Monday, April 24, 2017

Good as Gold Ceremony honors over 60 local volunteers and businesses

The University of Illinois Springfield, Junior League of Springfield and the United Way of Central Illinois honored more than 60 local volunteers and businesses during the 9th annual Good as Gold Ceremony. The event was held on Monday, April 24, 2017, at the UIS Public Affairs Center.

Distinguished Volunteer Award 

Long-time Memorial Medical Center volunteer Patty Stremsterfer was honored with the 2017 Distinguished Volunteer Award.

Stremsterfer was a young wife and mother of three, when a friend encouraged her to volunteer at Memorial. Forty-four years later, she still gives four hours a week to the 6C ICU cardiac area and has logged more than 8,000 hours of volunteering. She is one of the hospital’s most committed volunteers.

“It’s just where I should be,” she said.

Stremsterfer spends time with family members or friends of patients undergoing cardiac procedures and sometimes the patients themselves. For her, it has a special importance. Both she and her husband have undergone open heart surgery, so she understands and empathizes with the people she meets.

I love people,” she said. “I’m a people person. If I can be there when a patient’s family can’t, it feels good.”

Stremsterfer also volunteers her time creating educational dolls with fabric organs, sews “angel pockets” for families suffering a perinatal loss and serves her church by hosting card parties, coordinating events and fundraisers, serving luncheons and making blankets for members of the congregation.

The 2017 Distinguished Volunteer finalists include Les Carlson, Alfred Hampton and Scott Dickerson.

UIS Star Student Award

UIS student Matt Haury was honored with the Star Student Award for his volunteer efforts in the community. Haury began working with the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in December 2015 prior to the store’s relocation to 6th Street. Almost daily, Haury performs pickups, brings in donations and places items on the floor. He also leads other volunteers in helping the store with a number of tasks including assembling shelving and reorganizing the back end.

“Matt would make an effort to come in almost daily,” said Josh Gordon, manager of the ReStore. “His help allowed us to bring in more donations, as well as get those items on the floor for faster resale.”

Haury said it is the combined work of all volunteers and staff that make the ReStore successful.

UIS Star Staff Award 

Beverly Bunch, professor of public administration at the University of Illinois Springfield, was honored with the Star Staff Award for her volunteer efforts with the United Way of Central Illinois.

Bunch has served as Community Fund panel chair as well as on the Community Impact Committee of the United Way Board, the Venture Funds Committee, and the Emergency Food and Shelter Program Committee.

In her decade of service there, she has given thousands of hours of her time, including more than 250 hours in the past year alone.

“I have always been enthusiastic about United Way, and I was very excited when I had the opportunity to work with them,” said Bunch. “I really believe in their cause.”

Youth Volunteer Award

Springfield High School senior Russell Moore III was honored with the Youth Volunteer Award. Moore serves as president of several youth organizations including; the Sigma Beta Club of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., the Springfield Frontiers Youth Development Program and the American Legion Illinois State Junior Police Academy. He works as guide at the Abraham Lincoln National Historic Site, participates in Civil War reenactments and serves at the St. John’s Breadline. He has taken up collections for the Salvation Army and co-hosted a Kwanzaa celebration.

Upon graduation, Moore plans to seek a degree in computer programming and possibly join the Marine Corps Forces Reserve. He said his goal in life is to see his generation not only succeed, but be a positive example.

Heart of Gold Community Awards

Forty-one local volunteers were also honored with the Heart of Gold Award. Recipients included: Dan Babor, Gina Bausch, Lindsay Bentivegna, Jewel Bishop, Angie Black, Valerie Bolinger, Jack E. Carder, Evelyn Carder, Devin Dreesman, Randy Ginder, Pete Graham, Gwyn Gurgens, Neill Howey, Tom Hutchison, Alicia King, Kerry King, Don Klues, Matt Lamsargis, Donald Landry, Toni LaVigne, Robin Loftus, Marilyn Markus, Connie Matthews, Lynn McMenamin, Traci Moore, Robin Patton, Sonya Perkins, Roger Priestley, , Waldo Richie, Penny Roth, Sara Shaffer, Debra Singer, Dave Slaughter, Barbara Spiro, Jill Waltman, Christine Weisbaum, Evan & Courtney Westlake, Lisa Williams, Jan Wilson and Joyce Wilson.

Organization Agent of Service Award

The winner of the 2017 Organization Agent of Service Award is Central Baptist Church. Led by Pastor Josh Sabo, the church has created a partnership with Graham Elementary School nearby. The church congregation is instrumental in volunteering to run the school’s library as well as the after-school program and has given 3,000 hours this year alone.

The church also holds two large events each year, involving about 75 percent of their congregation. The Graham Christmas Gift Mart benefits more than 100 children each year and more than 1,000 meals are either delivered or served at the church for their Thanksgiving meal deliveries. Both events benefit the James Project and Contact Ministries.

Business Honor Roll 

A total of 25 Sangamon County businesses were named to the Business Honor Roll sponsored by the UIS College of Business and Management and supported by The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce. The honor roll recognizes businesses that have made giving back to our community a priority.

Three businesses were listed at the top of the honor roll as Golden Distinction Winners; Security Bank, Heartland Credit Union, and Bank of Springfield.

Other businesses making this year’s honor roll include Ameriprise Financial - Steven Koch; Duggins Design Center; Gem PR & Media; Terry Farmer Photography; West Central Bank; Illinois Realtors; Kerber, Eck & Breckel; Orthopedic Center of Illinois; President Abraham Lincoln Springfield - A DoubleTree by Hilton; Troxell; Brandt Consolidated Inc.; Bunn-O-Matic Corporation; Crawford, Murphy & Tilly Inc.; Horace Mann Companies; Illinois National Bank; Marine Bank; Memorial Health System; RSM US LLP; Springfield Electric Supply Company; United Community Bank; U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo Funding.

For more information about the awards, please visit, email or call 217/ 206-7716.

Springfield architect Paul O’Shea honored for Outstanding Advocate Leadership

The University of Illinois Foundation today announces Springfield native and long-time resident Paul O’Shea as the recipient of the 2017 William E. Winter Award for Outstanding Advocate Leadership.

The award will be presented at the UIS Celebration of Philanthropy on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, at UIS. The U of I Foundation is the fundraising arm of the University of Illinois.

A licensed architect who recently retired as planning and design coordinator for the City of Springfield, O’Shea has received many awards for his community service, including the 2012 First Citizen Award from The State Journal-Register.

O’Shea has been a tireless advocate for the University of Illinois Springfield. His greatest service has been as an ambassador building relationships between Springfield and UIS.

“The university represents an asset to Springfield that is hard to describe,” O’Shea said. “It has a major impact on our region and the city. Both the university and the community benefit when we come together.”

O’Shea works behind the scenes to encourage financial support for UIS by suggesting fundraising events, helping to plan them and inviting people to attend. He has inspired many to give through his outspoken confidence in UIS and his and his wife’s giving.

He began providing financial support for UIS in 1998 and through the years has given often to many university funds, especially for athletics. In 2012, O’Shea began funding athletic scholarships, and more recently he and his wife, Lynne, have made a generous gift in support of the UIS Intercollegiate Baseball Program Field Turf Project.

The William E. Winter Award, named for the late CEO Emeritus of the 7-Up Company and a longtime member of the University of Illinois Foundation Board of Directors, celebrates individuals who play active roles in securing private support for the University of Illinois.

Past recipients of the William E. Winter Award include W. Robert Felker, Pamela McClelland, Cullom Davis, Bob Clary, Leonard Branson, Thom Serafin, Tom Marantz, Julie Kellner, Guerry Suggs and Michelle Suggs (deceased); Howard Humphrey (deceased), James Lundquist (deceased), and Clifford Greenwalt.

For more information, contact Jeff Lorber, UIS vice chancellor for advancement, at 217/206-6058 or email

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Barbara Cass wins the 2017 CAPE Award

Barbara Cass, an online program coordinator for the University of Illinois Springfield’s Business Administration Department, is the winner of the 14th annual Chancellor’s Academic Professional Excellence (CAPE) Award. The award was presented by Chancellor Susan J. Koch during a ceremony on April 12, 2017.

Cass joined UIS nearly 20 years ago in the Center for Teaching and Learning and Ombud’s Office. She also served as the online coordinator for the English degree program prior to moving the BBA program eleven years ago.

Her passion for online learning has been demonstrated as she assisted in developing an articulation agreement with the College of Lake County for a seamless transition from lower coursework to the UIS online BBA program. She was instrumental in the successful AACSB reaccreditation for the College of Business and Management. She serves on the steering committee for COPE-L (Community of Practice for E-Leaning), which works to share best-practices related to e-learning. She stays current on best practices by attending distance education conferences and having regular meetings with other online coordinators and COLRS (Center for Online Learning, Research and Service).

“Countless numbers of our students have told me how Barbara has been the key to enabling them to complete their degrees,” said one nominator. “What better testament to her contributions could there be?”

Currently Cass is assisting with the STAMATS/Slate pilot program for online lead nurturing.

“This will not only benefit her program, but will pave the way for other online programs to adopt best practices,” said one nominator.

Cass has also served in many other capacities across the university including, as an adjunct faculty assisting in facilitating the UIS Speakers Series, the Employee of the Month selection committee, as an advisor to the Provost for the University of Illinois System’s Conflict of Commitment & Interest Policy, and also as a long-time member of the CAPE selection committee.

“It is good that she is no longer on the CAPE Committee so that we can finally nominate her,” said a nominator.

The CAPE Award recognizes U of I academic professionals for their efforts in three general categories: work projects, professional development and affiliations, and contributions to their units. The winner receives $500 in cash for personal use.

All academic professionals are eligible to receive the CAPE Award; nominations are reviewed by campus committees and candidates’ names are forwarded to the chancellor, who makes the final selections.

Others nominated for the 2017 CAPE Award include Lori Benedict, Vickie Cook, Sean Crawford, Mae Noll, Chris Ryan, Donna Schaub, Robin Vansacik and Ryan L. Williams.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Leadership lived: Veteran finds therapeutic relief by acting in UIS play

Shane Graham is not your typical college student. At 25, the U.S. Army veteran has found a passion for acting at the University of Illinois Springfield.

The senior communication major plays three roles in UIS Theatre’s spring production of “Almost, Maine”. He describes it as “a play about love and relationships” with some “really cartoony and quirky” elements added to the plot.

While Graham did some acting in high school, this is the first time he’s ever had to memorize lines as part of a major theatrical production.

“It’s been exciting because theatre has been just really therapeutic since getting out of the military,” he said. “It's been able to not just help me cope with issues, but it's been able to help me just kind of come to peace with myself.”

Graham served as an infantry solider for four years and completed a combat tour in southern Afghanistan.

“I got out and decided that I wanted to raise my son outside of the military,” he said. “I want to be with my wife outside of the military and I was able to explore other options.”

Graham commutes to UIS several times a week, even more now that he’s part of the play, from his home in Lincoln, Illinois, about 34 miles north of Springfield.

“Apart from living 45 minutes away, commuting and taking classes, balancing my schedule has definitely been the hardest part,” he said.

Following graduation from UIS, Graham said he would like to find a job in the public relations or advertising field. He said he’s very thankful that he decided to come to UIS.

“There’s not a day that goes by I don’t think about how life would have turned out if I went to another school or stayed out of college,” he said. “I don’t think I would have made it as far or done as well if it were not for UIS.”

Monday, April 10, 2017

Eleven UIS students present at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research

Eleven students from the University of Illinois Springfield presented their work at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research at the University of Memphis on April 6-8, 2017.

Students submitted abstracts and were selected in a competitive process by the UIS Undergraduate Research Steering Committee. They were later approved by the national conference committee. The students represent multiple programs and colleges.

Students presenting include Marquiera Harris (Social Work), Elizabeth Karras (Sociology & Anthropology), Eli Hahn (Psychology), Alex Skarr (Sociology & Anthropology and Political Science), Shyleen Frost (Biology), Gabriel Broughton (Business Administration), Ebony Forslund (Psychology), Amanda Monke (English), Turner Clark (Business Management), Allie McIntire (Psychology) and Nhan Khanh Le (Business Administration).

The 31st annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research is a program of the Council on Undergraduate Research. Around 4,000 students from around the country will present their research and creative activities.

The students were accompanied on the trip by Tiffani Saunders, UIS Sociology/Anthropology lecturer, and Keenan Dungey, associate professor of chemistry and director of the Undergraduate Research Support Program.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Leadership lived: Student finds passion for helping others at UIS

Kelsie Roberts enjoys helping others, whether she’s fixing a problem at work or volunteering with a non-profit organization on the weekend. Roberts is a junior business administration major at the University of Illinois Springfield.

On campus, she’s worked at the ID Center for the past 3 years where she creates i-cards, the official identification for University of Illinois students. She helps students replace lost or stolen cards, takes passport photos and mails i-cards to students who live off campus.

“I’ve learned a lot from working here,” she said. “I love interacting with students and getting a chance to talk to them. I’ve learned a lot about organizational skills and how to handle problems when they arise.”

Roberts is also a member of the Capital Scholars Honors Program, the Christian Student Fellowship (CSF) leadership team, a founding member of the Alpha Lambda Delta Honors Society and a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma Honors Society.

As part of CSF, she helps plans service projects both on and off campus. She has volunteered at the St. John's Breadline, Kumler Outreach Ministries, the Salvation Army, Northside's Children Library, the Springfield Zoo, Habitat for Humanity and the Refuge Ranch.

“I love how UIS provides many different opportunities to serve here on campus,” she said. “I love getting the opportunity to help people and just give back with being a servant.”

Roberts, a Pawnee, Illinois native, decided to attend UIS because it was close to home and affordable.

“UIS has given me so many great opportunities to be involved,” she said. “What I’ve gotten out of that and the people I’ve met. It’s been great.”

Following graduation from UIS, Roberts plans to earn an MBA and pursue a career in the business finance field.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

UIS Education Honor Society inducts 11 new members

The Alpha Alpha Gamma chapter of Kappa Delta Pi, the International Honor Society in Education, at the University of Illinois Springfield inducted seven new members during a ceremony on April 3, 2017.

Kim Thomas, the Illinois State Board of Education’s 2016 Teacher of the Year, was the guest speaker at the event. She is a math teacher at Woodruff Career and Technical Academy in Peoria, Illinois.

The Society inducts individuals who have exhibited the ideals of scholarship, integrity in service, and commitment to excellence in teaching and its allied professions. Selection as a member of Kappa Delta Pi is based on high academic achievement, a commitment to education as a career, and a professional attitude that assures steady growth in the profession.

Students inducted at this year’s ceremony include:

Carmi: Sean Courty
Decatur: Kyleen Streckfuss
Girard: Jordan Emery
Kewanee: Paul Van Wassenhove
Springfield: Katherine Lounsberry, Lyndsey Staff
Worden: Shelby Steinmeyer

Kappa Delta Pi was established in 1911 to recognize and promote excellence in education. Through its programs, services, and strategic partnerships, the honor society supports the professional growth and teaching practices of educators throughout all phases and levels of their careers. The organization currently has more than 600 chapters and an active membership of nearly 40,000 worldwide.

For more information, contact Ronda Mitchell, chapter advisor and UIS assistant professor of Teacher Education, at 217/206-7008 or