Blake Wood
Publish Date

The University of Illinois Springfield will hold its 53rd annual commencement during three ceremonies in the UIS Performing Arts Center’s Sangamon Auditorium on Friday, May 10 and Saturday, May 11. A total of 1,051 students will participate in the ceremonies out of the 1,625 students who are eligible to graduate.

The ceremony for graduates in the College of Health, Science and Technology will be held at 7 p.m. on May 10. College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and College of Public Affairs and Education students will graduate at 10 a.m. on May 11, followed by a ceremony for the College of Business and Management at 3 p.m.

Tickets are required to attend the UIS Commencement ceremonies and will be provided to each graduate for distribution to their guests. The doors to the auditorium will open an hour before each ceremony.

Overflow seating with live streaming for guests without tickets will be available in the lower level of the UIS Performing Arts Center. The ceremony will also be webcast live.

Honorary degree to be awarded to Burks Oakley II

Burks Oakley II

During the 10 a.m. ceremony on Saturday, an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters will be awarded to Burks Oakley II, professor emeritus in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).

Before his retirement, Oakley taught at both UIS and UIUC and helped to establish UIS as a national leader in online learning. From 1997 until 2007, Oakley served as the U of I System’s Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs. He was the founding director of the University of Illinois Online initiative, a program designed to facilitate the development and delivery of University of Illinois courses, degrees and public service resources over the internet.

While active as a faculty member and administrator, his areas of interest included distance education and educational technologies. Through his innovative use of technology in teaching, Oakley earned a national reputation as a practitioner and promoter of internet-based learning environments.

Oakley, who earned his bachelor's degree from Northwestern University and both his master's and doctorate from the University of Michigan, has garnered prestigious accolades for his teaching and pioneering use of technology in education. Awards include the Luckman Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award from UIUC (1993), the Outstanding Teacher Award from the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) (1993), the Educom Medal (1996) and the Engineering Alumni Society Merit Award from the University of Michigan (2003). He is a life fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a fellow of the Online Learning Consortium, a fellow of the ASEE and a former vice president.

Student speaker and faculty grand marshal announced

Daisy Solorzano of Watseka, Illinois, who will be graduating with a master’s degree in public administration, has been chosen as the student commencement speaker for all three ceremonies.

Pamela Salela, library associate professor and coordinator of the Central Illinois Nonprofit Resource Center, has been named the faculty grand marshal.

Pre-commencement events planned

Several events are planned for graduates, their families and guests before the commencement ceremonies. Admission to some commencement events is by invitation only. Updated information, including a complete list of events, is available on the commencement website.

DVD copies of the ceremony can be purchased from the Office of Electronic Media for $25. Orders can be placed by phone at 217-206-6799 or online.