Karen Hasara

Karen-HasaraCurrent Location: Springfield, IL
Hometown: Springfield, IL

UIS Degrees: B.S. 1972 (Psychology), M.A. 1993 (Legal Studies)

Current Position
Former Member of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees, Member of The Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, and the Sangamon County Efficiency Commission

Career Highlights
Hasara is a past member of the Illinois General Assembly (1986-1995) and Mayor of Springfield (1995-2003). “Being the mayor of your hometown is an unbelievable opportunity for improving the lives of its citizens.”

Memories of SSU/UIS
Hasara was a 29-year-old mother of four dreaming about becoming a school teacher, when then Sangamon State University began enrolling students in 1970. “I was so excited, and it turns out I was the second person in line to register for classes. My life would change for the better forever. Professors like Jackie Jackson, Judy Everson and Nancy Ford were inspirations for me as women of many accomplishments.”

How did UIS change or prepare you
“While serving in public office along the way, I worked on my master’s here too, and was able to connect what I was studying to my work as a clerk of the court and a legislator. I had a big interest in the adoption issue, which I researched for my master’s thesis, and I fought to get adoption reform legislation passed. I was mayor during those first years of transition after Sangamon State University became the third campus of the University of Illinois in 1995. I truly believe this school has changed our community for the better more than any other event of our time.”

Favorite Movie
“Early in my mayoral career, Al Pacino and John Cusak played in a movie called, City Hall, about a crooked NYC mayor and his idealistic chief of staff. Except for the ‘crooked’ part, there were many similarities and I often thought of the lessons learned.”

Posted on November 6, 2014