Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Supporters lobby for state funding during U of I Day at the Capitol



Hundreds of students, faculty and alumni members spent the day lobbying lawmakers for state funding during University of Illinois Day at the Capitol on Wednesday, April 21.

The annual event was organized by the U of I Alumni Association as a way for people to demonstrate their support for all three University of Illinois campuses.

“We are almost a half a billion dollars that the state is indebted to the university. Today is really about engaging the legislators and getting them to understand how bad the problems (are),” said Derek Felix, UIS student representative on the U of I Board of Trustees.

The day began with a lunch briefing and review of key messages. Throughout the afternoon, participants met with legislators and staff.

“What we’re trying to get them to understand is in dollars spent at the University of Illinois by the state returns back to the state usually 13 times every dollar that’s put in it,” said Edward McMillan, University of Illinois trustee.

The lobbying group from UIS was made up of both students and faculty. They met with local representatives like Senator Larry Bomke of Springfield to share their stories about how the financial problems are affecting them.

“We will get paid. It’s just a matter of when. I hope it’s a lot sooner than later,” said Felix.

McMillan says it’s important to have students meeting with their lawmakers directly. He’s especially glad to have a campus full of politically minded students right in the capital city.

“We’re very blessed to have this campus at Springfield to be part of the University of Illinois system,” said McMillan.

At the end of the day, alumni, students, legislators, UIAA leaders and University officials held a reception at the State Library.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Year in Video 2009



The University of Illinois Springfield is taking a look back at the Year in Video 2009.

DVD copies of this presentation are available free of charge, upon request by contacting Derek Schnapp, Director of Public Relations at 217/206-6716 or dschn3@uis.edu.

This video has been produced by the UIS Office of Campus Relations and Office of Web Services.

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Friday, November 06, 2009

UIS Alumnus and Department of Defense Inspector General visits campus



The Honorable Gordon S. Heddell, Inspector General for the United States Department of Defense visited his alma mater on Thursday, November 5, 2009 to meet with students in the Capital Scholars Honors Program.

“I got absolutely a top notch graduate level education here,” said Heddell referring to his 1975 master’s degree in Legal Studies.

Heddell is visiting Springfield to accept the University of Illinois Alumni Achievement Award for outstanding success and national or international distinction in one’s business, profession or life’s work.

“I feel humbled that the University Alumni Association is honoring me with this achievement award. I’m not sure that I probably deserve it, but I’m humbled that they think enough of me and I’m honored to be back here,” said Heddell.

Heddell was sworn in as DoD Inspector General on July 14, 2009, one year after being appointed as Acting Inspector General. Heddell began his Government service in 1966 as an Army Chief Warrant Officer, Helicopter Pilot, serving in both Korea and Taiwan during the Vietnam-era conflict. Following his military tours of duty, Mr. Heddell served for 29 years in the U.S. Secret Service, where he directed investigations of threats made against the President, Vice President, and other high-ranking government officials in Washington, D.C.

It was Heddell’s career with the Secret Service that brought him to Springfield to work in the field office. He finished his master’s degree after hours and admits it wasn’t easy, but it paid off.

“I’m a better Inspector general and a better public servant because of the things I learned here,” said Heddell.

Heddell says he’s pleased with the growth of the UIS campus over the years and the physical improvements that have been made since his time.

“I’m very proud of what Chancellor Richard Ringeisen has done here. He’s an example of exceptional leadership. I’m proud of what he’s accomplished. I’m proud of the entire University of Illinois system,” said Heddell.

Heddell just returned from a trip to Iraq and Afghanistan where he meet with troops and top commanders in the region. Its Heddell’s role as Inspector General to make sure that taxpayer money is being spent wisely and to help troops get the equipment they need.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

UIS alumna's book is recently published

UIS alumna Joanna Beth Tweedy, host of Quiddity Public-Radio Program on WUIS, is receiving high praise from esteemed writers for her debut novel, The Yonder Side of Sass and Texas, released this spring from Southeast Missouri University Press.

Tweedy will be reading and signing copies of her book on campus this Friday at 7:00 p.m. in the Café Annex, located on the lower level of the Public Affairs Center.

The novel’s lyrical, poetic style is highly unusual, especially for a debut work of prose. It has been receiving praise from a variety of literati—novelists, poets, reviewers, and editors alike, including Robert Hellenga, Patrick Carrington, and Elaine Fowler Palencia. It’s been called “a simmering gumbo of linguistic delicacies,” “a dance that never missteps…absolute in originality and sophistication,” and “an inventive masterpiece.”

Hellenga, best-selling author of The Sixteen Pleasures, says of Yonder Side, “The prose crackles like a splash of water on a hot skillet and there’s a surprise on every page.” Palencia calls it “High Lyrical Down-home…a novel to read twice.” And Carrington, editor of the award-winning journal Mannequin Envy, calls the novel “a rollicking ride of unexpected turns.” Of the author he writes, “a new voice that is not to be missed, one you'll surely enjoy reading as much as it does speaking to you.”

With degrees in education and English from the Universities of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and Springfield (UIS), Tweedy has taught creative writing, literature, composition and educational leadership, and has served as faculty-in-residence for the Capital Scholars Honors Program at UIS. Early versions of some of the novel’s chapters were included in her creative-writing thesis project, which was nominated for UIS’ Thesis of the Year Award by the English Department. In addition to hosting Quiddity on WUIS, Tweedy is also the founding editor of Quiddity’s companion international literary journal, housed at Benedictine University at Springfield, where she is an associate dean.

A book tour is planned this summer.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

UIS staff and alums take top honors in national competition

Several staff members at the University of Illinois at Springfield, as well as several alumni of UIS' Public Affairs Reporting program, were among the winners of the annual competition sponsored by Capitolbeat, the national organization of journalists covering state and local governments.

The awards -- honoring excellence in Statehouse reporting in print, broadcast and online media -- were presented at the organization's annual conference, held this year in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Bethany Jaeger, Statehouse bureau chief for Illinois Issues magazine and a 2004 PAR alum, took first place in the magazine columns category for her "State of the State" column, which appears in the print and online versions of the magazine. Jaeger's winning columns touched on such subjects as gun control, feuding Democrats, Cook County property taxes, and the outlook for state policy.

Jaeger also received a second place award in the single report category for magazines for her September 2007 article "Clinic in a school," which analyzed state and national policies that contribute to the demand for health care centers in high schools, yet hinder their growth.

Daniel C. Vock, a writer for stateline.org and a 2000 PAR alum, won a third place award in the same category for his Illinois Issues article on why Illinois is a friendly place for immigrants.

Sean Crawford, Statehouse bureau chief for Public Radio station WUIS, won a third place award for radio beat reporting for stories he covered ranging from the deterioration of trust at the state Capitol to more lighthearted fare such as a plan to create a special a license plate for NASCAR fans.

Amanda Vinicky, WUIS Statehouse reporter and a 2005 PAR alum, won a third place award in the radio single report category for "The Truant Legislator," which focused on Rep. Rich Bradley (D-Chicago), his chronic absences during the legislative session, and the resulting impact on his district.

Together, Crawford and Vinicky won a third place award in the radio in-depth reporting category for "Making Little Cents," a series of reports on Illinois' problems in getting a budget put together.

PAR alums Ray Long (1981) and John O'Connor (1986) were also among those honored.

Long, of the Chicago Tribune, shared a first place award in beat reporting for wire services and newspapers over 75,000 circulation.

O'Connor, of the Associated Press, received an honorable mention in the single report category for wire services and newspapers over 75,000 circulation.

Capitolbeat, formerly called the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, has nearly 300 members across the country. Illinois Issues is a not-for-profit monthly publication focusing on analysis of public policy. WUIS is listener-supported public radio for central and west central Illinois. Both Illinois Issues and WUIS are part of the Center for State Policy and Leadership at UIS.

UIS' Public Affairs Reporting program is a one-year master's degree program focusing on coverage of state government news. In addition to academic work, students serve six-month internships with newspaper, magazine, radio, television, wire service, or audio news service bureaus in the Statehouse pressroom in Springfield.

For more information, contact Dana Heupel, executive editor of Illinois Issues, at 206-6507.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Prominent UIS alums to participate in Leadership Roundtable

The University of Illinois at Springfield will host 21 distinguished alumni from across the nation as the group gathers to participate in a Leadership Roundtable on Thursday and Friday, November 6 and 7, at the university.

The topic of the Roundtable, "UIS in the Global Marketplace," will focus on two main topics: What can UIS offer international markets? and What do students need to know to be prepared for today’s global environment?

The alumni will participate in meetings and panel discussions with UIS administrators, faculty, and student groups and will take part in a "speed networking" event with students. The Leadership Roundtable program is designed as a way to bring some of the best and brightest alumni together with educators to share their insights on the realities and challenges of the global marketplace.

"UIS is very fortunate to have among its alumni many extraordinary leaders," said UIS Chancellor Richard Ringeisen. "These individuals have graciously agreed to share their experiences and expertise with us through intensive discussions about how we can best prepare our graduates for the future."

Roundtable participants are: Linda Baker-Roby, professor, Paul Simon Public Policy Institute and president, GII of Illinois, Inc. (BA, 1985; MA, 1987, DPA, 2004); Guoxing Chai, senior vice president, Risk Management & Analytics, Global Cards/Consumer Assets, HSBC bank (MBA, 1993); James A. Downing, founding executive director of Illinois Venture Capital Association (MBA, 1999); W. Robert Felker, chief administrative officer, Chase Capital and chairman of JPMorgan Futures Inc. (BA, 1974); Kathleen D. Gowin, senior vice president of sales, Global Treasury Services at Bank of America (MBA, 1987); Karen A. Hasara, first woman to be elected mayor of Springfield and former member of the Illinois Legislature (BA,1972; MA, 1992); Gordon S. Heddell, acting Inspector General, U.S. Department of Defense (MA, 1975); Brenda J. Holmes, chair of the Governmental Relations Committee, Illinois State Broad of Education and member of the Finance & Audit Committee, commissioner for the Education Commission of the States (MA, 1972); Raju L. Indukuri, independent entrepreneur and founder of Valence Energy (MA, 1992); Cheryl Alters Jamison, author of more than a dozen cookbooks and travel guides (1977 MA); Donald Johnson, chairman and CEO of ATC Technology Corporation and lead director of Accuride Corporation (BA, 1982); Thomas E. Livingston, resident vice president, CSX Transportation for the State of Illinois (BS, 1990; MPA, 1997); Syma R. Mendelsohn, senior vice president of JZA Affinity, Inc. (MA, 1975); David W. Olien, senior vice president for administration in the University of Wisconsin System (retired) (MA, 1974); Fred Parsons, owner/operator of Westview Condos LLC and Troy Development, partner in Metro East Recycling Inc. (BA, 1981); Kevin Purcell, system managing director in organization and leadership development for Memorial Health Systems (MA, 1982); Michael S. Schwartz, chairman of the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board (MA, 1980); Thom M. Serafin, president and CEO of Serafin & Associates, Inc. (BA, 1973; MA, 1993); Donna Fitzgerald Sollenberger, chief executive officer of the Baylor Clinic and Hospital and executive vice president of Baylor College of Medicine (BA, 1971; MA, 1974); Stanley D. Tooley, president/CEO of Southwest Regional Rehabilitation Hospital (MA, 1976); and Phillip T. Zeni Sr., CEO and senior consultant of The NEXT LEVEL Management Consultants (BA, 1973).

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Three Join UIS Public Affairs Reporting Hall of Fame

The Bill Miller Public Affairs Reporting Hall of Fame will honor three graduates from the University of Illinois at Springfield's Public Affairs Reporting program who have distinguished themselves in the field of journalism. Mary Bohlen, Kevin Finch, and Ray Long will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at The Inn at 835 on Monday, November 17.

The Public Affairs Reporting Hall of Fame was named in honor of Bill Miller, an award-winning journalist who served as the program's director for 19 years. After a semester of classroom study, students work six months in the Capitol covering state politics while being supervised by professional journalists. Over 550 students have completed the program since the first class graduated in 1973. Illinois Issues, the state's leading public affairs magazine, and WUIS-91.9, the capital city's NPR station, established the bi-annual event in 2006. Both are units of the Center for State Policy and Leadership at UIS.

Mary Bohlen, associate professor and chair of the UIS Communication Department, is in her 25th year of teaching journalism. She supervises nine full faculty members, six adjunct instructors, and nearly 200 undergraduate and graduate students. In 2008 she received the university's Pearson Faculty Award for Teaching, an annual honor given to one faculty member for outstanding teaching. Following her PAR studies, Bohlen was employed by United Press International full time as a Statehouse reporter for five years covering Illinois state government, especially the Illinois Senate; LPGA golf tournaments; Big Ten football; primary and general elections; and federal and state court cases. She also wrote numerous features covering Illinois. Bohlen left UPI in 1982 to become press secretary for the Illinois Senate Democrats and began her teaching career in 1983. She is a co-founder of the Springfield-area Association for Women in Journalism and a past president of the Springfield-area Women in Communications. She received her B.S. in journalism from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 1972 and her master's from UIS in 1976.

Kevin Finch is a national Edward R. Murrow Award-winning broadcast journalist with 23 years of experience in radio and TV news. Finch is news director at WISH-TV, the CBS affiliate in Indianapolis, having served as assistant news director there as well. In his tenure as news director, Finch's station has won several national and regional honors, including a George Foster Peabody Award; several regional Emmys; and the Indiana AP Outstanding News and Weather Operation Awards. Prior to WISH-TV, he spent 13 years at the NBC affiliate in Indianapolis. Early in his career, he covered news for radio and TV stations in Morton, Peoria, Springfield, and Champaign. Finch has reported on major political events, serving as executive producer and organizer for 15 election nights and 10 televised political debates for U.S. Senate, governor, and other offices. He has covered four national political conventions, a presidential inauguration, and the Senate impeachment trial of President Clinton. Finch guided coverage of 9/11 from Washington and covered the anniversary of that event in New York a year later. He also produced reports from Washington on the start of the current war in Iraq. He is the recipient of numerous national and regional awards. Finch received his bachelor's degree in 1981 from Murray State University and his master's from UIS in 1986.

Ray Long has written about Illinois government and politics for more than 25 years. He is a reporter in the Chicago Tribune's Statehouse bureau, where he has been since 1998. Previously he ran the Associated Press bureau in Springfield. Long covered Mayor Richard M. Daley, City Hall, local courts, Cook County Board, and state government for the Chicago Sun-Times. He worked local, state, and federal beats for the Peoria Journal Star. Currently, he is president of the Illinois Legislative Correspondents Association, a position chosen by colleagues in other news organizations. Long is a founding member of Capitolbeat, formerly known as the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, a nationwide organization promoting excellence in state government coverage. He is the author of a chapter about investigative reporting in the book A Guide to Statehouse Reporting. His experience includes writing about numerous scandals, questionable public spending, massive budgets, ethical lapses of government figures, and major legislative issues under four governors, including one sentenced to prison. He has received local, state, and national awards for spot news, enterprise, investigative reporting, and news analysis from numerous organizations. The Illinois AP awarded Long the 1997 Charles Chamberlain Award, a staff honor recognizing a reporter's storytelling ability. The National Commission Against Drunk Driving presented Long and a Tribune colleague its 2002 media award for a series of articles that led to the revocation of more than 3,000 licenses of drivers whose convictions -- including 67 percent of those reckless homicide offenders in prison or on parole -- had gone unrecorded in state driving records. Long received his bachelor's degree in 1980 from what was then Sangamon State University and is now UIS, and his master's from UIS in 1980.

Christi Parsons, national correspondent for the Chicago Tribune, will be speaking at the event. Parsons joined the Tribune's Washington bureau two years ago to cover the presidential election. A 19-year veteran of the paper, she covered city and suburban politics before moving to Springfield to write about state government in 1995. She is a 1989 graduate of the University of Alabama, where she was recently named a Distinguished Alumna. She holds a master's in the studies of law from Yale Law School.

The Hall of Fame event at The Conservatory at the Inn at 835 begins with a 5:15 p.m. reception, followed by the program and induction at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $35, and are available until November 5 by calling Illinois Issues at 206-6084.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

UIS will present programs on Strawbridge-Shepherd House

"Strawbridge-Shepherd House – Its Past, Present, and Future" is the subject of Lunch and Learn programs sponsored by the UIS Alumni SAGE Society on Tuesday, May 20, and Thursday, May 22, at Strawbridge-Shepherd House, located on the south side of campus.

Strawbridge-Shepherd House was built in 1845 by Thomas Strawbridge. In 2007, UIS and the Elijah Iles House Foundation joined forces to save the structure, and the house has undergone a dramatic transformation over the past year. The programs will include a tour of renovations currently underway, as well as presentations by a representative from the Iles Foundation, a restoration expert, and a landscape architect. Read more>>

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