Funds That Support Public Affairs Reporting

Public Affairs Reporting
Above: A PAR student conducts an interview at the Capitol Building.

Make a Difference for Public Affairs Reporting (PAR) Students

Your gift in any amount to the funds below provide support for PAR students. You can use the Donate button to give online. Thank you!

Public Affairs Reporting Fund

This fund helps to cover recruiting costs and supplements scholarship programs when necessary.

Scholarship Funds

Marc D. Allan PAR Scholarship Fund

Marc D. Allan graduated from UIS (then Sangamon State University) with a master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting in 1986. He worked as a reporter for many years, including more than 16 years at the Indianapolis Star. In 2004, he joined the staff at Butler University in Indianapolis and currently holds the position of News Manager. While at Butler, he has contributed to publications such as the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and Indianapolis Monthly. Mr. Allan, who made some of his best friends in his 1986 PAR cohort, is pleased now to give a scholarship to a student currently in the program.

Mary and Nelson Howarth Memorial Fund

Nelson Howarth was a respected Springfield attorney and three-term mayor who was instrumental in convincing the Illinois General Assembly to establish the UIS (then Sangamon State University) campus in 1969. He later taught a course in municipal law and administration at SSU. The Mary and Nelson Howarth Memorial Scholarshipwas originally established by the family and friends in honor of his life and work. In later years, his wife’s name was added by the family, who continue to support the scholarship through generous donations. Applicants for the scholarship must be in good academic standing with a major in Public Administration, Public Affairs Reporting (other than broadcast journalism), Environmental Studies, Political Science or History.

Mary Frances Fagan Memorial PAR Scholarship

A graduate of the PAR program at UIS, Mary Frances Fagan worked as a radio reporter at NPR Illinois here in Springfield, an assistant press secretary for Governors Jim Thompson and Jim Edgar, and then a spokesperson for American Airlines for 23 years. She died in 2018, and friends and fellow graduates of the PAR program established this scholarship for PAR students in her memory. You can read more about Mary Frances Fagan in this Chicago Tribune article published shortly after death.

Public Affairs Reporting (PAR)–Armstrong Scholarship

The Public Affairs Reporting (PAR) – Armstrong Scholarshipwas established in honor of James E. Armstrong, publisher of the Illinois State Journal and the Illinois State Register, predecessors of today’s State Journal-Register, from 1964 until his death four years later from a heart attack. The award is given to PAR students demonstrating strong interest and potential in the field of government and political reporting. Applicants should be in good academic standing with no current evidence of academic probation.

Public Affairs Reporting (PAR)–Mary and Jim Beaumont Scholarship Fund

This scholarship was established by Mary and Jim Beaumont, both of whom have UIS (Sangamon State University) master’s degrees, to benefit a PAR student seeking to enhance his or her skills in reporting on government, politics, the economy, and public policy. The student should have an interest in investigative journalism and there is no restriction on type of media. Jim and Mary believe a free, rigorous and responsible press is a cornerstone of our democracy.
Jim started working for newspapers as a teenager at the Decatur Herald and Review where he also worked during summers while in college. He served as editor-in-chief of Colgate’s weekly newspaper. He earned a master’s degree from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in New York City, then worked as a reporter for the Des Moines Register, covering city, county and state government. A subsequent position at the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce involved writing and editing the chamber’s legislative bulletin and launching the chamber’s first website. Mary earned her degree in foods and nutrition from Cornell University and served as an assistant editor at Good Housekeeping magazine. Her UIS degree is a master’s in communication.
Applicants for this scholarship must be enrolled in the Public Affairs Reporting program with the College of Public Affairs and Administration at UIS.

Public Affairs Reporting (PAR)–Milton D. and Ruth S. Friedland Communications Scholarship

Milton Friedland served as vice president and general manager of Channel 20/WICS from 1953-1986 before coming to Sangamon State in March 1987. He was the former Associate to the President in the Office of University Relations at SSU. Milton was a member of the SSU Foundation and President of the Foundation in 1976. Ruth S. Friedland was recognized by the state as an “Illinois pioneer and visionary” in television in central Illinois, both for aiding Milton Friedland and for serving on the Board of Directors of Network Knowledge from 1990-2002, including as first woman chair 1998-2001 and lifelong member. She chaired the Springfield Housing Authority and was president of Congregation B’rith Shalom. She also served on the boards of the lllinois Symphony Orchestra, the Springfield Area Arts Council, Hadassah, and the Springfield Jewish Federation, among others.

Public Affairs Reporting (PAR)–Steven B. Hahn Public Affairs Reporting Scholarship

The Steven B. Hahn Reporting Scholarship was established in 2001 as a memorial to a former Statehouse correspondent for The State Journal-Register and United Press International (UPI). Applicants must be a PAR major in good academic standing.

Public Affairs Reporting (PAR)–Robert P. Howard Scholarship

The Public Affairs Reporting (PAR) – Robert P. Howard Scholarship was inaugurated in 1975 by SSU in honor of Chicago Tribune correspondent, Robert Howard. Before his death in 1989, Mr. Howard had been Dean of the State Capitol Press Corps, endowed three PAR scholarships and authored the book: Illinois, a History of the Prairie State which is considered one of the most comprehensive state history publications available.

Public Affairs Reporting (PAR)–Illinois Legislative Correspondents Association (ILCA)/Miller/Heincke Scholarship Fund

ThePublic Affairs Reporting (PAR) – Illinois Legislative Correspondents Association (ILCA)/Miller & Heinecke Scholarship was established in honor of the former PAR director, Bill Miller; and the former ILCA president and long-time Statehouse reporter, Burnell A. Heinecke.

Public Affairs Reporting (PAR) Memorial Scholarship

Both Robert C. Springer and his wife, Barbara J. Hipsman Springer, earned a Public Affairs Reporting degree from UIS. This scholarship celebrates that achievement. It is awarded each year to a student in the PAR program. Your gifts will add to the award.

Public Affairs Reporting (PAR)–Thom M. Serafin Scholarship

Students seeking to excel in the journalistic and politically rigorous field of public affairs reporting can benefit from the generous contribution of prominent Midwest political analyst and communications advisor, Thom Serafin. As founder and CEO of Serafin & Associates, Inc., a communications team that provides strategic counseling on public relations initiatives, campaigns, and crisis and reputation management, Serafin has served as a strategist for some of the country’s most high-profile politicians. His distinguished career includes serving as press secretary for three U.S. Senate campaigns, a U.S. Presidential campaign, and on the Washington D.C. staff of U.S. senator, Alan Dixon. Serafin, who is a regular speaker on Chicago’s WGN, ABC, NBC and Fox networks, has also appeared on NBC’s Today Show. He received his Master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield (then Sangamon State University), under the direction of his long-time friend and mentor, Paul Simon.

Public Affairs Reporting (PAR)–Valerie Wiener Award

Valerie Wiener, a former state senator in Las Vegas, Nev., is both a political and business strategist. Besides serving in Nevada’s state legislature for ten years, she is also an internationally known author, a sought after speaker, and founder and CEO of her own communications firm, “Wiener Communications Group.” Since 1990, Ms. Wiener has won 147 top communications awards at state, national, and international levels, and is listed in 36 “who’s who” national and international publications. The PAR: Valerie Wiener Award was established to assist an outstanding PAR major in their degree completion. All applicants must be in good academic standing with no pending probation.

Public Affairs Reporting (PAR)–Vu Nguyen Memorial Scholarship Fund

Vu Nguyen, a reporter who earned his master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting from UIS in 2008, died on May 19, 2009, from a heart attack. The following statements are taken from an article published in the OC Register.

“If the measure of a man is the love of his family, the admiration by his friends, and the respect from his peers, then Vu Nguyen was a giant…. Nguyen worked at the Register from 2004 through 2006, covering Garden Grove and Westminster and writing about the county’s vibrant Vietnamese community. He had also covered Irvine when he interned at the Register in 2002…. Uncovering corruption in politics and writing about injustices on the poor were his greatest motivations, his father said…. ‘Vu died at the peak of his life,’ said his mother, Thuy Nguyen. ‘He was happily married, he loved his job so much and he had so many good friends. I’m glad this is how Vu will be remembered.'”

Your gifts to this fund will help build the scholarship fund given in memory of this young reporter.
For more information on the efforts of Vu’s friends and fellow graduates to raise money for this scholarship, please go Remembering Vu, the website they have created in his memory.

Other Options

Not interested in any of the funds listed above? Then you can also create your own scholarship fund that targets the students you specify in the Public Affairs Reporting Department. As the principle donor of this new scholarship, you would get to name the fund and establish the selection criteria.


We welcome your inquiries. Please feel free to contact us.