Thursday, April 28, 2011

UIS to hold 40th commencement ceremony on May 14 in downtown Springfield

Commencement ceremonies for the University of Illinois Springfield will begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 14, at the Prairie Capital Convention Center, Ninth and Adams streets in downtown Springfield. Of the 1,294 students eligible to graduate, 728 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 of the center will open at 1 p.m.

The commencement speaker will be Martin R. Castro, chairperson of the United States Commission on Civil Rights (“USCCR”) as well as chairperson of the Illinois Human Rights Commission ("IHRC") and president of a Chicago area consulting firm. In January 2011, President Barack Obama appointed Castro to the USCCR and named him chairperson in March. He is the first Latino chairperson in the history of the USCCR. The USCCR is an independent, bipartisan federal agency whose mission is to investigate complaints alleging that citizens are being deprived of their right to vote and the IHRC adjudicates individual claims of discrimination under Illinois law.

The son and grandson of Mexican immigrants, Castro was the first in his family to graduate from high school and the first to obtain a higher education. He received his B.A. in political science in 1985 from DePaul University and his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Michigan Law School in 1988. In 2001-2002, Castro ran in the Democratic primary for U.S. Congress in Chicago’s Fourth District.

Donald E. O’Neal, professor of Management at UIS, has been chosen to serve as faculty grand marshal. The student speaker will be Charles Olivier, who will graduate with a bachelor’s degree with majors in Business Administration and Accountancy. Olivier is also the UIS Student Representative to the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.

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: Cori Marie Hurt – B.A. (Peoria), Heather Jones – B.A., Kiley Lynette Underwood – M.A.

Biology: Amy Bernadette Johnson – B.S., Shawn Kristen Gibbs – M.S.

Business Administration: Sheri Nicole Denning – B.B.A., Joshua Aaron Winkler – M.B.A. (Peoria), David Ross Guggenheim – M.B.A.

Chemistry: Kimberly A. Bartosiak – B.S.

Clinical Laboratory Science: Andrea Leigh Gardner – B.S.

Communication: Marissa Lauren Sumrell – B.A., Carol Leonie Marie Schulte – M.A.

Computer Science: Daniel R. Hancock – B.S., Sean R. Brown – M.S.

Criminal Justice: Kasey Nicole Kofoid – B.A. (Peoria), Zachary R. Miller – B.A.

Economics: Karen Beth Lockhart – B.A.

Educational Leadership: Rae Lynne Meyer – M.A.

English: Caron C. Tate – B.A., Stephanie Marie Ebersohl – M.A.

Environmental Studies: Nathaniel Michael Keener – M.A.

History: Holly Elizabeth Ropp Brock – B.A., Amanda L. Dahlquist – M.A.

Human Development Counseling: Joshua Patrick Wertz – M.A.

Human Services: Karen Inez Harrold – M.A.

Legal Studies: Jessica J. Jolly – B.A., Tracey Lynn Jensen – M.A.

Liberal and Integrative Studies: Ryan Chandler – M.A.

Liberal Studies: DeAnna Rae Todt – B.A.

Management: Lori L. Dinquel – B.A. (Peoria), Hye Jeong Chang – B.A.

Management Information Systems: Michael E. Ackley – M.S.

Mathematical Sciences: Donald William Cantrall – B.A.

Philosophy: Norman Michael Brennen – B.A.

Political Science: Jana R. Smith – B.A., Gerald Scott Allen – M.A.

Psychology: Sandra Lynn Hurtubise – B.A.

Public Administration: Judy Kay Guenseth – M.P.A., Barbara E. Ferrara, D.P.A.

Public Affairs Reporting: Hannah Claire Hess – M.A.

Public Health: Alexander Cherey Zingher – M.P.H.

Social Work: Denise Lynette Lilley – B.S.W.

Sociology/Anthropology: McKenna Christine Blair – B.A.

Teacher Leadership: Michael L. Edwards – M.A.

Visual Arts: Joel Grayson Walter – B.A.

A number of events are planned for graduates, their families and guests, beginning with 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 at

The ceremony will be webcast live at DVDs ($25) can also be ordered from the Office of Electronic Media, phone 217/206-6799.
For more information, go to the UIS Commencement website at

Monday, April 18, 2011

Donor funding critical to research at Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon

Three students researchers at the University of Illinois Springfield’s Alfred O. and Barbara Cordwell Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon spent the summer making remarkable discoveries thanks in part to the generosity of private donors.

The Emiquon Preserve, which is located near Havana on the Illinois River, is one of the largest flood plain restoration efforts in the world. The students spent the summer studying zooplankton migration, insects, and methane emissions, which are used to measure to progress of the restoration effort.

“Without any sort of money or scholarship none of this would be available and it’s a great hands on learning opportunity for students, such as myself,” said Fay Allison, a junior Biology major.

An endowment from the Therkildsen family provided the funding for the students to spend the summer at Emiquon learning and working side-by-side with faculty members. The endowment also helped to pay for the tools needed to complete their work.

“I would not have been able to work on my project or even have the possibility of completing it without the funding from the Therkildsen grant,” said Shawn Gibbs, a graduate Biology major.

The private funding allowed the students to focus their full attention on their research and not have to worry about making ends meet.

“Funding is important, because it allows the student to immerse themselves in study, in their work and not worry about extra jobs and things,” said Dr. Michael Lemke, associate professor of Biology and director of the field station.

For graduate student Kamal Ghotra the grant helped her with transportation costs and parts for her computer, which were critical to completing her research. She realizes just how special Emiquon is and feels fortunate to have been given the chance to conduct research in the field.

“For students to have an opportunity of having a wetland and seeing how it’s being restored and how it changed throughout history. It just gives us a little insight into how nature works,” said Ghotra.

Other research at Emiquon includes an exploration of the bugs and invertebrates, research into the food chain, and the study of wild life.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Student government election results certified

Election results from the Spring 2011 Student Government Association Elections and Constitutional Referendum have been certified. Voting took place on Wednesday, April 13 and Thursday, April 14.

The following students are the winners of their respective races:

Student Representative to the Board of Trustees – John Tienken

President – Erin Wilson

Internal Vice President – Shonda White

Treasurer – Ryan Bouray

Secretary – Aaron Mulvey

Senator – Public Affairs & Administration – Aimee Winebaugh

Senator – Liberal Arts & Sciences – Erin Lesko

Senator - Business & Management – Tamila Harris

Senator – Education & Human Services – Blake Johnson

Senator – Online Students – Brent Pierce

Senator – Freshman Students – Ellie Bretzman

SGA Constitutional Referendum
o Yes, I approve the revised Constitution - 331
o No, I do not approve the revised Constitution - 39
o No Vote – 58

As in every election, not all candidates were successful in obtaining their desired position. There are numerous other leadership opportunities on SGA committees that students may wish to pursue and they are highly encouraged to do so. Note: In accordance with the SGA Constitution, this election only involved the SGA positions mentioned above. An election will be held again in the fall for all other senator positions.

Congratulations to all candidates as they demonstrated leadership through their willingness to assume the responsibility associated with these important positions!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

UIS welcomes new Vice President & Chancellor Susan J. Koch

University of Illinois President Michael J. Hogan introduced the next leader of the Springfield campus during a public reception in the Public Affairs Center lobby on April 11, 2011.

Susan J. Koch, an experienced leader in higher education, will take over as the new Vice President and Chancellor of the University of Illinois Springfield effective July 1, subject to Board of Trustees approval.

“I am deeply honored to be selected to be the next chancellor,” said Koch.

In his introduction, President Hogan described Koch as the “perfect choice” for the job speaking of her leadership in her current role as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Northern Michigan University.

“I believe that she will never lose sight. She knows the value of a strong liberal arts education, its power to produce leaders for the next generation,” said Hogan. “Students are at the very center of everything we do in university life.”

Speaking to a crowd of nearly 300 faculty, staff, and students, Koch told the audience how she learned at an early age the value of a strong liberal arts education.

“My own parents really helped me understand… the value of opera, art, literature, and all of those things that make up the ability to produce critical thinkers,” said Koch.

Koch also talked about UIS’ public affairs focus and national reputation for excellence in the area of online learning.

“This campus is the envy of campuses everywhere for the success it has established in (online learning),” said Koch.

Koch says the teacher-student relationship will always be at the heart of what is happening at UIS and she looks forward to working with lawmakers to make sure higher education is funded.

“The opportunity for us to work together to build a brilliant future for the University of Illinois, the University of Illinois Springfield, and to be contributors to the growth and prosperity of the state of Illinois is something that is a privilege for all of us,” said Koch.

Before joining NMU, Koch was the Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate College at the University of Northern Iowa. She will hold a tenured faculty position in the College of Education and Human Services at UIS. Her research and scholarship are in health education, with a focus on international health, conflict resolution and human rights.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

U of I Day at the Capitol sends funding message to lawmakers

Almost 200 University of Illinois alumni and students spent the day lobbying lawmakers, including Governor Pat Quinn, for critical state funding during University of Illinois Day at the Capitol on Wednesday, April 6.

While lawmakers passed a budget with substantial funding for higher education last year, the university still has not received much of the cash.

“They still haven’t paid us almost $500 million,” said Amy Eichhorst, director of Illinois Connection. “We need that money in order to run the university and for next year we’re asking them not to cut the budget.”

Alumni and students got a surprise when Governor Quinn showed up for their group photo on the steps of the Illinois State capitol.

“We believe in schools and education and higher education and we thank you for your commitment to the university,” Quinn told the crowd. “(The university) is really a special place, and jobs follow brainpower that’s what we believe in.”

UIS student Tia Mahr was surprised to hear from the governor, but came to lobby day ready to talk to lawmakers and hear their opinions on the future of the university.

“I decided to come out, make a difference, make a change,” said Mahr, a senior Communication major.

Other students, such as UIUC junior Political Science and Business major Meghan Schaffer hope the unified message from alumni and students makes a difference. Participants were grouped together based on their home legislative districts in an effort to speak with the lawmakers they helped to elect.

“I think it’s really essential to make sure they understand the student voice, that people need to really come here to show a presence of students, alumni, working together for this important cause,” said Schaffer.

Reductions in the number of state MAP Grants awarded have made it harder for UIC Finance major Regina Stevenson to make ends meet.

“I’m here to make a difference. I come from a low income area, so money is very important to stay in school,” said Stevenson, a junior.

Illinois Connection, part of the University of Illinois Alumni Association, organized the lobby day. The group has over 8,000 members in 49 states, which are fighting for higher education funding.

Monday, April 04, 2011

New UIS Vice President and Chancellor named

Susan J. Koch, who has served in senior leadership roles at two public regional universities in the Midwest, has been selected to become the new permanent Vice President and Chancellor of the University of Illinois Springfield.

Koch is currently Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Northern Michigan University, where she has served since 2007. Before joining NMU, Koch was the Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate College at the University of Northern Iowa.

University of Illinois President Michael J. Hogan called Koch a proven academic leader in announcing her appointment, effective July 1, subject to Board of Trustees approval.

“Dr. Koch’s record reflects a proven appreciation for the value of a strong liberal arts education and a deep commitment to civic engagement. I couldn’t be more pleased to have her joining our leadership team as we continue to advance the excellence of our Springfield campus and the entire University,” Hogan said. “I’m particularly grateful to members of our UIS search advisory committee, led by Professor Tih-Fen Ting. They did an exceptional job in recruiting an outstanding pool of candidates, and I appreciate their work and advice.”

Koch said UIS has a strong reputation that she intends to uphold. “I was drawn to the position because of the passion for excellence that is so evident at the University of Illinois and among the faculty, staff and students at UIS,” Koch said. “I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with President Mike Hogan, who is an outstanding leader in higher education.

“With its strong reputation as a public liberal arts university, UIS is providing the state of Illinois with graduates who have the knowledge, skills and values necessary to be productive contributors to and leaders of their communities,” Koch said. “I’m excited about working to continue and enhance this very important tradition.”

“We had a very strong, diverse, and highly competitive pool of applicants for the position,” Ting said. “The search advisory committee is extremely pleased that we’re able to get the person of Dr. Susan Koch’s caliber as our next Chancellor. The committee worked very hard to reach such a successful outcome.”

Koch will hold a tenured faculty position in the College of Education and Human Services at UIS. Koch’s research and scholarship are in health education, with a focus on international health, conflict resolution and human rights. She is author of numerous scholarly and creative publications and was co-founder of the Global Health Corps, a field-based organization that provides public health services to underserved populations in the U.S. and abroad.

Of her career in teaching and university administration, Koch said: “I’m an educator first and my highest priority will be students.” Koch is a native of South Dakota, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in health/physical education/biology at Dakota State University. Her first job was as a high school teacher in Waterloo, Ia. She returned to college at the University of Northern Iowa and earned a master’s degree and doctorate, both in health education. Koch joined the faculty at UNI in 1985 and moved into administration in 1995.

Northern Michigan University, located in Marquette, Mi., has an enrollment of about 9,300 with 1,200 employees and an annual operating budget of $203 million. As provost and v.p.-academic affairs, Koch is second to the president in NMU’s executive leadership and is responsible for management of the academic and student services operations. Among her accomplishments was a key role in developing and implementing the university’s strategic plan, “Roadmap to 2015,” and an initiative to fund innovation projects that support the plan.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to have worked with an outstanding president and extraordinary leadership team at NMU, and I am looking forward to both the challenges and opportunities at UIS,” Koch said.

“My husband and I are delighted at the prospect of our move to Springfield. We’re looking forward to immersing ourselves in Abraham Lincoln’s hometown and in the activities of a university where public affairs is so central to what we contribute to the state of Illinois, the nation and the world,” Koch added. “Since my husband’s profession is agribusiness, we’re also delighted to be moving to the agriculture heartland of Illinois, and the home of the Illinois State Fair.”

Koch and her husband Dennis are the parents of four adult children.

As vice president and chancellor of UIS, Koch will report to Hogan and will be responsible for the academic programs and operations of the Springfield campus. The University of Illinois at Springfield is one of three campuses, including Urbana-Champaign and Chicago, of the U of I. It serves approximately 5,000 students in 44 undergraduate and graduate programs in four colleges, with 211 full-time faculty, 533 staff and an annual operating budget of $73 million.

Koch will take the helm of the campus from Interim Vice President and Chancellor Harry Berman. A 35-year veteran member of the UIS faculty and administration and the former provost, Berman has served in the top campus leadership role in the interim since last September.

“I'm delighted that a colleague whom I'd gotten to know at national meetings has been selected as the next chancellor of UIS,” said Berman. “I am confident that with Chancellor Koch in the leadership role the future of UIS is in good hands.”

“Harry’s legacy to this campus is outstanding, and in this nine-month interim period he is providing leadership continuity that sustains the forward progress of UIS,” Hogan said. “I value his dedication, his advice and his friendship.”

For more information on Koch visit: