The PAR program is fortunate to be supported by a large collection of alumni and friends who support our mission train journalists who produce intelligent news coverage that helps audiences understand government, politics and other public affairs. Here is a listing of the funds that help make a PAR degree more affordable. Click the title of the fund to make a secure online donation to it. Thank you for your continued support.
This fund provides general support for the program, including scholarship awards, the cost of educational experiences for students (like conferences or field trips) and costs to recruit future students.
Established by members of the PAR Class of 1985-86, the fund supports PAR students who have a demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
Douglas H. Pokorski was a veteran reporter with the Springfield-based State Journal-Register. He covered education and later wrote a weekly historical column. Known for being honest and fair, his thorough reporting on historical issues made him popular with readers. This fund was established after his death in 2004.
Marc D. Allan graduated with a PAR master’s degree in 1986. He worked as a reporter for many years, including more than 16 years at the Indianapolis Star. In 2004, he joined the staff at Butler University in Indianapolis. While at Butler, he has contributed to publications such as the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and Indianapolis Monthly. Allan, who made some of his best friends in his 1986 PAR cohort, is pleased now to give a scholarship to a student currently in the program.
Mary and Jim Beaumont both have UIS (Sangamon State University) master’s degrees. Awards from this fund benefit a PAR student with an interest in investigative journalism. Jim and Mary believe a free, rigorous and responsible press is a cornerstone of our democracy. Jim started working for newspapers as a teenager at the Decatur Herald and Review, where he also worked during summers while in college. He served as editor-in-chief of Colgate’s weekly newspaper. He earned a master’s degree from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in New York City, then worked as a reporter for the Des Moines Register, covering city, county and state government. A subsequent position at the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce involved writing and editing the chamber’s legislative bulletin and launching the chamber’s first website. Mary earned her degree in foods and nutrition from Cornell University and served as an assistant editor at Good Housekeeping magazine. Her UIS degree is a master’s in communication.
Vu Nguyen, a reporter who earned his PAR master’s degree in 2008, died on May 19, 2009, from a heart attack. His family and classmates established this fund in his memory.
This fund was established in honor of James E. Armstrong, publisher of the Illinois State Journal and the Illinois State Register, predecessors of today’s State Journal-Register, from 1964 until his death four years later from a heart attack. The award is given to PAR students demonstrating strong interest and potential in the field of government and political reporting.
A graduate of the PAR graduate, Mary Frances Fagan worked as a radio reporter at NPR Illinois in Springfield, an assistant press secretary for Govs. Jim Thompson and Jim Edgar, and then a spokesperson for American Airlines for 23 years. She died in 2018. Friends and fellow graduates of the PAR program established this scholarship in her memory.
The Robert P. Howard Scholarship was inaugurated in 1975 in honor of Chicago Tribune correspondent Robert Howard. Before his death in 1989, Howard had been dean of the State Capitol Press Corps, endowed three Public Affairs Reporting scholarships and authored the book “Illinois, a History of the Prairie State,” which is considered one of the most comprehensive state history publications available.
This fund supports scholarships for international students enrolled in the PAR program.
Both Robert C. Springer and his wife, Barbara J. Hipsman Springer, earned a Public Affairs Reporting degree from UIS. This scholarship celebrates that achievement.
The PAR Illinois Legislative Correspondents Association Scholarship was established in honor of former PAR director Bill Miller and former ILCA president and longtime Statehouse reporter Burnell A. Heinecke.
Milton Friedland served as vice president and general manager of Channel 20/WICS from 1953-1986 before coming to Sangamon State in March 1987. He was the former Associate to the President in the Office of University Relations at SSU. Milton was a member of the SSU Foundation and President of the Foundation in 1976. Ruth S. Friedland was recognized by the state as an “Illinois pioneer and visionary” in television in central Illinois, both for aiding Milton Friedland and for serving on the Board of Directors of Network Knowledge from 1990-2002, including as first woman chair 1998-2001 and lifelong member. She chaired the Springfield Housing Authority and was president of Congregation B’rith Shalom.
Valerie Wiener, a former state senator in Las Vegas, Nev., is both a political and business strategist. Besides serving in Nevada’s state legislature for 10 years, she is an internationally known author, a sought-after speaker, and founder and CEO of her own communications firm, Wiener Communications Group. The Valerie Wiener Award was established to assist an outstanding PAR major in their degree completion.
The Steven B. Hahn Reporting Scholarship was established in 2001 as a memorial to a former Statehouse correspondent for The State Journal-Register and United Press International (UPI).
This fund was established by Thom Serafin, who received his PAR degree as a member of its second-ever class and is founder and CEO of Serafin & Associates, Inc., a communications team that provides strategic counseling on public relations initiatives, campaigns, and crisis and reputation management. His distinguished career includes serving as press secretary for three U.S. Senate campaigns, a U.S. presidential campaign, and on the Washington D.C. staff of U.S. senator, Alan Dixon.