Thursday, August 05, 2010

UIS celebrates 40 years of achievement and service

The University of Illinois Springfield is celebrating 40 years of history, while looking forward to educating future generations of leaders in government, public service, business and the liberal arts and sciences.

The 40th anniversary celebration at UIS began this month and will run through January 2011 with a variety of special events to mark the occasion. As part of the celebration, look for special banners throughout downtown Springfield that have been placed on light poles.

Founded in 1969 as Sangamon State University the school has awarded more than 32,600 bachelors, masters and doctorial degrees over the last 40 years. UIS has alumni living in all 50 states and 44 foreign countries. In Sangamon County alone the university has 9,709 living alumni members. UIS had educated 28% of the college-educated workforce residing in the city of Springfield.

“This is a very exciting time for the community and our university as we celebrate the 40-year history of our university. Our students, our faculty, staff, our many friends in the community, and of course our families and even our pets have at one time or another been an integral part of our history. This celebration is for everyone, so I hope the entire community, on and off campus, will enjoy our celebratory events. We all feel excited about what this university has become and are equally excited about the road ahead,” said Richard D. Ringeisen, UIS chancellor.

In the beginning, the 746 acre campus was an upper-division university for undergraduate juniors and seniors and graduate students. On July 1, 1995, Gov. Jim Edgar signed legislation reorganizing higher education in Illinois. Sangamon State University became the third campus of the University of Illinois. UIS welcomed its first group of freshman students in August 2001, when the Capital Scholars Honors Program was launched. The Board of Trustees later approved a new general education curriculum in September 2005, which allowed UIS to welcome even more freshman to campus.

UIS has not only grown academically over the years, but physically. When the campus was founded it consisted of a handful of temporary buildings surrounded by open fields. Construction of Brookens Library, the first permanent building on campus, began in 1972 and later opened in 1976. The Public Affairs Center featuring Sangamon Auditorium would later open its doors in 1980. The campus would continue to grow with the addition Health & Sciences Building, Lincoln Residence Hall, the state-of-the art University Hall, The Recreation and Athletics Center (TRAC) and Founders Residence Hall.

Today, UIS is known around the world as the liberal arts campus of the University of Illinois. Students thrive in small classes and engage the world through relevant courses and internships. UIS is known for preparing leaders for government and public service, and is recognized nationally for online learning. UIS has four colleges: business and management; education and human services; liberal arts and sciences; and public affairs and administration. The campus offers more than 40 degree programs.

For more information on the anniversary contact Derek Schnapp, director of Public Relations at 217/206-6716. For a complete history of SSU-UIS, 40 years in photos and a complete list of all 40 year anniversary events visit

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