Thursday, March 11, 2010

UIS Admissions Counselors keep busy visiting local high schools

Amanda Bly
knows how to multitask. As a UIS Admissions Counselor she’s out the door every morning at 7:00 visiting an average of 3 high schools per day along with stops at community colleges.

Bly is one of eight admissions counselors who travel around the state and beyond meeting with prospective students and answering their questions about the University of Illinois Springfield.

“More and more people through my 4 years have gained some familiarity with the campus and they realize we provide students with a U of I degree,” said Bly.

When she’s not on the road, Bly is making follow-up calls, sending emails and postcards to students she’s met. She covers an area from Sangamon County to the Indiana border.

Bly says most frequently students ask her about the cost of tuition, what majors UIS has to offer and class size.

“I really like the small classrooms and I’m just really excited. I really like it,” said high school senior Mallory Beck.

Beck will graduate from Sacred Heart-Griffin High School in Springfield this May and she’s already committed to attending UIS.

“She (Bly) told us about the teachers and how they have a close relationship with their students,” said Beck.

SHG senior Will Pufundt is looking forward to attending UIS for two reasons. He wants to join the new men’s baseball team and is also excited about the small class sizes.

“I really like the hands on teaching, because I don’t think I could do well without the hands on teaching,” said Pufundt.

UIS is hoping to admit 350 new freshmen next semester in an effort to boost the undergraduate population. The ultimate goal is to top an enrollment of more than 5,000 total students.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

UIS women's basketball player volunteers in West African hospital

Susan Coryell has known ever since she was a little girl she wanted to be a doctor, now she’s getting her chance to help others.

The UIS junior women’s basketball forward/center spent two months of her summer break volunteering in Ghana, West Africa at a military teaching hospital. She served as a nurse helping to change bandages and care for patients.

“Every day I just looked forward to going in and helping out and they got to know me,” said Coryell.

Coryell was in Ghana in July 2009, when President Barack Obama came to the country to speak about African relations and meet with Ghana’s President John Atta Mills. She was able to take pictures next to Air Force One and watched as Obama arrived in the country.

“I haven’t seen him in the United States, but I go abroad and I get to see my own president,” said Coryell.

Volunteering is nothing new for Coryell. As a member of the UIS women’s basketball team she’s involved in efforts every year to improve the local community.

“One of the attributes or foundations of NCAA Division II is service, so anytime we can give back to the community I think it’s positive,” said Marne Fauser, UIS women’s head coach.

Coryell and other members of the women’s team helped collect canned goods for UIS’ 2009 Holiday Star’s Project, which raised 3 tons of food for the Central Illinois Foodbank. Players are now launching a new partnership with the Special Olympics to help members improve their basketball skills.

“I just like being around kids. Giving back is always good,” said Coryell.

Coryell spends much of her time off the court teaching at the Cox Children's Center on campus. She hopes to one day become a pediatrician or orthopedic surgeon.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

2010-2011 Avery Brundage Scholarships available

University of Illinois students who excel in both academics and athletics are encouraged to enter the 37th annual Avery Brundage Scholarship competition.

Scholarship applications can be submitted online at The deadline for submission is February 12, 2010. Paper applications will not be distributed.

Full-time University of Illinois students at the Chicago, Springfield and Urbana campuses, including incoming freshmen, graduate and transfer students, may apply. Grant-in-aid recipients may be eligible for Brundage scholarships, under specific conditions. Academic and athletic competence will be considered over financial need.

Undergraduate and transfer student applications must rank in the top 25 percent of their college, and incoming freshmen must rank in the upper 25 percent of their incoming class. Graduate and professional students must be in good academic standing.

Students also must have demonstrated “special athletic ability” in an amateur sport. However, their participation must have been for personal development, rather than as preparation for professional athletics. Previous Brundage scholarship winners have represented a wide variety of sports from archery and tennis to swimming and wheelchair basketball. Last year, 15 winners were awarded $2,400 each.

The late Avery Brundage, a 1909 U of I graduate, competed in the 1912 Olympics and later was president of the U.S. and International Olympic committees. He established the scholarship in 1974, with a $343,000 endowment to the University of Illinois Foundation. Over the past 36 years, 794 scholarships with a total value of $983,200 have been awarded. Brundage maintained his interest in the University through service as a member of the University of Illinois Foundation, President's Council and Citizen's Committee.

For more information contact Gayle L. Layman, Director University-wide Student Programs at 217-333-2030.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Campus Celebrates TRAC Dedication

By Courtney Westlake

An emotional event. A blessing. A symbol and a metaphor. Students and staff each had varying descriptions for the opening of the new recreation and athletic center, but each agreed on one thing: they are proud.

On Wednesday, September 26, the University of Illinois at Springfield held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the state-of-the-art recreation and athletic center (TRAC) in front of a packed crowd of campus and community members.

The ceremony was part of a full day’s worth of events at the new facility. The morning kicked off with the Sam Madonia Show broadcasting live from the atrium of TRAC, complete with interviews from Chancellor Richard Ringeisen, JT Timmons, director of recreational sports, Cynthia Thompson, director of student life, and more.

TRAC also held an open house Wednesday morning so that students, faculty, staff and members of the Springfield community could view the $16.2 million center that boasts a 3,000-seat performance arena, which converts into three basketball and volleyball courts, a multi-purpose exercise room, a suspended running track, new exercise machines and new televisions throughout.

The construction of the TRAC was made possible through student fees and a generous $1 million donation by the Hoogland Family Foundation of Charles and Kathleen Hoogland.

Several students and staff stood up to speak at the dedication.

"It's more than a recreation center; it's a symbol," said Bob Skorczewski, a graduate student and Student Government Association president. "And it's not only a symbol of the way UIS is moving, but for the youth in the state and the country. Whether it's something small like starting a small club on campus or building a new recreation facility, the students of UIS are doing things."

Ali Janezic, a third year volleyball player, was part of the first team to play a match in the new gymnasium.

"All of us student athletes have been looking forward to getting in here for a long time," she said. "Walking into TRAC is really a dream. I know that playing here is an honor for every student athlete. The opportunity to continue on with something we love in the midst of such growth on a campus that we love is truly a blessing."

A dedication picnic took place after the ribbon-cutting, with refreshments and music. More tours were also given of the facility and its impressive features.

"This is an institution that is rooted in its past, proud of its presence, and excited about its present," Ringeisen said.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

New Recreation and Athletic Center Opens Its Doors

By Courtney Westlake

The day before the University of Illinois at Springfield’s new recreation and athletic center opened for the first time, its staff decided to take polls on the number of people they expected to come through.

“If it keeps up like it is, I think I might win,” laughed JT Timmons, director of recreational sports, who was excited on Tuesday morning not only because his prediction seemed to be on the mark but because the numbers were steady during the first few hours of the facility’s opening.

On Tuesday, September 18, the new recreation and athletic center (also known as the TRAC) opened its doors to the campus community after several years of planning. In 2003, students passed a referendum to build the new state-of-the-art center, Timmons said, and over the last several semesters, students have been paying a fee for the facility’s construction.

The recreation facility is part of the university’s strategic plan to create a more exciting campus for its students and employees. Timmons gives credit to the university administration for looking ahead to the mission of the university, which includes a component of wellness, recreation and athletics.

“To truly commit to that mission statement, such a facility was definitely needed on this campus,” he said, adding that there are two more phases for the center in the future. “There is tremendous growth going on, which further strengthens the need and support for a facility like this.”

Junior Erin Evangelista was one of the TRAC’s first users on its opening day. Evangelista, who is on the cheerleading squad for UIS, said she works out twice a day to get in shape for cheerleading season. She is impressed with the amenities the center has to offer, she said.

“I think it’s great,” she said. “There are a lot more machines, especially the adductor and abductor, which I love. And it’s brighter, which is what I really like when working out.”

The recreation and athletic center is located on the southern edge of campus, just west of Kiwanis Stadium. With 72,000 total square feet on two levels, students are able to enjoy three basketball and volleyball courts that can convert to a 3,000-seat performance arena, a running track, two racquetball courts, a large multi-purpose aerobics and exercise room, and cardiovascular and weight training areas.

Additionally, the TRAC’s gymnasium is now the new home to the Prairie Stars varsity men's and women's basketball teams and women's volleyball team. The volleyball team broke in the new gym its opening day with three matches throughout the afternoon and evening.

Although there were some delays with the recreation center, Timmons said that’s to be expected with a project of that size. Now that the facility is open for use, Timmons hopes students, faculty, staff and the public take advantage of the new machines, running track, gym and more.

“The response is hard to judge right now because the size of this facility is so much larger than the current Student Life Building center, but we've already seen an increase in memberships,” he said. “There is a lot more equipment in here; there are 17 TVs that are wired into cable. In general, I think people are really pleased with the aesthetics in here.”

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