four of the many reasons that the Prairie Stars shine so brightly around the world. Congratulations 2014 alumni award winners!

Monday, November 10, 2014

An accomplishment Lincoln would be proud of

We are proud of our students here at UIS and often, we have the privilege to recognize individual students for their outstanding accomplishments both on and off campus. 

I had that that opportunity a few days ago when UIS alum Julie Kellner, who is Executive Director of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois, and I spent a little time with UIS student Clarissa Fisher, who is being honored this year as the UIS 2014 Lincoln Academy Student Laureate. 

This prestigious honor is bestowed every year by the Lincoln Academy of Illinois on one exceptional student from each university in the state to recognize their outstanding performance. Each student honored is presented with the Lincoln medal, a certificate and a $1,000 award. Besides being a UIS student, Clarissa is also employed at Bunn-O-Matic Corporation in Springfield, one of the city’s leading employers. She is also a  generous volunteer who has given her time and talent to Habitat for Humanity, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and other organizations. Clarissa also has done mission work in Haiti and even spent a year in China teaching English and Art to young children. She is a great example of the UIS promise of Leadership Lived … and a reminder to us all to stretch ourselves and be the best we can be. Congratulations, Clarissa Fisher on being named the 2014 UIS Lincoln Student Laureate! 

(Pictured is myself, Clarissa, and Julie Kellner, Executive Director of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Cherries with the Chancellor

Last night, along with the Student Government Association I hosted my fall “Chat with the Chancellor” event for our student body. This is the fourth year for this popular tradition that provides students with an opportunity for some quality time with the Chancellor at the same time it gives me an opportunity to learn directly from UIS students about their experience here on campus. We’ve had "Chocolate with the Chancellor”, chili, chimichangas, cheesecake, chicken, cheeseburgers and now cherries! As you can see, we had some delectable cherry themed treats to enjoy during our discussion of the new student union and other topics of interest to students. We have an amazing, engaged student body and I’m always delighted when students take time out of their busy schedules to discuss important issues that affect our campus. I’m so impressed with the way UIS students articulate their concerns and are sincerely trying to make their experience and those of the students who follow them the best that it can be.  

P.S. The cherry jello shots with whipped cream were awesome!