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Joan Buckles

Joan Buckles
Above: UIS grounds supervisor, Joan Buckles, who has been at UIS since 1991, will retire in June 2014.

One Supervisor + 11 Crew Members + Lots of Work and Planning = The UIS That You See

Do you know Joan Buckles?

Joan supervises a crew of 11 members on the UIS grounds crew, who keep our gardens, lawns, trees and shrubs looking beautiful in the warmer months, remove snow in the winter, and set up outside events.

These days you can probably catch her outside on the grounds, but soon she’ll be retiring.

In lieu of a recognition celebration, Joan has agreed to allow the campus to plant a tree in her honor. If you would like to join in honoring Joan, please make a gift using the Donate button below. When you do so, please scroll down and make a note in the Special Instructions box informing us that your gift is for Joan’s tree and commemorative marker. Thank you!

“A Thing of Beauty”

Joan came to UIS in 1991, back when it was still Sangamon State University. In 1993, she was interviewed for an article that featured the University grounds–“In the Heart of the Prairie,” published in Turf Central magazine. According to SSU Weekly (pdf, page 15), Joan explained in the article the challenges of keeping up with 280 acres of former prairie farmland. She said, “If I spend money, I want to make a drastic improvement in the grounds or in the reduction of maintenance hours required.”

She must have succeeded: That same month, March 1993, she was named Employee of the Month, receiving praise from SSU President Naomi Lynn for making UIS “a thing of beauty.”

That beauty remains today, although now Joan and her crew maintain 370 acres of trees, flowers, shrubs, and plants. Check out these photos taken around UIS.

The accolades have continued as well. In 2010, Joan received the Shining Star trophy, given by one employee to another employee who has exceeded expectations in some area of his or her work. That same year, Joan and her crew were featured in a UIS video and news article, “Grounds crew works to keep UIS campus beautiful.” Springfield has recognized Joan’s skill and contributions, and she has been interviewed for many more articles since that first one in 1993.

With such an excellent record of service, and with such clear evidence around us of her commitment and care for UIS grounds, Joan Buckles certainly deserves our most enthusiastic congratulations as she prepares to retire.

We will miss her, though. A large tree with a permanent marker will commemorate her years of service to UIS. Please give today. Thank you!