January 2020 | Alumni Newsletter

Alumni Update | January 2020

The global UIS Alumni family has more than 43,000 members with shared experiences and pride in the University of Illinois Springfield and its predecessor, Sangamon State University.

2020 Alumni Gala | Celebrate & Honor

Join fellow alumni and friends at the 2020 Alumni Gala on Friday, February 21 as we celebrate Achievement, Loyalty and Distinguished Service.

Nina Burleigh | Alumni Achievement Award

Nina BurleighNina Burleigh of New York, NY is the 2020 recipient of the Alumni Achievement Award. A 1984 graduate of the Public Affairs Reporting program, Burleigh has covered stories on six continents and has achieved critical acclaim as an award-winning author, journalist and feminist cultural critic. She is a New York Times best-selling author of six lively, acclaimed works of creative nonfiction and has written hundreds of works on topics ranging from culture and politics to gender issues, science and the environment.





Dr. Janice Spears | Alumni Distinguished Service Award

Janice SpearsDr. Janice Spears of Springfield, IL is the 2020 recipient of the Distinguished Service Award. Spears has earned three degrees from the University, and had a remarkable career as a school administrator, which included national recognition for environmentally friendly school buildings. Upon retirement, Spears has focused her time and energy on the University and has become an invaluable, “go –to” alumni volunteer leader whose actions have made significant, notable impact on the institution’s overall welfare and the advancement of its mission.




GPSI Program Coming to Chicago

GPSI Interns at IDPHThe Graduate Public Service Internship Program (GPSI) is expanding to offer paid graduate student internships with state government agencies in the greater Chicago-area. Starting in August 2020, admitted students will complete their UIS master’s degree online while completing their Chicago-based internship. Vyvyan Wesley, currently an online student in the GPSI program says, “The chance to be part of a program that allows you to gain experience in government, receive a monthly stipend and provides a tuition waiver is unique.”


UIS Awarded $100,000 Grant for Minority Students in STEM

STEM labratoryUIS will receive a five-year $100,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant aimed at developing and implementing evidence-based programs that will support the academic success of underrepresented minority students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Nationwide, 23 percent of minority students in STEM majors drop out of college. Associate Dean Lucia Vasquez says, “It is imperative that we implement programs to promote the academic success of our minority students in these areas.”


New Athletics Director Peyton Deterding

Petyton Deterding & Susan KochChancellor Susan J. Koch recently announced that Peyton Deterding is the new UIS director of intercollegiate athletics. Deterding spent the past 12 years at Illinois State University as their senior associate athletic director, where he managed fiscal operations, capital projects, event management, sport oversight, human resources and information technology. Deterding says, “After meeting with Chancellor Koch, it became very evident that with her level of support and with the foundation in place, this is truly an exciting time to be a part of Prairie Stars Athletics.”


UIS Perspectives: Resolving to Pursue a Graduate Credential

Chancellor Susan J. KochChancellor Susan J. Koch’s monthly column discusses how pursuing a graduate credential can advance one’s career and personal growth. “The graduate education experience can build new skill sets and accelerate both professional networks and personal growth,” says Koch. Dr. Adam Williams and Dr. Somnath Bhattacharya offer that UIS graduate programs provide working professionals with valuable opportunities for advancement.



Alumnus Gregory Knott Appointed to Board of Trustees

Gregory KnottUIS alumnus Gregory Knott has been appointed secretary of the U of I Board of Trustees and of the University. U of I System President Tim Killeen says that along with deep ties to the universities, Knott will bring invaluable experience from nearly a decade as a member of the Parkland College Board of Trustees. Knott says, “The opportunity to work with such an amazing board and university leadership is exciting in helping to shape the future of the entire university system.”



Upcoming Events Calendar

Sangamon Experience Grand Opening – Thursday, January 30

Career Connection Expo – Thursday, February 6

Naples, Florida Network & Learn – Friday, February 14

Broadway Series & Pre-Show Dinners – Friday, February 14 & more

Alumni Gala – Friday, February 21

Arts + Culture Career Fair in Chicago – Friday, February 21

Blue Man Group Speechless Tour – Wednesday, February 26

U of I Lobby Day at the Capitol – Wednesday, February 26

Lunch & Learn: Mysteries of the Past – Tuesday, March 3

Josh Turner – Friday, March 13