Dr. Janice Spears | 2020 Alumni Distinguished Service Award Recipient

Janice SpearsDr. Janice M. Spears of Springfield, Illinois, earned three degrees from the University. She received her bachelor’s degree in 1973, and one year later followed up with a master’s degree, both in sociology/anthropology. Spears went on to earn another master’s degree in 1981, this time in educational administration. She later earned a doctorate from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale.

Upon retiring from a remarkable career as a school administrator, which includes national recognition for environmentally friendly school buildings, Spears has focused her time and energy on the University and has become an invaluable, “go –to” alumni volunteer leader. The breadth, depth and consistency of Dr. Spears’ volunteer leadership at the University has made significant, notable impact on the institution’s overall welfare and the advancement of its mission.

As a College of Education and Human Services Alumni Council member (CEHS), Spears was committed to making connections and promoting UIS. She assisted with several College endeavors, including the Pathways to Success program, where Spears spoke with students about career paths, and lent expertise on professional development. Spears also helped create the CEHS Hall of Fame, which honors outstanding retired faculty of the college.

When members of the UIS Alumni SAGE Society decided to record oral histories of alumni and faculty, Spears immediately began interviewing and recording alumni histories, identifying several more for others to assist with the project. She is the “go to” person for collecting oral histories to this day.

Spears served in both vice-chair and chair roles of the UIS Alumni SAGE Society Coordinating Committee. She is a retired member of the UIS Alumni Board, and was a frequent volunteer during WUIS “Alumni on the Air Day” pledge drives.

Currently, Spears is a member of the Reaching Stellar Campaign Planning Committee; is chair of the Athletics Hall of Fame selection committee; and is a mainstay at UIS Commencement, helping students get prepared for one of the biggest days in their lives.

Dr. Spears’ support extends beyond giving her time and talent; she endowed a scholarship in honor of a passed love one. Spears and husband Gustave Pflugmacher also provide financial support to Athletics and other UIS endeavors. She is a member of the UI Foundation President’s Council, the highest level giving society of the UI Foundation.

In 2010, Spears was awarded the University of Illinois Loyalty Award for Exceptional Alumni Service for her significant, notable and meritorious contributions demonstrating exceptional loyalty and commitment.

Established in 1972, the Distinguished Service Award is bestowed upon alumni, faculty, staff or friends of the University who have consistently demonstrated extraordinary commitment, dedication and service to the advancement of the University of Illinois.