Funds That Support Athletics


STARS Website header

Make a difference for the UIS Prairie Stars Athletics

Thank you so much for your interest in building a competitive and respected NCAA Division II program at UIS. On this page, you can read about athletic funds, including scholarships, and use Donate buttons to make a gift to each fund.

Giving Opportunities

First, you might also be interested in the STARS (Boosters) Club, through which donors can enhance the student-athlete experience at UIS and further the support of the young men and women who wear the Prairie Star uniform. Another excellent way to support student-athletes is to create a Prairie Stars Athletic Sponsorship.

STARS Club (Unrestricted Giving)

UIS Athletics Unrestricted Fund

STARS Club membership benefits

General Athletic Scholarships

When giving to scholarship funds, your $25, $50, $100 will go into the account you choose, and that money will either go straight to the next student who gets the award (if the scholarship is current use) or into the endowed scholarship fund to add to every future award.

Rising Stars Athletic Scholarships

The fund for these scholarships includes all the money that generous supporters of UIS Athletics designate for scholarships without indicating a particular sport or scholarship fund. This means UIS Athletics is able to disperse the money where most needed to meet the financial needs of excellent student-athletes or to attract outstanding prospects to the program. As a consequence, gifts to this flexible and powerful fund are always welcome.

Aydin Gonulsen Scholarship

This scholarship, for soccer athletes, honors former soccer coach Aydin Gonulsen, who began coaching soccer at UIS (then Sangamon State University) in 1977. In his first game as coach, the SSU Prairie Stars beat Bradley University 4-2. The sport continued to thrive and in 1986 the SSU Prairie Stars won their first NAIA national championship. Gonulsen went on to win National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Men’s Soccer Championships with UIS in 1986, 1988 and 1993. His 1986 team competed in the World College Championships, where UIS beat NCAA Division I champion UCLA. Thanks to the generous contributions of many past players, fans, friends, and alumni, the awards from this endowed scholarship will be matched 1:1 for the next ten years through the recently completed Access Illinois Scholarship Initiative.

Manny Velasco Scholarship

Manny Velasco, who retired this year, was tennis coach at UIS since 1980. Well known throughout Springfield for his generosity and support for the sport of tennis, Manny has been an integral part of the success of  Prairie Star Athletics and the development of UIS student-athletes. Manny has rightfully become known as the “dean” of the UIS coaching staff. With the support of his many former student-athletes and other friends and admirers, this scholarship is now endowed, and because it qualifies for an Access  Illinois Scholarship match, the award from the scholarship will be matched for the next ten years. Cheers to all who donated to make this happen in time!

Athletic Funds by Team


  • Men’s Baseball Fund


  • Men’s Basketball Fund
  • Women’s Basketball Fund

Cross Country

  • Men’s Cross Country Fund
  • Women’s Cross Country Fund


  • Men’s Golf Fund
  • Women’s Golf Fund


  • Men’s Soccer Fund
  • Women’s Soccer Fund


  • Men’s Tennis Fund
  • Women’s Tennis Fund


  • Women’s Softball Fund


  • Women’s Volleyball Fund


We welcome your inquiries. Please feel free to contact us.