Monday, April 25, 2016

UIS to hold 45th commencement ceremony on May 14 in downtown Springfield

Commencement ceremonies for the University of Illinois Springfield will begin at 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 14, at the Prairie Capital Convention Center, Ninth and Adams Streets in downtown Springfield. Of the 1,716 students eligible to graduate, 1,106 will participate in the ceremony.

Tickets are not required for admission and seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. There is no reserved seating, except for special needs such as interpretive services and wheelchairs. The doors to the main floor will open at 3 p.m.

Because of the large number of graduates and the seating capacity of The Center, it is recommended that no more than six guests attend per graduate, though overflow seating will be provided.

Healthcare executive Donna Sollenberger is the UIS Commencement speaker 

The UIS Commencement speaker will be UIS alumna and Springfield native Donna Sollenberger who was part of the first graduating class of Sangamon State University, now UIS. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Literature in 1971 and a master’s degree in Literature in 1974.

Since 2009, Sollenberger has served as Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) Health System, where she oversees all clinical strategy and operations of a system that includes five hospitals and 90 clinics, plus a healthcare system that serves the health care needs of two-thirds of Texas’ prison system.

Under her leadership, UTMB has made numerous quality improvements, including increases in patient satisfaction and reductions in death from sepsis, and achieved many awards and accolades, including designation as an ANCC Magnet for Nursing, accreditation by The Joint Commission for stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease care, and the American Heart Association’s Get with the Guidelines—Resuscitation Gold Quality Achievement Award.

Throughout her tenure at UTMB, she has overseen plans for numerous health care facility renovations and construction projects, including opening two new hospitals for the system. She has also supported the implementation of various cutting-edge health information technologies, including the installation of a state-of-the-art electronic medical record system, and has been influential in developing many community partnerships across the region.

Prior to joining UTMB Health, Sollenberger was Executive Vice President and CEO of the Baylor Clinic and Hospital. She also served as president and CEO of the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics (UWHC), Executive Vice President and COO of City of Hope National Medical Center in Los Angeles and Vice President for Hospital and Clinics at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

In 2005, Sollenberger was honored with the University of Illinois Alumni Achievement Award and named one of the Top 25 Women in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare.

Faculty & student marshals announced 

Lynn Fisher, associate professor of sociology/anthropology, has been chosen to serve as grand marshal. The student speaker will be Robyn Nicole Crutchfield, who will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in communication.

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: Christian M. Brown – B.A. (Peoria), Quentin Kuntzman – B.A., Vivica Autumn Futrell – M.A.

Biology: Janell Monee Mathus – B.S.

Business Administration: Gabrielle Daphne Little – B.B.A., Katherine Marie Shaffer – M.B.A., Scott Michael Shoff – M.B.A. (Peoria)

Chemistry: Daniell Marie Bennett – B.S.

Clinical Laboratory Science: Jennifer Chao Ching Esquivel – B.S.

Communication: Tayla Jenkins – B.A., Caitlyn Elizabeth Barnes – M.A.

Computer Science: Daniel Joseph Evertz – B.S., Justin Allen Snyder Day – M.S.

Criminal Justice: Sophia G. Matthews – B.A.

Economics: Andrew Cole Bergschneider – B.A.

Educational Leadership: Miranda Braye – M.A.

English: Bobby Max Bolt – B.A.

Environmental Studies: Preston Robert Marucco – B.A., Diana Sue Fuller – M.A.

Global Studies: Manuel Gomez – B.A.

History: Thomas J. Clatterbuck – B.A., Beth Anne Kruse – M.A.

Human Development Counseling: Gregory Franklin Irwin – M.A.

Human Services: Michael Todd Cheek – M.A.

Information Systems Security: Jessica D. Williams – B.S.

Legal Studies: Josh M. Lawson – B.A., Shannon Anthony Holubetz – M.A.

Liberal and Integrative Studies: Hannah Rucker – M.A.

Liberal Studies: Rose Elizabeth Beauchamp – B.A. Management: Sean Alexandre Vaughan – B.A.

Management Information Systems: Natalie T. Nowak – B.S., Jared Ross – M.S.

Mathematical Sciences: Benjamin W. Stull – B.A. Philosophy: April M. McKinnery – B.A.

Political Science: Ramon Alvarez – B.A., Salam A. Awad – M.A.

Psychology: Mackenzie Jo Atchie – B.A.

Public Administration: Jasmine Jetton-Gonzales – M.P.A., Sarah Wolin Mackey – D.P.A.

Public Affairs Reporting: Ashley Alaundrea Lisenby – M.A.

Public Health: Ometere Osilama Topah – M.P.H.

Social Work: Amber Nicole Darrow – B.S.W.

Sociology/Anthropology: Jessica Erin Kaspar – B.A.

Teacher Leadership: Tobias J. Gass – M.A.

Visual Arts: Caytlin McCormick – B.A.

A number of events are planned for graduates, their families and guests, including a reception for Peoria-area students on Friday, May 6. Separate brunches for CAP Honors graduates and online degree graduates are scheduled for Saturday morning, May 14.

Admission to some commencement events is by invitation only. Updated information, including a complete list of events, is available from the commencement website.

The ceremony will be webcast live. DVD copies of the ceremony can be purchased from the Office of Electronic Media for $25. Orders can be placed online or by phone at 217/206-6799.

For more information, go to the UIS Commencement website.

UIS dedicates new facilities to train DCFS investigators and first responders

The University of Illinois Springfield, in partnership with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), dedicated the new Residential Simulation Lab (a simulated training house) and a mock courtroom on campus on Monday, April 25, 2016.

The two training labs are designed to train students, investigators, law enforcement, and other first responders to identify and respond in cases of child maltreatment.

“The goal of the partnership is to make it possible for child protection first responders and the next generation of child welfare workers to enter the field with the necessary skills to protect the most vulnerable of victims,” said UIS faculty member Dr. Betsy Goulet, coordinator of the Child Protection Training Academy.

UIS Chancellor Susan Koch was joined by DCFS Director George Sheldon, Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder, Springfield Chief of Police Kenny Winslow and National Child Protection Training Center Senior Director/Founder Victor Vieth at the dedication ceremony.

Participants also planted a tree in memory of “Caleb”, the young boy who is the subject of the investigation used in the training curriculum.

The two labs are part of a DCFS Child Protection Training Academy pilot program and were designed by the UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership. They are supported by a state grant awarded to the University.

The Residential Simulation Lab is located in a building that formally housed the Sangamon Schools Credit Union. The house has been vacant since the branch closed in July 2010.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Good as Gold Ceremony honors over 60 local volunteers and businesses

The University of Illinois Springfield, Junior League of Springfield and the United Way of Central Illinois honored more than 60 local volunteers and businesses during the 8th annual Good as Gold Ceremony. The event was held on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 at the UIS Public Affairs Center.

Distinguished Volunteer Award

Springfield attorney Francis (Frank) Lynch of Wolter, Beeman, Lynch & Londrigan, LLP was honored with the 2016 Distinguished Volunteer Award. He has spent numerous hours volunteering with the United Way of Central Illinois, the Springfield YMCA and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Illinois.

Lynch currently serves as a member of the United Way of Central Illinois Board of Directors, chair of the Board’s Community Impact Committee and president of the Sangamon County Emergency Food and Shelter Program. He has served on several strategic planning committees and has contributed to several United Way campaigns.

“There is no way to calculate the number of hours Frank has dedicated to local causes or the countless lives he’s touched in all of his years,” said Katrina Schroeder, director of community impact at the United Way of Central Illinois. “Frank is the volunteer every organization wishes they had.”

While volunteering during a recent United Way Day of Action, Lynch was assigned to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Illinois. Even though the project had nothing to do with the club’s lawn, Lynch took it upon himself to become the “unofficial lawn expert”. He now personally treats the club’s lawn with fertilizer, seed, and weed killer several times each year and is always looking for other projects to take on.

“Since his involvement, our green space has become a lot greener and is a much more welcoming place for our kids to come and enjoy time outdoors,” said William Legge, executive director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Illinois.

Lynch also served on the Springfield YMCA Board of Directors for six years, 2 years as president. He has been a YMCA member for more than 25 years and has volunteered his time at countless special events. He has served as the YMCA legal representative and has participated in several fundraising campaigns.

Lynch’s dedication to service started in the Boy Scouts as a young man. He still maintains his membership in the National Eagle Scout Association. He also mentors other attorneys through the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education.

UIS Star Student Award

UIS student Jessie Edwards of Forsyth was honored with the Star Student Award for her volunteer efforts. As a student in the UIS Perspectives on Poverty Service Learning course in 2014, she started a program called “Warm Hands for Young Hearts”, in partnership with Macon County schools. While coats and hats were coming into the schools, there was a shortage of gloves. Edwards solicited donations from local businesses for the gloves and delivered them to elementary schools in Macon County.

“Jessie's efforts impacted hundreds of elementary students in a number of ways. Obviously, providing gloves warms young hands, but as the title of her initiative reflects, it also warms their hearts,” said Elise LoBue, UIS adjunct instructor for Internships and Prior Learning. “When Jessie delivers the gloves the children get to pick their own pair, and she makes it quite a fun and special experience for them.”

Even though her class has ended, Edwards has decided to continue the “Warm Hands for Young Hearts” program in Macon County. She also volunteers at the Northeast Community Fund collecting food, serving Thanksgiving meals and working in the office. This semester she is mentoring a family.

Other UIS students nominated for the Star Student Award included Dalia Anguiano and LeAnna Kehl.

Youth Volunteer Award

Lanphier High School student Caleb Crawford of Springfield was honored with the Youth Volunteer Award. He has made an impact on the Springfield community through his volunteer work and serves as a role model for other students. Crawford has volunteered at Lanphier, the Boys and Girls Club, St John's Breadline, Salvation Army, Abundant Faith and Western Oaks churches and is a basketball coach and referee at Iles School. He has been an avid volunteer throughout his high school career, not as a way to meet specific service learning hours, but rather to make his community a better place. He plans to pursue a career in law enforcement.

Heart of Gold Community Awards

Thirty-eight local volunteers were also honored with the Heart of Gold Award. Recipients included: Jacqueline Atchison, Roger Austin, Brent Baird, Melissa Blood, Michael Bowers, Mervin Brennan, Patrick Casassa, Alicia Clarke, Jay Cole, Cecil Crawford, Stacy Domescik, Tom Elliot, Sue Endsley, Marion Flemming, Patty Hale, Kelly Hamilton, Kent Hill, Sue Landgrebe, Robert Wayne LeMay, Candy Luthin, Cheryl Meyer, Traci Moore, Joseph Murphy, Stan Paulis, Mike & Jean Pennell, Drew Peterson, Cheri Plummer, Norma Ralston, Debbie Reed, Jessica Robinson, Angelica Salazar, Merle Shiffman, Caitlin Simhauser, Jill Steiner, Steven Thorpe and Mark & Sari Wancket.

Organization Agent of Service Award 

The winner of the 2016 Organization Agent of Service Award is The Matthew Project, which provides tutoring and mentoring services for homeless children and youth in partnership with Springfield Public Schools. The project fosters the academic, social and emotional development of children experiencing homelessness.

“The positive impact that Matthew's volunteers have had on families is remarkable. Their work with participants instills pride and self-worth, which in turn creates successful students and outstanding citizens,” said Darla Haley, Springfield Public School’s homeless liaison.

Business Honor Roll 

A total of 22 Sangamon County businesses were named to the Business Honor Roll sponsored by the UIS College of Business and Management and supported by The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce. The honor roll recognizes businesses that have made giving back to our community a priority.

Businesses making this year’s honor roll include Ameren Illinois; Bank of Springfield; Brandt Consolidated; BUNN; Terry Farmer Photography; H.D. Smith; Heartland Credit Union; Illinois Association of Realtors; Kerber, Eck & Braeckel; Steve Koch, CFP, Ameriprise Financial; Mayfield Insurance and Financial Services; Memorial Health System; Noodles & Company; Orthopedic Center of Illinois; President Abraham Lincoln Hotel, a Double Tree by Hilton; RMS US LLP; R.W. Troxell & Company; SCHEELS; Small Business Growth Corporation; Springfield Electric; US Bank and Wells Fargo Home Mortgage.

For more information on the awards, email or call 217/ 206-7716.