April 27, 2005
|Volume 22, Issue 27|
The 2004-2005 school year has wowed us, saddened us, cracked us up and given us a glimpse of the future. However, so much has happened in the past academic year that we couldn't even begin to consummate a real list that delves into all of the events that made this year at UIS one to remember. Nevertheless, we sure will try and give it a shot.
Here at UIS, we saw a dramatic growth spurt unveil right before our eyes. The University Hall Building, affectionately now known as the “Uh Building,” opened as the most technologically advanced academic building in the state, proving that maybe we are on our way to being the best small public liberal arts university in the region, if not the nation (note, there was sarcasm). Even though the building was a technological over-achiever it did leave behind some money that we could use on a more beatified quad. Instead, we got “quad-henge” the post modern edition of the Scottish intergalactic UFO landing pad. Nevertheless, this campus is starting to take on a “real” university look, which isn't so bad considering that, you know, we are a university.
But with the growth came some of the “off” moments on campus so to speak, namely, the flood. There's not much else that needs to be said about 30,000 plus gallons of water flooding a better portion of the Lincoln Residence Hall. The hilarity speaks for itself. Lesson to be learned: never allow two freshmen to interact with a sprinkler system.
Then there was the case of the library attacker. The event in which a student was attacked by an individual with a book was certainly not humorous and exposed a serious breach in campus security that resulted in quite the public relations coupe between library officials and students demanding safety. But honestly, what is the world coming to when we must worry about books as concealed and carry class weapons?
And what about the bizarre abduction from in front of the Lincoln Residence Hall?
There certainly were plenty of personnel changes at UIS as well. Former Provost Michael Cheney left his post to pursue his research interests leaving Harry Berman as the interim chief academic officer. Then there was the athletics debacle that started with former Athletic Director Nick Adams leaving for Maryland and winding up at Mesa ( Colorado ) State and finished with former Women's Head Basketball Coach Wanda Nettles' contract not being renewed after a 7-22 season. The biggest change though was the UI's new president, B. Joseph White, who replaced a well-served career by former President James Stukel.
Speaking of the University of Illinois , how ‘bout them Illini!? Simply put, their basketball season will go down as one of the greatest in NCAA history. They wowed us like nobody else could and literally painted the entire state orange with delight. Even though they fell shy of their goal, the Illini never let us down but rather lifted us up.
Back at UIS, Housing started stirring the beehive early in the year enforcing a new electricity plan that essentially fleeced the students like the little sheep we are and went on to implement a new television package that got quite the reaction. First, the students were left without Bravo (to crave those West Wing addictions) and then Fox Sports Midwest (which carries a great amount of Cardinals games). In their place though, we got to watch five channels that 90% of people can't understand and at one point a station similar to Al-Jazera. Regardless, it has provided us with soft-core porn on at least one of the three HBO's on a near nightly basis.
Rodney Dangerfield, Johnny Carson and the Pope died. Bummer. But, Stuebe stopped mentioning celebrities in his column in fear that he would curse them and they would die, David Letterman started to reestablish himself as the king of late night, and we got Benedict the XVI. Life goes on.
The election of 2004 sent a rock star to the Senate, Illinois ' own Barack Obama and gave George W. Bush some political capital that he is spending rapidly. No matter who you supported in the election though, it is comforting to know that Saturday Night Live and every late night talk show will have plenty of fodder for the next four years.
In the end though, we learned a lot – and after all, isn't that the point of college? We learned just what exactly an angry vagina was. We learned how to come together to the benefit of people we don't even know a half a world away when a deadly tsunami struck. We learned that despite ups and downs, highs and lows throughout the year, UIS is a pretty good place to call home.
By Carly Hawkins - Columnist
A character in a book I once read argued that, if someone HAD to speak at Gettysburg , in the wake of 50,000 deaths on one battlefield, he should've come forward to the podium, shaken his fist at the audience, and walked off. I think Lincoln may have been tempted, as he wrote that speech on the train on the way to the memorial. What can you say? How do you reflect on an event like that?
Attending UIS, of course, pales in magnitude by comparison, despite our many pitched battles waged from the ideological trenches. In some ways, though, I feel the same inability to grasp for words on this occasion -- how do you sum up this experience? How do you say it eloquently to the people who have meant the most to you over the past four years of your life? How do you do it in a couple hundred words? I wish I could shake my fist and walk away.
All too soon, UIS is something that I will talk about in historical terms. For the past four years, I've felt a sense of ownership towards this campus – not just as my school that would eventually grant me a degree, but also a sense of responsibility for something that I love. We have spent these years not only watching UIS evolve but also shaping that evolution. The fields of the campus have sprouted not only buildings but also an informed, dedicated, and passionate citizenry. It has been a privilege to watch that progress, and hopefully to leave my own mark as well.
While this campus will always have a place in my present, all too soon it's going to reside primarily in the past, in the stories that I'll tell about having gone here and in the file boxes full of papers and notes and exams, the physical evidence that (I promise) I really did learn something from all my credit hours.
I'm sadder than I thought I would be as graduation approaches. UIS, for all the ragging on it we do, was exactly what I needed it to be, not only for the person I was when I arrived here but also for the person I wanted to be when I left, a person that I hope I have come pretty close to being. I leave here with a wide range of opportunities before me, and I know without UIS and especially without the people that I have met during my time here, I never would have gotten quite this far.
At the same time, I'm ready to go, and not just because my brain has gone in to hibernation. I'm anxious to see what the next 10 years bring for UIS – even the next five years. I'm ready to see the things I have cared about so deeply and fostered during my undergraduate career take flight, and to be able to watch that happen from afar, without my hands on the controls.
But the biggest feeling that I leave with is a sense of wanting to make this university proud to have had me.
Over the course of our lifetimes, I'm sure we can all look forward to a lot of contact with the UI and Alumni foundations -- inviting us to fundraisers, asking us for donations, as the school continues to try and take UIS to the next level. I think, though, that the process of giving back to the University of Illinois is actually much simpler. No paperwork, no checks to make out, no luncheons to pretend we're interested in.
The best way to give back is simply to BE GOOD. To be BETTER. To be OUR BEST. To hang these diplomas with pride wherever our lives may take us, from the cubicle to the corner office. We give back to UIS by showing the caliber of graduate that this school produces -- not only the kind of thinker, but also the kind of do-er.
I hope that is the legacy that we can leave to UIS, the principle that the classroom is where it all starts, not where it ends. It is the same with graduation – it's a beginning point, not an ending. But it's up to us to take it from here.
Happy Graduation, Seniors, and congratulations. It's been an honor and a privilege.
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