Last Saturday’s commencement began the process of award distribution, but as the theme went for the 2006 ceremony, it only marked the continuation of life-long learning for this year’s UIS graduates.
“The important thing is this,” Chancellor Richard Ringeisen said, quoting artist Charles DuBois at the May 13 ceremony, “To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become. That’s what education is all about, isn’t it?”
Ringeisen congratulated the sundry group of students – from well-traveled online learners meeting classmates for the first time at the Prairie Capital Convention Center, to the second graduating class of Capital Scholars, whose “contagious enthusiasm and lively spirits” molded UIS.
The chancellor also gave special congratulations to students called to duty while completing their degree, and a round of applause for Brace Clement, former SGA member and active Marine who graduated with the 2006 group.
Ringeisen promised the graduates that their degrees would serve them well and would grow in value alongside the vision of UIS. But he told the group to remember, “Life’s most urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”
President B. Joseph White took the stage next to give a collective congrats from the entire University of Illinois family. He told the grads to “Go out in the world. Represent us well. Make us proud.”
After President White boasted efforts of the 2006 class and the university’s beautiful fountain, and new vision statement, historian Dr. Phillip Shaw Paludan addressed the crowd.
Dr. Paludan reminded this year’s graduates they were involved in an 800-year-old ceremony, one where participants wore robes. He said traditionally only ministers, judges and academics wear these symbolic garments, as they represent a notion of duty.
“I would hope that these robes would help you and all of us remember the responsibility to serve values that abide and matter even as we move day by day in our jobs and our recreations,” but the scholar said education does not just teach task completion, it also shows us how to live as individuals.
“You should have learned not only what's new, but also the news that stays news - humanity's response to life and death and love and god and suffering and triumph. That's the education we celebrate here and we celebrate in robes.”
Paludan went on to cite two quotes: “Never give up,” repeated three times by Winston Churchill and “Try to understand things. Try to be good to each other,” repeated three times in the 1980s by Dennis Highberger, University of Kansas student body president.
Despite the seeming contradiction between these two statements, Paludan said they could be reconciled and applied to life. And he did so as any Lincoln scholar would, by citing tribulations of a certain self-educated farmer turned legendary politician.
After recalling Lincoln’s struggle to the platform, his persistence and triumph in fairness while there, he said this: “I hope that with the preparation you now have you are ready to seek some worthy goal and that you seek it persistently but humbly. Never give up. Try to understand things. Try to be good to each other.”
Student speaker and English program graduate Chris Wyant spoke next. “I came here as the 2001 charter class of Capital Scholars,” he said. From the start of their four-five year experience, Wyant said, these students have asked how to become better.
He said UIS now has an increase in student life, there are more sports and housing options and an “aggressive” strategic plan. “But are any of these the answers? I hope not. I hope UIS does not settle for mere answers. I hope we all leave with the desire to ask questions.” Wyant encouraged fellow graduates to credit the process itself, not just its completion. “I hope we are forever plagued with questions.”
In the audience that afternoon were the parents of Esteban Czwan Altobelli, traveling from Argentina to see another son graduate from UIS. Czwan, graduating with the highest honors from the computer science program, said his brother Ivan obtained his undergraduate degree and MBA from UIS as well.
After the ceremony, Czwan admitted to feeling no different. “Honestly, graduating itself hasn’t impacted me much. But thinking of my very proud parents and looking back at all their efforts and suffer, I get goose bumps.” During his five years as a Capital Scholar, he only went home to Argentina for Christmas, and his family came to Illinois in the summer.
Now Czwan says he plans move to Wales. “I’m leaving in two weeks,” he said after graduation. While in the UK, Czwan says he will study genetic epidemiology and bioinformatics at Cardiff University. As his area of study is quite the mouthful, the recent grad explained he will be working designing information systems that collect and analyze biological data related to diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia.
Move on. Become. But keep learning, and don’t give up. Help others and be good to them. Try to understand things. The class of 2006 has this to remember as they continue forward with their lives.
Experience It!! Illinois State Fair to take place Aug. 11 through 20
By Heather Shaffer - Editor in Chiefr
This year, the Illinois State Fair will give Illinoisans and opportunity to “Experience It!”
The fair, themed “Experience It! Illinois State Fair 2006,” will be held from Aug. 11 through 20 at the state fairgrounds, located at 801 Sangamon Ave. This is the 153rd year of the fair.
Music fans will be able to enjoy a wide variety of music considering all the acts signed up for the grandstand entertainment portion of the fair.
The fair’s grandstand opens with young rapper Bow Wow with Mario B5 and JIBBS.
According to the Illinois State Fair Web site, Bow Wow (formerly Lil' Bow Wow, born Shad Gregory Moss on born March 9, 1987 in Columbus, Ohio), is an American rapper. Releasing his first album, Beware of Dog, at the age of thirteen, Bow Wow quickly became a successful recording artist, under the mentorship of record producer Jermaine Dupri, eventually breaking out on his own by 2003 and continuing his success.
When Moss was five, he started his career in rap using the monicker Kid Gangsta. One year later, he took front stage during the Chronic tour and impressed rapper Snoop Doggy Dogg who would later give Moss his first professional alias, "Lil Bow Wow". Dogg later hired him as an opening act and introduced him to Jermaine Dupri, a producer who helped shape Moss' career.
All tickets for the opening act are $20.
Counting Crows and the Goo Goo Dolls will give a show on the grandstand Aug. 19. Tickets for this show range from $25-$35. Also, the Illinois Symphony will give a free performance on Aug. 14.
Country music fans have a lot to be excited about with this year’s grandstand line-up.
Montgomery Gentry will perform with Jeff Bates on Saturday, Aug. 12. Tickets for that show range from $15-$25. Popular country duo Big & Rich with Cowboy Troy and Hello Dave will perform on the main stage Aug. 18. Tickets range from $15-$25.
On its closing night, the grandstand will feature last year’s American Idol winner Carrier Underwood singing her country songs with Phil Vassar. Tickets for her show are $20.
All grandstand shows are at 8 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at any Ticketmaster location or the grandstand ticket office. For more information, contact the grandstand ticket office at (217) 782-1979.
Besides the grandstand entertainment, the State Fair has activities for everyone, young and old. Fairgoers can enjoy watching the USAC Silver Crown Series Auto Races on Aug. 19 and the ARCA Super Series Auto Races on Aug. 20 at the grandstand. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children.
Fairgoers can visit the themed areas, such as Key West, My Kind of Town Chicago, Hollywood, Wild Wild West and Main Street U.S.A.
In additions to all these events, fairgoers can still enjoy the traditional rides, booths, horse races and shows, and livestock showing of the annual State Fair.
Heather Miller will rein over this year’s State Fair as the 2006 Miss Illinois County Fair Queen. Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Chuck Hartke along with retiring Queen Sherrie Smith crowned Miller in January at the Crowne Plaza Center in Springfield. Miller, a resident of Bloomington, and the McLean County Fair Queen, was one of 67 county fair queens competing for the title. She is the daughter of Robert and Kathi Miller and plans to attend Augustana College majoring in Post-Secondary Education and Administration.
According to the Illinois State Fair website, the first Illinois State Fair was held in Springfield in 1853, at a site on the west side of town. The fair of 1853 promoted not only improved methods of agriculture and raising livestock, but also displays of improvement for labor, industry, education, arts and sciences. The fair was again held in Springfield in 1854, with its main attraction being Sen. Stephen Douglas’ speech and the future President Lincoln’s rebuttal the next day.
Since that time, the State Fair has been held at 12 Illinois cities; including Chicago, Alton, Peoria, Freeport, Jacksonville, Decatur, Quincy, Ottawa, DuQuoin, Olney and Centralia.
On Sept. 24, 1894, the State Fair found a permanent home on the fairgrounds in which it is held today. At that time, the fair ran for an extent of six days. In 1998, the fair was extended to ten days, which it remains today.
This year, take some time to “Experience It!” and take in all that the Illinois State Fair has to offer.