FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                        Date: May 8, 2002

 Contact: Donna McCracken, 206-6716

UIS will hold 31st commencement May 18


SPRINGFIELD – Former Governor James R. Thompson will deliver the address at the University of Illinois at Springfield’s 31st commencement, Saturday, May 18. Weather permitting, the ceremony will be held outdoors for the first time at UIS’ Kiwanis Stadium. Of the 914 students eligible to graduate, 621 will participate in the ceremony beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Thompson will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in recognition of his lifetime of professional and personal achievements. Illinois’ longest-serving governor and the only one ever elected to four terms, Thompson held office from 1977 to 1991. During his 14 years as governor, he promoted economic development, increased funding for education, and often drew praise for bringing political adversaries together to address major problems facing the state. He is now chairman of the Chicago-based law firm Winston & Strawn, recipient of the 2000 Sager Award from the Minority Corporation Counsel Association for its efforts in developing and executing effective diversity policies and programs. Thompson is also active in a number of civic organizations and serves as chair of the Illinois Math and Science Academy.

Graduates of all four UIS colleges -- Business and Management, Education and Human Services, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Public Affairs and Administration -- will participate in the morning ceremony. Frank Kopecky, professor of Legal Studies and Public Affairs, has been chosen as grand marshal.

Student speakers, selected by a campus committee, are Andrew William Cramer, who will receive a master’s degree in History, and Amy Kathryn Hagen, who will receive the Master of Business Administration degree.  Faculty and students in each academic program select one graduating student who best exemplifies the goals and spirit of that program to serve as student marshal for the ceremony.

This year’s marshals are:

Accountancy:   Daphne M. Ingles, M.A.
  Marci J. Rude, B.A.
Biology:      Aaron Daniel Reiterman, B.S.
Business Administration:                Sheila Marie Herbert, M.B.A.
  Shaun M. Opperman, B.B.A.
Chemistry:      Gina Kathleen Vespa, B.S.
Child, Family, & Community Services: Christopher Eric Bitner, M.A.
Clinical Laboratory Science:   Kimberly Anne Steed-White, B.S.
Communication:    Andrew Thomas Egizi, M.A.
  Kristy Lynn Hanlon, B.A.
Community Arts Management:   Veronica L. Espina, M.A.
Computer Science:  Carol A. Buettner, M.S.
  Hope A. Rolens, B.S.
Criminal Justice:   Charles E. Johnson, B.A.
  Jan L. Little, B.A.
Economics:    Stephanie R. Meents, B.A.
Educational Leadership: Joseph Edmund Tieman, M.A.
English:    Joan Elizabeth Cormier, M.A.
  David Lane Hope, B.A.
  Loretta J. Miller, B.A.
Environmental Studies:    Vanessa J. Ranck, M.A.
Gerontology:     Ruth Ann West, M.A.
Health Services Administration:   Carol Sue Maroon, B.A.
History:        Laura Elaine Johnson, M.A.
  David Thomas Markwell, B.A.
Human Development Counseling:   Renea M. Nokes, M.A.
Human Services:        Carmen Nydia Breeding., M.A.
Individual Option:   Cynthia Davis Byrd, M.A.
Legal Studies:    James Norman Pence, M.A.
  Kimberly Lynn Duckworth, B.A.
Liberal Studies:  Bruce Leon Munson, B.A.
Management:   Dan E. DeLong, B.A.
  Barbara L. Carter Wall, B.A.
Management Information Systems: Pamela S. Krisak, M.S.
Political Studies:   Lucille Mary Rendok, M.A.
  Karen Kunz, B.A.
Psychology:     Michaela Ann Campbell, B.A.
Public Administration:  Sandra Nelson Brown, M.P.A.
Public Affairs Reporting:   Katherine Elizabeth Schott, M.A.
Public Health:    Whitney Anne Cassens, M.P.H.
Social Work:   Erin Hailey Art, B.S.W.
Sociology/Anthropology:  Helena Calhoun, B.A.
Visual Ars:   Chanthala Thongsithavong, B.A.


Posthumous bachelor’s degrees will be awarded to James Whitler, who died July 2, 2001, after an extended illness. Whitler, 52, maintained a 4.00 grade-point average in a double major and will graduate summa cum laude, receiving a bachelor of science degree in Biology and a bachelor of arts degree in Psychology. He was a computer consultant for the Illinois Treasury, Bank of America, and City Bank. Laura Da Costa, assistant professor of Psychology who served as Whitler’s adviser in that program, noted that he was “the type of student that all professors want -- bright, conscientious, hard working, and obviously someone who loved the process of learning. He took courses for the joy of taking them.”  

Following the ceremony, each college will host a reception for graduates and guests in the Public Affairs Center as follows. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will hold its reception in the Food Emporium, level one. The College of Public Affairs and Administration’s reception will be held in conference room C/D, also on level one. The College of Business and Management will hold its reception in the Sangamon Auditorium Lobby, level two. The College of Education and Human Services’ reception will be held in the Atrium Lounge, level three.

Commencement activities will begin Thursday, May 16, with a graduation party, sponsored by the Student Activities Committee, in the Student Life Plaza (outside the Student Center) on the east side of campus. Family events and a barbecue will be featured from 6 to 10 p.m. and there will be music, dancing, and more from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.

The annual Honors Convocation will begin at 7 p.m. Friday, May 17, in Sangamon Auditorium, recognizing students who have received honors throughout the year. Following the convocation, a reception for all graduates and their guests will be held in the lower level of the PAC.

In the event of inclement weather on May 18, two commencement ceremonies will be held in Sangamon Auditorium. Ceremonies for the Colleges of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Education and Human Services will be held at 9:30 a.m. Ceremonies for the Colleges of Business and Management and Public Affairs and Administration will be held at 12:30 p.m. Alternate plans are also in place for the college receptions in case indoor ceremonies are necessary. If the weather is questionable on Saturday morning, graduates and guests can call 206-6600 after 6 a.m. to learn where and when commencement ceremonies will be held.