Tuesday, December 16, 2014

UIS students exemplify the spirit of the season

As the holiday break approaches, UIS students are busy preparing and taking finals and doing all the usual things that signal the last-minute push before the break. In the midst of all those commitments, UIS Music students made a special effort this last week to bring the spirit of the season to a very special person. 

Professor Sharon Graf and students visited St. Joseph's Home in Springfield to entertain residents and to pay a special visit to our friend, Polly Roesch. Polly is a distinguished citizen of Springfield and a longtime supporter of our UIS Music program. In fact, she donated funds two years ago to renovate our music rehearsal room, which we named after her.

Though she now is 104 years old, she greatly enjoyed our visit. The high point was when Christina, a Chinese student, showed Polly her instrument and then played a song for her. I am so grateful for the generosity of these talented UIS students.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

UIS students demonstrate “Leadership lived."

I don’t know what it feels like to be an African American in the United States today.  I also don’t know what it feels like to be a police officer. But I am an American who believes deeply in the importance of citizenship and leadership. I’m seeing both today at UIS, as the attached photograph demonstrates.  If we’re going to make things better in our country in the wake of the traumatic recent events in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City, we will need citizens and leaders like these UIS students – who are demonstrating their concerns peacefully and effectively on the UIS campus today. My congratulations to Robyn Crutchfield,  Lisa Gary, Tieshah Hawkins and other members of the UIS Black Student Union who organized the demonstration today. That’s what I call “Leadership lived.”

Monday, December 8, 2014

Springfield First Citizens Shine Bright

This past Saturday we celebrated Springfield Day during our men’s basketball game at TRAC. As part of the day’s activities, I hosted a meeting of all the First Citizens of Springfield, each of whom has been so named because of their exceptional contributions to our community. I enjoyed briefing this distinguished group about how the campus is growing in size, visibility and reputation and we had a lively dialogue about ways that the community and the university can collaborate to enhance both the university and the Central Illinois region. These people are shining examples of how each of us can make a difference in our world - Leadership lived!