The UIS Alumni Board serves as a voice for alumni. Volunteer leaders provide guidance on how the university can continue to engage and serve its alumni, while also serving as ambassadors and advocates for UIS in their communities.

Description of Responsibilities

The purpose of the UIS Alumni Board is to provide the volunteer leadership necessary to advance the alumni engagement program of UIS as empowered and guided by goals, objectives, mission and vision of the Board and University. 

In 2021, the UIS Alumni Board played a key role in formally introducing the UIS Alumni Association. The UIS Alumni Board also recently set the mission of the organization as “To inspire lifelong loyalty, pride and united action through networking, advocacy, support and continuing education.” The vision of the organization is “To be a catalyst for change and growth in the lives of alumni and in the future of the University.”

The UIS Alumni Board currently has the following operating committees: Executive, Nominating, Awards and UI Board of Trustees Identification. Ad-hoc committees can also be instituted to address a specific effort or need; and board members are often asked to participate in legislative advocacy and support fundraising activity.

Membership of the Board

The UIS Alumni Board consists of up to twenty-five voting members. This includes one current student, who is considered a full, voting member. The UIS Chancellor, Vice Chancellor for Advancement and Associate Vice Chancellor for Alumni Relations serve as ex officio members.

Members of the UIS Alumni Board are elected to serve two-year terms. Terms can be renewed up to three consecutive times. Dependent upon the student’s academic progress, the student member often serves a one-year term, which can be renewed for additional terms as matriculation occurs.


Alumni who have graduated or completed coursework from the University of Illinois Springfield/Sangamon State University, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, order of protection status, genetic information, marital status, disability, sexual orientation including gender identity, unfavorable discharge from the military or status as a protected veteran, are eligible to become members of the UIS Alumni Board. 

Though not required to nominate, part of the nominee review process will include a nominee’s previous volunteer engagement and/or support of the University. 

Current Board Members

  • Chair: Carly Hawkins ’05 CPAE
  • Vice-Chair & Secretary: John P. Lowder ’94 CPAE
  • Immediate Past Chair: Thom Serafin ’73 MA ’91 CPAE
  • Richard Berning MPA ,’75 CPAE
  • Brian Cross ’95 CPAE
  • Madelyn Cullick '19 CPAE
  • Marianne Downey MA ’09 CPAE
  • Kylie Gilmore '17 CBM, MA '19 CLASS
  • Tina Buck Harth ’13 CLASS, MPA "CPAE
  • Jamaal Hollins ’14 CLASS
  • Cinda Klickna MA '77 CLASS
  • Lisbeth Leanos '13 CPAE
  • Mitchell Malcolm, MBA ’21 CBM
  • Matthew Mayer ’98 CPAE
  • Rikeesha V. Phelon ’99, MA ’05 CPAE
  • Jay Reyes '97 CPAE
  • Rashaad Robinson '13 CBM
  • Kyle Simpson ’08 CPAE
  • Celeste Smith MPH '97 CPAE
  • Debbie Thompson ’93 CBM, MA ’98 CLASS
  • John Tienken '13 CPAE
  • Gaurav Walia MS '97 CLASS
  • Erma Brooks Williams, MPA ’84, DPA ’01 CPAE
  • Student Representative: Christian Nix ’24 CLASS

Ex-Officio Members

  • Janet Gooch, Ph.D.– UIS Chancellor & UI Vice President
  • Jeffrey D. Lorber, Ed.D., UIS Vice Chancellor for Advancement & Sr. Vice President, UIF
  • Charles J. Schrage MA ’05 CPAE, Associate Vice Chancellor for Alumni Relations

Current board members last updated: 3/21/2024

Becoming a Board Member

A call for board member nominations is distributed semi-annually. Nomination forms are reviewed by current board members and selections are made based on the number of available open seats.


For additional information about the alumni board, contact the Division of Advancement.