The UIS Community

A new kind of conversation addressing issues that UIS students and staff care about.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A personal good-bye from UIS

It's been a great run. I've been at UIS for 22+ years. Today is my last day. I had two careers here -- one in journalism at Illinois Issues (10 years), and the other as the chancellor's chief of staff (12 years).

I leave with a lot of great memories, and my greatest feeling is one of gratitude. I've had a chance to work with some of the most talented people in the region, very innovative 21st century knowledge workers. I've also been remarkably lucky to be part of the lives of some of the brightest young people in America--our students and alumni--people who will shape the 21st century. I'm also grateful for the central Illinois visionaries of the 1960s who dreamed of having a university in Springfield. They would be happy to know it's thriving and still growing.

I'm not retiring, just moving to a new opportunity. I almost wrote that I'm leaving a lot of great relationships behind, but I deleted that. Life is not linear, so the relationships continue, and powerful institutions like UIS keep humming. I'm glad they do, because as alumnus Saul Morse wrote in a recent op-ed column, UIS is a tremendous community asset, and "the prospects for this institution of higher education and its effect upon our community are limitless."

Ed Wojcicki and Donovan Pepper
Here I'm with alum Donovan Pepper at a U of I Lobby Day

Jinger Sanders and Ed Wojcicki
And with senior Jinger Sanders on a different Lobby Day

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

"Return if possible"

UIS professor Lucas Vespa announces June 2, 2014, that Sandeep Reddy (backgournd on slide) was inducted postumously into the national computer science honor society.
A good photo of former UIS graduate student Sandeep Reddy stayed on the screen a long time during a memorial service in his honor at UIS yesterday. Sandeep drowned May 26, 2014, while visiting relatives.
What especially struck me were the words "Return If Possible" next to his picture. I didn't know what they meant. Had never seen them at a funeral or memorial service before. So I asked a colleague about it, and he explained -- if I understood correctly -- that it signifies his friends' desire for Sandeep to come back and be with them in some way.
Why come back? So they could play cricket together, of course! Sandeep loved to play cricket, as do many UIS students from India. He just became the captain of the UIS cricket team.
So return if possible, Sandeep. And as many of your friends said at yesterday's service, rest in peace.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Why Congressman Davis came to UIS today

U.S. Congressman Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville) chose UIS as the host site for his first meeting with an advisory board of elementary and high school superintendents, principals, board members and teachers in his 13th District. About thirty of them were here for a candid conversation about issues of importance to them, and Davis emphasized a need for the federal government to be flexible so that decisions can be made at the local level.

Then he conducted his second meeting with leaders of higher education institutions in his district, including public and private universities and community colleges. These leaders asked Davis to push for summer Pell grants, for relief on the rising costs of student insurance, and for procedures that would make it easier for students and their families to file annual FAFSA forms. Davis and the educational leaders are concerned about increasing challenges to make college more affordable.

Congressman Davis with his Elementary and Secondary Education Advisory Board in University Hall at UIS