Karen Hasara | Making a Difference Today and in the Future

Karen Hasara
Karen Hasara (’72 LAS, MA ’92 PAA) represented the University of Illinois Board of Trustees at the 2013 UIS Commencement ceremony.

Stellar Achievements

By any measure, Karen Hasara, UIS alum, has achieved a stellar list of accomplishments: a distinguished career as a public servant, including being Mayor of Springfield from 1995-2003 and membership on the Board of Trustees at the University of Illinois from 2009 to 2017.

Most recently, she was presented with an honorary doctorate of humane letters at the UIS commencement on May 11, 2019, in appreciation of her inspirational leadership in public service and distinguished contributions to the community and the University of Illinois.

A Global Perspective

As strong as Karen’s local ties are, her vision encompasses a much wider world. Since leaving elected office, she has worked in Russia and several Eastern European countries, encouraging tourism and economic development, and has also trained women in these countries on issues related to holding government office. She has also served on Springfield’s World Affairs Council Board, and on the board U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy in Washington, D.C.

Karen believes strongly that we can best appreciate other cultures through personal interactions. Because finances often limit a college student’s opportunities for travel, she has created a generous bequest at UIS for the Global Experience Unrestricted Support Fund.

“I believe that even a short-time experience in another country gives a student a totally different outlook on life,” Karen said. “Because of that, I think it is so important that every student has the opportunity to have that experience.”

Her gift will allow students to take part in study abroad experiences, service learning projects in other countries and short-term global encounters. Because of her gift, recipients will be equipped to contribute to a stronger, more connected world. Could there be a more fitting legacy for her personal life of service and achievement?

Karen holds two degrees from UIS: a B.S. in Psychology and Elementary Education (1972) and an MA in Legal Studies (1993).