Publish Date

The following is an excerpt from University of Illinois Springfield Interim Chancellor Karen Whitney. The column appeared in The State Journal-Register on May 24, 2022.

Two years ago, I agreed to serve as interim chancellor at UIS. Given the university’s history of public service and its commitment to students and community, I was all in from the start. I knew there would be challenges that we would have to face together — from the pandemic, to many great social and cultural challenges, to the usual challenges of enrollment and budget, to working with folks with different opinions about the university. 

As I reflect on the past two years, I am filled with many emotions, and first among them is pride. Together, we more than rose to the challenges of COVID-19 — all because we stayed United in Safety. Managing UIS’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic was No. 1 of my top 10 priorities, and we led the way in our response. We wore masks. We tested. We got vaccinated. And we showed care and compassion toward one another by extending grace and flexibility where we could.

We also continued to capably handle the business of educating our next generation of leaders! Just last week, I stood on the Bank of Springfield Center stage to congratulate 622 new UIS alumni who have earned their bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees. This may be one of my favorite UIS memories because of the victories it represents — the personal victories of our students to get to that milestone moment, the professional victories of our faculty and staff to persevere in an unfamiliar time, and the victories that were felt from waiting two years to celebrate a traditional Commencement together to provide closure to another amazing academic year at UIS.

You can read the entire column online.