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. To make a secure, electronic gift via credit card, Venmo, PayPal or Google Pay, you can visit our secure donation site. Thank you for your continued support.

UIS PAR Student Journalist Salary Fund

Donations to this fund are combined with university funding and contributions from host news organizations to supplement the salaries PAR students receive while they're working as reporting interns at the Illinois Capitol.

PAR Gift Fund

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.

UIS Lee Milner Memorial Scholarship Endowment Fund

Lee Milner, who died April 17, 2024, was a longtime photojournalist, legislative coordinator and communications professional. In recent years he was a steady presence at the Illinois Capitol, photographing news conferences and other events. In that role he befriended and guided many PAR students. This scholarship fund will benefit future generations of PAR students.

Class of 1986 Scholarship Fund

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 Scholarship Fund

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 Scholarship Fund

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 Scholarship Fund

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 Memorial Scholarship Fund

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.

James Armstrong Scholarship Fund

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.

Mary Frances Fagan Memorial Scholarship Fund

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.

Rich Bradley Memorial Scholarship Fund

Rich Bradley, the longtime news director at WUIS, Springfield's public radio station, died on July 3, 2023. He was a strong supporter of PAR and mentored many PAR interns. Rich's friends established this scholarship in his memory.

Robert P. Howard Scholarship Fund

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.

International Student Scholarship Fund

This fund supports scholarships for international students enrolled in the PAR program.

Public Affairs Reporting Memorial Scholarship Fund

This fund supports scholarships for students admitted into the Public Affairs Reporting program.

Illinois Legislative Correspondents Association (Miller & Heinecke) Scholarships

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.

Sen. Valerie Wiender Scholaship Award

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.

Steven B. Hahn Scholarship Fund

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).

Thom M. Sarafin Scholarship Fund

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.