Chancellor Ringeisen's Remarks
Volunteer Leadership Forum
October 20 , 2006
A Star Rising
Good morning, distinguished alumni, friends, colleagues and guests. Good
morning, and welcome-welcome to the University of Illinois at Springfield
Volunteer Leadership Forum.
I'd like to talk with you this morning about UIS being a star, about
being a leader, because that is the destiny of the University of Illinois
What began 36 years ago as Sangamon State University, what today is
the University of Illinois at Springfield, is definitely a star rising. You
may be wondering how I can make such an assertion, just what I'm basing
this statement on.
My belief in the star power of UIS is sparked by things like last
summer's Chicago Tribune article that called us the University
of the Future. And our Admissions staff is telling us that
while recruiting in the Chicago area, they are finally hearing people
say, Oh yes, we've heard about UIS and heard things about UIS. That's
a major breakthrough for us.
Beyond internal or external recognition, though, my belief in UIS is
ultimately based on what I see everyday on this campus.
So, I'd like to share what I see at UIS - what I see in UIS.
To be a star, you must dream boldly, creating a vision based on creativity
and intellectual drive. Our vision at UIS is the deepest expression
of what we want to be, our preferred future, an image of how we can best
serve our cause. Just what is our vision? "UIS will
be a premier small public university offering innovative, high-quality
liberal arts education, public affairs activities and professional programs
dedicated to academic excellence, to enriching individual lives and to
making a difference in the world."
Yes, that's our vision, but we take it a step further. Besides
our vision, our statement of strategic intent says that we
intend to be one of the top five small public liberal arts universities in the
nation. That is bold, isn't it? And now we have people all
over campus coming to us and saying - if you really want to be in the
top 5, you need to support us more. And they're right - and I'm
thrilled that people are catching on to the "top five" idea.
As we implement our plan, we recognize that leading universities have
passion for a cause that is larger than they are - a dream and a vision
that will make society better. That is why we declare UIS will
make a difference in the world. It's the third of our three major
goals. To make a difference in the world.
Our graduates, our students, our faculty and staff are prepared to lead,
to contribute to society, to nurture their communities.
Another key element of leadership is the ability to see new things: leaders
must consistently demonstrate innovation and insight...insight that inspires
others to action, innovation that improves life for all. Take a
look at our past five years, and you'll see innovation, you'll see transformation.
a few highlights show UIS making a difference in the world:
UIS is a recognized leader in online education
and technology. Our
University campus is completely wireless, the first in Illinois. Ray
Schroeder, Director of UIS' Office of Technology Enhanced Learning,
is one of the nation's leading experts on online education. He has
brought UIS into the national limelight with regard to online degree
UIS is taking a lead role in one of the largest flood
plain restoration projects in the world-the Emiquon Preserve in Havana, Illinois, a
huge project on the Illinois River that is expected to have worldwide
implications for river projects on the Amazon and in China.
Shining stars! When it comes to our students, no other phrase
is as fitting. Just a couple of examples, though there are many more...UIS
Accountancy graduates rank near the top in first-time pass rates for
the national CPA exam. And, the College of Education and Human
Services has a 100% pass rate for Teacher Education candidates on
Our College of Business and Management houses the new Center for
Entrepreneurship so that UIS can be of greater service in the economic
development of Springfield and the region. And we are one of
the leadership investors in a brand new Springfield Chamber of Commerce
initiative about economic development, a multimillion dollar community
investment that has the bold goal of creating 4,500 jobs in the greater
UIS' Illinois Legislative Staff Internship
Program remains the
premier graduate-level program of its kind in the nation - placing
graduate-level interns on all four legislative leadership staffs
in the state Capitol every year. We are well-positioned to build on our tradition of
blending real-world opportunities with academic offerings. That
is evident in the 149 graduate students who have internships at 14
state agencies this fall, thanks to the Graduate Public Service Internship
Program. By the way, 149 is a record.
Within the College of Public Affairs and Administration is the
nationally renowned and highly selective graduate program in Public
Affairs Reporting under the direction of Charles Wheeler. Wheeler and political scientists
Kent Redfield and Chris Mooney - all at UIS - are three of the most-quoted
sources in the state on the subject of Illinois government and politics. Here's
a fact that isn't known widely enough: Two months ago Professor
Wheeler was inducted into the Lincoln League of Journalists of
the Illinois Associated Press Editors Association. He became only
the seventh member of the league, which was created in 2000 to honor "men
and women who have provided exemplary service to other journalists
and to daily newspapers published in Illinois."
UIS has significantly increased its share of grant
further our teaching and research efforts. For example, the College of
Liberal Arts and Sciences is a recipient of Merck grants for undergraduate
research in sciences. LAS is also a co-recipient of a National Science
Foundation grant for Center for the System Security and Information Assurance
(CSSIA). The College has also received a major National Science
Foundation grant for archaeological research in Germany, including
student internship opportunities.
Online programs in the College of Education and Human Services
are rated among the top 5 in the nation by the Wall Street Journal
as of May 2006. And, the college's online
math certification program is helping to alleviate the shortage of math teachers in
the state of Illinois.
Our Center for State Policy and Leadership, in addition to all
its service to state government, is creating an exciting intellectual
climate on campus with its forums, summits and lecture series, featuring
nationally and internationally respected speakers.
There is clear evidence that UIS is doing athletics
the right way. More
than half of our student-athletes have been named to our Director of
Athletics' Honor Roll. The men's basketball team led the American
Midwest Conference this past season with nine players named to the Academic
All-Conference Team. And our women's volleyball team was among
287 teams at schools throughout the nation that earned an American
Volleyball Coaches Association Team Academic Award for the 2005-06
The fine arts at UIS are growing exponentially. For example,
we are now one of four major art venues in the city of Springfield. And,
Sangamon Auditorium is one of central Illinois' finest performing arts
facilities, presenting more than 60 performances per year and hosting
numerous other events as well. And we now have a building appropriately
named the Visual and Performing Arts Building - you knew it as Building
G, maybe - as a sign of our commitment to the fine arts.
Let me tell you something else you probably didn't know. Our
library, Brookens Library, has a larger collection than most of its peers
- meaning small private colleges in Illinois and public liberal arts
universities throughout the United States. With 540,000 volumes
and many online sources, the greatness of Brookens Library has been,
until today, too much of a secret. So in the years to come,
we will do a lot more bragging about the resource we have in Brookens
Leading universities create a sense of place and offer first-rate
facilities. The UIS campus has undergone a physical
transformation in order to create its own sense
of place. University Hall,
one of the most technologically-sophisticated classroom buildings
in the state, is first-rate, as is the state-of-the-art Lincoln Residence
Hall. We are now watching our new recreation and athletic center
take shape, and very soon construction will begin on more townhouses,
where students will enjoy living in style and comfort, as they do
now in the existing townhouses. Then we'll break ground for
our second residence hall, which will feature many of the conveniences
that our students have come to expect.
That's the short list.
I could go on, as I often do, about how far UIS has come in the last
few years and how brilliant our future is. I hope that you have
gotten a strong sense of our pride and our determination to make UIS
the very best it can be.
First, though, maybe, I can share the stars with you.
Without a doubt, our future will be brighter than ever.
UIS is going to reach beyond what appear to some people as limitations,
but we know they are not limitations. They are only more stars
beyond the ones we have already discovered.
This is our time.
This is also your time, because you help provide the spirit and the
energy to move UIS forward and implement our collective vision. Please
know that your individual efforts, your "can-do" spirit and
your financial support, are all deeply appreciated.
We want, and need to involve you in the process for defining and implementing
the bold future envisioned for UIS. With dedicated, unified commitment,
at the conclusion of this Campaign, I believe each of us will be able
to say, 'I helped to build the best possible future for higher education
in this region.'
What dream, what goal could possibly be better? At UIS, you're
in on the ground floor; we'll emerge as stars together.
In closing, I offer my sincere thanks for all of your hard work on behalf
of UIS, and for your strong, engaged support of our advancement work. In
gatherings such as this, we are shaping a bright, bright future for the
University of Illinois at Springfield.
The stars are rising, and in 10 years, it will be much, much brighter.