Wednesday, May 20, 2015

UIS recertified as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education

The University of Illinois Springfield has been recertified as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE/IAE) through academic year 2020 by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The goal of the program is to reduce vulnerability in our national information infrastructure by promoting higher education and research.

“Programs like the one at UIS are helping to produce the professionals with information assurance expertise that are required to secure our nation's infrastructure,” said Ted Mims, head of the UIS Computer Science Department.

Students that attend UIS and participate in programs affiliated with the CAE/IAE are eligible to apply for scholarships and grants from the Department of Defense Information Assurance Scholarship Program and the Federal Cyber Service Scholarship for Service Program.

The UIS Computer Science Department has developed and offered courses in Systems Security and Information Assurance over the last twelve years. In September 2003, UIS became a partner with seven community colleges in a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant that created a Regional Center for Systems Security and Information Assurance (CSSIA). UIS is recognized as a national leader in the field of Cyber Security and Information Assurance.

The National Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education Program (CAE/IAE) is open to nationally or regionally accredited four-year colleges and graduate-level universities. The mission of a nationally accredited institution must be in Information Assurance or a similar area.

A ceremony recognizing UIS' achievement will be held during an Awards Ceremony Dinner in the Saturn V Hall at the Davidson Center for Space Exploration at the 7th Annual Southeastern Cyber Security Summit on June 3-4, 2015 at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

For more information contact Ted Mims, head of the UIS Computer Science Department, at 217/206-7326 or

Sunday, May 17, 2015

44th UIS Commencement ceremony breaks records

The University of Illinois Springfield held its 44th Commencement ceremony on May 16, 2015 at the Prairie Capital Convention Center in downtown Springfield. A record 967 students took part in the ceremony, making it the largest commencement in the university’s history.

UIS Chancellor Susan J. Koch presided over the ceremony, welcoming over 6,000 guests.

“Graduates, this is your day and you are participating in an important rite of passage that universities have honored for centuries,” said Koch. “All that you have strived for culminates today with this milestone. Congratulations!”

Koch also congratulated first generation college graduates, thanked family members for supporting their students, and thanked members of the military.

She was joined on the stage by campus leaders and University of Illinois President Robert A. Easter who offered advice to students during his final UIS commencement address.

“As a fellow U of I alum, I know that you’ve nurtured the talents here that will help you make all of the right decisions,” said Easter. “You are on the cusp of great opportunity. Some of you will take advantage of every chance and do incredible things. Others may decide to relax and let the world go by. It’s your choice.”

At the end of the ceremony, President Easter officially passed leadership responsibilities to President-designate Timothy L. Killeen during a ceremonial medallion transfer.

The 2015 Commencement address was delivered by UIS alum Thom Serafin founder and CEO of Serafin & Associates, Inc., a leading Chicago communications, media relations and public affairs firm. Before starting his own business, Serafin enjoyed a successful career as a political/legislative correspondent covering the Illinois General Assembly. He has advised numerous high-profile national and state policy makers.

As an undergraduate, Serafin assisted his professor and mentor, future U.S. Senator Paul Simon, in launching the now renowned UIS Public Affairs Reporting Program.

The student commencement address was delivered by Blake Hudson, who earned a master’s degree in public administration. He has attended UIS since 2012 and was in the Illinois Legislative Studies Internship program where he spent a year working for the state senate Republican staff. He’s also part of the Whitney M. Young Fellowship program.

Hudson is the CEO of, a family owned online clothing company for figure skaters and hockey players. Hudson also owns and operates “Bright Start Consulting,” a firm dedicated to helping teenagers and young adults find their purpose and achieve success in life.

Hudson shared with the audience his own personal story of growing up in a neighborhood filled with violent crime and his mother’s cancer diagnosis. At one point, while attending community college, he was working six different jobs at the same time.

He encouraged his fellow graduates to endure and transform obstacles into opportunities and to enjoy the new environment that they create.

University of Illinois Board of Trustees Chairman Edward McMillan, UIS Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Lynn Pardie and UIS Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Clarice Ford also spoke at the ceremony.

Photos and more video are available at the commencement website:

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Sangamon Auditorium at UIS to Receive National Endowment for the Arts Grant

Through its grant-making to thousands of nonprofits each year, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) promotes opportunities for people in communities across America to experience the arts and exercise their creativity.

In the second major grant announcement of fiscal year 2015, the NEA will make a $15,000 grant award to the Sangamon Auditorium at the University of Illinois Springfield to support six events on the 2015-2016 performing arts season. The NEA will make 1,023 awards totaling $74.3 million nationwide in this funding round.

“The NEA is committed to advancing learning, fueling creativity, and celebrating the arts in cities and towns across the United States. Funding these new projects like the one from Sangamon Auditorium, UIS represents an investment in both local communities and our nation’s creative vitality,” said Jane Chu, NEA Chairman.

“We are gratified to receive the recognition and support of the Arts Endowment for our performing arts progress,” said Sangamon Auditorium director Bob Vaughn. “These funds will be used to continue to support our ongoing quest for higher quality in the presenting program at Sangamon Auditorium.”

The NEA will provide partial support for six events on the upcoming performing arts season. Sangamon Auditorium has presented a season of touring arts events each year since its opening in 1981. Artists on the series include national and international ensembles and solo artists. The 2015-2016 season will be announced in early June.

To join the Twitter conversation about this announcement, please use #NEASpring2015. For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, go to

For more information, contact Jen Tibbs, Sangamon Auditorium coordinator of public information and marketing, at 217/206-8284 or