The Annual UIS Online Brunch—Celebrating Online Graduates

Every year, online graduates and their families and friends gather at UIS for on online brunch the day of commencement. The first brunch occurred in 2002, the year that the very first online students graduated with a degree from UIS. 

“About 12 graduates attended the first brunch,” says Vickie Cook, director of the UIS Center for Online Learning and Research (COLRS). “The Director of the Office of Technology Enhanced Learning, Ray Schroeder, instituted the first brunch and has attended each year since 2002.  Since that time, the brunch has become a highlight both for the students and for everyone at UIS who works with online students.” 

At the brunch— 

  • Online graduates can celebrate their unique accomplishment with others who had traveled the same path. 
  • Graduates meet classmates in person, as well as their professors and their online coordinators. 
  • Professors, coordinators and leaders in online learning at thoroughly enjoy meeting and congratulating the students for whom they work so hard. 


What graduates have said

In 2007, Beth Trimble completed her BA in Mathematical Science and came from California to UIS for commencement. Her “study-buddy,” Susan Greene was due to graduate the next year. She drove down from Effingham, Illinois, to celebrate at the brunch with Beth. “Next year’s your turn,” said Beth at the time. “I’ve got to be there!” 

“I couldn’t have asked for anything better on my graduation day than for her to be here. We went through everything together, and I just feel like my day is complete because she is here with me.” Susan Greene, 2008 graduate in Mathematical Science.

Graduates relish the opportunity to meet people in person that they know but have never met. 

“I loved having the chance to sit and chat in person with my professors and classmates, and was gratified to feel the strength of our online community and that we actually really did know each other, even though we had never met in person before.” Jackie de Batista, 2015 MA in Environmental Studies, from Pecatonica, IL 

Graduates also enjoy seeing their university’s on ground campus for the first time. 

“I really wanted to get a feel  for the campus. I had never seen the campus. Since I’m a part of it, even though from a distance, I really wanted that interaction.” Chris Kullstroem, 2013 MA in Liberal and Integrative Studies, from Connecticut 

Will you be graduating?

This year, the online brunch will be held on Saturday, May 12, at 9:00 a.m. in the Public Affairs Center, 1st floor. If you are graduating, come celebrate!  

“My favorite part is just seeing the joy in everyone’s eyes. You see the graduates, you see the families, the faculty, the staff. This is why we are all here—this is what we work for and it’s fun to be a part of it.” Chuck Schrage, Associate vice Chancellor for Alumni Relations 

A retrospective view of the UIS Online Brunch

We have gathered some pictures from past years to give you a flavor of the online brunch (food, greetings, balloons!). Take a look.