The University of Illinois Springfield 18th annual Chancellor’s Academic Professional Excellence (CAPE) award was presented to Stacey Gilmore, director of the Cox Children’s Center during an April 8 online ceremony.
The CAPE Award recognizes U of I academic professionals for their efforts in three categories: work projects, professional development and affiliations and contributions to their units.
Gilmore has worked at UIS for 21 years, serving as director for 18 years. One nominator calls her a “positive, solution-focused person with an incredible caring attitude and huge heart.”
During her time at Cox Children’s Center, Gilmore oversaw the design and building of the Cox Children’s Center garden and development of the annual on campus Trick-or-Treat for Canned Goods, which helps stock the UIS Cares Food Pantry.
The pandemic put her exceptional experience to the test. “Stacey worked tirelessly to help support students, staff, children and families,” said a nominator, who called her a pioneer in her field. “Stacey worked with DCFS and applied for an emergency license to be able to provide care for families who are essential workers. That was no small feat as the guidance and rules were constantly changing.”
Stacey and her staff developed and implemented at-home curriculum options for enrolled families, redesigned their school-age space to adapt for year-round learners and worked with local school districts to adapt programming to assist virtual and hybrid learners.
“In my 21 years at UIS, this past year has been the most challenging by far,” said Gilmore. “That that being said, it has also been the most rewarding. I have watched families struggle, yet survive and prosper. I have watched children remain resilient and remind us all that they are capable and strong. I have watched my staff thrive, mentoring and supporting each other along the way. I feel very blessed to be here with so many brilliant colleagues.”
Under Stacey’s leadership the Cox Children’s Center has received and maintains the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accreditation as well as the Gold Circle of Quality designation, the highest rating possible from ExceleRate Illinois, the state’s quality rating and improvement system for early learning and development providers.
The following Academic Professional employees were also nominated for the CAPE award: Gael Carnes, assistant to the chair and online coordinator for the Department of Public Administration; Renee Clausner, assistant to the dean, College of Business and Management; Sarah Collins, writing coordinator at The Learning Hub; Sean Crawford, broadcast reporter and editorial director at NPR Illinois; Myra Kaufman, assistant director of recruitment for GPSI; Craig McFarland, undergraduate academic advisor for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; Erin Sotelo, undergraduate academic advisor in the College of Business and Management and Allison Thornley, assistant athletic director for strategic planning and finance in UIS Athletics.