Monday, April 29, 2019

UIS to hold two commencement ceremonies in downtown Springfield on May 11

The University of Illinois Springfield will hold two commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 11, 2019, at the Bank of Springfield (BOS) Center, Ninth and Adams Streets in downtown Springfield. Of the 1,274 UIS students eligible to graduate, 744 will participate in the ceremonies.

The first ceremony for students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will begin at 12:30 p.m. The second ceremony for students in the College of Business and Management, College of Education and Human Services and College of Public Affairs and Administration will start at 5:30 p.m.

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 an hour before each ceremony. Overflow seating will be provided in the lower level of BOS Center.

Former Springfield Mayor Karen Hasara to receive honorary doctorate 

During the 5:30 p.m. ceremony, UIS will present an honorary doctorate of humane letters to former Springfield Mayor Karen Hasara in appreciation of her inspirational leadership in public service and distinguished contributions to the community and the University of Illinois.

Hasara, a member of the university’s first enrolled class, holds two degrees from UIS. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology/elementary education in 1972 and a master’s degree in legal studies in 1992.

Hasara began her storied career as a teacher, then moved into public service as a member of the Sangamon County Board in 1975 (at the time, the only woman among 29 county board members). She went on to be elected Sangamon County Circuit Clerk in 1980, Illinois State Representative in 1986, Illinois State Senator in 1993 and Mayor of Springfield for two terms from 1995 to 2003. She was the first woman ever to be elected Mayor of Springfield. Following her government career, Hasara served as a member of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees from 2009 to 2017.

“Karen Hasara is one of the most influential leaders and public servants in Illinois,” said UIS Chancellor Susan Koch. “Her long career in government and education is rooted in Springfield, but has benefitted countless citizens from all over the state.”

Hasara’s leadership and passion for social justice has led to her involvement in numerous organizations over the years. Currently, she is a trustee of the Springfield Mass Transit District, and is involved with the World Affairs Council of Central Illinois and the Sangamon County Community Foundation. She is also an active volunteer at St. John’s Hospice in Springfield.

Throughout her career, Hasara has been a dedicated and vocal supporter of the University of Illinois Springfield. She played a critical role in building a strong relationship between Springfield and UIS and currently serves on the UIS Alumni Board and the University of Illinois Alumni Alliance. At UIS, she established a scholarship for qualified students with financial need and has previously served on the Chancellor’s Community Advisory Board, the Alumni Leadership Roundtable and is a founding member of the UIS Alumni SAGE Society. She is the recipient of the 1996 UIS Alumni Achievement Award.

A fifth generation native of Springfield, Hasara places a priority on giving back to her community. She founded the Women4Women organization and is active in philanthropy including Dining for Women. She and her late husband, Jerry, are the parents of seven children and have five grandchildren.

Student speaker and faculty grand marshal announced 

Springfield resident Jeffrey Nevins, who will be graduating with a bachelor’s degree in communication, has been chosen as the student commencement speaker. Nevins is currently the technical director/show systems manager at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. He will speak about his educational journey at UIS and offer some wisdom to the Class of 2019.

Hilary Frost, associate professor of political science and Global Studies Program director, has been named the faculty grand marshal. Frost holds a doctorate in cultural geography from Pennsylvania State University, a master’s degree in international studies from the University of Iowa, a master’s degree in public administration with specialization in arts administration from Ohio State University and a bachelor’s degree in history from Michigan State University.

Student marshals announced

Faculty 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: Kayla Susanne Mackie-Carlson – B.A. (Peoria), Jenna L. Upchurch – B.A., Michelle Marie Dankoski – M.A.

Biology: Kiana Renee Davis – B.S.

Biochemistry: Chantz A. Pinder – B.S.

Business Administration: Abbie Jean Mulkins – BBA, Matthew Ryan Hutchison – MBA (Peoria), Diana Marion – MBA

Chemistry: Craig Allen Meredith – B.S.

Clinical Lab Science: Deric Rosenberger – B.S.

Communication: Olivia S. Cacciatori – B.A., Andrea Renee Duvendack – M.A.

Computer Science: Alfredo Carigga – B.S., Chad Matthew Putnam – M.S.

Criminology and Criminal Justice: Joli Rebecca Schroeder – B.A.

Data Analytics: Zeki Can Kavgaci – M.S.

Economics: Tristan M. Hodgson – B.A.

Education: Kristina Ann Gashaw – M.A.

Educational Leadership: Alicia Ann Redfield – M.A.

Elementary Education: Taylor Jayann Bauer – B.A.

English: Maura Sommer Freeman – B.A., Amanda Rae Dinardo – M.A.

Environmental Sciences: Joshua Rai – M.S.

Environmental Studies: Caleb Joe Froidcoeur – B.A., Beth Louise Kramer – M.A.

Exercise Science: Karah L. Bell – B.S.

Global Studies: Maame Ekua Dede Aggrey – B.A.

History: Ciara J. Koepke – B.A., Eric Michael Bridges – M.A.

Human Development Counseling: Meeko Taylor Dane Reddick – M.A.

Human Services: Ozetta Michelle Ann Knox – M.A.

Information Systems Security: Keith Alan Clark – B.S.

Legal Studies: Joshua Leo Zanger – B.A., Brittany Nicole Meador – M.A.

Liberal and Integrative Studies: Justina Lynn Schacht – M.A.

Liberal Studies: Mary Christine Braun – B.A.

Management Information Systems: Sheryl Ann Spejcher – B.S., Raghunath Subramanian – M.S.

Mathematical Sciences: Stefanie Kristine Springer – B.A.

Philosophy: Kimberlee Pompa – B.A.

Political Science: Jacob C. Tebbe – B.A., Erik F. Motyll – M.A.

Psychology: Marsha Kathleen Darlington – B.A.

Public Administration: Brendan Dominick Mitchell – B.A., Anjanette Williams – M.P.A., Sophia Maria Gehlhausen – D.P.A.

Public Affairs Reporting: Grant Alexander Morgan – M.A.

Public Health: Johanny Nazareth Martinez – M.P.H.

Public Policy: Tristan T. Akers – B.A.

Social Work: Rachel Yvonne Andreatta – B.S.W.

Sociology/Anthropology: Abriana S. Robinson – B.A.

Theatre: Sherri Doe Mitchell – B.A.

Pre-commencement events planned

A number of events are planned for graduates, their families and guests before the ceremonies at the BOS Center. The annual Online Graduates Brunch will be held at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 11, in the Student Union Ballroom. The Capital Scholars Honors Program will also honor its graduates that day with a 9 a.m. brunch on the lower level of the Public Affairs Center.

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

For more information, go to the UIS Commencement website at

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