Saturday, May 15, 2010

Hundreds of UIS graduates fulfill their dream of a higher education


Watch the entire UIS Commencement Ceremony online

University of Illinois Springfield
graduates, families and friends packed the Prairie Capital Convention Center in downtown Springfield on Saturday, May 15 to celebrate the 39th UIS Commencement Ceremony.

Almost 700 UIS graduates walked across the stage, receiving their diplomas after years of studying and hard work in the classroom. They leave knowing the knowledge and experience they’ve gained at UIS will serve them for a lifetime.

“You have earned your ‘University of Illinois’ degree, here at UIS, the public university in the state capitol; it is something that you should be proud of the rest of your life, as we will be of you,” said Richard Ringeisen, UIS Chancellor.

Karen Hasara, an alumnus from the first graduating class at Sangamon State University delivered the 2010 Commencement address. Hasara became the first woman to be elected Springfield mayor in 1995 and was appointed to the University of Illinois Board of Trustees by Governor Pat Quinn in September 2009.

Hasara told the audience how she was the second person in line to sign up for classes at SSU in 1970. Her life would change forever as the education she received helped her launch a career as an elementary school teacher and later enter politics.

“I truly believe this school has changed our community for the better more than any other event of our time,” said Hasara.

Hasara talked about coming full circle, from a student at the university to a member of the Board of Trustees.

“I feel blessed to be, so personally, somehow connected to almost every step of the development of UIS in the past forty years. I am one of you, and I take great pride in saying that,” Hasara told the graduates.

Hasara closed her remarks with some advice for students asking them to stay active in the world. She told students to avoid being cynics and talked about the importance of the presumption of decency when working with others.

Priyanka Deo, the student speaker who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Sociology/Anthropology also talked about how her education has changed her life.

“Being born and brought up in India, my attitude has always been to make the most of every prospect that comes my way,” said Deo.

Deo told the audience due to the fierce competition among students in her country, the only way to distinguish herself from the crowd was to be well-rounded and affect the community in a positive light.

She told the story about how a friend in India saw her resume and stated “Wow, I wish I had all of these activities available to me when I was growing up.”

“After she said that, it really made me realize just how enriching an education at UIS as well as the countless opportunities at this college have been in helping me grow and shaping me into what I am today along with my academics,” Deo reflected.

A total of 1,198 students were eligible to graduate, with 694 taking part in the ceremony.

Photos and more video are available at the commencement website: www.uis.edu/commencement/

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