June 2020 | Alumni Newsletter

Alumni Update | June 2020

The global UIS Alumni family has more than 44,000 members with shared experiences and pride in the University of Illinois Springfield and its predecessor, Sangamon State University.

Meet Alumna Dre Duvendack

Dre DuvendackDre Duvendack, ’17, MA ’19 LAS is driven by purpose in her career. She’s an Onboarding Specialist at Hope, which provides support and services to families and children with developmental disabilities, and she’s an adjunct instructor at UIS. About her time at UIS, Dre says, “I was given opportunities in leadership and education that helped me grow personally and professionally. I gained the tools I needed to successfully pursue the careers that I love.”




Call for Nominations: U of I Board of Trustees

U of I Board of Trustees meeting in Springfield

In January 2021, three terms of current members of the U of I Board of Trustees will expire. Appointments to the board are made by the Governor, State of Illinois. The UIS Alumni Board is seeking nominations of UIS alumni and friends to be considered for appointment by the Governor. Learn more and submit a nomination form.


UIS Perspectives: Fortunate in the Opportunities

Chancellor Susan J. KochIn her final SJR column, Chancellor Susan Koch reflects on the fortunate opportunities realized during her tenure as UIS Chancellor. She also has a farewell video to share with you. Her new title of Chancellor Emerita will take effect July 1, after her retirement is official. Please join us in congratulating Chancellor Koch on an extraordinary nine years with UIS by tweeting @ChancellorKoch with #UISedu.

Karen Whitney Named Interim Chancellor

Karen Whitney

Karen M. Whitney, a nationally recognized higher education leader, has been selected to serve as interim chancellor. Whitney is the president emerita of Clarion University in Pennsylvania and recently served as interim chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. Whitney says, “The way UIS has positioned itself to be the capital city’s university with an emphasis on leadership development – that is, I think, an extremely important role in American society today.”


Plans for Safe Return of Students in Fall 2020

ColonnadeOn-campus educational activities will resume this fall at the University of Illinois System’s three universities, with a hybrid mixture of in-person and online classes. This decision assumes that Illinois continues meeting Phase 4 requirements in the Restore Illinois plan, which allows reopening of classrooms. Learn more about plans to return to campus in fall.


Illinois Innocence Project Helps Free Wrongfully Convicted Man

Nathaniel Onsrud with Chrissy Ferree from IIPNathaniel Onsrud’s 2008 murder conviction was vacated and he walked free from the Menard Correctional Center on June 23, due to the efforts of the Illinois Innocence Project and attorneys of Erickson & Oppenheimer, Ltd. in Chicago. Newly discovered evidence proves that Nathaniel was not responsible for the death of his infant son.


Human Development Counseling Continues to Innovate and Dream Big

Holly ThompsonWhen COVID-19 sent students home during the Spring 2020 semester, it meant professors in the Human Development Counseling program had to find a new way to connect. But HDC, a program that was created shortly after the university was founded in the early 1970s, is nothing if not innovative. Changes were made to ensure students received the top-notch, quality education the program is renowned for.


Admissions-Test Requirement Dropped for 2021 Applicants

Decision Day 2020The U of I Board of Trustees Executive Committee approved a one-year moratorium on standardized test score entrance requirements because large numbers of high school students have not been able to take standardized tests, due to school closures and the unavailability of SAT or ACT tests. Natalie Herring, Associate Provost for Enrollment Management says, “Test-optional is an opportunity to meet the needs of Illinois’ citizens, economy and civic landscape by facing today’s challenges using both the tried and true and the new.”



Reflections on George Floyd Tragedy

There is no place for racism. None.The University of Illinois System and Chancellor Koch expressed their thoughts about the recent violence against George Floyd and others in the African American community. Koch says, “I encourage each of us to use this difficult period to model the compassion so needed at this time. Knowing the collective ‘star power’ of the UIS community, I am confident we can recommit to dismantling racism and creating a more just and equitable society.”



Returning to Work: The Law of Thirds

Public Administration Associate Professor Dr. Travis Bland shares his insights about returning to work amid ongoing COVID-19 uncertainty. He says it’s imperative to intentionally focus your energy, and avoid letting “naysayers” derail you. Read about the “Law of Thirds.”