Monday, November 24, 2014

Clarice Ford named interim vice chancellor for student affairs at UIS

Clarice Ford, Ph.D., has been named the interim vice chancellor for student affairs at the University of Illinois Springfield. Her appointment began on Oct. 13, 2014.

As Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Ford leads campus departments, such as Admissions, Financial Assistance, International Student Services, Residence Life, and Student Life, which are critical to student recruitment and success.

UIS Chancellor Susan J. Koch calls Ford “an experienced and dedicated student services professional who has excelled in leadership positions for over twenty years.”

Ford has been a member of the UIS community since 2008 and previously served as Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Services and Executive Director of the Diversity Center.

Ford came to UIS from Berry College in Rome, Georgia where she served as the Associate Dean of Multicultural Affairs. Previously, she worked at Youngstown State University and The Ohio State University in Student Affairs.

Ford will serve as Interim Vice Chancellor for a two-year period with the appointment being reviewed on an annual basis.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Leadership lived: International student gets involved at UIS

When Aerie Nguyen took the 30 hour flight from Vietnam to the United States she didn’t know what to expect. However, when she arrived at the University of Illinois Springfield she found a warm and welcoming environment.

Nguyen quickly got involved on campus and is now the president of the Asian Student Organization, vice president of the International Student Association, and a chair member for the UIS student chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management.

“I love it here so much. My experience here at UIS is wonderful as a student leader,” said Nguyen.

She admits to being homesick at first, but that quickly changed when she realized all of the opportunities available to her on campus.

“When I first came here I felt super lonely because I was just by myself,” she said. “I figured I had to do something different.”

That’s when she decided to get involved on campus, first with the Asian Student Organization and International Student Association as a member.

“I really like the experience at UIS. I’ve learned a lot,” she said. “In the U.S., everything’s different from Vietnam. I love it here. I make every second count.”

After she graduates from UIS, she plans to work either in the United States or Vietnam.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Leadership lived: Student helps plan major campus events


Aretha Hughes helps plan two of the biggest annual events on the University of Illinois Springfield campus. As traditions co-coordinator for the Student Activities Committee, she’s responsible for planning Homecoming and Springfest activities.

The psychology major from Chicago is also vice president of the Spirit Team and a member of the Black Student Union.

“With homecoming, my main part was (planning) the actual dance,” said Hughes. “I helped to set up the voting and nominations for the homecoming royalty and I did a lot of the decorating and planning.”

Hughes says attending UIS has taught her a lot of about leadership and has helped to improve her communication skills and her ability to work professionally with others.

She enjoys her leadership roles on campus because they give her a break from academic work.

“Getting outside of the books, it makes college a lot more worthwhile,” said Hughes. “You get to network with people and you get to do a lot of things that you’re interested in.”

After she graduates from UIS, Hughes plans to pursue a career in Clinical Psychology and wants to help youth who are in need.

“I feel like once I get to the point where I’m done with school or done with doing things on campus that I feel like I’ll be ready,” she said.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Alumni Association honors four for achievement, service and humanitarian work

The University of Illinois Alumni Association honored the significant contributions of Ralph Blackman, William and Julie Kellner and June Agamah during the University of Illinois Springfield’s annual Alumni Gala on Friday, November 7, 2014 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.

The Alumni Achievement Award was given to Ralph Blackman, who earned a master’s degree in Public Affairs & Administration in 1976. Blackman is currently the President and CEO for the Foundation of Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (AAR). The award is the highest honor bestowed upon graduates of the University. It is given to those who have attained distinction and success in one’s profession or life work.

Blackman said that when he was named to his current post in 1996, he knew it could be the most important position he’d ever hold in a career that included stints at the White House.

The efforts of the Arlington, Virginia-based nonprofit have helped decrease alcohol-impaired driving fatalities by 32 percent since its inception in 1991.

Prior to joining AAR, Blackman served as the associate director of the White House Conference on Small Business during the Reagan administration, and as the assistant administrator for private enterprise within the U.S. Agency for International Development during the George H.W. Bush presidency. Blackman also founded Public Access, Inc., a Washington D.C., corporate-relations firm that provided assistance to clients interested in business ventures abroad.

The Distinguished Service Award for extraordinary commitment, dedication and service to the advancement of the University of Illinois was awarded to William and Julie Kellner.

William Kellner earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1973, Julie Kellner received a bachelor’s degree from the UIS College of Business and Management in 1986.

Whether through their own generosity and volunteer work or by generating community and corporate support, the Kellners have made invaluable, decades-long contributions to UIS and the region.

The Kellners are Presidents Council and UI Foundation members, as well as generous annual contributing members of the University of Illinois Alumni Association. At UIS, they give regularly to the visual and performing arts programs and have endowed the Kellner Family Scholarship Fund, a needs-based scholarship. They are major benefactors of Memorial Medical Center in Springfield.

Julie serves as the executive director of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois. William, along with Julie, is the third-generation owner of M.J. Kellner Co., a wholesale food distributor, and a director of National City Bank.

June Agamah was honored with the Alumni Humanitarian Award for significant contributions of leadership or service to improve the lives of others and the welfare of humanity.

June received her master’s degree in Public Affairs and Administration in 2001. She is a public health worker with the International Health and Development Network.

Since 1996, June, along with her husband, has helped lead 25 mission trips to bring clean water, electricity and medical care to rural villagers in Ghana, West Africa, her husband’s homeland. In 2008, Agamah and her husband helped open a hospital for thousands of under-served villagers. The organization’s records show that it has helped tens of thousands of people in the past 18 years.

A native of Guyana, South America, Agamah believes that monetary aid is vital to doing good work, but to effect change, the willingness of the human heart to serve counts even more.

For more information on the awards, contact Chuck Schrage, vice president and association chancellor for alumni relations at 217/206-7395 or email

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Clarissa Fisher honored with Student Laureate Award from the Lincoln Academy of Illinois

University of Illinois Springfield senior Clarissa Fisher has been honored with the Student Laureate Award from the Lincoln Academy of Illinois.

Fisher, a Rochester, Ill. native, is majoring in Accountancy at UIS. She holds a 4.0 GPA and plans to take the CPA exam upon her graduation. Her plans also include pursuing a career in international financial management.

“I look forward to taking all that I have learned at UIS and applying it to my CPA exam which will open so many doors professionally, though I will not forget the institution that made it possible,” said Fisher.

Following a year in China teaching English and Art to elementary school students, and a subsequent mission trip to Haiti, Fisher found her passion for community service. She is involved with the Family Service Center in Springfield, the Boys and Girls Club of Central Illinois and Big Brothers Big Sisters - Illinois Capital Region.

On campus, Fisher is active with the campus Accounting Society, Habitat for Humanity, and is on her way to becoming a LGBTQA Resource Office Safe Zone member and advocate.

“I am a work in progress,” said Fisher. “I am blessed to be constantly changing as a person and continually improving myself. UIS has given me some incredible opportunities.”

Fisher began her collegiate career at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis and transferred to UIS. She was the recipient of the Transfer Student Scholarship.

“Personally, I want to do well enough for myself that I can donate my time and efforts to giving others a chance,” said Fisher.

Fisher says her education and experience serving others overseas is helping her carve a path to her future.

“Educationally, I intend to never stop learning because, each experience that I’ve had the privilege to be a part of has shaped me into someone who wants to leave the world a better p
lace,” she said. “I know that sounds contrived, but some extraordinary people who have changed the course of human events have had similar sentiments and I’m glad to count myself among them.”

Each year an outstanding senior from each of the four-year degree-granting institutions of higher learning in Illinois is awarded the Student Lincoln Academy Medallion and thereby becomes a Student Laureate of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois. Student Laureates are honored for their overall excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities.

For more information, contact Derek Schnapp, UIS director of public relations, at 217/206-6716 or