University of Illinois Springfield
May 15, 2010
"Good afternoon everyone, and Congratulations! to my fellow graduates. It’s an honor to share this very special moment with you. At the time of my acceptance to speaking I was unaware that I was the only speaker keeping you from your diploma.
On behalf of the University of Illinois Alumni Association, welcome to a very proud, loyal and global alumni family. Your Alma Mater is a university whose borders are “the globe.” More than 29,000 UIS graduates live and work throughout the world - in every state of the nation and nearly 40 countries. Your network is further strengthened by an extended family of nearly 700,000 alumni of all University of Illinois campuses.
As an alumnus, member of the Campus Alumni Advisory Board, and sustaining member of the Alumni Association, I want to share with you a rite of passage which comes with academic achievement: the responsibility all graduates have in preserving value, and inspiring excellence, in the UIS degree.
Let me explain further.
As a graduate, you represent much of all that is good and great about the University – your past accomplishments, your future achievements, the way in which you live, and the values by which you live will reflect upon the educational values of UIS.
Consequently, much of what the public will read, hear, think and believe about our Alma Mater will largely be based upon the actions and good deeds of graduates like you.
From this day forward, you’ll be called upon to take on a new role – the role of graduate. And yes, being “called upon” does sometimes mean making a financial contribution. But in this instance, “called upon” also has several other meanings.
For example, you may be called upon to host internships or mentor students at your place of work, and help a current student get valuable and much needed practical work experience in their field of study.
Or, you may be called upon to serve as an Ambassador for the University, through the Illinois Connection Advocacy Network. Illinois Connection Ambassadors communicate with public officials about the importance of support for this great institution – and provide a very credible and empowered voice of support – the type of voice to which alumni and distinguished graduates can effectively offer, and which public servants will listen to. You may also get a call someday, like I did, from the UIS Alumi office, from an individual like Chuck Schrage and be asked to sit on the Campus Alumni Advisory Board. If asked to serve please consider it, because I know I am glad I said “yes.”
To help you start off on the right foot, as a UIS graduate, I’m going to ask you to complete the following three tasks - within the next 3 months.
First, display your diploma with pride. Display it in your home, your office or other highly visible area. Be proud and let your friends, your family and co-workers know of your University of Illinois and UIS connection.
Second, recruit a new student to UIS, and help continue a trend of record setting enrollment. The University will continue to enjoy a reputation for academic excellence with a student body which is intelligent; known as “hard working”; is motivated, and which comes from diverse backgrounds. You know what it takes to succeed here, so recruit a new student to UIS.
And third, make a gift in support of the University…this is one instance where writing a check or making a contribution online comes in.
A short time from now, you’ll be asked to make a financial contribution in support of the University. Please do so and support the cause of your choice…there are many. Whether it’s $10 or $10,000…or somewhere in between. Do so, in honor of a faculty member who inspired you…or your parents, your family or others who have supported you; Or perhaps just simply out of loyalty.
No matter what the reason, your financial contribution will help support the university and grow alumni giving participation rates – a very important factor in university national rankings.
Class of 2010, congratulations again on your graduation, and in making your dreams become reality. And welcome to the alumni family!
by Larry Millburg