Comments from Speakers at the Online Brunch, May 11, 2019

Raymond Schroeder

Associate Vice Chancellor for Online Learning
University of Illinois Springfield

Welcome to the Annual UIS Online Graduate Brunch. We are truly honored to host you, your family, and your friends as you begin this grand day of celebration. Beginning with a tiny gathering 20 years ago, where all the graduates, families, faculty and staff sat around just three tables, we grown. Every since then we have celebrated our online graduates.

Graduates come from all over the country. This time, I’m not sure some of our more distant graduates, but I understand we have some California. Thank you for coming to campus. I hope you enjoy your visit to the physical campus. And of course all of you from around Illinois and many other states—we even have a graduate, I understand, from South Korea this year, who was unable to make the trip this year.

No initiative such as this could be possible without the active support and encouragement from the leadership of our institution. For the past eight years, our Chancellor, Dr. Susan Koch, has stood behind the online program and students, advocating for their interests and advancing the growth of our program to more than two dozen online degrees and degree completion initiatives.

So it’s with great pleasure I introduce to you a very busy woman today, our Chancellor, Dr. Susan Koch.

Chancellor Susan J. Koch

Chancellor, University of Illinois Springfield
Vice President, University of Illinois

Thank you, Ray. Thank you so much.

Now I just have to stand here and enjoy the view. This is very, very cool. I love this moment and I just love thinking about the pathway that so many of you have been on to get to this place at this moment. My sincere congratulations to all of you graduates, and I look forward to having a special moment with you on the stage a little bit later today.

I so enjoy meeting our online students because I know that you have faced many challenges to be here, and I know that this moment is so very important to you. I sincerely congratulate all of you.

You have been a member of the UIS community now. I want to remind you that you will continue to a member of the University of Illinois community for the rests of your life. We hope that we will stay in touch with you. Congratulations to all of you.

I want you to know that you are one of about 1300 students who have completed or are completing their degrees, undergraduate or graduate, from the University of Illinois Springfield this year. You are also one of over 20,000 students who are earning a University of Illinois degree from one of the three universities in the University of Illinois System. Good choice! Good job.

Only you know the challenges you have faced to get here. Whatever those challenges have been, whatever those mountains you have needed to climb, you done it. Savor every moment of this because you have earned it. Celebrate all day long with your friends and family.

I hope you have already thanked some of the people who have helped you get here. There are many faculty in this room who have been dedicated to your success. Please do extend your thanks to them. Send folks an email later—whatever you need to do to express your appreciation.

You have achieved this great milestone, and I know it doesn’t mean you are going to stop learning. It means you are checking off something pretty major on your “To Do” list. I’m so proud of every one of you. You’ve gained the knowledge and skills that are going to help advance you toward even greater success, and I hope the University of Illinois degree will serve you well for the rest of your life.

I want to remind you, by the way, that you have also contributed a lot to your university even though your degree has been learned online, I know that you have been virtually present in your classroom. I hear about this all the time from our faculty who teach online classes. You are present and you have made contributions to your classmates and to this university. So thank you very much for all that you have contributed.

And of course I hope you are not done contributing to the University because we hope that you will stay connected, and we hope you will stay involved. You’ll be receiving alumni magazines, and you know, I may even want to have lunch with you.. I hope when I reach out and ask for a lunch date, that you’ll accept that.

Please display your University of Illinois Springfield degree proudly because your success is our success. We want people to know that you are a graduate of the University of Illinois Springfield. I’m confident that we are a better university because you have been part of our community.

And again thank you, and my sincere congratulations.

Vickie Cook

Executive Director, Center for Online Learning, Research and Service
University of Illinois Springfield

Today we have 428 students who have completed a degree or a certificate through one of the UIS online degree programs, and who will be recognized either at the 12:30 or 5:30 Commencement Exercises. Over 50 of those graduates and their families are able to join us this morning to celebrate their achievements.

The graduates who are joining us this morning represent states. One third of our students are online students, and you might wonder where all those people live. We have 43 states outside of Illinois who are represented this morning. We also have two countries represented—one is South Korea and the other is Canada. We are delighted that all of you have chosen to study at UIS.