Thursday, March 03, 2016

UIS receives $1.5 million gift for student union

Richard and Charlene Osborne, of Chicago, Illinois, and Scottsdale, Arizona, have made a $1.5 million commitment to the University of Illinois Springfield in support of the student union building.

Richard Osborne earned his MBA from UIS in 1973. He is Senior Managing Director of Madison Industries, a private equity firm in Chicago. Prior to joining Madison, Osborne served as CEO, Chairman and President of Scotsman Industries, Inc. Under his leadership, Scotsman sales grew from $150 million to $750 million. In 2013, Osborne received the University of Illinois Alumni Achievement Award—the University's highest honor bestowed upon graduates.

"The Osbornes' extraordinary gift for the student union demonstrates their generous spirit and strong confidence in UIS," said Chancellor Susan J. Koch. "Dick attended UIS in the early days of the university, and since his graduation, he has seen the university grow and flourish. With their gift, Dick and Charlene can know they will have a personal and lasting impact on the future of our campus. Their gift is that important."

The new student union at UIS, with its many spaces for people to gather, will provide a focal point for campus life. The largest lounge, a prominent feature of the first floor, will be known as the "Osborne Lounge." The union will also include campus dining services, a coffee shop, a ballroom with seating for up to 450 people, and a Student Leadership Center that will house student government, volunteer offices and workspaces for student organizations.

"When I received my master’s degree from UIS," said Osborne, "the school had just started its migration to the current campus. Since then the school has grown dramatically and is developing into a full scope university. Building a first-class student union is an important and needed step, allowing students to connect and create lifelong relationships. We are very pleased to support the student union project."

UIS students led the drive to bring the student union to campus. In 2012, they overwhelmingly passed a referendum approving a student fee that will help cover almost half the cost of the building.

"The student union will foster a greater sense of community and provide students a place to socialize—a feature the university is currently lacking. This centralized location will, essentially, increase retention among students," said Josh Lawson, president of the UIS Student Government Association.

The student union building has been designed by Dewberry Architects of Peoria working with Workshop Architects from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Other professional services consultants that were heavily involved in the design of the building were Crawford, Murphy & Tilly, Inc., TRC Worldwide Engineering, Inc., Massie Massie & Associates, and Ricca Design Studios. In November 2015, School Designs, an online resource for school architecture and construction, presented Dewberry with an Outstanding Design award for the UIS Student Union. Construction is scheduled to begin in spring 2016 for the $21.75 million, 50,000-square-foot building.

Philanthropic contributions to the University of Illinois Springfield are coordinated by the UIS Office of Advancement, in conjunction with the University of Illinois Foundation. For more information on contributions to the student union, contact Jeff Lorber, UIS vice chancellor for advancement, at 217/206-6058 or

Learn more about the UIS Student Union project by visiting

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