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EIU Spirit Cheerleader Spreads Blue Throughout Community 10/22/14
Tonya Green on an outing with Billy the Panther.

The moment she wakes up, Tonya Green is thinking blue.

The Greenup native may work at Eastern Illinois University, but to her the color means so much more.  It represents the opportunity to unite the community in one cause — a love and passion for being a “real” Panther.

Every Friday, Green ventures out to Charleston businesses igniting community support. Through her passion and determination, she rallies those both on and off campus to become ‘true’ Panthers. She’s not alone in her quest, grabbing fellow co-worker Cara Pschirrer, students and Billy the Panther to ensure that blue’s the focus.

“It’s my personal challenge to spread the blue epidemic,” said Green, laughing.

During the visits, they take photos of business employees wearing blue, let community members meet Billy, and drum up morale with the EIU fight song and spirit chants.

“It’s all about fun,” said Green, commenting on her mission to make blue contagious.  She’s even donned the Billy suit herself. “People respond to the positive.”

And, Green’s type of fun gets results. On Fridays, owners of businesses throughout the community have allowed their employees to wear blue, even buying Homecoming shirts for them. Some businesses are going against corporate dress code policy in order to show their support.

Additionally, 50 local businesses painted their windows blue in support of EIU – just in time for Homecoming Weekend, which is October 24-26.

“I love all the positive responses from the community,” Green said.  Reactions from the community don’t just excite her; they give her “goose bumps,” she said. 

Known throughout the community as EIU’s spirit cheerleader, Green is more than ready for the Homecoming game on Saturday.  But she isn’t too concerned about the outcome of the game.

“It doesn’t matter if we win or not,” Green said. “It’s about showing love for the school.”

It’s no surprise that Green loves EIU and the community. She spent her life in the area, earning her education at EIU.  Her husband, Joe, and son, Brad, are currently employed by the university, too.

As the Homecoming game approaches, Green is preparing the last moment touch-ups as she organizes Homecoming reunions and spirit events, encourages even more businesses to paint their windows, cheers on students at the Homecoming coronation and, of course, and ensures her own office area is gleaming with blue.

She’s even helped organize a “Panther Cab” event where Billy the Panther and EIU celebrities, such as administrators, coaches and faculty members driving golf carts, will pick up students wearing blue throughout campus on Friday and drive them to their destinations.

For Green, a real Panther is someone who shows their love for their school, but school spirit is more powerful than that.  “The spirit brings the whole community together,” she said.

Green wouldn’t miss the Homecoming game or parade on Saturday, but she’s already thinking about next year. “It’s about keeping blue contagious,” Green said, as she brainstorms ideas for next year.

Green grew up in Greenup and currently lives in Charleston. She earned a board of governor’s degree from EIU in 2007, and works in the office of University Advancement as the assistant director of donor relations.

The Friday visits are part of the Real Panthers Wear Blue initiative, where students, staff, faculty and community members are encouraged to wear blue or Panther attire.

A list of Homecoming events is available here. The EIU Panthers will take on their OVC rival Tennessee State in the 98th Homecoming football game at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in O’Brien Stadium.

Panther Pride Turning Campus, City Blue in Time for EIU Homecoming Weekend 10/22/14
Billy Panther visits with campus employees.

Panther Pride is on the rise in Charleston as the community prepares itself for Eastern Illinois University’s Homecoming 2014 activities.

“Bright Lights, Blue City:  Homecoming 2014” events are taking place this week, culminating with the traditional parade, football game and other popular events on Saturday, Oct. 25.

This year’s Homecoming committee planned numerous thematic events and activities designed to showcase EIU Panther Pride throughout campus and the city of Charleston.  Several Charleston-area businesses plan to feature window displays, lawn signs and marquees displaying their EIU pride and spirit.

Community residents are welcome to attend many Homecoming events, both on and off campus.  The most popular of those will occur on Saturday.

Early risers can prepare for a full day of activity with a warm meal, courtesy of the Charleston Rotary Club.  Serving for the 15th annual all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast will take place from 6:30 to 10 a.m. in the parking lot of Dirty’s Bar & Grill, located at the southeast corner of Seventh Street and Lincoln Avenue.  The price is $6 for adults and $3 for children under 10, with all proceeds from the event going to various local charities.

With their appetites taken care of, diners can either burn off those calories or simply support those who are by attending the 15th annual EIU/Charleston Homecoming 2.5k (1.5-mile) Race/Walk at 9 a.m.  Participants will begin at the corner of Seventh Street and Lincoln Avenue, make their way north on Seventh Street to the Charleston Square, then return to EIU’s Old Main via Sixth Street.

An entry fee of $10 will be collected from each participant, while awards are designated for the top male and female finisher in each of three categories: run, walk and wheelchair.  (See here for registration information.)

The EIU Homecoming Parade is an annual tradition consisting of campus/community entries – floats, bands and decorated cars, to name just a few.  Participants will line up near on the east side of Old Main and, beginning at 9:30 a.m., march northward up Seventh Street to Monroe Avenue, west on Monroe to Sixth Street, then head south to Polk Avenue where they will again turn west.  Upon reaching Division Street, they will turn south, cross Lincoln Avenue and head for Grant Avenue (a.k.a. Panther Way), winding up at the tailgate area at O’Brien Stadium.

The annual Homecoming football game, in which the EIU Panthers will host Tennessee State, begins at 1:30 p.m.  Tickets may be purchased the day of the game at O’Brien Stadium, or in advance online, in person at the EIU Ticket Office (Lantz 2530; open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday), or by calling 217-581-2106.

Football fans are invited to arrive early to show their Panther Pride at this year’s Billy’s Backyard Tailgate event, featuring food, inflatable games and live entertainment.

The public is also invited to attend other Homecoming activities, including the "Light It Up Blue" Pep Rally, with Yell Like Hell/Who Wants to Be a Mascot contests and a Torch March, from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday in McAfee Gym – South.  A wide range of student cheers/chants, dance routines, and contests will highlights this year's pep rally event.

EIU Alumni Awards to be Presented During Homecoming 10/21/14

Recipients of the Eastern Illinois University Alumni Association’s 2014 alumni awards will be honored Saturday, Oct. 25, in conjunction with Homecoming activities.

Distinguished Alumni Awards will go to Suzanne Barchers (’67) of Stanford, California; Chuck Bell (’67, ’69) of Scottsdale, Arizona; Nancy Elwess (’76) of North Hero, Vermont; Michelle Hanlon (’93) of Acton, Massachusetts; and Mary Anne Hanner ('72, '74) of Oakland.

The Outstanding Young Alumnus Award recipient is Kristofer Howard (’00) of Libertyville.  The Louis V. Hencken Alumni Service Award honoree is Jerry Zachary (’61, ’88) of Champaign.  The Distinguished Educator Award will be presented to Eric Bright (’12) of Charleston.

“We are honored to be able to recognize such an extraordinary group of alumni for their accomplishments and the varied ways in which they represent their alma mater,” said Bob Martin, vice president for university advancement.  “Their successes reflect well on Eastern Illinois University and motivate current and future students to follow their own dreams.”

For biographies of current and past award winners, please see here.

Established in 1973, the Distinguished Alumni Award is the most prestigious award bestowed by the Alumni Association. It is presented to individuals who have distinguished themselves in either academic or literary fields, business, public service and/or service to the university, and who, through their accomplishments and service, have brought prestige to their alma mater. Past recipients have included an Illinois governor, Oscar-nominated actors, an NFL head coach, a nuclear physicist, CEOs, educators at all levels and many others.

First presented in 1988, the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award is presented to alumni who are 35 or younger and have excelled in new careers and/or public service.

The Louis V. Hencken Alumni Service Award, established in 1988, is presented to alumni who have repeatedly displayed outstanding voluntary service to the university. In 2007, the name was changed to the Louis V. Hencken Alumni Service Award in honor of Eastern's retiring president, who held a variety of administrative positions at EIU for more than 40 years.

Established in 2004, the Distinguished Educator Award is presented to alumni who have distinguished themselves in the field of K-12 education.


Astronomy 'Hobbyist' Designs, Owns World's Largest Privately Owned Telescope 10/17/14
Robert E. Holmes Jr. (left) with EIU President Bill Perry

WESTFIELD, Ill. -- The Earth may someday thank its lucky stars for a 25-cent purchase hastily made nearly a half century ago.

It was then that a young Robert E. Holmes Jr. who, while shopping with his mother at a local dime store, was given a quarter with instructions to buy himself something.  At a loss for what to buy, he waited until his mother who, when done with her own shopping, told him she was ready to go and that he needed to hurry up and choose something.

Holmes picked up a book on astronomy.

“And that was the start of it,” said Steve Daniels, professor and chair of the physics department at Eastern Illinois University.  “A few years later, when he was in high school, Bob was the guy on the roof, looking through telescopes all the time.

“And now, if anybody is protecting us from the sky, it’s Bob,” Daniels said.

On a nightly basis, Holmes quietly monitors the universe.  He does so from his rural Westfield home, located about 10 miles east of Charleston, and he stills uses telescopes – although they’ve graduated greatly in size.

In fact, Holmes recently completed the construction and installation of a 50-inch (size of the mirror) telescope, making him the proud owner of the largest privately owned telescope in the world.  It is the fourth in a collection that also includes a 24-inch, a 30-inch and a 32-inch telescope – each of which has its own outbuilding to keep it safe from the elements.

“The buildings are about 10-feet wide, with roofs that slide straight back,” Daniels said. “Bob did his own design.”

With the exception of the 30-inch scope, which was a collaborative acquisition with EIU, Holmes designed, built and funded each of the scopes much on his own.  He cut steel plates into parts that he then welded together.  He used an engine hoist to move the heavy steel assemblies, including large fork mounts.

“The support systems are amazing,” Daniels said.  “They each are the weight of a Volkswagen; yet, they’re so well balanced, you can move them with one finger.”

Holmes even designed the primary mirror for his recently completed 50-inch scope.  Bob had a close friend, Mike Lockwood of Lockwood Optics in Champaign, Ill., shape the curvature of the glass.  He hired a company, though, to apply the final aluminum coating.

“Bob’s passion for building telescopes and coming up with clever and interesting designs for those telescopes are what helped draw him back to astronomy,” Daniels said.

Holmes had left his hobby for a successful career in commercial magazine photography.  But, in 1999, after attending a meeting of the Champaign-Urbana Astronomical Society and then a talk by Robert Kirshner, a Harvard College professor of astronomy, Holmes sensed a resurgence of interest in amateur astronomical research.

Beginning with a commercial 16-inch telescope equipped with a CCD camera mounted at the focus, he began acquiring images and data.  In 2002, he founded the not-for-profit Astronomical Research Institute (ARI), allowing him to facilitate outreach to schools, colleges and students.

“From the very beginning, education and public outreach has been an important element in our research,” Holmes told a reporter for Sky & Telescope magazine (December 2011).

Holmes also began refocusing his efforts more on imaging and reporting the positions of asteroids and the occasional comet, including near-Earth objects (NEOs).  He joined hundreds of other observatories – both amateur and professional – that report positions to determine the precise orbits of these objects to the Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

According to Daniels, some scientists believe that a mass extinction of dinosaurs occurred thousands upon thousands of years ago due to an asteroid striking the Earth.  Holmes’ work, and that of others like him, is designed to search for and track other objects that could possibly collide with the Earth.

And the stronger the telescope, Daniels added, the better chance one has of detecting such an object early.

“The earlier we know about it, the better chance we have to do something about it,” he added.  “Would you rather learn about something like that 20 years in advance or one day early?”

It was for that very reason that Holmes began researching and building newer and stronger telescopes.  “Making discoveries using the 16-inch reflector became increasingly difficult,” Holmes said, “especially as undiscovered objects became fewer and fainter.”

After completing his 32-inch telescope in the summer of 2006, Holmes spent another year of working days as a photographer and watching the skies at night.  Fortunately, thanks to network cables linking his telescope to his home office, he was able to keep up this vigil from the comfort of his own home.

Images of moving objects conveyed valuable data, including position and size, and were analyzed via special software.  Resulting information was emailed on to the Minor Planet Center.

A year later, NASA – impressed with the quality and quantity of Holmes’ data – awarded him a grant that allowed him to quit his day job and take up his “hobby” full time.

While continuing to watch the skies by night, Holmes devoted his daytime hours to adding a second observatory and building a 24-inch telescope to add to his collection.  In 2008, he produced 11,593 observations of asteroids and NEOs accepted by the MPC --- more than any other individual OR professional observatory in the world.

Holmes thought he could do even better.  With the blessing of his wife Jackie, the couple moved from their home near Charleston to a 40-acre tract of land near nearby Westfield.  The property had more room for observatories; even then, in 2009, Holmes was beginning work on his 50-inch scope.

More importantly, however, was the distance Holmes gained from the distracting, artificial evening light of 24-hour shopping centers, parking lots and apartment complexes.

Working in conjunction with Eastern Illinois University’s Physics Department, Holmes also began work on an observatory for a 30-inch refurbished scope that is primarily run by EIU students via the internet.  That telescope came online in 2010, Daniels said.

“There’s a microwave link between the observatory on Bob’s property and EIU,” he continued.  “It’s Web-based, made possible as a result of a very strong collaborative effort.”

Holmes’ connection with Eastern goes even deeper.

“As an adjunct professor, he hosts our astronomy classes; they go out to his property a couple of times a year, at least,” Daniels said.  “And he works closely with Jim Conwell, the physics professor who built Eastern’s own observatory.

“Students are an integral part of Bob’s work,” he added.  “And not just with students at EIU.  Through his work, Bob reaches about 300 schools in 40 countries, working with students to analyze the multitude of data that he collects.  He helps researchers – both young and old – by making his equipment available to Skynet, an internet-based telescope-sharing network.

“He generates an enormous database of photographs that he collects almost every night, and then uploads it to the Web for others to use.  He holds workshops to train teachers to analyze astronomical data, including how to identify asteroids in a series of photographs, and encourages them to pass this knowledge along to their own students,” Daniels said.

Of course, Holmes does continue to spend many of his nights in solitude, gazing up into the skies.  And he continues to break records for discovering and tracking Near Earth Objects.  In fact, despite the many major observatories, Holmes is responsible for nearly half of all NEO measurements made in 2011.

“In other words, his observatory is responsible for more NEO data that anyplace else in the world,” Daniels said.  “From his observatory in Westfield, Bob Holmes stands guard over our world.”

Santana Named Alumnus of the Year by EIU Journalism Department 10/17/14

Marco Santana, technology/startup reporter at the Des Moines Register, has been named Alumnus of the Year by the Eastern Illinois University Journalism Department.

Santana, a 2008 graduate, is being awarded for his many contributions to the department.

“Marco has been a very loyal alum since he graduated from our program,” said John Ryan, chair of the Journalism Department’s Outreach & Service Committee, which voted to honor Santana.  “He has volunteered numerous times to assist the department in various activities, including speaking annually at the department’s summer workshop, talking to classes, and speaking at college and high school press events the department sponsors.”

To be eligible for the award, a recipient must be a graduate of the journalism program with significant college media experience, have attained a positive reputation as a journalist and continued to support the Journalism Department after graduation.

Santana, a past editor of The Daily Eastern News, has worked at the Des Moines Register for the past three years. He will soon join the Orlando Sentinel as a technology reporter.

Before joining the Register, Santana covered suburban schools and local government for the Daily Herald at Arlington Heights. He also covered education for the Galesburg Register-Mail.

Santana will be given the award at a luncheon Friday, Oct. 24, before faculty, students and guests at the MLK Jr. Union.

Past winners of the Alumnus of the Year Award include:  2001, Jim Hanks; 2001, Jim Roberts; 2002, Carl Green; 2002, Chris Soprych; 2003, Patrick Coburn; 2004, Mike Cowling; 2004, Lori Miller; 2005, Lisa Green; 2006, Jeff Britt; 2007, Ted Gregory; 2008, Richard Fox; 2010, Amy Carr-Burke; 2010, Jean Wright Medina; 2011, Dann Gire; and 2013, Nora Maberry Daniels.

‘How to Start a Business’ Workshop Offered in Greenup 10/16/14

A professional workshop focused on starting or expanding a business in Illinois will be offered next week in Greenup.

The Sustainable Entrepreneurship through Education & Development (SEED) center of Eastern Illinois University will offer a workshop to help combat the 80 percent of small businesses that fail within the first five years. The top reasons indicated for small business failure are inexperienced management of day-to-day operations, insufficient capital for startup and backup costs and inadequate business planning.

Topics covered in the workshop will include analyzing participants’ financial situation, evaluating their business concept, finding their market, establishing operational strategies, creating financial statements and obtaining the funding necessary to make their business idea a reality.

The “How to Start a Business” workshop will be from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday, October 21 in the Municipal Building in Greenup. The address is 115 E. Cumberland St.

Cost for the event is $25 per person and $35 per couple and registration is required by noon on the date of the class. Registration is available online here.  

The center was established as the new interdisciplinary home for entrepreneurial education, research and community partnerships at EIU. The primary focus is to foster collaboration among students, researchers, educators and practicing entrepreneurs to promote entrepreneurship through integrative learning. The next workshop will be at 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, November, 19  in the Health Department Offices in Toledo. The address is 132 NE Courthouse Square.  For more information about the workshops, please call 217-581-2913, email or visit the website here.  

Appearance of Nev Schulman Canceled; Rescheduled Date Pending 10/13/14

The appearance of Nev Schulman, the host of MTV’s Catfish, at Eastern Illinois University has been “canceled” and will be re-scheduled at a later date.

The cancellation is because of scheduling conflicts with the taping of Nev Schulman’s “Catfish” MTV Reality TV Show scheduled to air this fall. The appearance was scheduled for Thursday, October 16. 

Ticket sales have been suspended at this time and individuals who have purchased tickets in advance should contact the Ticket Office at the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union. For more information about tickets, call (217) 581-5122.



Former Students Give the Gift of Music for Retired Professor’s 90th Birthday 10/10/14

It all started with a handwritten note.

The note, which contained a wish for a happy new year, wasn’t why it meant so much to Glenna Murphy.

It represented her memories from 1975 to 1979 in Eastern Illinois University’s Music Department, and especially her memories of the author, Catherine Smith.

Smith, a music professor emeritus, dedicated her career to musical education and taught for almost 40 years at EIU in piano performance.   Murphy, a Tuscola resident, was one of Smith’s many students throughout the years.

“I knew I needed to do something for her,” said Murphy, an EIU alumnus, after she read Smith’s note earlier in the year.

With Smith’s approval, Murphy decided to organize a celebration for Smith’s 90th birthday. The celebration wasn’t going to be about cake and streamers, but about music and Smith’s former students.

The piano recital, with more than 20 students and colleagues of Smith’s scheduled to perform, will begin at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18 in the Dvorak Concert Hall in Doudna Fine Arts Center. The performance is open and free to the public.

To Murphy, the recital is a chance to show Smith what she spent days in her office teaching each one of her students – her passion and dedication to music.

It’s no surprise that Smith can’t wait to hear her students perform again, but Murphy said the alumni are anxious and excited to perform in front of a mentor, who always challenged them to succeed.

“She always pushed me to excel on the piano, wanting me to practice four hours a day, six days a week,” said Murphy, reminiscing fondly. “She always knew when I didn’t practice.”

Back in the late 70’s, Murphy remembered the first time she met Smith. In a scholarship audition, Murphy played the piano in front of Smith and another professor.

After the audition, they ate lunch in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union together. “She was so kind and interested in me,” Murphy remembered.

Even years later, Smith recalls Murphy as a talented young pianist with “good hands.” Her recollection of Murphy is only one example of the plethora of knowledge the retired music professor still keeps of her students.

“Dr. Smith does not forget a student,” Murphy said.  “She took to heart each and every one of us.”

Even after her retirement, Smith kept in touch with her students. Her students have worked as instructors and performers in music, and they have kept music a central part of their lives. Right now, Murphy serves as a liturgist and pianist at St. Charles Borromeo Church in Charleston, and she is eager to play on Saturday.

Smith was a member of the piano faculty from 1949-1986 and served as a chairwoman for the keyboard area for many years. She’s considered to be one of the first women in the United States to receive a doctoral degree in piano performance from Florida State University.

Smith traveled throughout the world and performed with many European pianists and musicians. In her later years of tenure, Smith traveled to Asian countries to lecture and present recitals.

Smith was involved in the Charleston community and served on the committee that planned and built the Newman Catholic Center. Since her retirement, Smith lives in her hometown of Bloomington, Indiana.

The recital will feature solo performances, duets, two piano works and eight-hand pieces. EIU alumnus Ron Roberts from Huntsville, Alabama, will serve as master of ceremonies for the event. 

Host of MTV’s ‘Catfish’ to Speak on Safety in the Digital World 10/06/14

The host of MTV’s hit television series “Catfish: The TV Show” will tackle some of the complexities of dating in the digital world and online safety during a lecture at Eastern Illinois University.

Nev Schulman will share specific tips and lessons from his own experiences as host of the documentary series that exposes the truth about online relationships and catfishes. A catfish is a person who pretends to be someone they are not on the Internet. In the series, Schulman tells the stories of young people as their online-only romantic relationships collide with reality after they meet their romantic partners for the first time in person.

With an average of 2.5 million viewers, who are mainly high school- and college-aged students, the series has made Schulman a household name and icon for young people throughout the nation. He also recently wrote a book titled “In Real Life: Love, Lies & Identity in the Digital Age,” which focuses on how to connect with individuals in the digital world. 

The lecture will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28, in EIU’s McAfee Gym.  Tickets for EIU students are $5 and tickets for the general public are $8. Special front seat tickets and meet-and-greet passes are available for $10. Tickets can be purchased in the Ticket Office at the Martin Luther King Jr. Union (second floor, west side), via phone at 217- 581-5122 or online here

This University Board-sponsored lecture is taking place in October, which is national Cyberbullying Awareness Month, to help students learn the proper use of the Internet and become aware of suspicious activity. 

Investigative Journalist/Author/Alumnus to Discuss 'Bloody Lies' on EIU Campus 10/03/14
John Ferak

John Ferak, award-winning investigative team editor for Gannett Wisconsin Media and an Eastern Illinois University alumnus, will return to his alma mater to talk about investigative journalism and the story behind his book “Bloody Lies:  A CSI Scandal in the Heartland.”

An open presentation is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 7, in Room 2120 of the Physical Science Building on EIU’s campus. His talk will be followed by a book-signing event, and copies of the book will be available for purchase. 

On the night of Easter 2006, Wayne and Sharmon Stock were murdered in their home in the remote farming community of Murdock, Neb. – population 269.  The murders garnered sensational front page headlines and drew immediate statewide attention.

Barely a week into the investigation, two arrests brought a sense of relief to the victims’ family and to local residents. The case appeared to fall neatly into place when a tiny speck of murder victim Wayne Stock’s blood appeared in the alleged getaway car.

Then, an obscure clue left at the crime scene took the investigation down a totally different path, stretching into Iowa, Louisiana, New York, Texas and Wisconsin. By the time this investigation was over, the charges against the original suspects were dismissed and two new individuals emerged from the shadows.

Ferak covered the Stock murders from the very beginning, including all of the trial proceedings. When the criminal prosecution finally ended in 2007, he remained puzzled by one nagging question: Why was the blood of victim Wayne Stock in a car that was ultimately proven to have no connection to the murders?  Over the next few years, the astonishing “bloody lies” were revealed, culminating in a law enforcement scandal that turned the case on its head and destroyed the career of Nebraska’s celebrated CSI director, David Kofoed.  (See here for more on the book.)

A native of Joliet, Ill., Ferak served as an investigative journalist from 2003-2012 for the Omaha World-Herald, Nebraska's largest news organization.  He appeared on Investigation Discovery's "Cold Blood" and also on HLN News.

In addition to his current work for Gannett Wisconsin Media, based at The Post-Crescent in Appleton, Wis., he has also worked as a reporter or editor at the South Bend Tribune in Indiana, The Daily Herald based in Arlington Heights, Ill., and the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

Ferak will spend three days on the EIU campus as he presents lectures and talks with students in a variety of disciplines, including journalism, English and criminology.

U.S. News & World Report Recognizes EIU's Commitment to Veterans 10/01/14

Eastern Illinois University has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report for its commitment to military veterans.

The magazine’s “2015 Best Colleges” rankings, published annually, list Eastern as the No.  13 “Best College for Veterans” among Midwestern regional universities (public and private).  EIU was the second highest ranked public university on the list.

The region encompasses Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

“Our veterans have nobly served our nation, and we are proud to support them by providing excellent programs and services at EIU to begin or continue their university studies,” said EIU President Bill Perry.  “I’m pleased that U.S. News has chosen to recognize those efforts.”

Schools listed in the U.S. News & World Report rankings were described as institutions that participate in federal initiatives helping veterans and active-duty service members apply for, pay for and complete their degree.

To be eligible for the list, Eastern needed to be certified for the GI Bill, be a member of the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) Consortium and, as a public institute, charge in-state tuition, which can be fully covered by the GI Bill, to all veterans applying from out of state.

Eastern offers nearly 50 majors from which its students can choose from.  Eastern’s School of Continuing Education also allows veterans, active-duty military and other non-traditional students the option of receiving academic credit for life work and experiences.  The school’s General Studies Program was specifically designed to meet varying educational goals.

“This can be advantageous for some of our military students who can ask for credit based on what they did professionally before and during their service to our country,” said Kimberlie Moock, director of New Student Programs (which includes the university’s Military Student Assistance Center).

Eastern’s practice of charging in-state tuition to student veterans from outside of Illinois began in August 2013 after Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law House Bill 2353, “Higher Ed-Military-Tuition.”  Under that legislation, any person utilizing benefits under the federal Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 20008 or any subsequent variation of that Act, can be considered an Illinois resident for tuition purposes.

The U.S. News & World Report recognition follows Eastern’s receipt of the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education, presented two years ago by the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs.  That award recognized the professional and constructive efforts of EIU to support its student veterans, according to then-IDVA Director Erica Borggren.

In addition to being named a “Best College for Veterans,” U.S. News & World Report also ranked No. 4 among the Midwest’s top public regional universities (up from No. 7 a year ago), and No. 31 -- up from 36 in 2013 -- among all Midwestern regional universities offering a full range of undergraduate majors and master’s programs.

International Alumnus Establishes Link Between EIU, Chinese University 09/30/14
Zhibo Wang, left, and Kevin Vicker

While Eastern Illinois University has long appreciated the impact that dedicated alumni can have on potential students, few of those alumni actually operate their own EIU office.

Zhibo Wang is the exception.

Wang, who once came from China to study at EIU, now teaches in the Foreign Language Department at Linyi University, an institution that, like Eastern, began as a small teachers’ college.  Currently, the university, located in the Shandong Province, offers 62 different undergraduate degrees to more than 30,000 students.

Actually, “the idea of an EIU office in Linyi University was the idea of our dean, Professor Xie Nan,” Wang said.  “I am the person who spends a lot of time in the EIU office.  I translate the transcripts, teach (students) how to write personal statements and explain the differences in our two systems, as well as the costs of attending and the procedures for applying.

 “The job market here does not seem very hopeful overall, and the graduate schools in China are so hard to get in,” he said. “It is a good idea to have an (EIU) office here in Linyi University because, right now, our university is very keen on sending students to foreign countries and we have to find places for them to go.”

Wang recalled his own experience of leaving China to study in the United States.  “I applied to about five American universities and EIU was the first to admit me,” Wang said.  Eastern also offered him an assistantship, as well as a lot of faculty mentoring.

When he arrived on Eastern’s campus in August 1996, “Dr. Linda Callendrillo was the director of the English Department’s Writing Center where I worked as a graduate assistant,” he recalled.  “She gave me very useful instructions.  I also often met with Dr. Mark Christhilf when I studied late in the night; he gave me advice on study and work.”

And, “Dr. Susan Bazargan was my thesis adviser who was so patient in helping me with my writing skills,” he added.

Now Wang’s role is reversed; he is the instructor.  At Linyi University, where he has been employed for the past 13 years, he teaches English writing, English literature, intensive and extensive reading, listening and linguistics.

As head of the EIU office at Linyi, Wang said the biggest problem he faces is “extending (his department’s) influence to other schools” within the university.  With more interdisciplinary interest, given the size of the institution as a whole, he feels it shouldn’t be too difficult to get 10 students or so to attend Eastern annually.

To help with this goal, Wang has enlisted the help of his American alma mater.

Earlier this year, he requested that Eastern send a representative – preferably the president or one of the vice presidents – to Linyi to present a couple of lectures.  William Weber, vice president of business affairs at the time of the request, volunteered, offering to make the trip on Eastern’s behalf. 

“Knowing that I was planning to retire at the end of May, I suspected I’d have some extra time that the others wouldn’t,” Weber said.  In July, he presented two lectures – one on the structure and operation of U.S. universities and a second titled “Leadership, Negotiation and Talent Development.”

Weber said the audiences included 60 to 75 middle administrators – primarily department chairs -- from Linyi University.  “I’m glad I did it,” he added, although the presentations were not as interactive as he would have liked, given the language differences. 

“Dr. Weber’s visit to Linyi University was a great success,” Wang said.  “He gave lectures to management staff and his concepts of management were absolutely new us.  Everybody listened carefully to him.  I attended one of his lectures and I think it was insightful.”

Kevin Vicker, director of International Students and Scholars at Eastern, also visited Linyi earlier this year, and was able to speak with students – both one-on-one and in lecture-type settings.

“I talked about Eastern; Mr. Wang talked about Eastern,” Vicker said.  “Several students filled out applications.”

According to Wang, he received more than a dozen applications from individuals interested in attending Eastern.  “But then, after they went home, many of them changed their mind,” he said.  “I feel bad about that.

“But a lot of them found good jobs and decided not to study in the U.S.  They changed their mind not because they did not like Eastern or because we did anything wrong.  It’s just that good jobs are so rare nowadays,” he said.

One person who did make it to Eastern this fall was Derek Pang Shousheng, a Linyi University faculty member who arrived in Charleston as a visiting scholar.  Much of his time on EIU’s campus is being spent observing classes and learning teaching techniques that he can use when he returns to teaching English at Linyi University in the spring. 

“We are very thankful for that,” Wang said.  “Many of our teachers have not been to an English-speaking country and the opportunity to do so greatly enhances their ability in teaching.

“Our university, especially the Foreign Language School, needs a lot of American teachers with doctoral or master’s degrees in various fields.  Our dean, Xie Nan, expressed such a hope when she met with Dr. Weber months ago.  He, for example, is very good at economics and management, and would meet the needs of our English for economics and trade majors.

“The dean would like to see many more such teachers come to Linyi University.”         

Sen. Durbin, EIU Discuss College Affordability in Student Panel 09/25/14

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin led a discussion with students and alumni during a panel today about their student loan debt and Eastern Illinois University’s continued efforts to alleviate the financial pressure.

The panel consisted of EIU students and alumni, President Bill Perry and Carol Waldmann, EIU’s interim director of the Office of Financial Aid.

“Eastern Illinois University has made many strides to lessen student loan debt by not increasing tuition, offering scholarships and grants, and providing students with a dedicated financial aid staff focused on and guiding them through the process,” Perry said.  For the 2014-15 academic year, EIU’s Board of Trustees chose not to increase tuition; the previous year’s tuition was only increased by 1.43 percent, he added.

The university also offers grants, work studies and scholarships such as the Panther Promise Scholarship. This award provides up to $2,500 toward tuition per year for eligible students and is renewable for up to four years for freshmen and two years for transfer students, he said.

Throughout the panel, students shared their own personal stories about how scholarships and graduate assistantships at EIU helped lessen their financial burden. Waldmann said the percentage of EIU students defaulting on their student loans is 6.7 percent compared to the national average of 14.7 percent.

Currently, the Office of Financial Aid has 17 dedicated staff members to walk students through the student loan process and provide in-person guidance to students every step of the way.

Shelaina Reid, a family and consumer sciences major and student member of the panel, said she has a great relationship with the Office of Financial Aid, and has sat down with staff there many times to discuss financial aid options.

One of those staff members, Mandi Starwalt, a financial aid adviser manager, spends her days guiding students like Reid through the financial aid process and helping them create a budget and plan for the future.

“Many times students do not need to take the whole amount of their federal loans. I will sit down with them and chat about creating a budget and see if they really need the full amount. We will also investigate other options such as scholarships, grants and work studies.

“I also always direct our students to the federal website to check their repayment options before they graduate or leave school. I want them to think about their loans before they walk across the graduation stage,” she continued.

As a previous student with loan debt, Starwalt understands what students are going through and how loans are sometimes intimidating. “I’m there to keep the issue at the forefront of their minds and guide them through the process.”

Overall, Starwalt said, students typically borrow $20,108 in federal loans for EIU’s undergraduate study. The federal loan payment over 10 years for this amount is approximately $231.40 per month.

During the panel, Durbin discussed a bill he is sponsoring, called the Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act, which would reduce the interest rates that students must pay. 

38th Annual Panther Marching Band Festival Set for Oct. 4 09/24/14

The public is invited to the 38th annual Panther Marching Band Festival, set to begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 4, at Eastern Illinois University’s O’Brien Stadium.

This annual all-day event is a field competition allowing high school bands a great way in which to close their performance season.  Awards in each class in the areas of music, visual, general effect, percussion, guard and drum major will be awarded.  Grand Champion and Spirit trophies will be awarded for Small Class and Large Class divisions.

Nearly 40 bands are scheduled to compete, with EIU’s Panther Marching Band performing in exhibition at 4:15 and 9 p.m.

Admission is $8 for adults and $5 for students/seniors, while children 5 and under will be admitted free.  (Cash or check accepted.)

Participating schools are scheduled to perform as follows:  Robinson, 9:45 a.m.; Arthur/Lovington/Atwood/Hammond, 10; Carterville, 10:15; Johnson City, 10:30; Blue Ridge, 10:45; Oblong, 11; Arcola, 11:15; Heritage, 11:30; Charleston, 11:45;

LeRoy, 12:30 p.m.; Watseka, 12:45; Ridgeview, 1; Pleasant Plains, 1:15; Mater Dei, 1:30; Paris, 1:45; Casey-Westfield, 2; Mt. Carmel, 2:15; Freeburg, 2:45; Newton, 3; Unity, 3:15; University, 3:30;  Paxton-Buckley-Loda, 3:45; Monticello, 4;

Triad, 5:15; East Richland, 5:30; Mt. Zion, 5:45; Danville, 6; Rantoul, 6:15; Mattoon, 6:30; Centralia, 6:45; Belleville West, 7:15; Highland, 7:30; Marion, 7:45; Champaign Centennial, 8; Granite City, 8:15; Limestone, 8:30; and Mahomet-Seymour, 8:45 p.m.

Awards for Small Division schools will be presented at approximately 4:30 p.m.  Large Division honors will be awarded at 9:15 p.m.

More information on the 38th annual Panther Marching Band Festival can be found here.

Expert Brings ‘Human Approach’ to Conference on Autism Spectrum Disorders 09/23/14

From his own experiences as a parent with a child with an autism spectrum disorder, Dr. Luke Tsai takes a “human approach” of studying medicine and autism spectrum disorders.

An accomplished researcher and scientist for more than 30 years, Tsai will speak during Eastern Illinois University’s annual Fall Autism Conference about the current assessment and medication treatment for individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

The conference, open to the public, will be from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26, in the Grand Ballroom of the Martin Luther King Jr. Union on the EIU campus.  

“In previous years at our annual autism conference, we focused on younger populations with ASD and the social challenges of living with ASD, but this year we wanted to bring in an expert on medical treatment,” said Gail Richard, director of the new Autism Center at EIU. “Tsai’s expertise is unique to downstate Illinois and he will appeal to many individuals across disciplines from educators to counselors to scientists.”  

The yearly conference helps raise money for EIU’s Autism Center, which is an expansion of the existing Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic. The center serves individuals with ASD who are diagnosed and treated by undergraduate and graduate students under the supervision of distinguished faculty members.

“Eastern Illinois University wants to continue to be a center of professional expertise on autism spectrum disorders,” Richard said. “We want to be a place where families can come to receive treatment through our autism center, but we also want to bring in outside experts like Tsai.”

The conference will include two sessions and a final discussion. The focus of the presentation from 9-11 a.m. will be the targets and assessment of need for medication by school teams. The session from 1-3:15 p.m. will be the review of the current practice of medication treatments and evidence-based medication treatments. Kathleen Hecksel, a child psychiatrist from Sarah Bush Lincoln Memorial Health Center in Mattoon, will also take part in the discussion.

Throughout his career, Tsai has published more than 60 articles and 20 books.  He is a professor emeritus of psychiatry and pediatrics and research scientist emeritus from the University of Michigan Medical School and Rackham Graduate School. He has published a book titled “Taking the Mystery out of Medication in Autism/Asperger Syndromes.”

To register for the conference, go here or call Sandi Thiele at 217-581-2712.   The workshop is approved for five hours of continuing education credit from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Registration is $40 for professionals and $10 for students. The event is co-sponsored by the College of Sciences and Graduate School at EIU and the East Central Illinois Speech-Language-Hearing Association. For more information about the center, go here.  

New Name of Movement Studio Represents “World Stage” 09/17/14

The movement studio in Eastern Illinois University’s Doudna Fine Arts Center was renamed in honor of alumni, Christopher and Nancy Desmond, for their love of Shakespeare and continued financial support.

The studio, now called “The Globe,” is the primary rehearsal space for all theatre students and those in theatre productions.

“Our students use the space to direct, act and rehearse for their student productions,” said J. Kevin Doolen, chairman of EIU’s theatre arts department, “The Globe Studio is the theatre lab where students learn, experiment and create. It is the heart of what we do in training and preparing our students for careers in theatre and so many related fields.”

The Desmond family supports EIU via an “All The World’s A Stage Fund” scholarship, which covers participation costs in activities such as conferences, workshops and seminars that enhance education in areas of theatre arts and business.   Eligible recipients of the award include full-time students, who major or minor in theatre arts, business or English and who are involved in theatre productions or similar activities. 

“It seemed only fitting with the Desmond family’s love for Shakespeare and theatre that the studio would be named as the Desmond’s choice not for self-recognition but in honor of all those who aspire to take the lead in the theatre, business or whatever discipline they choose,” said Bob Martin, vice president for university advancement. “The studio plays such an important role in developing and cultivating our theatre students into talented actors, directors and dancers, which goes hand-in-hand with the Desmond’s passion for theatre and EIU.”

Christopher Desmond graduated from EIU with a bachelor’s degree in finance and a minor in theatre arts in 1994 and a master of business administration in 1996. Nancy Desmond graduated from with an English degree in 1992. She also established the Lori James Memorial Scholarship at Eastern for students from single-parent households in memory of her mother.

Christopher Desmond is the chief sales officer for the private transfer pricing company, CETERIS, the largest independent provider of transfer pricing services in North America.

The dedication ceremony occurred during EIU theatre department’s 50th  anniversary celebration on Friday, Sept. 12. The Globe Studio is located in Room 1080 in the Doudna Fine Arts Center.

The theatre arts program at EIU offers students a broad-based curriculum with a wide range of courses from theatre history, dramatic literature, basic action, stage movement, scene study, costuming and scenic lighting.  For more information about EIU’s theatre arts department, click here

Eastern Illinois University Named a Lead Institution in Civic Engagement by National Association 09/16/14

Eastern Illinois University has been selected to participate in a national initiative on civic learning and democratic engagement. Eastern Illinois University has been named one of nearly 100 colleges and universities in the nation as a Lead Institution by NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, the leading voice for the student affairs profession.

As a participating institution in NASPA’s initiative, Eastern Illinois University will continue to encourage students’ civic development through thoughtful community partnerships, engaging leadership opportunities and democratic participation. 

“Eastern Illinois University is pleased to have been selected for a second consecutive year to participate in NASPA’s network of institutions dedicated to developing students’ sense of civic identity as civic engagement is a core value of higher education,” said Dan Nadler, vice president for student affairs.  “Being recognized as a national leader in this field is a reflection of the quality of our current efforts and also our ongoing commitment to inspiring students to challenge themselves through leadership and service roles moving forward.”

“Eastern Illinois University is continuing to build upon our strong tradition of student volunteerism and civic engagement,” said Rachel Fisher, director of student community service. “During the past five years, our students have contributed more than 500,000 hours of service, addressing such critical issues as hunger, poverty and homelessness, animal protection, conservation, veterans appreciation and assistance initiatives, and helping our elderly and local youth through various ongoing results-driven service programs.”

“We have been recognized for our national leadership in service by being selected for the President’s National Honor Roll for Community Service. This year alone, EIU students are projecting to complete 140,000 hours of service taking our total hours of service to more than 600,000 over the past five years,” Fisher continued.  

To learn more about NASPA’s Lead Initiative and view a complete listing of participating institutions, please visit the NASPA website here.

EIU Moves Up in U.S. News & World Report's Annual Rankings 09/12/14

Eastern Illinois University advanced in its placement in the annual U.S. News and World Report’s college rankings to No. 4 among the Midwest’s top public regional universities.

Eastern also was ranked 31 -- up from 36 in 2013 – among all Midwestern regional universities offering a full range of undergraduate majors and master’s programs.  EIU is the highest ranking public university in Illinois on the list, released this week as part of the magazine’s 2014 edition of “Best Colleges.”

The region encompasses Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.  Rankings are based on schools’ academic reputations, student selectivity, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources and alumni giving.

“While we’re pleased to see that we have advanced in the rankings, we won’t become overly focused on them,” said Blair Lord, provost and vice president for academic affairs.  “Eastern continually strives to improve its programs and provide its students with the best education possible.”

The U.S. News rankings rely heavily on EIU's focus on personal attention. For example, the student-faculty ratio stands at 14:1, and only 3 percent of all classes have 50 or more students.

In addition, EIU continues to tout the highest freshman retention rate (79 percent) and the highest graduation rate (60 percent) among all Illinois public universities in its class.

“We pride ourselves in our capacity for providing individual attention to our students, and believe those relationships are critical to the success of those students,” Lord continued.  “Our faculty members know our students and work closely with them to create a great learning atmosphere.  In the end, those efforts are more important to us than any ranking.”

Tickets Still Available for Sinbad Comedy Show 09/11/14

Ranked by Comedy Central as one of the top 100 standup comedians of all time, the comedian and actor, Sinbad, will perform as part of Family Weekend entertainment at Eastern Illinois University.

The performance will kick off at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20, in Lantz Arena.  Tickets, priced at $21, can be purchased at the Martin Luther King Jr. University Ticket Office (second floor, west side), via phone at 217-581-5122, or online here.

Known for his “hit’ em in the face” style of comedy, Sinbad has been making his audiences laugh for the past two decades. He is known for taking his audiences’ trials and tribulations and throwing them back in their faces.

The comedian is also internationally known for his appearances in movies and television. Some of his movie appearances include “Jingle All the Way,” playing opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger; “Houseguest,” co-staring the late Phil Hartman; and “Necessary Roughness.” In television, Sinbad starred in the television sitcom “A Different World,” and his own series, “The Sinbad Show.”  He also recently appeared as a recurring guest star on the Showtime Original Series “Resurrection Blvd” and appeared on the FX television series “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”

Sinbad has also performed in  HBO comedy specials including “Brain Damaged” (1991), “Afros & Bellbottoms” (1993), “Son of a Preacher Man” (1996) and “Nuthin But the Funk” (1998).

Sinbad has even written a self-help book titled “Sinbad’s Guide to Life: (Because I Know Everything).”  Most recently, he was seen in the third season of NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice.” 


Admission Standards Retained; Enrollment Strategies Advance 09/10/14

Eastern Illinois University vowed to retain its admission standards while focusing on enrollment, and it was learned this week that those efforts were successful.

In fact, the average ACT score of new freshmen increased slightly (from 21.52 to 21.55).

Growing competition has led to aggressive efforts among the state’s higher education providers to influence students in their choice of colleges.  These efforts include increased tuition discounting, increased investments in facilities/amenities and reduced admission standards, the latter of which is not an acceptable alternative for Eastern, said Blair Lord, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

“We’ve been working hard on an overall enrollment management strategy,” Lord said, “but a reduction in admission standards is not part of our plan.”

Other positive news revealed by the official fall enrollment count was a 29 percent increase in Eastern’s international student enrollment – from 211 to 273.

“We are very pleased to welcome the most international students in EIU history currently representing 46 countries,” said Kevin Vicker, director, International Students and Scholars.  “This growth is a testament to EIU’s emphasis on personal relationships with distinguished faculty, reasonable prices and several degree programs that international students find very attractive.

“The largest areas in terms of international student enrollment are currently technology, business, economics and sustainable energy,” he added.

Coincidently, U.S. News and World Report also released its annual college rankings, advancing Eastern to the No. 4 spot among the Midwest’s top public regional master’s universities.  Eastern also was ranked 31 -- up from 36 in 2013 – among all Midwestern regional universities offering a full range of undergraduate degrees.  EIU is the highest ranking regional public university in Illinois on the list.

The region encompasses Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.  Rankings are based on schools’ academic reputations, student selectivity, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources and alumni giving.

“Eastern continually strives to improve its programs and provide its students with the best education possible,” Lord said.  “Additionally, the university has actively committed to keeping costs low and offering special features like its textbook rental program.  It prides itself in its capacity for providing individual attention to EIU students.”

Unfortunately, the university has little to no control over certain outside influences that might affect enrollment -- a decreasing supply of students, for example.

The number of Illinois high school graduates was projected to decrease by 6 percent this year, with a smaller decrease expected through 2025.  Enrollment at the state’s community colleges has decreased 9 percent overall since the height of the recession, with more significant decreases being reported at community colleges from which Eastern historically enrolls a majority of its transfer students.

Furthermore, Illinois is the fourth largest exporter of students to out-of-state colleges and universities, behind New Jersey, New York and California.

Surprisingly, while this pool of students continues to get smaller, the number of higher education providers is increasing.  More than 300 colleges and universities, including 12 public four-year institutions, 48 community colleges, 98 independent not-for-profit institutions and 36 independent for-profit institutions, serve the state of Illinois.

More than 200 accredited online institutions in the U.S. aggravate the situation.  A very large growth in online courses and programs nationwide as compared to the much smaller growth in higher education enrollments suggests that they are replacing face-to-face classes and programs.

What Eastern does plan to do is to rely on Chris Dearth, the university’s new director of admissions, to implement new initiatives and revise existing practices that will improve undergraduate enrollment.  More specifically:

  • Continue to highlight the great things happening at Eastern as evidenced by our outstanding student and faculty contributions;
  • Work diligently on getting more and more families to visit campus and experience all EIU has to offer;
  • Offer more outreach in the surrounding areas to explain all that EIU can offer to local students; and
  • Work hard to become a “school of choice” for a greater number of students.

“We’ve been focusing our energies on recruitment, retention and financial aid, work that will continue,” said Mary Herrington-Perry, EIU’s assistant vice president for academic affairs and enrollment management.  “But our primary market -- 18-year-old high school graduates -- is shrinking.  As a result, we’re turning our attention to identifying new markets and developing new programs/repackaging existing programs for those markets.

“We have a great deal of work to do. But we also have many strengths to build on -- excellent quality and service, strong student outcomes, affordability,” she added.

Fall 2014 Enrollment Numbers

Current enrollment numbers reflect a Fall 2014 on-campus enrollment of 8,045 and an off-campus count of 868 for a total of 8,913.  A year ago, the number of students taking on- and off-campus classes was 8,726 and 1,049, respectively, for a total enrollment of 9,775.

A breakdown of Eastern’s undergraduate students (down from 8,347 last year) is as follows (with Fall 2013 figures in parentheses):  freshmen, 1,693 (1,941); sophomores, 1,454 (1,520); juniors, 1,923 (2,072); and seniors, 2,522 (2,758).  (An additional 48 students are enrolled as post baccalaureate undergraduate students.)   The number of new transfer students dropped from 938 in Fall 2013 to 888.

Graduate students number 1,273, a decrease from last year’s 1,428.  Female students again outnumber male students – 5,379 to 3,534.

EIU officials report that minority student enrollment continues to climb, with minority students now making up 24.91 percent of total enrollment, up from 23.57 percent in 2013.  In addition to international students, numbers reflect the following:  black, 1,500; Hispanic, 444; Asian, 80; American Indian/Alaskan Native, 21; Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, 6; and those listing two or more races, 169.

EIU Student Recognized as 13th in Nation for Baton Twirling 09/09/14

An Eastern Illinois University student earned the distinction as the 13th top baton twirler throughout the nation this summer.

Nicola Colucy, a sophomore kinesiology and sports studies major and Bolingbrook native, competed at the 45thannual America’s Youth on Parade national baton twirling competition at University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.

The competition required Colucy to compete in different categories of baton twirling, which is an activity that requires the use of a metal rod or rods in organized dance routines. Representatives from almost every state — 1,500 competitors in all — were present at the competition.

Colucy competed in the X-strut category, which focused on her flexibility and dancing ability; the solo category, which focused on difficulty and tricks with the baton; and the modeling category, which focused on her overall presentation and interviewing skills.

While Colucy placed as the top 13th in the nation overall, she placed in the top 10 in the X-strut and solo categories of the competition, which is an achievement among other national competitors. 

Colucy serves as the EIU Panther Marching Band’s baton twirler during the school year, the first baton twirler at EIU in more than 20 years. She has also been recognized as the 2014 Intermediate Miss Majorette of Illinois, the Illinois State Champion and the Midwest Regional Champion in the National Baton Twirling Championships.

“The competition gives me more confidence to go back to O’Brien Stadium (EIU’s football stadium), but I still need to work harder to keep up my skills,” Colucy said.

She represented EIU Panther Marching Band in the national competition, by competing with more than 70 college feature twirlers in the “down the field” competition. “They got a taste of what I do on the field,” Colucy said.

Her passion for twirling, an obscure yet challenging sport, began back in preschool. She remembers a friend’s mom commenting on her natural talent at twirling.

Since discovering her talent, Colucy has twirled ever since, taking lessons and performing with marching bands. She continues to perform with the Panther Marching Band, and one day plans to teach baton twirling to further the growth of the sport. For more information about the Panther Marching Band, click here.

EIU Professor Named President on International Franchising Board 09/08/14

An Eastern Illinois University marketing professor and franchising expert has been named the president of an international franchising board.

The International Society of Franchising named Marko Grünhagen as president after more than 10 years of continuous membership in the organization, which focuses on the promotion of franchising through research.

Since the formation of the organization in 1986, members have written more than 600 research papers focused on franchising. “The members in the organization are the global scholars and experts on franchising,” he said.  “We are the oldest academic group globally focused on franchising.”

The group is an international organization with members from more than 25 countries represented including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Korea, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

In the past, the organization focused on its yearly international conference, but Grünhagen envisions the organization as a hub of academic information for franchising globally. “We are trying to put pieces of the puzzle together that are more than just than a conference,” he said.

Franchising is the fastest growing business model in the world, he said. The business model focuses on giving individuals an ‘ownership stake’ in a corporation. “Today franchising — whether we like it or not — is very vital,” he said.

Instead of hired managers, who are paid on a salary, individual owners are attracted to the model because they are invested in the business.  In comparison, companies are attracted to the model, because they do not have to invest their own money in each unit.

“Franchising is not just a business model,” he continued. “The underlying concept finds parallels in many other areas of life.”

For example, Grünhagen said President Barack Obama ran his first presidential campaign like a franchise. “His campaign was grassroots; it was persuading individuals to buy into his concept and stay on message,” he said.

If anyone has further questions about franchising, Grünhagen said the International Society of Franchising has experts on every aspect of franchising research and study.

Grünhagen earned his Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, MBA from Eastern Illinois University and a bachelor’s degree in Germany. For more information about the organization, click here. For more information about Grünhagen, click here.

Freshmen received training before first night at EIU 08/26/14

Before Eastern Illinois University freshmen arrived on campus, students were trained on alcohol safety and sexual assault prevention. But the resources and education don’t stop there.

The Sexual Assault Taskforce, composed of EIU faculty, staff and community advocates, invites the campus and the community to attend a keynote presentation titled “Shattering the Silence of Sexual Violence” by Angela Rose. The presentations are sponsored by President Bill Perry and the Division of Student Affairs.

Angela Rose, a national expert in sexual assault prevention and advocate for survivor empowerment, is the founder of PAVE (Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment), Men Opposing Sexual Assault and creator of “Transition to Survivor,” a documentary about survivors of sexual assault.

 The keynote presentation will be from 3-4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 3, in the Grand Ballroom of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union. The event is open to the public.

Jackie Hines, associate director at the EIU Counseling Center and chair of the taskforce, said President Perry wanted to bring an expert on sexual assault prevention at the beginning of the school year to provide students with additional resources early on.

Angela Rose will also speak to specific groups on EIU’s campus in one-on-one sessions, but those sessions are not open to the public.

Hines said the keynote presentation and one-on-one sessions are only two examples of the efforts that Sexual Assault Taskforce has planned this school year.

Freshmen completed an online training program focused on safe drinking and sexual assault prevention before arriving on campus, and students were reintroduced to the material at an opening night program, she said.

The one-hour presentation provided students with strategies to increase safety, on-and off-campus resources and bystander intervention strategies, Hines said.

“We want to provide knowledge and resources to our students before they walk on campus and experience opening weekend,” Hines said.  “We are not trying to scare our students. EIU is a safe campus and Charleston is a safe community, but we want to provide them with the necessary knowledge and resources they can use throughout their time at EIU and beyond.”

 The Student Affairs staff, community advocates and others facilitated the program throughout campus to freshmen in small groups divided by gender. In our experience, students seem to feel more comfortable with sexual assault training when it is divided by gender, Hines said.

The on-campus training builds upon the online program Alcohol EDU and the module Haven: Understanding Sexual Assault, offered over the summer to students. Students were introduced to key definitions and statistics, bystander strategies and the specific reporting policies of EIU.

On-campus training efforts and outreach throughout the year are sponsored by the Sexual Assault Taskforce. The taskforce seeks to provide campus with a proactive approach on sexual assault prevention and to ensure the safety of all students on campus.

The training and the taskforce are not new to EIU’s campus. They are, rather, continuing efforts to ensure the safety of students, said Daniel Nadler, vice president for student affairs.

“EIU is committed to providing the safest campus possible for our students, faculty and staff,” Nadler said. “The Sexual Assault Taskforce takes a proactive role in providing education and resources through the seamless collaboration of on-campus staff and community agencies.”

“We are ensuring a culture of openness that will not tolerate sexual assault, abuse or other sexual misconduct including domestic violence, dating violence and stalking,” he continued. 

For more information about Angela Rose, click here.

EIU to Reap Research Opportunities Through Land Use Partnership 08/22/14
Bioenergy professor Thomas Canam and Ryan Kalinoski, a sustainable energy graduate student, walk through a field near Charleston where switchgrass and big bluestem has been planted in conjunction with research efforts through the Eastern Illinois University Center for Clean Energy Research and Education. (Jay Grabiec)


For some students at Eastern Illinois University, the traditional, enclosed classroom will soon be replaced with acres of wind-blown native grasses.

Via an arrangement that Thomas Canam, assistant professor of biological sciences, terms a “win-win-win situation for everyone,” some local landowners have agreed to allow Eastern to use nearly 120 acres of their Coles County property for research.  Students and faculty of the university, as well as others, eagerly anticipate those enhanced research opportunities.  And, in turn, area farmers will gain additional insight into potential alternative crops.

“This project is going to be helpful to us in so many ways,” Canam said.

While never slated to become a school for agricultural research, Eastern began exploring its expanded options even while the university’s now three-year-old Renewable Energy Center was in its planning stages.  The REC, built to replace a decades-old, deteriorating coal-burning facility, was designed as a biomass-burning facility; two of its four boilers burn biomass, or biological material, while the other two boilers burn natural gas with a fuel oil backup.

When the opportunity arose for Eastern to partner with the Lumpkin family of Mattoon and their farm services manager, First Mid-Illinois Bank & Trust, the university was faced with the specific decision as to what it would do with access to the roughly 120-acre plot of land located northwest of Charleston.

“The Lumpkin family has been involved with sustainability for some time, and has been growing organic crops on the land,” Canam said.  “We talked with them about the Renewable Energy Center and its needs for the future – that we wanted to grow an alternative fuel for the Renewable Energy Center and that we wanted to grow biomass in a sustainable way.”

Working in partnership with FDC Enterprises Inc., a nationally recognized provider of conservation services and green biofuels/bioproducts, Eastern authorized the planting of 100 acres of a “seed-pooled mixture of two warm season grasses.”  The planting occurred in July.

“It was a mixture of switchgrass and big bluestem, both of which are known to be high yielding, robust and fast-growing,” Canam said.

In addition, FDC Enterprises planted “pollinator buffers” – wildflowers and other grasses, mostly – along the perimeter of the land and beside the portion of Riley Creek that runs through the land.  While it does little to enhance the growth of the primary grass crop, the buffer does give the property a more striking appearance, attracting bees, butterflies and other species of wildlife.

Canam further explained that the attraction of wildlife will provide added research opportunities for EIU students and faculty.

“In addition to our primary research goal, we’re interested in how wildlife will respond to the changes,” Canam continued.  “Nesting practices, shelter… It’s really a wonderful opportunity to also study wildlife dynamics with my colleagues Drs. Karen Gaines and Jill Deppe.”

While student and faculty researchers wait for the first switchgrass/big bluestem mixture harvest, likely to take place in 2015, they’ll carefully observe the grasses’ growth patterns:  Do they do better on slopes than near the creek?  Do they invite or discourage specific pest (bugs, molds, etc.) problems?  And, do they react favorably with the soil and climate in which they are growing?

“We’ll be performing basic growth research,” Canam said.

Studies following the harvest will expand to include yield measurements (tons per acre, for example) and answers to questions that a biochemist, like Canam, is interested in.

“We’ll want to determine what, chemically, we can do with these grasses,” he said.  “How much carbon is produced, and how much ash?

“And we’ll do density studies to help us determine how much money and resources will be needed to turn the grasses into pellet material that can be used to fuel facilities like our Renewable Energy Center,” he added.  “Obviously, what we’re looking for is a resource that will require as little input as possible, thereby keeping growers’ costs down.”

Canam and Kalinoski examine a test field of switchgrass.

And cost conservation, Canam said, is something that’s just as important to EIU as it is for a traditional farmer.

In addition to a contribution from the university’s College of Sciences to get the project started, another $20,000 ($5,000 annually for four years) was awarded to Canam, Gaines and Deppe via EIU’s President’s Fund for Research and Creative Activity.

That fund exists to “foster, stimulate and strengthen research and creative activity conducted by faculty members, with a primary goal of enhancing the likelihood that their work will be competitive for external funding from federal agencies, state agencies, corporations, or private foundations.”  Canam hopes that is, indeed, the case with the Lumpkin land research.

“We’ve been looking for external grants for research, but it’s a very competitive process,” he said.  “Sources like the Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency…  In general, they’re looking for more large-scale projects than what we’ve been able to offer thus far.”

To date, he added, Eastern’s alternative crop research has been limited to four acres of small plots located near the university’s Renewable Energy Center.  Two acres have been planted with hybrid poplars, a specifically bred, fast-growing tree; two additional acres have been planted with grasses.

“Now that we’re dealing with a fairly significant amount of land and we have something actually in progress, these larger funding agencies might take a better look at us,” Canam said.  “It really helps for them to see you actually have the capabilities.”

Area High School Students Welcomed at O’Brien Stadium for Home-opener Tailgate 08/22/14

Eastern Illinois University welcomes area junior and senior high school students to a Panther tailgate to cheer on the back-to-back OVC conference football champions.

The #FuturePanther tailgate, on Saturday, Sept. 6, includes a cookout, a free Panther T-shirt, an insider’s tour of campus and free admission to EIU’s football home opener against in-state rival Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

“We want to show prospective students what it’s like to be an EIU Panther outside a tour,” said Brittany Trimble, an EIU admissions counselor. “A tour only shows a glimpse of the multitude of life-changing opportunities becoming a Real Panther means.”

“Yes, EIU offers a quality education with personal attention from dedicated faculty and staff every step of the way, but EIU also offers students a chance to make new friends, get involved in many organizations on campus and be part of a vibrant community filled with Panther pride,” Trimble continued. “The #FuturePanther tailgate gives prospective students a sneak peek into Panther student life.”

All area junior and senior students from Coles, Douglas, Edgar, Moultrie, Clark, Shelby, Cumberland, Effingham and Clay counties are invited, said Trimble, who focuses on recruiting prospective students from East Central Illinois.

“EIU cares about our area high students, and we want them to become EIU Panthers,” Trimble said. “They don’t have to leave East Central Illinois to receive a life-changing, collegiate experience.”

Check-in for the tailgate will be from 2:45-3:30 p.m. at Lantz Arena. After the check-in, students will receive a tour of campus, and then participate in a cookout from 4-5:30 p.m. with hot dogs and hamburgers. The game check-in is at 5:30 p.m. and the game kicks off at 6 p.m.

Free admission will be available for the first 250 students by registering here, but students can email Trimble with questions at, call her at (877) 581-2348 or follow her on Twitter at @Brittany_EIU.

“I’m always here for our #FuturePanthers,” Trimble said. “Please call, tweet, and email me if you have any questions about the tailgate or anything about life as an EIU Panther.”

For more information about applying to EIU, click here. To schedule a tour of campus contact Trimble or EIU’s Admission Office at (877) 581-2348 or

Community Invited to Share in EIU First Night Activities 08/20/14

The EIU Student Government Association extends an invitation to the EIU and surrounding communities to attend the 2014 EIU First Night -- “Blue Rising” -- from 8 to 9 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 24, in the South Quad.

EIU First Night is the annual kick-off spirit rally designed to promote university pride and spirit while welcoming EIU students back to campus.  First Night kicks off the official start of a new EIU academic year.

The spirit rally will feature appearances by the EIU Pep Band and Drumline, Billy the Panther, the EIU Blue Crew, and live performances by the EIU Cheer Team, Pink Panthers and dance teams.  Featured speakers for the spirit rally will include EIU President Bill Perry and Student Body President Reginald Thedford, as well as Kim Dameron, EIU’s new head football coach, and the EIU Football Panthers who will lead fans in the countdown to the start of a new football season.

Other highlights include a March of Champions, “Who Wants to be a Mascot?” spirit competitions, the singing of the EIU Fight Song, new cheers/chants, T-shirt giveaways and more.

All Panther fans are encouraged to attend and  showcase their Panther Pride by wearing EIU colors; they, too, will become eligible to win a First Night T-shirt.

A limited number of First Night Spirit T-shirts will also be available for FREE on a first-come, first-served basis.

The 2014 EIU First Night event is sponsored by EIU Student Government, the EIU Parent’s Club, EIU Alumni Services, the MLK Jr. Union and the EIU Office of Student Community Services.

EIU Faculty Laureate Seeks to Eliminate “Cow Talk” 08/15/14

Grant Sterling isn’t a fan of a cow talk. No, the Eastern Illinois University philosophy professor expects more from his students then the mediocre or the blasé.

Like the famous philosopher Socrates, Sterling wants EIU students to examine their lives and think critically in everything they believe and do — especially in general education classes. He doesn’t want them to become entrapped by living what Socrates famously called the “unexamined life.”

“Socrates thought human beings were lucky because they have the capabilities and abilities you wouldn’t have if you were a cow or any type of animal,” he said. “We have a mind. We can think, learn and understand the world, but many don’t bother to do it.”

His solution to stop the “cow talk” is simple — general education classes. He challenges his colleagues and students to put an emphasis back on taking and providing rigorous classwork.

It’s no surprise that Sterling was named by his colleagues as Eastern’s 2014-2015 Faculty Laureate, an award that recognizes a faculty member for his/her excellence in teaching general education classes. As part of this year’s Convocation, a welcoming ceremony for incoming students, Sterling will present a keynote address focused on eliminating “cow talk.”  The ceremony will begin at 9:15 a.m. Friday, Aug. 22, in Lantz Arena.

For the past 25 years of teaching, Sterling has lived by Socrates’s quote that “the unexamined life is not worth living for a human being” by pushing his students to think.

“If I could pick one thing for my students to come out of my classes with, it’s the idea that they ought to have reasons for the things they believe,” he said.  “It’s not my goal in my classes to convince my students that Socrates or Plato have the right answers.” Instead, Sterling demands his students know why they see the world a certain way and articulate their reasons.

EIU History Professor Bailey Young knows Sterling’s demand for critical thought first-hand by sharing an office and teaching in classrooms next to Sterling throughout the years. 

“I have seen not only how well he knows his stuff, but how committed he is to conveying to students the value of intellectual achievement and critical thought,” Young said.

Throughout the upcoming year, Sterling would like to see more students enrolled in general education classes. “It really disappoints me when students look at their general education classes as obstacles,” he said. Instead, Sterling envisions the classes as an opportunity for students to learn something about the world in many different fields.

“I think it would be better to stop pressuring students to think they need to know what they are going to do right from the beginning and give them an opportunity to experience classes in five, 10 or 15 different subjects,” Sterling said.

Sterling, an EIU alumnus and Charleston native, remembers his beginning appreciation for general education classes when he was an undergraduate in philosophy at EIU.

“When I was an undergrad, one of the reasons I became a philosophy major is because philosophy at the time was the smallest major in terms of the number of credit hours,” he said.  “That gave me the opportunity to take a lot of electives in other disciplines that I was interested in.”

Sterling eventually earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy with a minor in both history and political science. He’s no stranger to campus; his father taught in the history department, his mother worked as the head of food services, and his stepmother served as an academic adviser as he grew up in Charleston. 

Aside from the five years spent seeking his doctorate at the University of Iowa, Sterling has lived in Charleston.  His entire teaching career has centered around the classrooms of EIU.

He has volunteered outside the classroom as a vice chair of the Council on Academic Affairs, chair of the College of Arts and Humanities Curriculum Committee and chair of the ad hoc committee for Integrative Learning. He currently serves as chairman of the Faculty Senate.

Jonelle DePetro, chairwomen of EIU’s Philosophy Department, shared Sterling’s commitment to EIU the best in a nomination letter:  “Teaching matters to Grant; quality education matters. His passion begins in the classroom, but it doesn’t end there."

Videos, Website Bring Honors to EIU Web Team 08/13/14

The University & College Designers Association (UCDA) has presented Eastern Illinois University with an Award of Excellence for each of three separate projects created by the university’s Web team.

Two of 11 recognized videos and one of eight websites receiving honors were produced by EIU’s Center for Academic Technology Support (CATS), according to Ryan Gibson, director of Web services.  He was especially proud of the recognition when taking into consideration the size of Eastern compared to other schools receiving awards (Harvard, Northwestern, Auburn, University of Illinois, etc.).

One of EIU’s two award-winning videos featured the university’s Autism Center; it was produced in support of the center’s crowdfunding campaign.  The second video – a general recruitment-type production -- was created for use during Eastern’s Admitted Student Day activities in February.

The award-winning website highlights the university’s 2013 Annual Report.

“A cool thing about these projects is that each had undergraduate students on the production teams,” Ryan continued.  “At EIU, we talk a lot about hands-on experience.  (Our students) now have award-winning videos/websites to include in their portfolio.  In our industry, having these types of items in a portfolio gives our students a huge step up against other applicants.”

Although several individuals worked to bring each project to fruition, Gibson expressed his special thanks to Jamie Kemp, graphic designer, and Michael Babcock, videographer, for their contributions.

Babcock’s previously mentioned recruitment piece also recently brought home Award of Distinction honors at the 18th annual Videographer Awards Video Competition.  Entered into the Educational Institution category, the EIU entry went up against work from all over the country and was one of eight videos in its classification to garner distinction status.

According to the awards website, this is “one of the oldest and most respected awards programs in the industry” with an aim at “honoring talented individuals and companies in the video production field.”

Fallen Branches Mean the End for EIU's Iconic Old Oak Tree 08/08/14
The tree as it appeared in the summer of 2012

Weather is not believed to be a contributing factor. Perhaps, just as a member of Eastern Illinois University’s grounds crew said, “It’s tired.”

For whatever the reason, sometime around 5 a.m. Friday (Aug. 8), a large portion of the decades-old bur oak standing east of the university’s administrative building (“Old Main”) broke away and fell to the ground. The order soon came from President Bill Perry to remove the tree entirely.

“During the spring walk-around on campus, Dr. Perry told us to take it down when it became unsafe,” said Tim Zimmer, director of Facilities Planning and Management. “As a result of these downed limbs, we’ll be taking (the tree) down to the stump today.”

Zimmer went on to say that the removal crew will salvage whatever wood they can, with some cross sections preserved for historical purposes. Additional sections have already been given to Eastern’s Department of Biological Sciences for research.

“We’ll just have to see what condition the rest of the wood is in before we make further decisions,” he added.

For decades, the tree -- estimated to be between 250 and 300 years old as evidenced by its 61-inch trunk -- has provided shade and shelter to students at work and at play. Hundreds of homecoming courts, floats and bands have gathered near it, readying themselves for participation in the annual fall parades. Romances have blossomed; friendships have flourished. The tree is as much a fixture on campus as its nearest building – the “castle.”

Some take solace in the fact that the tree will live on via its offspring. Approximately 50 acorns were collected directly from branches of the old oak in the fall of 2011. They were planted in pots with nutrient-enriched compost and the pots, in turn, were stored in a protected campus area where deer and rabbits couldn’t get to them.

A year later, the university had about 30 seedlings. The university considered that a “good return” on what had been planted.

“And the saplings are still doing well,” Zimmer said. “They’ve done especially fine during this nice, mild summer.”

For more on Eastern’s favored tree, see here.

EIU Credits Loyal Alumni, Friends for Continuing Fundraising Success 08/07/14 Loyal alumni and friends of Eastern Illinois University demonstrated their continuing Panther Pride by contributing to the more than $16.7 million raised in gifts, pledges and planned gifts in Fiscal Year 2014.

This is the institution’s fourth consecutive record-setting year in fundraising, said Bob Martin, vice president for institutional advancement.

“I continue to be amazed at the generosity of Eastern Illinois University alumni,” he added. “Their support is most appreciated, and is a strong indication of how much they care about their alma mater.”

According to Martin, $6.8 million of the total raised between July 1, 2013, and June 30, 2014, was in cash gifts – a 79 percent increase over last year’s cash gifts.

The total also reflects the university’s largest one-time contribution of $3.68 million. A $5 million pledge, made five weeks later, set a new record.

Furthermore, the number of President’s Society Gifts ($1,000-plus) increased by 8 percent to 681.

Scholarships continue to be a top area for support as donors recognize their need as a top university priority. More than 200 new scholarships were created during the “EI&U: Expect Greatness” campaign that concluded in October 2012, and an additional 73 have been established in the last year and a half.

That means the goal of the university’s ongoing scholarship drive – 100 new scholarships by June 30, 2017 – is “significantly ahead of schedule.”

“Record giving continues following the completion of the highly successful campaign in 2012,” Martin said. “Our supporters know a gift to support an EIU student is a positive investment.”

Martin expressed his appreciation to the university’s fundraising team, which includes the Office of University Development and the Annual Fund Team. Development directors made 1,345 donor visits during FY ’14; 767 of those were first-time donor/prospect visits, a 14 percent increase over the previous fiscal year.

In addition, the university started its first-ever crowdfunding campaign, which works by creating a network of individuals to send out information (in this case, about EIU’s proposed Autism Center) to a handful of individuals through email or social media outlets. That group, in turn, forwards the information on to others, and so on. (See here for details.)

Several “naming” gifts were received, as well. The university’s internal governing policies states that university buildings, structures, facilities, streets, grounds and other real property may be named for “donors of substantial funds.”

According to Martin, EIU’s Board of Trustees approved the following name alterations in the past year: the Idea Incubator (Center for Clean Energy and Research – CENCERE), in recognition of the Charleston Area Charitable Foundation; the Globe Studio (movement studio, Doudna Fine Arts Center), in recognition of Christopher and Nancy Desmond; the Raymond and Carolyn (Miller) Fischer Atrium (reception atrium, Neal Welcome Center, approved by the EIU Foundation); the Dr. Jerry Heath Athletic Training Room (Lantz Arena); the Ike Kennard Club Room (Lantz Arena); and the Sandra and Jack Pine Honors College.

“We’re thrilled that our alumni continue to care about Eastern and its students, and that they show their devotion to the university in so many ways,” Martin continued. “We want them to know that we are thankful for their contributions, no matter the size.”
EIU Student Describes Experience as Miss United States Competitor 07/21/14

As an Eastern Illinois University student competed on a national stage at the Miss United States pageant, she advocated for healthy lifestyles along the way.

Sylvia Crowder, a dietetics master’s student, spent her first week of July as Miss Indiana competing for the Miss United States crown. The competition is a beauty pageant similar to Miss USA and Miss America, where women are selected to represent the 50 states and territories. Throughout the week, Crowder competed in interview, evening gown and swimsuit categories while promoting her passion for nutrition, which goes hand-in-hand with her degree.

While Crowder did not place in the final 15, she described the experience as life-changing. “I competed on a national stage and that is something very few people can say,” Crowder said. “Pageantry has built my confidence and interpersonal communication skills, and it has allowed me a great opportunity to network.”

Earning a Crown

The Cayuga, Ind. native was never interested in pageants until her senior year of high school when she realized a local pageant supported the American Cancer Society. “Right around the same time, my grandmother was diagnosed with lymphoma. As I was growing up, she was my primary caretaker, so it was very difficult for me,” she said. “I wanted to win to honor her.”

And, she did exactly that— earning her crown and introducing herself to the world of pageantry.

After winning, Crowder was asked by the director of the pageant to compete in more pageants, but it wasn’t till the Miss Indiana Unites States competition four years later that she decided to give it another try. “At the spur of the moment, I got a call from the Indiana state director telling me they were accepting applications and that I should apply,” Crowder said.

Crowder decided to enter, but two weeks before the competition she fractured her left foot working out to the Insanity workout program. Her doctor advised Crowder to wear a cast, but she decided to continue anyway, wearing six-inch heels without a cast. Her decision paid off.

Crowder was named Miss Indiana United States 2014, eligible to compete in the Miss United States competition in July in Washington D.C.

It wasn’t the national competition itself that was the hardest for her, but the lack of sleep. Each morning the contestants woke up between 4:30 and 5 a.m., and arrived back at the hotel at 1:30 a.m. after a full day of events. “You go game face on all the time,” said Crowder, laughing and referring to her makeup and hair preparation every morning.

Her favorite part of the national competition was her interview, where Crowder talked about her passion for nutrition and emphasized why they should pick her. To prepare for the pageant, Crowder hired an interview coach and a walking coach, but didn’t hire a stylist or a personal trainer. “I don’t have a stylist because I would rather pick out what I want to wear and feel confident versus someone telling me what I am going to wear,” Crowder said.

She did not have a personal trainer because Crowder said she practices what she preaches. “I know the benefits of eating healthy and what certain food can do to someone’s performance,” she said. “It’s similar to what a body builder would do if they are getting ready for a show.”

Watermelons and Nutrition

Crowder will continue her reign as Miss Indiana till April 2015, and is expected to attend events for the American Cancer Society and create her own events based on her personal platform. The theme for Relay for Life is focused on better nutrition, which goes hand-in-hand with Crowder’s interests.

“I think Americans are becoming more conscious of the relationship between diet and disease,” she said.

Her passion for nutrition started from watching a family member’s struggle with anorexia, but it wasn’t till her freshman year of college that she considered nutrition as a career path.

Crowder represented the National Watermelon Association as a public relations ambassador for a year, flying all over the country to promote the benefits of consuming watermelon. After speaking in front of groups and communities, Crowder quickly realized nutrition was her calling. She switched her major from biology to dietetics, eventually earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern Indiana.

Crowder decided to come to EIU because her undergraduate university did not have the necessary clinical experience she wanted. “I heard EIU had a really great program,” she said. “I could not only get my master’s in dietetics, but my internship, too, in an accelerated 19-month program.”

Crowder works as a nutrition coordinator at EIU’s Health Education Resource Center where she plans to teach healthy cooking classes and offer nutrition and MyPlate presentations for the EIU community.

While Crowder doesn’t see herself continuing with pageantry, she said advocating a holistic lifestyle is her life’s work. She already writes a blog focused on nutrition, but she would like to pair her master’s degree from EIU and her blog to open her own nutrition consultation business one day.

So far, Crowder has followers from more than 30 countries. Check out her blog here.

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Dearth Selected as New Director of Admissions at EIU 07/01/14 Eastern Illinois University’s search for a new director of admissions has come to an end, with the chosen candidate scheduled to begin the job on Aug. 1.

Chris Dearth, director of admissions at State University of New York at Fredonia, was chosen from among dozens of applicants during a national search.

“Chris understands the enrollment-related challenges all universities are facing. He has a reputation for making sound decisions based on the data, as well as for cultivating positive relationships with members of the university community,” said Mary Herrington-Perry, assistant vice president for academic affairs and enrollment management.

And as Blair Lord, provost and vice president for academic affairs, added, “We know the competition is going to continue to get tougher, and we needed a proven manager to help lead our admissions team.”

Dearth, who has 13 years of experience in admissions and who has been in his current position since 2007, is responsible for leading admissions efforts that saw a 12 percent increase in freshman applications from outside SUNY Fredonia’s primary market (2007-2013). He also enrolled the five largest classes in the 186-year history of the university. Concurrently, selectivity improved each year under his leadership, Dearth said.

Previously, Dearth served as assistant director of admissions at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in Pomona (2001-2007). Prior to that, he worked as a marketing consultant and as an account manager at an advertising firm.

His education includes a master’s degree in leadership and liberal studies from Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, in 2004, and a bachelor’s in business studies from Richard Stockton College in 1997.

He looks forward to beginning work on the EIU campus.

"Eastern Illinois University appealed to me because it is truly a 'student-centered' institution,” Dearth said. “Many universities claim this, but EIU backs it up. Furthermore, EIU has been well positioned to be a top-choice institution for many highly qualified students.

“Spending time on the EIU campus and speaking with faculty, staff, administrators, and past and current students, made me realize that Eastern Illinois University is a special place. My family and I look forward to joining the campus and community of Charleston."

As director of admissions at EIU, Dearth will be responsible for administering all programs and activities associated with the university’s undergraduate admissions program, and for executing and achieving undergraduate admissions goals and objectives.
EIU’s Oldest Graduate Passes Away at 106 06/30/14

As Daisy Rittgers walked across the commencement stage in Lantz Arena at Eastern Illinois University, she was greeted with a standing ovation from her fellow classmates. The audience wasn’t amazed by Mrs. Rittgers’ strut across the stage, but her nearly seven-decade journey to get there.

Considered to be one of EIU’s oldest alumni and the oldest graduate, Mrs. Rittgers passed away this month at age 106 in Shelby Memorial Hospital. A Shelbyville native, she began her career at EIU in 1927, but didn’t walk across the stage till she was 88. “I am a slow learner,” said Mrs. Rittgers, laughing.

Before her passing, Mrs. Rittgers reminisced about her 69-year journey to earn her bachelor’s degree, her years as an Illinois educator and her constant thirst for knowledge.

The Early Days

Daisy Sands was born on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, 1907, in Westervelt, a small town in Shelby County; she graduated from Westervelt High School in 1927. After high school, she borrowed $175 and began her education at Eastern Illinois State Teachers College, determined to become a teacher and make a life for herself. “I lived off campus, and I worked a little to get by,” Mrs. Rittgers said.

She recalled the small, three-room apartment she lived in and vividly remembered her walk throughout the castle building, called the Normal School Building (known today as Old Main).

During her first year, Mrs. Rittgers met and chatted with some of the now iconic figures of campus including Burl Ives, who went on to achieve recognition as a folk singer/actor; Livingston Chester Lord, Eastern’s first president; and Florence McAfee, the Eastern’s first administrator for women’s physical education.

McAfee taught Mrs. Rittgers archery, while Ives became her laboratory partner – and often asked to copy her work. “Burl Ives was in my laboratory classes and he was too busy writing music and practicing football to worry too much about his studies,” she laughed, speaking of Ives affectionately.

Mrs. Rittgers remembered walking past Livingston C. Lord in the halls of Old Main but it wasn’t until the end of her first year that the two actually conversed. Mrs. Rittgers said she only needed to attend school for a year to qualify to take the teacher’s certification test, but she had to ask the president’s permission first.

“I had never been so scared,” she said, remembering her dread as she walked into Lord’s office. To her relief, Lord smiled and gave her the go-ahead, which gave Mrs. Rittgers the liberty to pursue her passion for teaching for the next four decades.

A Life Calling

After leaving Eastern, Mrs. Rittgers took over a one-room schoolhouse in Shelby County. Her classroom contained 45 students, ranging from first- to eighth-graders. The oldest students were only six years younger than herself. She was expected to teach all ages everything from math to English, and even served as the building’s janitor.

To get the job, the superintendent of schools asked Mrs. Rittgers to walk down the road, to see if she was “strong” enough for the job. “I stood up tall and strutted down that lane,” she recalled.

For the next 43 years, Mrs. Rittgers taught throughout Shelby County. She eventually retired in 1972. Although Mrs. Rittgers married her husband, Carl, when she was 25, the couple was unable to conceive.

“I could not have any children, so I believe God nudged me into teaching,” she said, referring to her passion for education.

As Mrs. Rittgers taught her students every year, she never stopped learning and continued her own education by taking classes through EIU and other colleges. Even when she retired in 1972, she satisfied her thirst for knowledge by reading vigorously every day. She also painted oil paintings and wrote poetry.

It was a family member who suggested Mrs. Rittgers might have enough credits to earn her Board of Governors Bachelor of Arts degree. The program is designed for non-traditional adult students with extensive work experience that is applied toward their degree completion.

So, after more than four decades of teaching, Mrs. Rittgers walked across the stage at Lantz, finishing a nearly seven-decade journey. Even then, though, her thirst for knowledge didn’t stop.

After graduation, Mrs. Rittgers continued her favorite pastimes of reading books, painting oil paintings and writing poetry. She continued to live in her own home in Shelbyville until just weeks before her death on June 18, 2014.

Mrs. Rittgers said she had been blessed with the opportunity to spend her life teaching and learning. When asked in February of this year what Mrs. Rittgers would do differently in her life, she responded with a resounding “nothing.”

Corpse Flower to Bloom at EIU 06/25/14 It appears to be happening again!

Steven Malehorn, manager of Eastern Illinois University’s H.F. Thut Greenhouse, is eagerly awaiting the fourth blooming of EIU’s Corpse Flower. The plant previously bloomed in 2008, 2010 and 2012.

The developing flower (technically an inflorescence) could grow to be seven feet tall and three feet wide, and will definitely smell “nasty,” Malehorn said. It is growing from a 62-pound tuber, which is 20 pounds heavier than the one that bloomed in 2010.

He “guesstimates” the plant will bloom sometime between July 7 and 10. "However, the exact date can't be known until about a day or so before it actually blooms," he said. "But when it does bloom, it will happen fast -- within hours -- and the bloom will only last one night."

Based on past experience, Malehorn believes the bloom likely will begin some early afternoon. The spathe will gradually open and be fully open by about 6 p.m., followed by an intense “roadkill” aroma that can be smelled, literally, a mile away. The odor is strongest from about 8 p.m. until midnight and gradually diminishes through the night. The powerful odor is used to attract flies that pollinate the flowers.

The bloom should be at its peak from about 6 p.m. until 6 a.m. the following day when the spathe starts to gradually close. Over the next few days, the giant flower will slowly collapse.

"However," Malehorn added, "it could surprise us and start blooming late in the evening and we wouldn’t know until the following morning that it had bloomed. Therefore, no promises on the blooming schedule."

The developing flower can be viewed anytime through the south window of the Thut Greenhouse on EIU’s campus. The greenhouse will be open from 4 to 7 p.m. daily for the duration of the event, beginning June 30. On the day of the bloom, the greenhouse will be open until midnight. The greenhouse will then be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. the day following the bloom.

Go here for live streaming video of the event. Follow the greenhouse here for up-to-the-minute bloom information. For other information, including a daily blog, photos and parking information, go here.

Questions? Contact Steven Malehorn at or phone 217-581-3126 (Department of Biological Sciences’ main office) Monday through Friday.
More Than 250 East Central Illinois Teachers to Attend Professional Workshop at EIU 06/20/14

More than 250 local teachers plan to attend an Eastern Illinois University-sponsored professional workshop, which will focus on incorporating Common Core State Standards in a teacher’s classroom.

The workshop, called “Dive into Common Core,” will take place from 1-4:30 p.m. Wednesday in Buzzard Hall.

Common Core State Standards set clear guidelines for students and metrics for teachers in the subjects of mathematics and English language arts. The state of Illinois adopted the standards in 2010.

Kristen Holly, principal at Carl Sandburg Elementary School in Charleston, will give a special keynote focused on creating a curriculum in the Common Core Era. Her presentation kicks off the workshop at 1 p.m. in Buzzard Auditorium. After the keynote, teachers will break out in sessions with EIU faculty facilitating discussion about the standards.

The workshop is being sponsored by the College of Education and Professional Studies, along with the Charleston, Mattoon and Effingham school districts. The event is funded by a grant from the Illinois Board of Higher Education and the Illinois State Board of Education.

EIU Volunteers Help Staff Free Summer Meals Program for Children in Charleston, Ashmore 06/19/14 School lunches are an important part of the nutrition for many school-age children -- especially for low- to moderate-income families. But, when summer comes, school lunches stop -- a challenge for many families, according to Rachel Fisher, director of Student Community Services at Eastern Illinois University.

“Summer can be a crucial time for hunger in our community,” Fisher said. “While proper nutrition is important throughout the entire year, it may be even more important in the summer as children increase their activity levels.

“And that comes just at the time when they no longer have access to school lunch programs and resources,” she said.

That’s why EIU decided to join with the Salvation Army from Mattoon to provide free lunches for children in Coles County. Funding for the program -- The Summer Meals Program -- is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and administered by the Illinois State Board of Education.

“The Salvation Army is doing a great job covering Mattoon,” Fisher said, “but we all agreed that there was a need in Charleston, as well.”

EIU joined the program last year with an initial site at Kiwanis Park, but Fisher said they were concerned that they weren’t reaching the heart of the community.

“It was a great facility,” she said, “but we wanted to be right in a neighborhood where parents and kids could walk to the site.”

So, this year, EIU is staffing two sites -- one at North Park in Charleston and a second at Ashmore Village Park in Ashmore. Two student volunteers -- Olivia Diggs and Kendra Moultrie -- staff the Charleston site from 11:45 a.m. until 12:15 p.m., and then are available in Ashmore from 1 until 1:30 p.m.

“We serve any child 18 and under,” Fisher said, “and there is no requirement to show proof of age or residency. We just want to make sure that no child goes hungry.”

In addition to the USDA funding for the lunches, the Salvation Army obtained a grant from Walmart to provide a take-home breakfast for the next morning, as well.

“Providing that second meal is a real benefit to families,” Fisher said, “and helps make sure that children in this area get the food they need.”

One additional feature of this year’s Summer Meals Program is the availability of adult meals.

“This year, if an adult wants to come along and eat with their children, they are welcome to do so,” Fisher said. “They just need to pay a modest fee of $2 to cover the cost of their meal.”

Fisher said that she hopes the community takes full advantage of the opportunity because she’s already planning to expand the number of volunteers for next year.

“EIU students are dedicated year-round to our community,” she said, “and many students are eager to work directly with helping and interacting with local youth. There is a great passion and desire to make a true impact and difference.”

Fisher also noted that community members are welcome to join with the EIU students and help out one or more days a week.

For information about the Summer Meals Program or any of EIU’s volunteer efforts, call the Office of Student Community Service at 581-3967.
Professional Development Program Helps Martinsville Teachers Navigate Common Core 06/19/14

Local teachers and teacher leaders with the Eastern Illinois Writing Project recently completed a Professional Development Program that was conducted in the Martinsville school district throughout the 2013-2014 school year.

The program, titled "Professional Development in the Martinsville Schools: Language Arts Common Core,” was designed to build on the district’s assets: a strong commitment to authentic literacy instruction and new technology resources.

“Because Illinois has adopted the Common Core Standards, which promote more writing in every discipline, helping teachers of all subject areas teach writing and reading across the curriculum and across grade levels has become more important than ever before,” said Robin Murray, director of the Eastern Illinois Writing Project.

“The emphasis on literacy instruction in social studies, the sciences, technology and, of course, K-12 English language arts presents a particular need and opportunity for EIWP and the Martinsville Schools. With help from our teacher leaders, the Martinsville teachers are better able to navigate changes from the Illinois State Standards to the new Common Core,” she continued.

The program included six in-service half day writing to learn and writing and reading across the curriculum workshops; a full-day Institute Day on the campus of EIU; professional development reading groups focused on "Content Area Writing: Every Teachers' Guide, Digital Writing Matters," and works focused on the writing and reading workshop from Nancie Atwell and Ralph Fletcher.

Teachers were provided the opportunity to read professionally, participate in small and whole group discussions and learn and practice new teaching strategies that will ultimately improve student writing and learning. The teachers also wrote and shared their writing through journaling and group action projects, Murray said.

Martinsville Elementary School teachers that took part in the program were: Jill Terrell, preschool; Margo Riker, kindergarten; Sheri Cooper and Emily Ellington, first grade; Lynn Davidson and Kim Skidmore, second grade; Sheila Shotts and Nici Evers; third grade; Scott Price and Carrie Maxwell, fourth grade; Bethani Conzen, fifth grade; Bev Goekler and Kalee Dahnke, sixth grade; Deb Tracy, K-12 student resource specialist; Jessica Cannady, speech; Rachel Thurn, Title I instructor; Patty Hacker, special education instructor; and Cody Gray, physical education.

The teachers from Martinsville High School were: Stefanie Mack and Beth Baird, English; Bill Wofford and Michael Stephen, history; Paul Penrod and Julie Higginbotham, math; Ron Lee and Debra Welch, science; Michelle Cribelar and Craig Utterback, physical education; Katie Small, Spanish; Mark Kannamacher, industrial arts; Justin Parcel, ag department; Lora Parcel, family and consumer science; Lindsey Kinkelaar, business; and Sara Gray, special education instructor. District music teacher Laura Smeltzer also participated in the program.

Sessions were conducted by practicing teachers who have taken part in EIWP Summer Institutes. Each session included demonstrations of strategies, participant writing and time to brainstorm applications to various grade levels, content areas and topics. Sessions also included discussion of a professional book about the teaching of writing.

Participants received one Continuing Professional Development Unit per contact hour.

Area teachers serving as teacher leaders and presenters included Keri Buscher, Brownstown Elementary School; Kristin Runyon, Charleston High School; Mary St. Clair, Crestwood School; Jay Bickford, Dawn Paulson, Linda Raven, Denise Reid, Dana Stodden, EIU; Audrey Edwards, retired from EIU; Al Church and Misty Mapes, Teutopolis High School; Duane Huffman, Tuscola East Prairie Middle School; and Rebecca Lawson, Sullivan High School.

The Eastern Illinois Writing Project is a National Writing Project site housed in Coleman Hall at EIU. It seeks to provide K-16 teachers across the curriculum with opportunities to improve student writing in all disciplines; provide schools with an effective in-service model; identify, celebrate and enhance the professional role of successful classroom teachers; and apply a teacher-centered model to implement these goals.

For more information about the Eastern Illinois Writing Project, click here or email Murray at

EIU History Professor to Journey on America’s Oldest Commercial Whaling Ship 06/16/14

For years, Charles Foy spent hours huddled in a library researching and writing about black mariners in the Atlantic World — even creating a database to document the thousands and thousands of mariners he discovered.

His research only allowed the associate professor of history at Eastern Illinois University to imagine the smell of the ocean or the hardships of sailing on the rough waters of the Atlantic.

But this summer, Foy will experience exactly what he has spent years researching. He will set sail on the oldest commercial whaling ship still afloat, the Charles W. Morgan, built in 1841, as part of Mystic Seaport’s “38th voyage” project sponsored by the National Endowment for Humanities.

The voyage is a public history project with 80 voyagers, from artists to scholars, bringing their expertise on board to raise awareness about the importance of America’s maritime history.

The Charles W. Morgan originally set sail in May from Mystic Seaport in Connecticut with plans for several scholars to spend a day or two on the ship throughout the journey till its return in August. The voyage will be the 38th trip the ship has sailed in open waters after five years of restorations and more than 80 years on land.

After a night sleeping in the whaling ship’s tight forecastle, Foy will set sail on Tuesday, July 15, from Provincetown to Boston, Mass. Throughout the voyage and after, he plans to blog about his experiences and his research interest of black mariners.

After spending years reading about men on whaling ships, Foy said the voyage will give him more perspective for his writing.

“I will live the experiences of the men who I write about,” Foy said. “I get to physically feel what they felt, which will energize my scholarship.”

Like the other voyagers, Foy wants to eliminate the “social amnesia,” which most Americans experience in regards to the role the sea played in American history. But, more specifically, Foy wants to emphasize the role black mariners played in the country. The “social amnesia” that occurs with remembering American’s connection with the sea also occurs with African Americans’ connection to the sea, Foy said.

After a decade of research, Foy created a Black Mariner Database, which contains records of more than 25,000 black mariners and black maritime fugitives. Foy will use the database and his whaling voyage to illustrate in his blog, as well as his scholarly publications, how the maritime sector offered opportunities for black seamen, free and enslaved, not possible on land.

“Many times African-Americans would have more freedom and rights on ships then on land during the Atlantic World,” Foy said.

In the maritime economy, slave seamen were valued and they could find permanent freedom at the sea often not possible on land. For example, ship captains needing to fill out their crews often hired fugitive slaves. Once at sea such maritime fugitives found their maritime skills mattered more than their skin color.

After his journey, Foy also plans to write a high school course plan that will use the lives of Rhode Island black whalers to emphasize the nature of African-Americans’ freedom in the 18th century.

Foy is an accomplished scholar who has written several articles on black seamen that have appeared in Early American Studies; Common-place; Slavery and Abolition; Journal for Maritime Research; the Proceedings of the 2007 Naval History Symposium, Seaport; and Gender, Race, Ethnicity and Power in Maritime America.

After the voyage, the ship will go back to the Mystic Museum Seaport as an exhibit. The seaport is planning an exhibit for the summer of 2016, which will highlight the experiences and research of the 38th voyagers.

For more information about the voyage and ship, go here.

With Committee in Place, EIU Presidential Search Ready to Begin 06/11/14 The search for Eastern Illinois University’s next president officially got under way this week as the institution’s Board of Trustees approved the composition of a search advisory committee and the hiring of an outside firm to help with the search process.

Formally known as the EIU Presidential Search Advisory Committee, the 18-member team will be responsible for conducting a national search, identifying finalists and bringing those individuals to the university for on-campus interviews. Open forums will be scheduled so that the broad EIU and Charleston communities can provide input.

Trustees will have the ultimate responsibility of naming a new president once interviews are completed and committee recommendations are reviewed.

Members of the EIU Presidential Search Advisory Committee are: Joseph Dively (committee chair), representing the BOT; Robert Webb, BOT; Rene Hutchinson, BOT; Lauren Price, BOT (student trustee); Dan Nadler, vice president for student affairs; Diane Jackman, dean, College of Education and Professional Studies; Zach Samples, student representative; Reginald Thedford Jr., student body president; Bill Robinson, EIU Foundation; Melissa Gordon, Staff Senate; Christine Edwards, Staff Senate; Steve Daniels, faculty; Ruben Quesada, faculty; Linda Simpson, faculty; Jill Nilsen, annuitant; Timothy McCollum, Alumni Association; Ann Fritz, UPI; Charleston Mayor Larry Rennels, community representative; and Rob Miller, general counsel (non-voting ex officio member).

Assisting the committee in its work will be Korn Ferry, an internationally recognized executive search firm.

“Korn Ferry has built a strong reputation in the area of higher education,” Dively said, noting that EIU would be working with David Mead-Cox, a senior client partner who specializes in higher education.

BOT Chair Kristopher Goetz said that the board “really related” to Korn Ferry during the interview process.

“They detailed the process in a very straightforward way,” he said. “I believe the coupling between the advisory committee, with its knowledge of the university, and the expertise Korn Ferry brings, is a winning combination.”

Dively concurred. “I am delighted to be working with this committee and am confident that with the guidance of Korn Ferry, we will find the right person for the job.”

According to Goetz, the board plans to finalize the “usual paperwork” necessary in contracting with Korn Ferry and to start organizing a timeline that would allow the search committee to begin its work at the start of the Fall 2014 semester.

The need for a search became public when, in March, EIU President Bill Perry announced he will complete his service as president on June 30, 2015, consistent with the ending date of his contract. Perry began serving as EIU president in 2007, moving to Eastern from Texas A&M University where he had served since 1971 in professorial and administrative roles.
Cavaliers to Host 2014 Season Kickoff, Fan Appreciation Night at EIU 06/11/14 The Cavaliers Drum & Bugle Corps will host a special 2014 Season Kickoff and Fan Appreciation Night for the community Saturday on the campus of Eastern Illinois University.

The public is invited to O'Brien Field, from 7:30 to 10 p.m., for an exclusive look at The Cavaliers' 2014 production, IMMORTAL, in full uniforms and costumes. The evening marks the end of the group’s pre-tour and completes the first third of the season before entering the 2014 Drum Corps International Summer Tour.

This free showcase will highlight what the performing members, design team and instructional staff have accomplished after nearly 250 rehearsal hours logged since the beginning of the pre-tour on May 16.

After 16 days at Benedictine University, the corps has been housed at EIU. Since June 1, the members have been utilizing O’Brien Field and the many auxiliary fields around campus for rehearsals, Thomas Hall for dining, and Douglas and Stevenson residence halls for sleeping accommodations.

Those attending the 2014 Kickoff and Fan Appreciation Night will also have access to the latest Cavaliers merchandise.

Founded in 1948, The Cavaliers are one of the most successful drum and bugle corps in history, winning 20 national championships, including seven Drum Corps International world championships since 1992. Each summer, 150 male brass, percussion and color guard performers, ages 16-22, present a marching music show considered among the most challenging and original in the world.

The group performs at more than 30 competitions across the U.S. and for more than 100,000 fans. Along the way, the young men not only learn about music and performing, but have a life-changing experience based on excellence, teamwork and camaraderie.

The Cavaliers Drum & Bugle Corps is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization sponsored by the village of Rosemont, Ill.
Firefighter Training To Continue On EIU Campus 06/06/14

The Charleston Fire Department will continue to use a small section of Eastern Illinois University campus for firefighter training next week.

No fire or smoke will be used in the training, but fire trucks will be in the vicinity, according to Charleston Fire Chief Pat Goodwin. Firefighters will participate in roof and hose exercises from 7 a.m.-noon Sunday and 1-4 p.m. Monday and Tuesday (June 8, 9 and 10).

The building used for the exercises is located about one block south of Lincoln Avenue on Ninth Street. The training sessions are another in a series of collaborative exercises over the years between the university and community emergency responders.

New EIU Grant Helps Some Middle Class Families Afford College 06/05/14 Eastern Illinois University is offering a new grant to help make college affordable for middle class families, according to Carol Waldmann, interim financial aid director. The new grant -- known as the EIU Opportunity Fund -- will provide $1,000 per student for up to four years.

“This grant -- which does not have to be repaid -- will be offered to students who have already qualified for one of the Commitment to Excellence merit scholarships or a Transfer Excellence Award but whose family income puts them just over the limit to qualify for a federal Pell Grant,” she said.

Those students with an expected family contribution of between $5,158 and $12,000 are being offered the additional grant.

“In some cases, the additional grant will reduce the expected family contribution,” Waldmann said. “In others, the grant will reduce the amount of student loans needed to meet the financial aid requirements.

“We saw that some of our middle income families were struggling to afford coming to EIU and we decided this was one way we could help,” she continued. “The grants are another illustration of EIU’s commitment to help families afford college in the tradition of the highly successful Panther Promise.”

Waldmann said that every student in this category has been offered the additional grant, even if they already accepted their financial aid package. But, she also noted that there were about 200 students who have been accepted but who haven’t registered yet.

“In almost every case, the hesitation is related to cost,” she said, “and we hope this will help tip the scale and allow the student to come to EIU.”
Community Members Invited to Lawn of Old Main for Live Music, Food 05/29/14

Eastern Illinois University welcomes the community to the lawn of Old Main to celebrate the summer season with live music, food, drinks and door prizes during the Old Main Lawn Party.

The evening will begin at 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, June 5 on the lawn in front of the Old Main with community members throughout Coles County encouraged to attend the free event.

“Eastern Illinois University appreciates all that our community members do every day to make our students feel at home in Charleston,” said Robert Martin, vice president for university advancement. “The party celebrates our continued collaboration between EIU and the community, but also provides an opportunity for everyone to sit back and relax with some good live music, food and drinks.”

“The Freezelands, a local husband-wife duo from the band Jac Freeze, will sing acoustically from a wide range of music from country to rock,” Martin said. The arraignment will include music from old country favorites to new such as Patsy Cline and Adele and some rock favorites too.

Throughout the evening, EIU head football coach, Kim Dameron and his staff will there for the community to meet.

“We thought the lawn party would be a perfect time for our new head football coach to update us on the exciting, upcoming season,” Martin said. “We know our community bleeds blue, and we wanted to provide them the opportunity to visit with all our football coaches up close.”

The lawn party is co-hosted by Eastern Illinois University and the Charleston Chamber of Commerce.

“Old Main is the symbol of our university, and by hosting a celebration on the grounds of this historic building, we are physically opening our doors to Charleston,” Martin said. “The live music, the natural beauty of the grounds and the opportunity to mix and mingle with the coaches, faculty, staff and friends is EIU’s way of saying thank you Charleston for being real Panther fans.”

Parking for the lawn party is available at the X lot to the west of Old Main. The EIU University Police Department will not ticket after 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 5 in the X lot.

An Eagerness to Teach: First-year Teacher Wins Statewide Award 05/23/14

Every day Kaj Holm walks into the doors of Jefferson Elementary School armed with a smile and an eagerness to teach.

“My first year of teaching has been absolutely amazing,” said Holm, a Charleston teacher and Eastern Illinois University alumnus. “I never woke up and felt like I had to get up and go to a job. I always wake up with a smile on my face, and I am happy to be able to do what I love, and actually get paid for it.”

While Holm would be perfectly content with the everyday reward of seeing his students learn, the first-year teacher was recognized statewide for his dedication and commitment to his students. In May, Holm received the Outstanding Beginning Teacher Award, rewarded by the Illinois Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.

It was no surprise to Holm’s students, fellow teachers, parents and educators that he received the award — even though it was to him. “I do not know why I deserve the award,” Holm said. “Someone clearly saw something in me to nominate me, but I am not in the profession for awards and recognition.”

After observing him as a student and as a professional, Diane Jackman, dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies at EIU, knows exactly why Holm deserved the award.

“Kaj Holm’s energy and enthusiasm for helping his students is contagious,” she said. “He creates an exciting atmosphere in his classroom that makes his students truly want to learn.”

In his classroom, Holm’s spends his time teaching ‘outside the book’ by spending money out of his own pocket to buy supplies for projects. His teaching philosophy is exactly what he learned at EIU—hands on. Some of his projects include leading a CSI investigation, building bridges out of toothpicks, creating an American Revolutionary War museum and constructing kites and boomerangs. Throughout the year, the projects help his students fine tune their motor and thinking skills.

While Holm admits that he is focused on learning, he also wants his students to have fun too, and he is not afraid to go the extra mile and even dress the part. For example, Holm dressed as an elf for the holiday season and wore a dress for a performance of “Twelfth Night.”

Not only does Holm teach his classes with his ‘contagious energy,’ but he is also involved with many organizations for his students and for the general support of public education. He helps guide the fifth grade student council and the district’s Lego Robotic League. In the league, Holm teaches his students science and technology skills. In his spare time, he also tutors math to other students throughout the district.

Right now, Holm also serves as the union representative for the Charleston Education Association. He traveled to Chicago to represent the chapter, and in the summer, Holm will also travel to Colorado to represent the chapter nationally.

“A lot of what comes with teaching I had expected,” he said. “Being a first-year teacher, there is a lot of hard work and a lot of extra hours you put in, but as long as you use your time wisely there is no reason to stress out. I just take things one day at a time, and I try to stay organized and prepared.”

Before teaching, Holm endured some failed attempts at other professions before he discovered his true calling.

“I dibbled and dabbled in a lot of different things, and I changed various professions, and finally decided to give teaching a try because I enjoy sharing information and I enjoy interacting with children,” he said. “And being a child at heart, I thought maybe this could be for me.”

Holm graduated with an elementary education degree at EIU in Spring 2013, and he is currently working on a master’s degree at EIU in mathematics focused on elementary education.

Throughout his time at EIU, Holm said he experienced many hands-on experiences, and even went on a study aboard trip to Andros Island in the Bahamas where he taught underprivileged students.

Holm was one of nine award winners from throughout the state of Illinois. During the award banquet, he was able to meet with different legislators and chat about current legislation affecting education.

Holm teaches math, science and social studies at Jefferson. “I am teaching because it is something I love,” Holm said. “I was just doing what I want to do on a regular basis.”

Camps are an Important Summer Business at EIU 05/22/14 More than 11,000 high school students will participate in 56 camps and programs over the summer at Eastern Illinois University, according to Dan Nadler, vice president for student affairs.

“The minute students move out of the residence halls in the spring, we begin work to get ready for the influx of our special guests,” he said. “The camps and conference opportunities include a wide variety of programs and interests from band and drama camps to Boys and Girls State and even the state track championships.”

Eastern Illinois University has a long history of hosting special summer programs, he said, and this year is no exception.

“This is a great way for the university to get additional use out of buildings that wouldn’t be heavily used in the summer,” Nadler said, “and it’s a wonderful way to introduce a new generation of students to EIU.”

Many of the camp/conference attendees spend a week or more in the residence halls and have the chance to explore the campus and its surroundings at their leisure.

“A number of our incoming freshmen note that they first experienced EIU when they came to Charleston to participate in a summer camp,” said Matt Boyer, assistant director of housing and dining for conference services. “Both the students and their parents are impressed with the university and love the friendly atmosphere of the city.”

This year, the university plans to extend the hours in the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union to better accommodate the visitors and also make students aware of the surrounding businesses, Boyer said. The student union serves as a gathering place on campus with its food court, the university bookstore and entertainment facilities.

“While we’re delighted to have them here for the summer camps,” Dan Nadler said, “we would really love to have them back as EIU students in the future, so we want them to have a great experience with the campus and with Charleston as a whole.”
EIU Launches Master of Arts in Art Hybrid Degree 05/22/14

Eastern Illinois University’s Department of Art and the School of Continuing Education have launched a Master of Arts in Art hybrid degree program.

This new degree program allows students to take courses online during the fall and spring semesters. A one-week on-campus studio session will be required during the summer.

The program is designed for working professionals who want to continue to work while earning their advanced degree.

The program features two different options -- art education and community arts. The art education option provides certified art teachers with the opportunity to further their knowledge about contemporary art and art education practices. The community art option provides those who work as museum educators, art center educators, artists, community workers and other art-based careers the opportunity to gain professional development to teach art in multiple settings.

There are no out-of-state tuition costs for the program and those interested are not limited by geographic proximity to EIU. The art department faculty are full-time teaching artists and scholars. They have extensive teaching experience and will provide personal attention to students to ensure a successful academic experience.

For information, or to apply to the program, contact Patricia Belleville at or 217-581-7009, or visit here.

New Online Options Add Flexibility to EIU Hybrid Transfer Programs 05/19/14 Three Eastern Illinois University transfer programs are adding more online classes to their programs to make them more attractive to transfer students – particularly from community colleges.

“We’re already very transfer-friendly,” said Rita Pearson, the director of transfer relations at EIU. “But these new hybrid programs replace some of the face-to-face classes with online options to reduce the amount of time transfer students need to spend on the EIU campus.

“Our transfer students – who make up nearly 40 percent of our student body – often have families and very busy lives,” Pearson said, “so we wanted to make it as easy as possible for them to complete their bachelor degree at Eastern.”

Each of the three programs – in Psychology, Recreation Administration and Family and Consumer Sciences -- have already worked with their community college partners to align their courses so that students don’t have to re-take classes once they transfer to Eastern.

“Our faculty members have worked with their community college counterparts to match learning requirements and courses so that the credits transfer smoothly into our programs and our transfer students can jump right into the upper division courses,” she said.

While each program is different, all have added the option to replace a portion of their regular classes with an option to take the class online.

“An overwhelming majority of students would prefer to take classes in a traditional classroom,” Pearson said, “but that just won’t work for some students – and particularly for our transfer students.

“These new options will open our programs to many more students who might otherwise find it difficult to complete their degree,” she said.

She also noted that the three transfer programs are just the first of many hybrid programs to be offered by Eastern with other programs and additional online options are already in development.
EIU's Old Main to Celebrate Coles County High School Students' Graduations 05/15/14 Eastern Illinois University will share in the celebrations as Charleston, Mattoon and Oakland high school seniors graduate in the coming days.

On Friday (May 16) evening, the institution’s administration building (Old Main, a.k.a., the “Castle”) will be illuminated in red and gold in commemoration of Charleston High School’s graduation activities. The actual ceremony is set to begin at 8 p.m. in EIU’s Lantz Arena.

On the evening of Friday, May 30, the building will be decorated in green and gold in commemoration of Mattoon High School’s commencement, scheduled to take place at 8 p.m. at the high school.

Oakland High School’s graduation ceremonies are also scheduled to take place on Friday, May 30, with activities beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the school’s gymnasium. EIU will honor those students with purple and orange lighting on Old Main on the evening of May 31.

The programmable lighting system allows Eastern to celebrate university and community events. The system was installed in response to Eastern’s efforts, in working with the city of Charleston, to create a “collaborative landscape/streetscape plan” from the Neal Welcome Center, located at the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Douglas Street, eastward to 18th Street (Route 130).

In addition to helping provide a welcoming corridor along Lincoln Avenue, the new lighting is expected to strengthen the connection between campus and the community, and showcase the building’s outstanding architectural features.
EIU to Reduce Summer Hours; Booth Library, Admissions Among Exceptions 05/12/14 In a continuing effort to conserve resource dollars, Eastern Illinois University will once again close selected buildings and offices from noon on Fridays until Monday mornings during the summer months.

The affected time period begins today (Monday, May 12), and ends Friday, Aug. 15.

Building/office exceptions include, but may not be limited to, the President’s Office, the Bursar’s/Cashier’s Office, Booth Library, Financial Aid, University Police, the Renewable Energy Center and the Office of Admissions, which plan to keep normal working hours.

When summer hours are in effect, all university offices must be open to the public between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and between 8 a.m. and noon on Friday. Administrative offices (and others where possible) will remain open during the lunch hour (Monday through Thursday).

By ending the work week at noon on Fridays, the university can increase temperatures in all vacant offices and other work environments to allow energy savings for two and one-half days per week.

Employees will be required to work their regularly scheduled number of full-time hours during the four-and-a-half-day work week. Classes scheduled to meet on Friday afternoons and/or weekends will be relocated to buildings where the air conditioning will remain on.

During weeks in which a holiday is observed (Monday, May 26, for Memorial Day and Friday, July 4, for Independence Day), offices will return to regular business hours (8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4:30 p.m.)

Regular hours will resume on Monday, Aug. 18, for the 2014-2015 school year. Classes will resume on Monday, Aug. 25.
Nearly 1,500 Students to March in EIU Commencement Ceremonies 05/07/14 Nearly 1,500 undergraduate and graduate students plan to participate in commencement ceremonies at Eastern Illinois University on Saturday, May 10.

Ceremonies will take place at 9 a.m., noon, 3 and 6 p.m. in Lantz Arena. Guest tickets are required for admission.

Students from the College of Sciences will march in the morning ceremony, the College of Arts and Humanities and the School of Continuing Education at noon, the College of Education and Professional Studies at 3 p.m., and the Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences at 6.

Students from the Graduate School will walk with their respective colleges during each ceremony.

EIU President William Perry will preside over the ceremonies.

Representing Eastern’s Board of Trustees will be Roger L. Kratochvil (9 a.m.), Robert Webb (noon), Mitch Gurick (3 p.m.) and Joseph R. Dively (6 p.m.).

Each ceremony will feature a special guest speaker who will present the official “Charge to the Class.” Al Bowman, former president of Illinois State University, will speak at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. EIU alumnus Habeeb Habeeb, president and CEO for Benefit Planning Consultants, plans to speak at both the noon and 6 p.m. ceremonies.

At the 9 a.m. ceremony, special recognition will be given to Andrew Methven, professor of biological sciences, who was named the 2014 recipient of Eastern's Distinguished Faculty Award. This award is presented annually by the Faculty Senate to a full-time faculty member who has excelled in teaching, professional research/creative activity and service.

Commencement marshals lead the procession while carrying the university mace inscribed with past marshals' names. This spring's commencement marshals are as follows:
• Gail Richard, department chair and professor of communication disorders and sciences, representing the College of Sciences during the morning ceremony. Richard has been a member of Eastern’s faculty since 1981.
• Jeffrey Boshart, professor of art, representing the College of Arts and Humanities during the noon ceremony. Boshart has been a member of Eastern’s faculty since 1988.
• Richard Cavanaugh, professor of health studies, representing the College of Education and Professional Studies during the 3 p.m. ceremony. Cavanaugh has been a member of Eastern’s faculty since 1992.
• Lisa Brooks, assistant professor, School of Family and Consumer Sciences, representing the Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences during the 6 p.m. ceremony. Brooks has been a member of Eastern’s faculty since 2000.

Faculty marshals are given the honor of carrying the college banner for their respective colleges. This spring's faculty marshals are as follows: Gopal Periyannan, Graduate School and College of Sciences, and Robert Colombo, College of Sciences, 9 a.m.; David Smith, Graduate School and College of Arts and Humanities, Melanie Mills, College of Arts and Humanities, and Rebecca Throneburg, School of Continuing Education, noon; John Bickford, Graduate School and College of Education and Professional Studies, and Linda Reven, College of Education and Professional Studies, 3 p.m.; and R. Lance Hogan, Graduate School and Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences, and Mori Toosi, Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences, 6 p.m.
Student Commencement Speakers Named at EIU 05/07/14 Students representing each of the four academic colleges at Eastern Illinois University have been chosen to speak at Commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 10.

In order to promote EIU's commitment to strengthening the academic and personal experience of EIU’s students and to showcase examples of exemplary writing and speaking, the university introduced the Student Commencement Speaker Series in Fall 2013. This program replaces the former student and faculty speaker traditions at Eastern.

Speakers are chosen based on self-written essays; this year’s theme was “My Academic Turning Point at EIU.” Additionally, selected students must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.25 in all courses taken at EIU.

Faculty mentors introduce the students prior to their speeches at each respective ceremony.

Spring 2014 Student Commencement Speakers include the following:

Brittany R. Hart, candidate for a bachelor’s degree in communication disorders and sciences, will speak at 9 a.m., representing the College of Sciences. A Sullivan, Ill., native, Hart plans to attend EIU’s Graduate School to receive her master’s degree in communication disorders and sciences. Angela B. Anthony, assistant professor in communication disorders and sciences, serves as Hart’s essay mentor. The title of her commencement essay is “Experiencing EIU.”

Anna Laureen Percival, candidate for a bachelor’s degree in communication studies, will speak at noon, representing the College of Arts and Humanities. A native of Watson, Ill., Percival is a graduate of Effingham High School. Carrie A. Wilson-Brown, instructor from the Department of Communication Studies, serves as Percival's essay mentor. The title of her commencement essay is “Passionate Purpose.”

Katherine E. Ozark, candidate for a bachelor’s degree in education, with dual certification in special education and elementary education (with a concentration in music), will speak at 3 p.m., representing the College of Education and Professional Studies. A native of Orland Park, Ill., and graduate of Carl Sandburg High School in Orland Park, Ozark has been very active in numerous professional organizations where she has been recognized for her outstanding academic abilities and service. Melissa L. Jones-Bromenshenkel, associate professor and graduate faculty member from the Department of Special Education, serves as Ozark’s essay mentor. The title of her commencement essay is “If You Were Not Supposed to Be Here, You Wouldn’t Be.”

Erika L. Butler, a management major in the School of Business, will represent the Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences during the 6 p.m. ceremony. She is a native of Streamwood, Ill. Bill C. Minnis, associate professor of management in the School of Business, serves as Butler’s essay mentor. The title of her commencement essay is “My Turning Point at Eastern.”
Workshops Create Community of Active Bystanders at EIU 05/05/14

Through lectures and workshops, Eastern Illinois University faculty, staff and students are determined to create a culture of active bystanders — those who react.

This April for Sexual Assault Awareness Month, EIU community members did exactly that by engaging in two workshops focused on specific scenarios and activities of active bystanders.

Alan Berkowitz, an expert on bystander behavior, led the workshops and enlightened EIU professionals about the importance of continuing to create a culture focused on action.

“We brought in Berkowitz for a second time to EIU to continue to lead the bystander intervention training that we started in the fall,” said Jackie Hines, associate director of sexual assault prevention. “But, this time Berkowitz walked us through real-life scenarios too.”

“The main purpose of workshops was to continue to provide our community with necessary training and resources to know how to act in times of distress from violent acts to inappropriate remarks,” Hines continued. “The real-life scenarios allowed our staff members and students to exchange ideas and chat about how they would act in situations from a racist remark or homophobic statement.”

Throughout the workshops, Berkowitz provided specific strategies for intervention such as confronting the person, shifting the focus of the situation, changing the person’s attitudes or talking to a third party.

In a confrontation, Berkowitz said the bystander must make it clear that certain behaviors and remarks are not appropriate. In other situations, Berkowitz said bystanders may use the ‘shift focus’ strategy where an individual changes the subject, and does not address the issue head on. Berkowitz said sometimes bystanders can even change the person’s attitudes by opening up conversations, and helping the person understand why their behavior is problematic.

“Unwanted behaviors and social injustice can be reduced or prevented by active bystanders no matter what strategy they take,” Berkowitz said. “Bystander intervention is really about being a human being.”

The two workshop training sessions were only part of the sponsored events during Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Earlier in the month, The Counseling Center sponsored the Red Flag Campaign aimed at raising awareness about the warning signs of interpersonal violence. Red flags were placed around campus to represent the warning signs of interpersonal violence. Examples of interpersonal violence include sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and cyberstalking.

“We will continue to provide awareness and training about the warning signs of interpersonal violence and bystander intervention all year long, not just for one month,” Hines said.

Berkowitz is an internationally recognized expert on bystander behavior, drug prevention, violence prevention and social justice issues who works within colleges and universities, military organizations and public health agencies. He gives workshops throughout the country. For more information about Alan Berkowitz, click here.

School of Continuing Education’s Mobile App Recognized 05/02/14

The School of Continuing Education at Eastern Illinois University was recently recognized for its mobile application named as one of the 101 favorite apps by Best Online Universities.

The application identifies EIU resources for adult students such as off-campus and online courses and degree completion programs. A mobile application (app) is a software application created for smartphones and other devices. The Center for Academic Technology Support designed the app.

Danny Harvey, one of the designers of the app, said the app provides a means for communicating with prospective and current students in the School of Continuing Education using mobile technology, which has become more prevalent in higher education.

The application allows for easy access to all the resources that current or prospective students are looking for such as degree programs, course schedules and a staff directory with pictures.

“I think the ability to search in the course schedule for continuing education courses by semester and location is a nice feature,” Harvey said. “Students can use this as a tool for planning their coursework.”

Regis Gilman, dean of the School of Continuing Education, said the application is a valuable resource because of its utility and ease of use. The goal of application was to make the content and layout as friendly as possible for current and future students, Gilman said.

The application can be accessed by any smartphone. Anyone can install the app by going here.

All 101 favorite apps can be seen in the article “Mobile Learning In Action: Our 101 Favorite Apps”. The list highlights some of the most feature-packed and useful mobile learning apps for both iOS and Android devices. Best Online Universities is a corporation focused on creating higher education websites.

High School Seniors Awarded EIU Honors College Scholarships 04/30/14 Twenty-one high school seniors have been offered scholarships via Eastern Illinois University’s Sandra and Jack Pine Honors College.

The Pemberton Presidential Scholarship covers on-campus room and board (approximately $8,900 per year) and tuition and fees (up to $11,000 per year) for four years. High school students with an ACT score of 31 or higher and a grade point average of 3.75 or higher are eligible for the scholarship.

The Presidential Scholars Award allows $11,000 per year for four years, which is approximately the amount for tuition and fees for a full-time student enrolled in 15 semester hours of study. High school students with an ACT score of 28 or higher and a grade point average of 3.5 or higher are eligible for this scholarship.

Both scholarships are awarded to exceptionally strong incoming freshmen who are chosen based on high school transcripts, extracurricular and volunteer activities, personal essays and a recommendation from a high school teacher or administrator. Applicants’ leadership potential, ambition to make the most of college, and intellectual maturity are also considered.

Recipients of the Pemberton Presidential Scholarship are Erin Bozek of Bridgeview, Jeff Cherry of Lindenhurst, Joseph Goldstein of Neoga, Brock Kukman of Morris, Valerie Rosen of Mahomet and Allison Vogt of Teutopolis.

Recipients of the Presidential Scholars Award are Nicole Beringer of Frankfort; Tonia Bishop of Marshall; Brittany Borowski of Chicago; Elizabeth Bridges of Wapella; Caroline Collet of Verona; Rebecca Duke of Geneva; Andrew Fisher of Bowling Green, Ohio; Aaron Garver of Paris; Chloe Gottschalk of Eldridge, Iowa; Mikayla Grant of Mattoon; Mary Gray of Ashkum; Whitney Maninfior of Mattoon; Darin McBride of Litchfield; Amy Smith of Wheaton; and Arielle Starkey of Charleston.

For information about these scholarship, contact the EIU Honors College at 217-581-2017, or email Additional scholarship opportunities can be found by visiting
EIU to Offer ‘Money Smart’ Program for Older Adults 04/29/14

Eastern Illinois University students will be offering an educational program Wednesday, April 30 focused on preventing common frauds, scams and other types of elder financial exploitation.

Students from the School of Business and the gerontology program will lead the discussion focused on information and activities identifying elder financial abuse. The one-hour program, titled “Money Smart for Older Adults: Protecting your Money from Fraudulent Activities,” will start at 6:30 p.m. in Room 2041 in Lumpkin Hall.

Free parking is available in the Booth Library parking lot, which is right off Fourth Street. The educational program is sponsored by the Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences and First-Mid Illinois Bank and Trust, and it is free and open to the public.

EIU Names Honors College for Alumni Couple 04/25/14 Eastern Illinois University announced today that it is naming its Honors College for Sandra and Jack Pine in recognition of their generosity and service to the university.

The couple – both graduates of the university – made a donation to support students within the Honors College majoring in physics, chemistry or mathematics.

Originally from Paris, Ill., Jack Pine is a 1964 graduate of the university where he earned a degree in physics. After graduation, he moved to the Chicago area where he was employed by Liquid Carbonic Corporation for approximately five years in various technical positions. He left Liquid to pursue a juris doctorate from Illinois Institute of Technology’s Kent College of Law. After law school, Mr. Pine spent nearly 30 years in private practice and as a corporate attorney with CBI Industries and Statia Terminals.

Sandra Pine graduated from EIU in 1965 as valedictorian with a degree in business education. She subsequently earned a master’s degree in education from Northern Illinois University and spent her 34-year career as a teacher and chair of the business department at Hinsdale South High School, District 86.

The couple met at EIU and were married after both graduated from the university.

“We’re very proud of our Honors College, and it is fitting to name it after Sandra and Jack Pine,” said Robert Martin, vice president of university advancement. “This is also a recognition of the key role that the sciences play at Eastern and the strong influence of the students from our Honors College.

“Their donation will fund a series of scholarships which will encourage students not only to major in science but to challenge themselves with honors-level courses,” Martin said.

“Students in our Honors College have additional opportunities to excel and are actively encouraged to participate in individual research while they are still undergraduates,” he added. “We believe these new scholarships will attract more high-achieving students to the university and encourage students who are already enrolled to consider the Honors College.”

The Eastern Illinois University Honors College was founded as the Honors Programs in 1982 to meet the needs of academically talented students and to encourage intellectual and social growth.
EIU Continues Dedication to Emerging Field of Clean Energy 04/25/14

Eastern Illinois University continued its dedication to clean energy today by opening its new research facility, Center for Clean Energy Research and Education (CENCERE), dedicated to alternative fuel exploration.

“Our students and professors at Eastern Illinois University will now be able to house their research projects focused on clean energy within a brand new 5,000-square-ft. state-of-the-art facility,” said Peter Liu, director of CENCERE.

“The research is designed to determine additional biomass fuels which could be used in EIU’s Renewable Energy Center (REC) which sits north of the research facility,” he said. “The Renewable Energy Center is helping to move biomass fuels from the research phase to commercial use so it’s great to have everything all at one site.”

The CENCERE facility contains a processing area, room for the gasifier and an analytical lab. The gasifier converts biomass into combustible gas with the resulting product being used for fuel, just like the one found at the Renewable Energy Center.

“The opening of CENCERE building will enable us to develop better collaboration between the Renewable Energy Center and academic units, among various departments across the campus, with our community and local schools as well as with entrepreneurs in the region,” Liu said. “Through our partnership, we are creating a better future for our students, for Eastern Illinois University and for our community.”

The new building also houses an “idea incubator” where students and faculty can connect with local businesses and community members to secure ideas for future projects.

“The idea incubator will create an exchange of ideas and knowledge for our community; starting with the youth to professionals and business owners with clean energy always at the forefront,” Liu said.

Members of the community, such as Charleston High School students, already are guided by EIU professors and undergraduate and graduate students as part of CHS’s renewable energy class started in Fall 2013. Now, CHS students will be able to use the new facility to interact with EIU professionals.

“The Charleston High School class is only the start of the collaboration between EIU and the community in regards to clean energy,” Liu said.

The facility will also give additional support to the master’s in sustainable energy program, started at EIU in Spring 2013 as a collaborative effort by 10 departments across campus. The one-of-a-kind program allows students to receive a mixture of hands-on learning and theory inside the classroom, internships and research practicums.

The project for the facility was funded by the Charleston Area Charitable Foundation. EIU’s Board of Trustees formally approved the creation of the research facility on Jan. 14, 2011.

Ten are Winners of National Medal for Museum and Library Services 04/24/14 The Institute of Museum and Library Services has announced the names of 10 museums and libraries in the United States that will be awarded the National Medal for Museum and Library Service.

Booth Library on the campus of Eastern Illinois University was named a finalist for this honor; however, it was not chosen as one of the five libraries to receive the medal.

Dean of Library Services Allen Lanham said that while it was disheartening to learn the library was not chosen for the medal, he is extremely proud that Booth Library was named a finalist for this honor. Finalists were selected from nominations of libraries and museums that demonstrate innovative approaches to public service, exceeding the expected levels of community outreach. Booth Library was one of only 15 libraries, and the only academic library, honored from across the nation.

“In addition to our core mission of providing information services to our students and faculty, we consistently try to present exhibits and public programs to the campus and Charleston-area community,” Lanham said. “To be recognized for these efforts was truly special, and we will wear our status as a national finalist as a badge of honor.”

Lanham thanked the many members of the campus and community for their kind remarks and support since the library was named a finalist. “Dozens of patrons shared their positive stories about Booth Library on Facebook, and many others contacted me privately,” he said. “It was very humbling to read and hear all of these comments.”

The 2014 winners of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service are:
• Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn, N.Y.
• Chicago Public Library, Chicago, Ill.
• The Children's Museum of Indianapolis, Indianapolis, Ind.
• Las Vegas-Clark County Library District, Las Vegas, Nev.
• Mid-Continent Public Library, Independence, Mo.
• Mystic Aquarium, Mystic, Conn.
• North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, N.C.
• Octavia Fellin Public Library, Gallup, N.M.
• Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, Norman, Okla.
• Yiddish Book Center, Amherst, Mass.

To learn more about the 2014 National Medal finalists, visit here. To learn more about Booth Library, visit here or find the library on Facebook or Twitter.
EIU Named a Tree Campus for Fourth Consecutive Year 04/23/14 Just in time for Arbor Day this Friday (April 25), Eastern Illinois University has been named one of the nation’s “Tree Campuses” for the fourth year in a row.

The designation from the National Arbor Day Foundation recognizes the importance EIU places on its campus tree program and effective campus forest management. In addition, the university had to meet other requirements including having a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program and a student service-learning project promoting healthy trees.

“We recognize the importance of trees on our campus,” said Andy Methven, a biological sciences professor who encouraged EIU to submit its application. “They are essential to creating a beautiful and welcoming campus, and they also help keep our air and water clean.”

Methven noted that a number of trees on Eastern’s campus have been recognized locally as “trees of distinction” and that some are several hundred years old.

“This simply wouldn’t be the same campus without our trees and it is wonderful to be recognized for our work in maintaining the trees we have and for the university’s work in constantly working to plant additional specimens,” he said.

The Tree Campus USA program was launched in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation and is sponsored by Toyota. The program honors colleges and universities and their leaders for promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation.

The Arbor Day Foundation is headquartered in Lincoln, Neb.
Learning the Ins and Outs of an Emerging Field: CHS Students Learn, Grow from Guidance at EIU 04/22/14

Three Charleston High School students travel to Eastern Illinois University every week where they are learning much more than just the ins and outs of sustainable energy.

“Our students are being challenged and inspired to grow as researchers and scientists,” said Jan Easter, a science teacher at Charleston High School. “But, they are also learning that sometimes they will fail, but they have to keep going.”

Every Wednesday morning CHS students drive to EIU to chat with fellow undergraduate and graduate students about sustainable energy and receive input about their individual projects as part of the CHS’s new Renewable Energy class.

CHS administrators and Peter Liu, a graduate coordinator of the master’s in sustainable energy program at EIU, collaborated to create the class, which started in the fall of 2013.

The class offers CHS students the chance to receive input and guidance from EIU professors and students. It also provides the high school students a sneak peek into college life.

“EIU professors and students are wonderful,” Easter said. “They are supportive, they provide suggestions, and they are very patient.”

Right now, the class meets in Klehm Hall, where EIU’ s gasifier is housed along with other research projects regarding sustainable energy. Next year, the class will use the new Center for Clean Energy Research and Education (CENCERE) building next to the Renewable Energy Center.

The CENCERE building is designed to provide research and teaching for biomass storage with a processing area, room for the laboratory-scale gasifier and an analytical lab. Community members and local businesses will even get the opportunity to connect with students and faculty through an ‘idea incubator’ for future projects focused on sustainable energy.

“The Charleston High School class is only the start of the collaboration between EIU and the community in regards to sustainable energy,” Liu said. “The idea incubator will allow the community to come in and use our facility and professional knowledge to help foster their own projects and businesses.”

“The idea incubator will create an exchange of ideas and knowledge for our community starting with the youth, like the CHS students, to professional and business owners with sustainable energy always on the forefront,” he continued.

CHS students are already starting to exchange ideas with EIU professionals by researching and creating their own sustainable energy projects such as creating their own gasifier or researching biomass sources. A gasifier takes organic biomass material and transforms the material into carbon monoxide, hydrogen and carbon dioxide. The power from the process is a source of renewable energy.

“It’s really nice to work with EIU because I get so many new thoughts and ideas,” said Emily Bumpus, a junior CHS student. “It’s my favorite part about this class. They gave me ideas for my gasifier and now I want to go back alter mine more.”

Bumpus spent her first semester in the class researching how to make a gasifier similar to the one found at EIU’s Renewable Energy Center. Then she created her own mini version.

Now, Bumpus is even looking into biomass energy sources like Indian grass, but she has to wait to look into the source until it can be harvested in late summer or fall. Throughout the class, Bumpus said she can always rely on the students and professors of EIU to help give her input and guide her through the ups and downs of scientific discovery.

“Even if your project does not work out at first, it is trial and error, and you have to keep going,” she said.

Sam Stowell, a senior at CHS, said he experienced a couple of his own obstacles and downfalls with his project on quadcopters, but he knows he has the guidance of EIU professionals to fall back on.

“The biggest thing I have taken from this class is you are going to fail,” Stowell said. “But if you keep working at something, you will find a way around it.”

His project on quadcopters, helicopters with a central unit and four arms, explores how quadcopters can be used to transport items using renewable energy. From Stowell’s idea, EIU students have even decided to conduct their own research on quadcopters. “It’s really cool how EIU is researching quadcopters now, because of my project,” Stowell said.

All three students said the class has helped them grow as researchers and scientists, but Katie Jo Pierson, a senior CHS student, said the class has been especially important for her.

“I learned a lot about myself and that I can do this stuff,” Pierson said. “At first, I didn’t think I would be smart enough for this class, but I definitely have put my full potential forward and it has helped me better myself.”

U.S. Rep. John Shimkus Tours EIU's Renewable Energy Complex 04/17/14 U.S. Rep. John Shimkus got a sneak peak at the new Center for Clean Energy Research and Education (CENCERE) during his visit to Eastern Illinois University this week. Shimkus also joined EIU President William Perry on a tour of EIU's Renewable Energy Center, which is pioneering the use of biomass fuels on the campus.

"I'm very pleased to see the flexibility of this facility, with the option to use both fossil fuels like natural gas and oil along with plant-based fuels,” Shimkus said. “It's exactly the kind of flexibility we need because it just doesn't make sense to put all your eggs in one basket."

Shimkus also applauded the collaboration between the university's physical plant and the academic side -- a collaboration that allows the university to use the center as a working lab while also providing heat for the entire campus.

That collaboration also allowed the university to add new master’s and bachelor’s degrees in renewable energy, according to Perry.

"We made a commitment to move to more sustainable energy sources when we decided to close our old coal-fired steam plant," he said. "That plant was at the end of its useful life and had serious emissions issues."

The Renewable Energy Center, on the other hand, has earned a Platinum Rating from the U.S. Green Building Council -- the only power plant in the nation to earn that distinction.

Perry said that the academic role of the complex will expand shortly when the new CENCERE center opens next to the Renewable Energy Center. The CENCERE building will house laboratories where EIU researchers and their students will test a variety of locally grown crops to evaluate their usefulness a biomass fuels.

"CENCERE will also welcome entrepreneurs who can tap into the university in developing their own green energy products and services," Perry said. "We are confident that EIU can help lead the way to a more secure energy future while we also protect the environment.

"Best of all," he added, "renewable energy can help produce great new jobs for central Illinois."
More Than 40 Students Presented Research Projects at National Conference 04/07/14

More than 40 Eastern Illinois University students presented their undergraduate research projects at the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research Thursday through Saturday in Lexington, Ky.

Throughout the conference, EIU students gave oral or poster presentations on a range of topics from mental illness to bioenergetics.

Richard England, dean of the honors college, said EIU has become a state leader in undergraduate research, and the university continues to make research a fundamental part of its mission.

“We are way ahead of the curve on undergraduate research compared to other state universities, particularly in our participation in NCUR,” he said. “Our students participate in a variety of enriching and challenging research projects and they a have a large presence at the NCUR conference.”

“I am very proud to be part of the EIU’s continuing dedication to undergraduate research,” he continued. “Our mentors are dedicated to empowering our students to complete research projects in their interests, and to grow as scholars.”

England said undergraduate research gives students the opportunity to show future employers they have the skills and the drive to take what they learned in the classroom, and to make their own discoveries in arts, humanities, sciences and applied disciplines.

“Research is not just sitting in the classroom,” England said. “Our students are using their skills to showcase their own ideas and thoughts.”

The conference also provided an opportunity for students to submit their research topics for publication, and they received input from professors across the country. Representatives from Eastern Illinois University have been attending the conference for the last seven years.

EIU Admissions Counselor to Recruit Families, Not Just Students 04/01/14 As Eastern Illinois University’s newest admissions counselor, Aseret Gonzalez plans to go out and recruit families – not just students.

“The Hispanic population is very family-oriented,” Gonzalez said. “For them, it is not common practice to head off to college after graduating from high school. Rather, it is the Hispanic tradition to stay closer to home and help out the family.”

Although she will be interacting with students of all races, Gonzalez will share a certain bond with those of Hispanic heritage.

“I’m 100 percent Mexican. Both of my parents were born in Mexico,” she said. And, like those students she’s now recruiting, she faced some of the same family issues when it came to pursuing a career.

Gonzalez credits her mother – “an incredibly strong, loving and giving individual” – for providing the needed support that allowed Gonzalez to pursue her own higher education opportunities.

“Some young people don’t get that support. Their families still hold on to the old traditions, although some,” she added, “are starting to shift.”

A first-generation college student from Spring Valley, Ill., Gonzalez began attending Illinois Valley Community College in Oglesby, Ill., before transferring to Eastern and earning her bachelor’s degree in sociology. She will graduate in May 2014 with her master’s degree in college student affairs.

“As I work with transfer students, I want to help them with that same transition,” she said. “And that means meeting and working with their families, as well.”

It will mean more than just being bilingual, too.

As she meets with prospective students and their fathers, mothers and siblings -- and sometimes even grandparents -- Gonzalez hopes to stress the importance for opportunities of higher education. She also hopes to demonstrate how a college education can expand on the Hispanic tradition of “helping the family.”

“By emphasizing the outcomes – the opportunities for their families – they will get a better feel for how this decision will impact the family as a whole,” Gonzalez said. “And I can help them understand college culture.

"I can also try and answer their questions and concerns,” she continued. “For example, they’ll want to know if their student is going to be safe, and for that, I can stress the emphasis Eastern’s places on campus safety.”

Gonzalez said that she plans to encourage families to visit Eastern’s campus to see for themselves the type of accommodations that are available for their student and to meet other Latino families. They can also share specific concerns with university administrators, letting them know ways in which the university can further enhance their experience on the Charleston campus.

“What else do you want from us?” Gonzalez said. “That’s what we’ll ask them. We need for these Hispanic families to help us learn what it takes to gain their confidence and willingness to send their students to Eastern Illinois University.”
Annual English Studies Conference Expanded 04/01/14

The Department of English at Eastern Illinois University will host the annual English Studies Student Conference from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 5 on campus.

“This year we made an effort to increase the size and professionalization of the conference,” said Melissa Ames, professor of English and director of English Education. “We have more panels derived from various English courses, graduate students acting as panel moderators, two different alumni lunch sessions and the newly added keynote address.”

The student and alumni panels will take place in the third floor classrooms from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Coleman Hall, and the keynote address will be held at 2 p.m. in the Roberson Auditorium in Lumpkin Hall.

The nine panels, each comprised of three to six students, will be presented by undergraduate and graduate students in the Department of English. The topics include Shakespeare; Literature, Fashion, and Metanarratives; Creative Teaching in the High School Classroom; Time and Genre; Teacher Research; and Intersectional Forces and Resistance in Early 20th Century African American Life.

Several alumni from the Department of English will return to campus to talk with attendees during two lunch panels. One group of alumni panelists will share their post-graduation success stories in graduate programs, internships and new professional careers made possible from the skills gained in English studies at EIU. The second group will discuss their experiences as student teachers, substitute teachers, first-year teachers and seasoned veterans.

Q & A sessions will follow both alumni panels providing attendees the opportunity to ask questions concerning marketing oneself as an English major, navigating the job hunt, deciding on specialization, classroom experiences and more.

“Attending the English Studies Conference is an opportunity to engage with the exciting creative and scholarly work that undergraduate students, graduate students, and recent alumni are doing in the various fields of English studies,” Ames said. “Attendees will learn about the impact that professionals in the discipline are having in the local community.”

For the keynote address, Audrey Petty will read from her most recent work, “High Rise Stories: Voices from Chicago Public Housing,” a creative ethnographic work that provides first-person accounts from former residents of the now-demolished, iconic high-rise housing projects of Chicago.

Petty is an associate professor of English at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. She writes fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction.

Her stories have been published in such journals as African American Review, StoryQuarterly, Callaloo, and The Massachusetts Review. Her poetry has been featured in Crab Orchard Review and Cimarron Review, and her essays have appeared in Saveur, ColorLines, The Southern Review, Oxford American, Cornbread Nation 4, Gravy, and the Best Food Writing anthology.

The event is free to attend and open to the public. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. Advance registration is not required.

‘Red Flag Campaign’ to Focus on Bystander Intervention 03/31/14

“Looking back, many survivors of violence can pinpoint the ‘red flags’ or signs that they were in an abusive relationship,” said Jackie Hines, a counselor at Eastern Illinois University. “But many of the people around them can see the problem when it’s happening,” she said. “They just don’t know how to help.”

That’s why this year – as EIU participates in the national Red Flag Campaign against interpersonal violence, the emphasis will be on teaching bystanders how to help when they suspect abusive behavior.

As part of the national campaign, red flags will be displayed April 1-4 on campus to symbolize the warning signs of interpersonal violence. Examples of interpersonal violence include sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and cyberstalking.

“The purpose of the Red Flag Campaign at EIU is to continue conversations about the warning signs of violence, to identify them in personal relationships and take action as a bystander,” said Hines, who also serves as the associate director for sexual assault prevention at EIU.

Hand bills and posters will also be handed out throughout campus providing students information about the campaign and resources to learn about the warnings signs.

“The red flags kick off our Sexual Assault Awareness Month because it stirs conversation on campus with a visual, but throughout the month, we will be providing bystander intervention training to help our students, faculty and staff identify and act against violence throughout their lives,” Hines said.

Bystanders need to educate themselves on what the warning signs of abusive behavior are before they can be taught to take action, she said.

EIU counselor Angi Parker said a major warning sign is isolation from friends and family. “If someone truly loves you, they will encourage you to see your friends and family,” Parker said.

Other signs include ‘emotional put-downs,’ needing to know the whereabouts of someone constantly and controlling how someone acts. Abusers will purposely frame these conversations to make it appear they care for the victim, Parker said.

If someone recognizes these behaviors, Hines said, EIU’s Counseling Center is here to teach bystanders how to intervene, and provide counseling for those experiencing the warning signs, and abuse.

“We will continue to provide awareness and training about bystander intervention all year long, not just for one month,” Hines said.

The campaign is being sponsored by EIU’s Counseling Center and Health Education Resource Center. For more information or additional resources click here.

Fires, Floods and Trebuchets: EIU A Safer Place, Thanks to Gary Hanebrink 03/28/14 On the day Gary and Karen Hanebrink dropped off their daughter at summer camp, she called home at 10 p.m.

"She told us that the fire extinguisher near her room had been ripped from the wall and that the fire alarm didn't work," Gary Hanebrink recalled. "Then she asked, 'What do I do?'

"I knew then that I had created a monster," he said, grinning.

For the past 20 years, Hanebrink has been the face of safety at Eastern Illinois University. Whether it be preparing the campus for a large event (e.g., a concert, Homecoming activities or Commencement) or making sure passageways have the proper clearance space, the Charleston resident has done his utmost to keep students, faculty/staff and visitors protected.

That hasn't always been an easy task.

"I've dealt with a lot of safety issues over the years," he said, noting that his is not always a welcomed presence, especially when he feels it necessary to nix or alter a planned activity because of potential safety issues.

"I think people sometime wonder if it's better to tell me about a problem or ask for forgiveness later, after the fact," Hanebrink said. "Which is worse?

"I've discovered that you can make most things safe with cooperation," he added.

As he prepares for retirement -- his final day on the job will be Monday, March 31 -- Hanebrink can't help but recall some of the more unique challenges of his job as EIU's safety officer. Specifically, he remembers the trebuchets, fashioned after a medieval catapult-like weapon, built by the School of Technology. Hanebrink admits his heart pounded a little faster than usual as he waited, then watched, as classes launched 10-pound bowling balls 300 feet through the air.

Hanebrink came to EIU in January 1990 as superintendent of maintenance in Facilities Planning and Maintenance. Previously, he worked for Ameren CIPS and other industries in Danville, Peoria and Meredosia/Jacksonville.

During his first year on campus, he introduced a recycling program that involved the collection of recyclable office paper at 11 campus sites. Within months, the pilot program had expanded to include cardboard collection. The program continues to grow, more than two decades later.

For the past 20 of his 24 years of service, Hanebrink has devoted the vast majority of his attention to campus safety issues, including occupational health and safety concerns, injuries and emergency planning. He's noticed trends as the years have gone by.

"In the mid-'90s, the focus was on protection of life and property in the classroom and throughout campus," he said. "This included managing and collecting any hazardous materials one might find. Worker safety was a prime concern, and we worried about AIDS and bloodborne diseases."

However, after New York's Twin Tower attack on Sept. 11, 2001, the focus seemed to shift.

"Our attention turned toward the formation of a Haz-Mat (hazardous material) Response Team after Sept. 11," Hanebrink said.

"Eastern, the city and the Charleston Fire Department were charter members of our local team. I feel pretty good about that."

So does Pat Goodwin, chief of the Charleston Fire Department.

"I have spent a lot of time with Gary Hanebrink over the years," Goodwin said. "Deployments with the Incident Management Team, fires, Haz-Mat incidents, to other special call-outs.

"We spent a year together planning a state exercise at EIU back in 2011. I look back at incidents and pre-plannings over the years, and Gary and I were always side by side. It was a team approach and we worked well together.

“Gary worked to manage an incident, but worked harder to pre-plan and prevent an incident," Goodwin continued. "This attitude always had the best outcome, and Gary had a keen eye for the planning and prevention aspect. He has been a leader, mentor, friend and best buddy to me, and I will always cherish the time we had together."

While looking out for the welfare of the EIU community, Hanebrink applied for, and was accepted into, membership on both the Illinois Incident Management and National Incident Management teams. (Incident Management Team is a term used to refer to an emergency response group. Team members -- whether they're a local, statewide or national group -- respond to a wide range of emergencies, including fires, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, riots, the spilling of hazardous materials, and other natural or human-caused incidents.)

"After the tornadoes in November (2013), I spent 24 hours in Gifford and five days in Washington," Hanebrink recalled. "I spent two weeks in Louisiana after Hurricane Gustav (2008) and spent some time in both Texas during the Fort Davis wildfires (2011) and in Grant Pass, Oregon, during the wildfires there (2013)."

"The duration of each call varies, depending on the complexity of the incident," he added.

It should be noted that, unless Hanebrink is representing the university, he uses vacation time when he leaves to work an emergency. And, of course, due to the nature of the work, he doesn't have the luxury of advanced notice.

"The university has been fantastic, very supportive of my efforts," he said. "And I'd like to think that those efforts have benefited Eastern in turn, as I can come back and share with the knowledge I've gained with my fellow employees and other emergency responders within the community."
EIU President Bill Perry to Complete Presidential Service in 2015 03/27/14 Eastern Illinois University President Bill Perry announced today that he will complete his service as president in 2015, consistent with the ending date of his contract. Perry said that he made his decision at this time in order for the university to have ample time to search for the next president of EIU.

Perry noted in his email to the campus that in his remaining tenure he will continue to work with the campus to “forge opportunities and meet our challenges, always with an eye to providing the very best higher education experience for our students.”

Perry began serving as EIU president in 2007, moving to Eastern from Texas A&M University where he had served since 1971 in professorial and administrative roles.

EIU Board Chairman Joe Dively said that the board will reluctantly accept Perry’s decision.

“We do appreciate the notice Dr. Perry has given,” he said, “so that we have the time to find the right individual as EIU’s eleventh president.”

Dively also noted that Perry has put a comprehensive enrollment management plan into place which has reversed enrollment declines and started a slow but steady growth in the number of new students at EIU.

“And his leadership was critical in helping us meet and exceed our goal in our recent capital fundraising campaign,” he said. “What’s more, under his administration, we’ve had four straight years of record-setting giving to the university.”

Dively noted that the timing of Perry’s retirement will allow the university to complete a comprehensive program review begun earlier this year. The review is designed to examine every aspect and program of the university and adjust the budget and programs to ensure a sustainable future for Eastern Illinois University.

"Dr. Perry has created an atmosphere of excellence and helped lead the university to become more student-focused than ever,” Dively said. “He has been a hard-working leader and his shoes will be hard to fill.”

The next step for the board of trustees will be the appointment of a search committee and the start of a national search for Perry’s successor. That committee will be discussed at the next board meeting in April and the search will likely start over the summer.
Jonathan McKenzie Named New Executive Officer of EIU Foundation 03/21/14 Jonathan McKenzie has been named the new executive officer of the Eastern Illinois University Foundation.

“We welcome Jonathan to his new leadership role,” said Christine Robertson, president of the Foundation’s Board of Directors. “In addition to his prior experience working with various boards, Jonathan brings 10 continuous years of professional experience at EIU, serving in the offices of Alumni Services, the Alumni Fund, University Advancement and Academic Affairs.

“Through these experiences, he has developed an appreciation and understanding of the unique history, cultural traditions, and donor, alumni and community relationships that are the building blocks of the strong partnership between the university and the Foundation.”

McKenzie currently serves as assistant to the dean of Eastern’s Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences. Previously, as an assistant director with Alumni Services, he coordinated the Annual Fund (from 2004-2010) while holding a part-time position as a philanthropy officer during two of those years for the School of Continuing Education.

Prior to beginning his career at EIU, he was responsible for developing cultural and artistic programming for the Lake Land College Foundation as a special events coordinator. He has a history of working with community development agencies and non-profit organizations such as the Cumberland County Development Corp., where he was director in 2004.

McKenzie, who lives in Mattoon, said he was pleased to join and be a part of “such an exceptional organization” as the EIU Foundation.

“The EIU Foundation has been actively supporting the mission of Eastern Illinois University for more than 60 years. Our donors, members, directors, volunteers and staff are to be commended for their dedication.”

Robert Martin, EIU’s vice president for university advancement, said he was happy to see McKenzie re-join the university advancement team.

“I am pleased that Jonathan chose to accept the position of executive officer for the EIU Foundation,” he added. “I’m sure his experience and enthusiasm will serve him well.”

Although McKenzie will not officially begin his job as executive officer until April 1, he’s already thinking the part.

“Eastern Illinois University has played an important role in my life,” McKenzie said. “And I am not alone. There are many others whose lives have been enriched by their association with EIU.

“I encourage all of them to be a part of Eastern’s future,” he said. “Their support will make a significant difference.”

McKenzie also issued an open invitation. “I welcome anyone to stop by the EIU Foundation for a visit at any time.” The Foundation’s offices are located in the Neal Welcome Center, 860 West Lincoln Ave., Charleston.
Thompson Square to Perform at EIU 03/18/14 Thompson Square, the reigning Academy of Country Music Vocal Duo of the Year, will perform at Eastern Illinois University's Lantz Arena next month.

The 2014 Spring Concert is set to begin at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 24. Ticket sales ($23) will be open to the general public on Monday, March 31. EIU students with Panther Card ID may begin purchasing their tickets ($20) on Monday, March 18.

Tickets may be purchased at the MLK Jr. Union Ticket Office (581-5122) between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. They also may be purchased at

Thompson Square, a husband-wife duo, has earned more than 25 award nominations, including two Grammys, an American Music Award and Teen Choice Award. They made music history when they received the Country Music Award (CMA) for Vocal Duo of the Year in 2012 and the ACM Vocal Duo of the Year award in both 2012 and 2013.

In the world of entertainment, music arguably demands the most personal investment from its artists, and it doesn't get any more intimate than with Keifer and Shawna Thompson. Their sophomore album “Just Feels Good” is a compelling view of a relationship that offers no distinction between the personal and the professional.

"Much more than the first record, ‘Just Feels Good’ explains exactly who we are," Shawna said. "This is a very personal record."

Adds her husband, "It’s a stronger, more accurate representation of who we are and where we’re at right now in our life and our music career ... " and, Shawna finishes, "who we are as artists, who we are as individuals and who we are as a married couple, as well."

Thompson Square’s breakthrough hit “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not” has surpassed two million in sales, was the #1 Digital Soundscan Single for five weeks straight, the #1 Country Ringtone for 12 consecutive weeks, and the Most Played Song at Country Radio in 2011 (Mediabase).

Thompson Square followed that success with the award-winning hit, “I Got You,” and critically acclaimed “Glass.” Thompson Square’s star continued to rise in 2013 with the #1 gold selling heart-tugger, “If I Didn’t Have You,” and its current Top 25 hit, “Everything I Shouldn’t Be Thinking About,” both from the duo’s current album, “Just Feels Good.”

The concert is sponsored by EIU's University Board.
News of EIU Research Project Hits International Radio Airwaves 03/13/14 The plight of the Midland Brownsnake population at Fox Ridge State Park has gone international.

While usually keeping a low profile, the small and harmless brownsnakes begin preparing for the winter by migrating across a park road in search of suitable overwintering habitat. Sites in the park’s forested upland areas are much more suitable for hibernation than those where the snakes are active in the warmer months.

Unfortunately, because of their small size and coloring, these particular snakes often go unnoticed by motorists. Thus, a number of them never successfully complete their trip.

This week, the BBC radio program “Nature” (not to be confused with PBS’ televised “Nature” shows) featured a 28-minute episode focused on this phenomenon and the research being conducted on it through Eastern Illinois University.

EIU biology professor Stephen Mullin said he received “an email out of the blue” last year from the BBC, asking if he would be interested in having the research featured. Program host Howard Stableford visited Charleston and Fox Ridge State Park in October 2013, just in time to view some of the snakes on their perilous journey.

Mullin acknowledged that his research, which includes help from students in his lab group, “is not all that ground-breaking.” Actually, it is a rather common situation involving different animals throughout the world, he said.

That’s not to say Mullin doesn’t appreciate the coverage. “I’m flattered, of course,” he said, noting that he was especially pleased to see that the subject material captured the attention of the show’s audience.

“In fact, I’ve already received a request from a volunteer conservation group in Belgium for some advice on a similar situation involving toads crossing one of their roads near Brussels,” he said.

Interested listeners can catch the “Nature” episode here. Read more about the research project here.
Wall Street Journal Reporter and EIU Alumnus to Speak on Campus 03/04/14

Wall Street Journal reporter and EIU alumnus, Tim Martin, will speak Wednesday about what’s it like to work at the journal and his time spent covering everything from the Affordable Care Act to the supermarket industry.

Martin, who graduated EIU in 2006 with a journalism major and a minor in business administration and political science, started working for the journal back in 2008.

The lecture titled “Inside the Wall Street Journal” will start at 4 p.m. in Lumpkin Auditorium in Lumpkin Hall at EIU. This week, Martin is serving as the spring 2014 Fox-Thornburgh Visiting Professional, and he will continue visiting classes and students through Thursday.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

Booth Library Named Finalist for National Medal for Museum and Library Service 03/03/14 The Institute of Museum and Library Services has announced that Booth Library on the campus of Eastern Illinois University is a finalist for the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor conferred on museums and libraries for service to the community.

Medal finalists are selected from nationwide nominations of libraries and museums that demonstrate innovative approaches to public service, exceeding the expected levels of community outreach. Booth Library is one of 30 national finalists for the award, and one of only 15 libraries chosen from throughout the United States.

Booth Library was nominated based on its extensive program series and other events for the community. Series have included exhibits and programs based on different topics each semester, including “America’s Music,” “Farm Life,” “Elizabeth I,” “Frankenstein,” “Benjamin Franklin,” “Teachers Tame the Prairie,” “Harry Potter’s World,” “Building Memories: Creating a Campus Community” and the current program series, “Muslim Journeys.” These series have offered a variety of films, discussions, lectures, musical and theater performances, lectures, exhibits and other activities for free to the community.

In addition, Booth Library sponsors many other programs for the campus and community at large. For example, through the Booth After Hours program, specific campus groups are invited to the library after hours for programs designed specifically for them. Area high school classes regularly visit Booth Library for free instruction and research help from Booth reference librarians. For several years, the library has welcomed librarians from around the world as part of the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs. In addition, the library recently hosted a reception for area librarians to network and reconnect.

“Our library is dedicated to quality public service,” said Allen Lanham, dean of library services. “We excel at providing materials and information to Eastern’s students and faculty. However, a major goal is to create an environment in which citizens in our region can explore topics of interest and take time to discuss issues with others as they remain active learners.”

Finalists for the National Medal for Museum and Library Service are chosen because of their significant and exceptional contributions to their communities.

“Museums and libraries serve as civic gathering places, bringing together individuals in pursuit of educational resources, community connections, skills development, and multifaceted lifelong learning,” said Susan Hildreth, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. “We are very proud to announce Booth Library as a finalist for the 2014 National Medal. This year’s National Medal finalists illustrate the many ways museums and libraries can excite lifelong learning and civic engagement.”

IMLS is encouraging community members who have visited Booth Library to “share their story” on the IMLS Facebook page. Each of the 30 finalists will be highlighted on a specific date on the IMLS Facebook page, and Booth Library will be honored on March 18. Beginning that day, community members are encouraged to visit the site to post comments, photos or videos demonstrating how Booth Library has made an impact on them.

“We hear a lot of positive comments from our patrons about ways they’ve been enriched by Booth Library,” Lanham said. “We hope many of them will ‘share their story’ on March 18.”

The National Medal for Museum and Library Service winners will be announced in April, and the medals will be awarded during a ceremony in Washington, D.C. To learn more about the 2014 National Medal finalists, visit here. To learn more about Booth Library, visit here or find the library on Facebook or Twitter.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. IMLS’ grant making, policy development and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit here or follow IMLS on Facebook and Twitter.

This year, IMLS celebrates the 20th anniversary of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. For the past two decades, the National Medal has honored outstanding institutions that make significant and exceptional contributions to their communities. Including 2013 winners, 132 institutions have received this honor, and 10 additional institutions will be awarded in 2014.
EIU Student Graces Cover of National Magazine 02/28/14 It was a happy coincidence.

The American College of Sports Medicine wanted a cover photo for its January/February 2014 issue of Health & Fitness Journal. A Lincolnshire, Ill.-based photo studio had a young model they had worked with before; he was young, attractive and, perhaps most importantly, physically fit.

The fact that he’s preparing for a career involving health and fitness was just icing on the cake.

“This is definitely an unexpected, but exciting, opportunity,” said Tarrence Williams, a senior exercise science major at Eastern Illinois University. “I now have the perfect piece of artwork to hang on my office wall – once I graduate and get an office to hang it in, that is.”

Williams, of Villa Park, Ill., believes there will be an office in his future. Most likely, it will be attached to a gym.

He and fellow EIU students Evan Williams (no family relation) and Katherine German have already planted the seed by working with other students and faculty in Eastern’s Student Recreation Center to “better their lifestyles.”

“Rather than a 9-to-5 job, we plan to start our own fitness consulting business,” Williams said. “We already have a nice amount of clients with whom we’re working to develop effective physical fitness programs.”

Those programs, he added, are developed by “putting into practice the principles we’ve learned in the classroom.”

Williams, who says he has been an athlete “basically all (his) life,” chose Eastern after visiting the campus as a high school student and observing, then competing in, the Illinois High School Association’s annual state track meets.

“(The campus) was easy to navigate, easy to find things… it was just a nice size,” he recalled.

More critical to his decision, however, were the educational opportunities Eastern offered in furthering his personal goals.

“I jumped around a bit, looking at other directions I could take, but in the end, I knew this was where my heart is at. It’s a career I have a passion for,” Williams said.

“I have a purpose, and that purpose is the pursuit of health and fitness.”

His passion still leaves time for fun, however. Like most students, William was looking for a way in which to earn some extra cash. Three or four years ago, he began modeling.

“It was an extra activity just for fun,” he said.

So far, his image has graced the pages of catalogues by Eastbay, Foot Locker and Nike. The cover photo for Health & Fitness Journal was quite an opportunity, he said.

Jeff Willardson, associate professor in Eastern’s Kinesiology and Sports Studies Department, called the magazine cover “a huge honor – for both Williams and Eastern – in that “every university exercise program nationally (and probably internationally, as well), teaches curriculum based on American College of Sports Medicine guidelines for health and physical fitness.

“This opportunity gives credibility to the exercise science program at EIU and the quality of students we are recruiting,” he said.
EIU History Professors Reflect on African-American History Month 02/26/14

“Recognizing African-American history as an awareness month is important, but it is not enough,” said Debra Reid, EIU history professor. “Our society needs to continue to discuss African-American history all year long.”

As the end of African-American History Month approaches, EIU history professors like Reid reflect on why studying African-American history is simply not just a monthly endeavor. Throughout the year, these professors spend hours researching and teaching Africana and African history in their classrooms.

“African-American history affects all the courses I teach from my history of Illinois course to my graduate class in the Historical Administration program,” she said.

In her research, Reid focuses on rural and ethnic minorities after the Civil War where she specializes in documenting black land owning farmers. While History Professor Charles Foy incorporates his research of black mariners in the Atlantic World in his own class called “The Black Atlantic.”

“I focus on how Africans attained freedom and if their freedom changed,” he said. Both Foy and Reid understand the fragility of freedom, and how changes in movement would change the status of an African’s freedom during that time.

“There was a long battle for African-Americans, and there has to be current awareness because history shows rights are fragile,” she said.

While African-American history should be studied all year long, Foy said the month does provide our society an opportunity to pause and reflect. “It gives us a mental pause allowing society to see how far we have come and what else needs to be done,” he said.

The month also gives individuals an opportunity to get out there and interact with people of all races, Reid said “Our students have the responsibility to take what they learned in class, and face life,” she said.

History Professor Roger Beck’s agrees, but also wants the community to study and focus on African history not just African-American history.

“It’s our roots,” Beck said. “We are all African-American one way or another because human beings began living in Africa.”

In his research, he focuses on South African history, and teaches two African history courses called "African History to 1400" and "African History from 1400."

“I emphasize in my classes the misinformation and distortion of African history, and African life today,” Beck said. “A lot of people have no idea what Africa is about, and so I spend a lot time in my class trying to break down stereotypes about Africa.”

The colonial world created a mythological Africa in order to justify ‘civilizing’ and Christianizing, but colonists really were occupying and exploiting the continent, Beck said.

Our society needs to know the long battle African-Americans endured to receive freedom, Beck said but they also need to study the rich history of Africans.

All three professors encourage the community to educate themselves about Africana and African history through lectures, performances and discussions, but also to read to help provide context for everything they learn.

“Hopefully, one day our society will not need history awareness months because all histories will be inclusive in our culture, and no longer be compartmentalized and exclusive,” Reid said.

Other professors who teach Africana and African history are Martin Hardeman and David Smith.

EIU’s History Department provides students with both varieties in curriculum and individualized attention with 25 dedicated professors. For more information about the program, click here.

EIU Employees Honored for Continuous Years of Service 02/24/14 Eastern Illinois University recently recognized nearly 250 of its employees for continuous years of service.

A luncheon was held in recognition of university employees with continuous years of service in five-year increments. Those employed at EIU for five years were eligible for a certificate; those with 10 or more years of service were honored with both a certificate and a pin.

The following were honored for theirs years of service:

55 Years -- Robert Wiseman.

35 Years -- Robert Augustine, David Bartz and Kathleen Phillips.

30 Years -- Richard Cavanaugh, Patrick Coulton, Glenn Hild, Denise Preston, Patricia Shonk and Michael Wilson.

25 Years -- John Allison, Tami Babbs, Robert Bates, Tina Best, Deborah Black, Jeffrey Boshart, Douglas Bower, Noel Brodsky, Marilyn Coles, Lisa Dallas, Minh Dao, Karala Eastin, Kathryn Edwards, Laura Gesell, James Glazebrook, Harold Harris, Kimberly Harris, Vicki Irby, Joan McCausland, Marsha McLain, Kathleen McSherry, Brian Murphy, Kathryn Olsen, Jill Owen, Sandra Reeds, Carlene Richardson, Anita Shelton, Teresa Sims, Cynthia Sowers, Tammy Veach, William Weber, Keith Wolcott, Charles Wootton and Beverly Wright.

20 Years -- Jeffery Ashmore, Mary Bower, Bobette Brooks, Rebecca Cook, Donna Dawson, Deborah Endsley, Randy Ethridge, Muriel Everton, Ricky Haney, Leslie Ingle, Cathy Kimball, Nancy Kingery, Shelia Maulding, Mathew Pederson, Diana Pepperdine, Nida Sehweil-Elmuti, Marlene Slough, Renee Stroud, Jean Toothman, Andrew White, John Willems, Joseph William, Brenda Wilson, Jean Wolski, Richard Wyninger and Janet Yocum.

15 Years -- Teshome Abebe, Teresa Britton, Ann Brownson, James Bush, Julie Campbell, Kathy Childress, Cheryl Clapp, Donna Coonce, Ellen Coultas, Jeffrey Cross, Kari Dailey, Eric Davidson, Christine Derrickson, Eden Effert, Jeffrey Endsley, Cynthia Foster, Travis Gresens, Gary Grissom, Fredalee Hall, Deborah Hershberger-Kidwell, Cheryl Hochstetler, Cheryl Jackson, Jacqueline Joines, Edward Kistner, Steven Malehorn, Alex Martino, Robin Murray, Pamela Naragon, Donna Noffke, Pamela Ortega, Robert Petersen, Jennifer Porter, Kathy Reed, Richard Roberts, Wanda Kay Robinson, Kathreen Ryan, Sonya Schuette, Michael Shirley, Deborah Smith, Jennifer Stout, Merry Toberman, Steven Vickroy, Donna Wagoner, Wafeek Wahby, Wanda Wallace, Joseph Walsh, Susan Woodyard and Timothy Zgonina.

10 Years -- Leslie Ashley, Andrea Beals, Donna Binns, Rhonda Brotherton, Chris Carter, Julie Chadd, Jonathan Coit, James Coleman, Ayse Costello, Thomas Costello, Mona Davenport, James Davis, Paula Davis, Jeffrey Downey, Sace Elder, William Elliott, Stanley Evermon, Rebecca Fogarty, Brian Fritts, Pete Grant, Thomas Hawkins, Shelley James, Sandra Johnson, Kristina Keck, Karla Kennedy-Hagan, Vanesa Landrus, Florentina Laribee, Mei-Ling Li, April Marchuk, Michael Moncel, David Murphy, Gregory Oles, Jeffrey Owens, Kiranmayi Padmaraju, James Painter, Mildred Pearson, Clayton Roan, Philip Rogers, Paul Rogowski, Cheryl Siddens, James Smith, Charles Welch, Richard Wilkinson, Keith Willison and Jie Zou.

5 Years -- Ahmed Abou-Zaid, Assande Adom, Wesley Allan, Melissa Ames, Amy Annis, Rendong Bai, Janet Baker, Misty Baker, Kevin Banning, Katherine Bass, Terry Bayes, Clinton Bays, Juliana Bishop, Deborah Black, Ryan Boske-Cox, Jacquelynne Brosam, Nathan Brown, Gregory Brummer, Barbara Burke, Christopher Coffey, Ellen Corrigan, Anthony Craig, Kristen Difilippo, Holly Dust, Christina Edmonds-Behrend, Diane Ettelbrick, Angela Fisher, Rachel Fisher, Charles Foy, Jennifer Garren, Marita Gronnvoll, Sara Gronstal, Mini Gupta, Tracy Hall-Ingram, Aaron Haselhorst, Carla Higginbotham, Jerri Hinton, Milton Hite, Glenn Hoffman, Kai Hung, Clare Hutchinson, Cindy Hutchison, Heather Jia, Daniel Johnson, Julia Kemper, Kenneth Keyser, Raymond La Porte, Patrick Lach, Thornton Lane, Simon Lee, Cordy Love, Jeannie Ludlow, Amy Lynch, John Mace, Shilpa Maheshwari, Amy Malmen, Hasan Mavi, Diane Miller, Michael Murray, Howard Neese, Terry Newell, Joshua Norman, James Ochwa-Echel, John Osborne, Anna Peterson, Catherine Polydore, Dawn Porter, Roger Reardon, Dennis Riley, Georgia Ryan, Marcia Shambaugh, Nicholas Shaw, Jennifer Sipes, Peggy Snyder, Jessica Sommerfeld, Zakry Standerfer, Matthew Stark, Emily Stuby, Robin Terwilliger, Jay Thompson, Michael Wagoner, Jessica Ward, Patty Watson, Vance Woods and Nancy Zytka.
Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ to be Performed this Month 02/21/14

Eastern Illinois University student actors will perform five performances of William Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth” this month after mastering Scottish dialect and sword fighting techniques for the debut.

Shakespeare’s classical tragedy, filled with lords, warriors and witches, centers on Macbeth’s thirst for power and his willingness to go to any means, even murder, to obtain it.

Jean Wolski, professor of theatre at EIU, said they focused on a Scottish theme — requiring students to learn Scottish dialect by listening to recording tapes and native speakers — because of Scottish influences found throughout the play.

“The play, set in Scotland, was the first piece that Shakespeare wrote for the new King James, who was of Scottish descent,” she said. “Macbeth is even nicknamed by theatre aficionados as the “Scottish play” because of a legendary cursed placed on the text by the witches in the play. Supposedly those who say the title will be cursed with bad luck.”

The Scottish theme allowed students to explore the history of the play, but also helped them master other dialects, which is essential to acting and performing, she said.

Other performances of Macbeth do not always focus on the Scottish setting of the play, and instead actors will speak in their normal voices, Wolski said.

“Anytime you see Macbeth, there is a different take on the story, which is the great part of working with Shakespeare,” Wolski said.

Last summer, Wolski even traveled to Scotland to help research more about the setting of the play for her students. Other than mastering dialects, students also worked diligently to create props and costumes modeled after the time period with EIU’s Art Department contributing props, as well.

Showings for the play at The Theatre in the Doudna Fine Arts Center include:7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26 through Saturday, March 1 and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 2.

Tickets for the performance will be $12, $10 for EIU employees and seniors (62+), and $5 for students. For ticket information call, (217) 581-3110 or email

Scholar to Give Two Lectures on Teaching and Learning in Diverse Classrooms 02/20/14

An accomplished scholar, Franklin Tuitt, will examine and explore how educators can teach and promote learning in diverse classrooms during two lectures Monday in the Lecture Hall at the Doudna Fine Arts Center.

Lectures include:

1-2:30 p.m. (Doudna Lecture Hall) -- "Promoting Inclusive Excellence in the Classroom: Implications for Teaching and Learning in Diverse Classrooms." (Attendees may come and go as their schedules dictate).

4-5:30 p.m. (Doudna Lecture Hall) -- "Race and Higher Education: Rethinking Pedagogy in Diverse College Classrooms." (Attendees may come and go as their schedules dictate).

"Eastern continuously works to create an inclusive environment for all students and we're pleased to host Dr. Tuitt on campus," said Cynthia Nichols, director of civil rights and diversity. Tuitt’s holistic approach to teaching emphasizes higher education, but is applicable to all educators at any level and others who provide services, she said. The lectures are free and open to the public.

Tuitt is associate provost for inclusive excellence and associate professor of higher education at the Morgridge College at the University of Denver. He devotes his time to researching topics such as access and equity in higher education, teaching and learning in racially diverse college classrooms and diversity and organizational transformation.

He is a co-editor and contributing author of the books “Race and Higher Education: Rethinking Pedagogy in Diverse College Classrooms” and “Contesting the Myth of a Post-Racial Era: The Continued Significance of Race in U.S. Education.” Some recent publications include: “Black like me: Graduate Students’ Perceptions of their Pedagogical Experiences in Classes Taught by Black Faculty in a Predominantly White Institution” (Journal of Black Studies) and “Enacting Inclusivity through Engaged Pedagogy: A Higher Education Perspective” (Equity and Excellence in Education). He earned his doctorate degree from Harvard Graduate School of Education.

The event is sponsored by Eastern’s Office of Civil Rights and Diversity and the Office of the President.

School Districts to Seek Employees at Educators' Job Fair 02/19/14 Representatives from school districts from across Illinois, as well as other states and countries, will be seeking new employees at the upcoming Spring Educators’ Job Fair at Eastern Illinois University.

In addition to EIU students, faculty and alumni, the general public is invited to the free event, which is set to run from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26, in the MLK Jr. Union's Grand Ballroom. The job fair is being sponsored by EIU Career Services.

A list of the nearly 50 participating schools and available jobs in teaching, school administration and special services is available online.

Professional dress is required. Those attending should bring several copies of their resumes.

For more information, please contact coordinator Diane Smith at or 217-581-8423.
43th Annual Miss Black EIU Scholarship Pageant Open to the Public 02/17/14

Community members are welcome to attend the 43th annual Miss Black EIU Scholarship Pageant on Saturday.

Ten contestants will compete in four categories during the pageant including creative expression, African garment, talent and impromptu question with an evening gown. Before the pageant, the contestants participated in an interview panel with judges.

Leah Reynolds, adviser for the pageant, said the pageant is a great opportunity to highlight the leadership abilities of African-American women on campus.

The Black Student Union sponsored the pageant in conjunction with African-American Heritage Month. The theme of this year’s pageant is “A Women’s Worth,” which focuses on inner beauty instead of physical beauty.

Doors open for the pageant at 5 p.m. and the show starts at 6 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

Advanced tickets are $8 and tickets at the door are $10. Tickets can be purchased 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union. Tickets at the door will go on sale at 5 p.m.

EIU Open House to Bring 1,000-Plus to Charleston, Campus 02/12/14 More than 1,000 high school seniors and their families will be in Charleston Monday in an effort to decide whether Eastern Illinois University is the school for them.

The Feb. 17 Open House/Admitted Student Day will allow prospective students and their families, along with students who have already been admitted for Fall 2014, to tour the EIU campus, including residence halls, and speak with representatives from a variety of student services, as well as admissions counselors.

Visitors from throughout Illinois, as well as Indiana and Missouri, will attend a number of sessions, including those with focuses on Housing and Dining, financial aid, academic highlights, Honors, student panels and more. Various academic departments will participate in departmental showcase presentations. And parents will have the opportunity to hear from other parents of currently enrolled students during a special panel discussion.

Lou Hencken, Eastern’s interim admissions director, said he was pleased by the interest in this Open House, scheduled to coincide with Presidents’ Day, an official federal holiday commemorated by most high schools. This allows college-bound students a free day in which they can travel to Charleston to observe the university and its community at work.

(Eastern will commemorate Presidents’ Day on Friday, Feb. 14, so classes will be in session on Monday.)

Currently, there are 610 students registered to attend Monday’s event. And most of those, Hencken added, will bring at least one family member along with them.

Hencken acknowledged that inclement weather often prevents some registrants from attending the Open House. Those students, along with others who aren’t able to attend this event, are invited to campus on subsequent days. On Saturday, March 29, for example, Eastern will host a second Admitted Student Day.

In addition, prospective students often spend a day on Eastern’s campus during their high schools’ respective week-long spring breaks. Although the university plans to maintain this tradition, it is likely some districts’ spring breaks will be cancelled in order to make up for those “snow/cold weather” class days lost due to the inclement weather.

"We’ll accommodate those students any way we can,” Hencken said. “We will continue to offer events throughout the spring.”
EIU Students Operate Coffee Shop; Learn Ins and Outs of Restaurant Business 02/07/14

The aroma of freshly ground coffee beans, warm cherry scones and the tunes of relaxing music fill the air each morning in Klehm Hall at Eastern Illinois University.

The appealing smells and sounds are not coming from a break room, but from the dedication and determination of EIU students learning the ins and outs of operating their own coffee shop as part of the hospitality management program.

Student manager Tara Page said she wants the coffee shop, called The Café, to be a place where professors and staff escape to grab a cup of coffee and chat with fellow colleagues.

“We want the coffee shop to be a getaway for them,” she said. “We want them to unwind from their hectic, busy schedules.”

On any given day, Page teaches fellow students how to use the espresso maker, cook pastries and clean the café area. She organizes student’s work schedules, keeps ingredients on hand and ensures the shop is open for business Monday through Thursday. Sometimes her job includes explaining to students the difference between a cappuccino, latte, mocha and an Americano; she will even leave a cheat sheet in front of the machine for their guidance.

Page, a senior family and consumer sciences major with a hospitality management option, is working at the café as part of her internship requirement, and dreams of one day working in the restaurant business.

Jim Painter, a professor of family and consumer sciences, said the café gives students an opportunity for hands-on learning they would not experience in a classroom.

“In some industries, students obtain the knowledge from the classroom and are successful in the real world. But in other disciplines, like the restaurant business, students need hands-on experience like the café,” Painter said. “Now our students can tell an employer they ran their own café.”

Painter designed a class, called “Cafeteria and Catering,” to go along with the coffee shop. Students there run the café and prepare a lunch for faculty and staff who make reservations. The class will be an additional hands-on learning experience for students interested in food service management.

Since 2007, the family and consumer sciences department has offered another hands-on class called “Commercial Quantity Food Production,” where students operate a full-service restaurant called Pantera. In that class, students learn how to run and manage a restaurant where they prepare a menu and serve food to actual patrons with guidance from professional chefs.

All food prepared in The Café and Pantera is served inside a commercial kitchen that meets health code regulations, Painter said. Students and the general public are also welcome to stop by for a cup of coffee at The Café, but they want the seating lounge area reserved for the faculty and staff.

The Café opened last semester under the direction of Painter and another student manager, Chris Starbird, who still plays an active role in the coffee shop.

Starbird, a junior family and consumer sciences major, said he loves the culture of coffee shops, and one day would love to own his own shop and café.

He envisions The Café becoming a ‘third place’ for professors and staff at EIU. Professors can meet at the shop, and casually chat over a cup of coffee.

The concept of the third place was once described by Howard Schultz, chief executive officer of Starbucks in his book “Pour Your Heart Into It,” Starbird said.

The Café is open 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday in Room 1414 in Klehm Hall during the spring semester. Patrons of The Café can pay with cash, check or debit cards.

Some of the items on the menu include made-to order coffees, tea, hot chocolate and homemade pastries with gluten-free options. Check out the menu and prices here.

Eastern Gives Darwin More Than One Day 02/03/14 Eastern Illinois University is saying “Happy Birthday” to Charles Darwin with a series of events to honor his work in the field of science.

According to Stephen Mullin, professor of biological sciences, evolution is a key element of science and every year on Feb. 12, people around the world celebrate the life and work of Darwin, an evolutionary biologist. This year marks the 205th anniversary of his birth.

There are currently more than 100 events scheduled in more than 20 different countries for Darwin Day 2014.

For more than a decade, Eastern has planned a variety of programs, to take place locally over several days, to explore evolution and science as it relates to Darwin’s theories.

“We have one of the largest programs, as far as the number of events organized for each year, in the country,” Mullin said.

When Eastern’s Department of Biological Sciences first decided to organize events in recognition of Darwin’s birthday, those in charge agreed that many events covering the topic would be more helpful in differentiating faith from science.

“Professors encounter less resistance to the teaching of evolution now,” Mullin said.

Although the more recent cohorts of students are more accepting of Darwin’s theory, having a number of events for people to attend and learn from is always helpful, he added.

This year’s events will revisit the fundamentals of science and distinguish science from pseudoscience. This is comparable to the difference in astronomy, the study of celestial objects, from astrology, the study of star signs.

“There is a lack of understanding of what science really is,” Mullin said.

This year’s events in commemoration of Darwin’s birthday will be more interactive and exciting than ones in the past, with audience members encouraged at ask questions.

Admission to all events is free and open to the public.

The four-day program includes:
• “What is God?” -- a NOVA film; 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9, Life Sciences Building, Room 2080
• “Pseudoscience: What is it and why should we care?” -- a lecture by Brian Montgomery, EIU; 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 10, Buzzard Auditorium (Room 1501)
• “What is Science?” -- a lecture by Lewis Branscomb, University of California at San Diego; 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11, Coleman Hall Auditorium (Room 1255)
• “Acceptance of Evolutionary Science Within Religion” -- interactive round-table discussion with religious leaders of various faiths; 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12, Coleman Hall Auditorium (Room 1255)

For more information, check out Eastern’s biological sciences website. For more about Darwin Days, check out
EIU Spring Enrollment Confirms Recruitment Efforts Are On Course 01/30/14 Spring enrollment numbers at Eastern Illinois University confirm that the institution remains on course in its effort to stabilize and increase the number of students who attend there.

A modest increase in the number of freshmen, coupled with significant increases in the number of international and Hispanic students in attendance at Eastern, reflect evidence that recruitment efforts are working.

The number of international students attending EIU increased to 223, up from 137 a year ago.

Kevin Vicker, director of Eastern’s Office of International Students and Scholars, explained: “Our computer technology graduate degree, as well as other notable growing degree programs such as sustainable energy, economics, business administration, geographic information systems and kinesiology and sports studies, continues to attract international students.

“Our reputation in India, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Nepal has grown quickly as many more students from these countries and others are choosing EIU due to our personal approach, scholarship options or attractive programs,” he added. “We regularly receive students from our partner universities in South Korea -- partnerships we established in the past few years.”

Minorities represent nearly 24 percent of Eastern’s enrollment. The numbers, broken down by category (with Spring 2013 figures in parentheses), are as follows: American Indian/Alaskan Native, 18 (26); Asian, 85 (83); Black, 1,413 (1,424); Hispanic, 402 (364); and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, 4 (8).

Overall, spring numbers at Eastern are comparable to figures reported in the fall, with overall enrollment dropping from 9,775 to 8,833 -- a loss of 942. As usual, school officials anticipated a spring decrease due to the number of seniors and graduate students graduating in December.

A breakdown of Eastern’s total Spring 2014 student enrollment is as follows: freshmen, 1,308 (1,287); sophomores, 1,351 (1,488); juniors, 1,949 (2,083); seniors, 2,858 (3,203); and graduate students 1,318 (1,361.)

The numbers reflect a healthy and consistent 90 percent fall-to-spring retention rate for freshmen who enrolled for the first time in Fall 2013 -- 1,254, enrolled in Fall 2013; 1,127, still enrolled in the spring.

University officials are also encouraged by the number of out-of-state residents choosing to attend EIU. In Fall 2011, the university established a program in which individuals from states bordering Illinois -- Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri and Wisconsin -- would pay the same tuition rate as someone from Illinois.

The number of participants taking advantage of the program seems to be growing overall: Indiana, 78 (49); Iowa, 10 (12); Kentucky, 2 (6); Missouri, 36 (26); and Wisconsin, 38 (23).
Public Invited to January Open House at EIU Observatory 01/30/14 Eastern Illinois University’s physics observatory will hold its monthly open house at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31.

The event will take place “snow or shine.” Visitors should dress warmly. If the weather is clear, visitors can observe the Orion Nebula through the facility’s main 16-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope.

The observatory is located in the southwestern corner of campus between O'Brien Stadium and the intramural softball fields. Those who attend may park their vehicles in the lot north of Wesley United Methodist Church and then walk to the observatory site.

For information, please call the physics department at 581-3220.
EIU Receives Single Largest Gift in University History 01/28/14 Eastern Illinois University has received the largest single gift in university history, according to Robert Martin, vice president for university advancement.

“We have received a $3.68 million gift from the estate of Paul L. Ward, former professor of educational psychology at EIU to provide scholarships for students majoring in counseling and student development,” Martin said.

The bequest -- given through the EIU Foundation -- creates an endowment that will fund scholarships for graduate students as endowment earnings accumulate.

“The dedication of our faculty at EIU runs deep,” said EIU President William L. Perry. “Professor Ward worked tirelessly in the classroom and gave his students individualized attention, but the creation of this legacy gift shows a commitment and generosity of spirit of the highest order.”

Perry’s predecessor -- retired president Lou Hencken -- said that he wasn’t surprised to learn that Ward had taken extra steps to benefit students into the future.

“I’m particularly pleased to learn of this gift from Paul and this is just like him to make this donation,” said Hencken. “Paul was a dedicated faculty member and this gift shows just how much he loved teaching and this university.”

Paul Ward taught at EIU from 1967 until his retirement in 1992.

“We are very appreciative and honored that Paul believed so much in the quality educational experience provided at EIU that he chose to leave his legacy to benefit our students,” Martin said.

“This is a great contribution to our program from an outstanding EIU professor and we’re proud to help continue his legacy.”
Award-winning Playwright to Speak about her Inspirations as a Writer 01/27/14

An award-winning playwright will share her inspirations as a writer and advice on how others can make a career out of the arts during a lecture Thursday at Eastern Illinois University.

Elizabeth Wong writes plays filled with comedy and social satire. The Tanne Foundation recently awarded Wong with the Tanne Foundation Award for artistic achievement, and the City of Los Angeles commended her themes on human rights. Some of her plays include “Letters to a Student Revolutionary,” “China Doll” and “Kimchee & Chitlins.”

Wong said she plans to share what inspires her to sit alone in a room on a sunny day starting at a blank screen — and write.

“It’s crazy to be all day in a dark theatre wrestling with make-believe problems as if they mattered,” Wong said. “I will talk about whom and what inspires me to this lunacy, how this energy gets harnessed to write a play and maybe how to make a life in the arts.”

J. Kevin Doolen, chair of the theatre department said Wong is a fantastic artist that represents the best of the theater industry. “I am amazed by her sense of modesty, despite her accomplishments, her generosity and her incredible range of professional experiences in theater, television and film,” he said.

Doolen asked Wong to lecture at EIU because she can engage students as a working professional. “I want to encourage our students to explore the possibilities for writing and numerous avenues for a professional creative life,” Doolen said. “I’ve seen her effectively do this with her students and I want that for our students here.”

Wong completed her master in fine arts degree from New York University’s Tisch School of Arts, and she currently lives in Los Angeles, Calif.

Wong’s lecture starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Lecture Hall of Doudna Fine Arts Center. The event is free and open to the public. For more information about Wong, click here.

Looking to the Future: EIU Works to Realign Resources 01/24/14 Eastern Illinois University is working through a process of program analysis to deal with current fiscal realities while preparing for future growth, according to President William Perry.

“It’s not a secret to anyone that costs in higher education have been rising for a number of years,” Perry said. “And, at the same time, we’ve faced declining high school graduating classes, a highly competitive environment and a changing economy.”

As a result, he said, the university has undertaken a comprehensive program analysis -- reviewing every university program to assure even stronger alignment with the university’s mission and to produce sustainable enrollment growth. The university is working to become even more efficient and make targeted investments to fulfill its mission and prepare its students for new and expanding fields.

“It also means that, in the present environment, we need to eliminate about $7 million in base-budget expenses over the next two years,” he said. “That’s about 6.7 percent of the appropriated budget.

“And, we will also reallocate an additional $1 million to fund programs and opportunities which grow our enrollments,” Perry said.

“Healthy universities are constantly evolving and EIU is no different,” he said. “Since our founding in 1895, we have evolved into a top-tier, comprehensive master’s university. We will continue to make strategic choices to uphold academic excellence and prepare our students for the jobs of the future.”

The current process is the next logical step in that evolution, he said, and is guided by the university strategic plan completed in 2012.

“We have already made strides to improve our competitiveness and I am confident that those changes will increase new student enrollment,” he said. “For the continued affordability of an EIU education, we will use our resources as efficiently as possible.”

The process includes input from across the university through the Council on University Planning and Budget. The council includes representatives from throughout the university and the group is reviewing information provided by all departments. Later this spring, the council will make recommendations to the president for action.
EIU Runners to Shed Clothing for Local Charity Organizations 01/21/14

Imagine runners shedding their winter clothes from scarves to coats in the frigid, cold January temperatures. On Saturday at Eastern Illinois University, runners will take off their clothing in support of local charities during the “Nearly Naked Mile” event.

Students, staff and community members will gradually take off their new or gently-used winter clothing from hats, gloves, scarves, coats/jackets, shirts, pants and gently-used running shoes during the race while leaving their bathing suit areas covered. Organizers will donate all clothing items to Standing Stone Community Center in Charleston.

“By running in the mile, participants are helping people in our community, who cannot afford warm winter clothing,” said Erin Clemons, organizer of the event. “Now, they will be able to keep warm for the rest of the winter.”

Even shoes will go at the end of the race and will be donated to Nike Reuse-a-Shoe program, which takes worn shoes and recycles them to make composite surfaces for tracks or playgrounds, Clemons said.

Check-in for the race will be at 9 a.m., and the race will start at 10 a.m. at the North Entrance of the Carman Hall parking lot. The entry fee is $10 per person, including a long-sleeve race shirt, and $15 the day of the race for late participants. A portion of the proceeds will also be donated to the Charleston Food Pantry, Clemons said.

The sign-up deadline to be guaranteed a T-shirt is 4 p.m. Thursday. The mile was organized by the Students Today Alumni Tomorrow group and Student Community Service.

Annual MLK Jr. Candlelight Vigil Planned At EIU 01/17/14 The Zeta Nu chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. will host its 27th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Candlelight Vigil March and Tribute Monday, Jan. 20, on the campus of Eastern Illinois University.

The event begins at 5:30 p.m. with the march -- punctuated with the singing of inspirational hymns -- from the Thomas Hall lobby (2120 Seventh St.) to the Grand Ballroom, located in Eastern’s MLK Jr. Union. The program there will begin at approximately 6:30 p.m.

Traditionally, between 100 and 200 students, faculty, family and friends support the vigil and program annually. Many join in the march; however, those who wish may participate in the Grand Ballroom activities only.

In addition to selections by Eastern’s Unity Gospel Choir, the program will include comments by local Alpha Phi Alpha members and others. Portions of some of King’s speeches will be featured, and awards will be presented.

Admission is free and open to the public.
Booth Library to Host 'Let's Talk About It: Muslim Journeys' 01/17/14 Booth Library on the campus of Eastern Illinois University encourages area residents to learn more about the people, places, history, faith and cultures of Muslims in the U.S. and around the world through its program series, “Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys.”

The series will kick off with an opening at 7 p.m. Jan. 29 in the library’s West Reading Room and will continue through April 15.

Leading the program series at EIU will be project scholar Brian Mann, assistant professor of history, along with Jaysinha Shinde, assistant professor of business; Ahmed Abou-Zaid, professor of economics; Michael Loudon, professor of English; Janet Marquardt, professor of art; and Bonnie Irwin, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities. Other EIU faculty members and students, as well as area community members, also will participate.

Through the “Let’s Talk About It” grant, the library will host a five-part book discussion moderated by project scholars. A limited number of free books will be available for participants. Those interested in participating in any or all of the book discussions are asked to register online by visiting the Web page.

In addition to the book discussions, programs will include two film screenings, a student research panel, an interfaith panel and a panel discussion titled “Women in Veil.” “Muslim Journeys” exhibits will be on display in the library throughout the program series, and the Tarble Arts Center will present a related exhibit, “In the Light of Darkness: A Photographer’s Journey after 9/11,” from Jan. 11 through Feb. 23.

“These presentations and book talks give us the opportunity to learn about Islamic culture and religion from well-informed scholars who make the materials very approachable to the layperson,” said Kirstin Duffin, reference librarian at Booth Library. “Whether you have read the books or not, you are welcome and encouraged to attend our thought-provoking and amicable discussions.”

All events are free and open to the public, and will be held in Witters Conference Room 4440 at Booth Library, unless otherwise noted.

-- Opening program/reception, Jan. 29, 7 p.m., Booth Library West Reading Room, keynote speaker, Brian Mann: “Islam and the Monotheistic Tradition.”

-- Book discussion, “The Children of Abraham: Judaism, Christianity, Islam,” Feb. 5, 6 p.m., led by Brian Mann.

-- Film screening, “Prince Among Slaves,” Feb. 12, 7 p.m., led by Michael Loudon.

-- Book discussion, “Muhammad: A Very Short Introduction,” Feb. 19, 6 p.m., led by Brian Mann.

-- Film screening, “Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World,” Feb. 26, 7 p.m., led by Janet Marquardt.

-- Book discussion, “The Story of the Qur’an: Its History and Place in Muslim Life,” March 5, 6 p.m., led by Brian Mann and Ahmed Abou-Zaid.

-- Student research presentations, March 19, 6 p.m., moderated by Brian Mann.

-- Book discussion, “The Art of Hajj,” March 26, 6 p.m., led by Brian Mann.

-- Interfaith panel, April 1, 7 p.m., Newman Center, moderated by Daniel Otto, instructor of philosophy. Panelists will be Carly Froomkin Burak, Cohen Center for Jewish Life, Champaign (Judaism); Roy Lanham, director of campus ministry, Newman Catholic Center at EIU (Christianity); Jyoti Panjwani, professor of English (Hinduism); Jaysinha Shinde, assistant professor of business (Islam); and Duangrudi Suksang, professor of English (Buddhism).

-- Book discussion, “A Rumi Anthology,” April 9, 5:30 p.m., led by Jaysinha Shinde.

-- Panel discussion, “Women in Veil,” April 15, 7 p.m., moderated by Bonnie Irwin. Panelists: Reham Hamdy Abou-Zaid, Huma Malik, Shannon Mavi.

More information on these events is available here or by calling Kirstin Duffin, reference librarian, at 581-7550. Updates also will be posted on the library’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

“Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys,” a reading and discussion series, has been made possible through a $4,500 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in cooperation with the American Library Association. Booth Library is one of 125 libraries and state humanities councils across the country selected to participate in the project. Local support is provided by EIU’s Academy of Lifelong Learning and the Interdisciplinary Center for Global Diversity.
EIU Consolidates Off-site Locations in Greater Chicago 01/16/14 Eastern Illinois University announced today that it is consolidating some of its off-campus locations in the greater Chicago area to better serve students.

“In the past, we’ve held classes in multiple locations, and found that Triton Community College and the University Center of Lake County are most effective, allowing to provide more undergraduate classes and more personalized service,” said Blair Lord, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

“We have full-time staff members serving the University Center and Triton locations and both facilities are very good about providing classrooms and other support as needed,” Lord said. "While most of our students attend classes at the university’s main campus in Charleston, we do have a number of students in Chicago working to complete degrees through our school of continuing education.”

“Those students have generally taken a few courses at a time -- often from a variety of colleges,” Lord said. The EIU program allows them to consolidate those credits and use them toward a bachelor of arts in general studies.

“We also work with students to earn college credit for work experience and training they have received outside of the classroom,” he said. “When you put those programs together, many of our BGS students find they are far closer to a bachelor’s degree than they thought.”

One of the programs being consolidated into the Triton location is the arrangement with the American Indian Association of Illinois. That program started more than seven years ago with a modest cohort of students. However, that cohort never grew to a sustainable size and Lord said the university just can’t afford to maintain it separately.

“We will continue to provide the necessary classes for the remaining students in that program,” he said, “and anyone from that community is more than welcome to join our larger program at Triton -- approximately 14 miles away from the current location.”

Lord said that the program with AIAI will not close immediately, but that the organization is being given the one year notice required under the guidelines of the university’s accrediting body -- the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. In addition, he emphasized that current students, and any other students who might come out of the AIAI relationship, will be given the university’s support.

“We are committed to these students as we are committed to all EIU students and we will provide them with every possible opportunity to complete their education with us,” Lord said.

The students in the AIAI program -- like all students in the BGS program throughout the greater Chicago area -- have access to face-to-face classes and online classes in completing their bachelor’s degree.

“We work with every BGS student to help them mold a program that helps them complete their degree in the shortest possible time and also gives them the greatest benefit in their work life,” Lord said. “We’re confident that our centers in the area -- including our center at Triton Community College -- are well suited to help everyone in the greater Chicago area who wants to pursue the completion of a bachelor’s degree.”
Every Reason to Hope: EIU Autism Center to open to serve individuals with Autism 01/13/14

Jennifer Smith remembers the fear and frustration as her family struggled to figure out why her two-year old son, Brandon, was not like other children. After taking him to appointment after appointment, Smith listened as doctors and therapists called her son “quirky,” or “strong-willed,” but she knew something else was going on.

“I kept on telling the doctors that he knows all the complicated stuff, but I can’t get him to do the easy stuff, like answer a question,” Smith said.

After enduring a year of uncertainty, Smith’s family finally received an answer to their questions at the Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic at Eastern Illinois University, where Brandon was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder or autism, which is a group of complex disorders of brain development characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.

Brandon’s story is only one example of the many lives changed forever at the clinic, but now EIU is continuing their support and dedication to children with autism by opening its own Autism Center.

The Need for Answers

Smith, who does not know where her family would be without the expertise and dedication of the clinic staff, said the Autism Center would attract more families to EIU’s wealth of services, and help give these families the answers they are desperately searching for.

She remembers the day perfectly when EIU Professor Gail Richard diagnosed her son with an autism spectrum disorder.

“It was great to have someone understand him better than me, and I am his mother,” Smith said. “After the diagnosis I did not feel like my son was an anomaly. It turned out my son is just like a lot of other kids.”

With more and more children like Brandon being diagnosed with autism every day, Richard said it is fitting for EIU to continue their dedication to individuals with autism.

Richard, who has been diagnosing children with autism for more than 30 years, said the Autism Center will be an expansion of the existing Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic.

Right now, the clinic serves individuals with all communication handicaps who are diagnosed and treated by undergraduate and graduate students under the supervision of distinguished faculty members.

Since services for the clinic function also as a learning environment for students, Richard said they can’t strictly take clients with autism since students need to experience a wide variety of clients with different disorders.

An autism center will give these families more of priority since sometimes they have to wait a whole semester for an appointment at the clinic, she said.

“We have people coming all over the country because they heard about the faculty expertise here,” Richard said.

Not only will the center give priority to individuals with autism, but give extra time for faculty members and students to focus on these disorders, she said.

Graduate Students like Mallory Dunn and Clare Kilbride are passionate about working with children with autism, and currently serve patients who have autism at the clinic, but both students are eager to help lend their services to the center.

“We already serve a fairly large basis of clients with autism, but now we will have more resources to provide better therapy,” Dunn said.

Killbride agrees, and also said it is important for students to serve many different clients with autism because not one person with autism acts the same.

Plans for the future

Richard envisions more families being able to receive evaluations and more students serving clients with autism through therapy sessions. She also wants the center to offer night or weekend classes to parents and teachers, and she also envisions staff members conducting consultations for local school districts.

In the future, Richard said she would like the center to collaborate with the Office of Student Disability Services at EIU to help students with autism assimilate better into the college environment. With about 1 in 88 children being diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, Richard said there will be more students coming to universities with autism.

Like the speech-language-hearing clinic, Richard said the autism center will be self-sustaining facility since families will pay for their therapy sessions, but they need money to get the center started and pay for a staff. To raise money for the center, Eastern Illinois University is starting their first-ever crowdfunding campaign, she said.

Mike Murray, director of development at EIU, said the purpose of the crowdfunding campaign is to reach individuals that have no connection with Eastern, but recognize the importance of supporting a center focused solely on autism spectrum disorders.

Crowdfunding works by creating a network of individuals to send out information about the center to a handful of individuals through email or social media outlets, then the group will forward the information to others, and so on, he said.

Right now, Murray said they want to create an endowment that would fund the center’s operations on an annual basis. The center would cost about $125,000 a year to support a director, administrative assistant and graduate assistant.

Every reason to hope

Now, 15, Brandon has been attending therapy sessions at the clinic since he was three. Throughout the years of Brandon’s therapy, Smith said she knows that the faculty members and students will always be there for her family, and will be there for future families.

“I always know they have the best intentions toward my son,” she said. “And they truly care about him.”

Families like the Smith’s understand that opening up a center will not be easy, but they know what it will mean for families searching for help.

“Regardless of the answer, an answer is still good,” she said. “Going forward, we knew it wasn’t always going to be easy or fun, but we knew we had every reason to hope.”

If anyone would like to donate to EIU’s Autism Center, click here.

New scholarship at EIU Offers Honors Students Fully-Paid Room/board and Tuition 01/06/14

Eastern Illinois University is offering up to five honors students scholarships that covers room and board as well as tuition and fees.

The Pemberton Presidential Scholarship will be awarded for the first time this year, and is renewable for a total of four years. Students will have the choice of any of Eastern’s residence halls, but will be given priority in Eastern’s newly established Honors housing floor in Thomas Hall. Recipients of the scholarship will also be guaranteed support in presenting original research in the National Conference on Undergraduate Research or the National Collegiate Honors Council.

The Pemberton scholars will receive an array of additional benefits such as taking part in a small introductory seminar, and they will receive additional faculty mentorship throughout their years at Eastern.

“Our scholars will be guided through the process of creating a unique honors engagement experience which will help them grow as researchers, scholars and citizens,” said Richard England, dean of the Honors College.

For the last 10 years, Eastern has also been awarding the Presidential Scholarship, an $11,000 per year award that also includes a small introductory seminar and additional faculty mentorship for students.

Past winners of the Presidential Scholarship include:

Alex Cler (class of 2012) is an auditor for the Bank of America after interning for a non-profit national business consultancy.

Jennifer Prillaman (class of 2012) spent the year after graduation teaching and volunteering in Haiti and is now pursuing graduate study in international affairs at George Washington University.

Madeleine Trimble (class of 2011) spent two undergraduate summers learning about international business abroad, and is a graduate student at the University of Mannheim in Germany.

Bill Wolf (class of 2010) is completing his Ph. D in theoretical astrophysics at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

David Cesar (class of 2008) started a business for his Honors engagement experience, which has grown into Blue Peak Tents, a very successful company. He was also 2013’s young alumnus of the year.

Eligible applicants for the Pemberton Scholarship must demonstrate academic excellence by achieving an ACT score of 31 and a cumulative high school GPA of 3.75 (unweighted on a 4-point scale) or better, exemplify leadership and service, as well as intellectual maturity noted within high school activities and achievements.

While eligible applicants for the Presidential Scholarship must have a composite ACT score of 30 (or SAT equivalent score of 1980) and either an unweighted high school GPA of 3.50 (on a 4.00 scale) or ranking in the top 90th percentile of the graduating class. Applicants could also have a composite ACT score of 28 (or SAT equivalent score of 1860) and either an unweighted high school GPA of 3.75 (on a 4- point scale) or a ranking in the top 95th percentile of the graduating class.

For more information about the scholarships, contact the Honors College at (217) 581-2017 or or view the scholarship requirements here. Deadline for the scholarships are Friday, January 10.

Connection Runs Deep Between Dively Family and EIU 12/27/13 Some could argue that were it not for Eastern Illinois University, Joe Dively might not, well… be here.

And, of course, the same could be said for his brother, John, and sisters, Laura and Amy.

But as the fates would have it, John Dively Sr., a young U.S. Army veteran from Paris, Ill., enrolled at what was then known as Eastern Illinois State College, met Joyce Reynolds, a young woman from Charleston, fell in love and married. That union produced four children.

As those children approached adulthood, they, too, chose to attend EIU. And like their parents, some met the loves of their lives there.

Between spouses and those two generations alone, the Dively family accounts for 15 degrees -- nine bachelor’s, five master’s and one specialist’s -- awarded by Eastern Illinois University.

“I’m very proud of my family’s long-time association with the university,” said Joe Dively. “There’s a deep connection there.”

John Dively Sr. passed away in December 2011 at the age of 83. Two months prior to the family patriarch’s death, his youngest son, Joe, was named by Gov. Patrick Quinn to Eastern’s Board of Trustees. Joe currently serves as chair of that board -- a one-year appointment effective through April 2014.

“I’m excited about this opportunity. I’m impressed with my colleagues and their commitment to EIU,” he said. “We care about serving the mission of the university.”

A Charleston native, Dively also serves as the president of First Mid-Illinois Bank and Trust, with a business career that includes working as a senior vice president for Consolidated Communications and in sales and management roles with IBM and Caterpillar.

He has served his alma mater as president of the Alumni Association, chair of the Business School Advisory Board, and as a member of both the EIU Foundation Board and the Panther Club. He has also been an active member of the business community, serving as chair of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, president of the Charleston Chamber of Commerce, chair of the Sarah Bush Lincoln Health System, and on the board of the U.S. Telecom Association.

In 2003, Eastern presented him with the Distinguished Alumnus Award. His father, who was himself named a Distinguished Alumnus in 1989, was quite proud of his son’s accomplishments.

“That was a significant moment for both of us,” Joe said.

John Dively Sr. was well-known in the Charleston, Ill., community, having served as principal of what was then-known as Charleston Junior High School. Upon Dively’s death, Dave Fopay of the Journal Gazette/Times-Courier wrote: “John Dively had a gravelly voice that could bring junior high students to a quick halt but was also loved by his students and recognized as a quality school administrator.”

He retired as principal at CJHS, now Charleston Middle School, in 1990. (The school’s gym has since been named for him.)

But John Dively also took time to be involved in his community. Organizations that benefitted from his contributions included the Charleston Area Chamber of Commerce, Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center and the Coles County Fair. He was also an organizer of an effort to clean up the Old City Cemetery in Charleston, where some of the city's founding residents are buried, and later in the effort to restore the Five Mile House south of Charleston.

Joe Dively shares his father’s sense of community. Although, he says, there was a time -- as a recent university graduate -- that he “wanted to see the world.” His began that journey working for Caterpillar at its Peoria headquarters.

“I remember interviewing for the position and feeling intimidated,” Dively said. “There were others -- some coming from Big Ten and Ivy League schools -- vying for the same position. But I discovered that with my education from Eastern, I was well prepared. I was able to hold my own.”

After three years with Caterpillar, Dively took a position with IBM, focusing on sales in the Chicago/Bloomington areas. Five years later, he and his own growing family moved to Boston where he became involved in real estate development.

He was contemplating yet another move when he was offered a position at Consolidated Communications, based in Mattoon. After much consideration, he accepted the offer.

“As a young man, it was almost like I didn’t want to throw in the towel,” Dively said. “I felt like it limited my career aspirations by living in a small town. In actuality, though, the move back home exceeded my expectations.”

Dively says that since his 1991 return to the Charleston/Mattoon area, he has been associated with both Consolidated Communications and First Mid-Illinois Bank and Trust -- “two of the most significant companies in the county.”

“And while professionally, it’s been great, I’m also grateful for the opportunities that those companies have provided to give back to the community,” he added.

"Dick Lumpkin (Consolidated Communications chairman) has done great things for the community, and he’s always encouraged employee community service,” Dively continued. “The same is true at First-Mid.”

During his service on Eastern’s Board of Trustees, Dively will draw from his own experiences as an undergraduate student. Aside from his studies, he needed a part-time job. “I worked at Eisner’s (a now-defunct grocery store in Charleston) for six years,” he said.

He changed his mind about a major mid-stream. “I was a political science major until my first test,” he added, grinning sheepishly.

He was a member of Sigma Pi, a social fraternity, and he admits to attending a party or two.

“I did enjoy a full-college experience,” Dively said.

But, he adds, “There was always a focus on my studies, which was both self-motivated and equally ‘encouraged’ by my parents. And that’s what I want to see in any student who attends or plans to attend Eastern. That’s a critical quality we want to see in our students.

“And it’s our job, as a board, to maintain an institution conducive to attracting and developing quality students, as well as faculty and staff.”
First Class of EIU Students Graduate from One-of-a-Kind Sustainable Energy Program 12/16/13

Fall 2013 commencement at Eastern Illinois University will mark the first graduating class earning a master’s degree in sustainable energy.

The program, a collaborative effort of 10 departments throughout the university, prepares students to become leaders and managers in the energy industry. Students receive a mixture of hands-on learning and theory inside the classroom paired with internships and research practicums outside the classroom within EIU’s Renewable Energy Center.

Rob Raschke and David Stack are the first two graduates from this new multidisciplinary effort at EIU, said Peter Liu, graduate coordinator of the program. Raschke will also be the first student at EIU to receive a dual-degree with a master’s in sustainable energy and technology.

“We are very proud of the high quality and confident graduates from the new program,” Liu said.

For more information about the program click here.

His Voice Opens Doors of Opportunity for Matt Piescinski 12/13/13

They may not recognize him by sight, but anyone who has attended Eastern Illinois University in the past 35 years has probably heard Matt Piescinski’s voice.

He serves as the public address announcer at the spring state track meets and the badminton state finals, as well as at some of the university’s football and basketball games.  Acting as master of ceremonies, he presided over Eastern’s centennial celebration as they opened the cornerstone at Old Main, and participated in the inaugurations of two university presidents – Carol D. Surles and William Perry.

Perhaps, however, his voice is most recognized for its role in Eastern’s annual commencement ceremonies.  For two decades, Piescinski has announced the names of every EIU graduate who participated in the fall and spring events.  Names of those graduating with distinction are followed by the carefully pronounced, highly coveted terms “cum laude,” “magna cum laude” or “summa cum laude.”

“Those are exhausting days,” Piescinski said, noting that he might call out between 1,500 and 1,700 names in a  four-ceremony, 12-hour period (8 a.m. to 8 p.m.).  And that doesn’t include the quick chats he has prior to each individual ceremony with students who have unusual or hard-to-pronounce names.

Piescinski wants to get it right.

“(Former EIU President) Lou Hencken once told me that the university used to get calls from upset parents because their child’s name was pronounced incorrectly,” Piescinski said.  “They’d say something like, ‘We’ve paid you four years’ tuition and you can’t even get our kid’s name right.’

“We don’t get those calls anymore, Matt,” he added, quoting Hencken.

A Dolton, Ill., native, Piescinski began voice work even before graduating from Thornridge High School.  His district has a strong, comprehensive speech program, he recalled.

“The speech coach went to the athletic director and asked him to let me call the football and basketball games,” Piescinski said.  “Then there was radio speaking.  The work became self-motivating.  I found out that ‘I like this.  This is fun.’”

In the mid ‘70s, he enrolled as an environmental biology student at Eastern, but refused to give up his passion.  In addition to handling a demanding course load, Piescinski joined the staff of WELH, the university’s carrier current radio station and the precursor to WEIU-FM.  He became acquainted with Dave Kidwell, EIU’s sports information director, who invited him to announce during super sectionals.

There was no looking back.

Today, reflecting on the past four decades, Piescinski says, “I feel like I’m serving my alma mater on a number of levels.  And I’m having a lot of fun doing it.”

He recalls announcing during all of Sean Payton’s footballs games, as well as those of Tony Romo.  “And I knew Kevin Duckworth,” he added.

He acknowledges that other opportunities have opened up to him as a result of his EIU connections.  In addition to the state track meets in May, for example, Piescinski serves as the public address announcer for other track and cross country meets across Illinois – from Chicago to Belleville.

“I do get calls from across the state,” he said, noting that some find it unique to have “the voice of the state track meet” at their local event.

Piescinski personally finds those experiences invaluable, since he’s able to pick up useful information about the athletes that he can later use when he announces at state-wide meets.  In addition, the more interaction he has with the athletes, the better he gets to know them on an individual basis.

“I enjoy seeing kids come through Eastern, knowing that I saw them on a track somewhere along the line and now I’m announcing their names during commencement,” he added.

Piescinski admitted that his passion takes up a lot of time and that it’s a good thing he’s built up a healthy vacation package at his “day job” – using his chemistry background in the food safety division at Mars Petcare U.S. in Mattoon.  “Having six weeks’ vacation doesn’t hurt,” he said.  “I use up nearly a half of that every year doing this sort of stuff.”

That’s not to say, however, that his voice work can’t be a welcome respite.  In November 2012, for example, he spent Thanksgiving in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, serving as a PA announcer at the men’s and women’s Division I Hoops for Hope basketball tournament.  He returned this year, taking along daughters Maggie, a sports enthusiast, and Leah, who appears to be following in her father’s announcing footsteps.

Aside from expenses, Piescinski receives no compensation for his work with Hoops for Hope.  He considers it a privilege just to be a part of the project.

The tournament was created by the Strohm family, originally from Marshall, Ill., and supports the National Urea Cycle Disorders Foundation.  This foundation is important to the Strohm family in that two of Jeff Strohm’s three daughters suffer from Argininosuccinic Aciduria (ASA).

Strohm was an NCAA assistant coach at Western Kentucky when his daughters were diagnosed with ASA, and the family connected with the NUCDF for information and support.  Strohm, who now serves as an assistant basketball coach at Tulane University in New Orleans, approached foundation officials with the idea of raising UCD awareness and support for NUCDF.

Those efforts ultimately led to Strohm’s brothers and sisters-in-law (most of whom, like Jeff Strohm and other members of the family, are EIU alumni) forming Plan BC3 to organize NCAA college basketball tournaments, including the NUCDF Hoops for Hope Classic (men) and the NUCDF Hardwood Tournament of Hope (women).  The final games of both tournaments were played in Puerto Vallarta.

Piescinski was contacted by Strohm and asked to be an announcer.

“I’ve known Matt for years,” Strohm said.  “As we started putting the pieces together for the tournament – who would do this, who would do that -- we got to discussing who would be a really good public announcer.  A friend mentioned Matt’s name and we agreed he would be perfect.

“I contacted Matt and told him, ‘I want you to become the voice of basketball in Puerto Vallarta.’  He agreed, and since the tournaments, I’ve heard nothing but compliments.”

“Veteran game announcer Matt Piescinski provided public service announcements about urea cycle disorders and NUCDF’s fight to conquer UCD,” Cindy Le Mons, NUCDF executive director, wrote on the foundation’s website.  “It was a surreal experience seeing our CureUCD logo on the marquee at the stadium and emblazoned on the basketball court, and hearing Matt talking about our fight to save lives. Matt gave us a voice -- and became a wonderful champion of our cause.”

In the past year or so, Piescinski has received the Distinguished Service Award from the IHSA (July 2012) and Honorary Referee recognition at the Illinois Girls State Track Meet (May 2013).  He was honored, but says the big pay-off of his announcing career is 40 years of opportunities he would never otherwise have imagined.

Still, he can’t help but wonder… What lies ahead?

“It would be nice to do a state championship football or basketball game,” he said, “and maybe a White Sox game.  You never know.  Maybe one of these days, the little pieces will fall together.”

EIU Fall Commencement Ceremonies Set for Saturday, Dec. 14 12/11/13

More than 600 graduates plan to participate in Eastern Illinois University's Fall 2013 commencement ceremonies, scheduled to take place Saturday, Dec. 14, in Lantz Arena.

Ceremonies will take place at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.  Guest tickets are required for admission.

Students from the Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences and the College of Arts and Humanities will march in the morning ceremony, while students from the College of Education and Professional Studies, the College of Sciences and the School of Continuing Education (Bachelor of Arts in General Studies Degree) will march in the afternoon.  Graduate students will march with their respective colleges.

President William L. Perry will preside over the ceremonies.  Music will be provided by the EIU Wind Symphony.

Timothy L. Burke will present the “Charge to the Class” during the morning ceremony, while his wife, Vickie Krupp Burke, will speak in the afternoon.  The couple met while students at EIU, and have continued their relationship with their alma mater through the years.  The Burkes established the Louis V. Hencken Housing Services Scholarship, are past recipients of the Louis V. Hencken Alumni Services Award, are members of the EIU Foundation, and served on the steering committee for the university’s recently complete capital campaign.

Representing Eastern's Board of Trustees will be Jan Spivey Gilchrist of Olympia Fields at 10 a.m. and Mitchell Gurick of Hinsdale at 1 p.m.

Traditionally, a commencement marshal leads the commencement procession while carrying the university mace, a symbol of honor accorded a faculty member.  The commencement marshal for the 10 a.m. ceremony will be Peter P. Liu, who, as a professor of technology, will represent the Graduate School.  Representing the School of Continuing Education at 1 p.m. will be W. Andrew Robinson, instructor of communication studies.

An EIU tradition also allows faculty members the honor of carrying the college banner for his/her college during the procession.

This semester’s faculty marshals for the morning ceremony are Marko Grunhagen, professor of marketing and the Lumpkin Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship, representing the Graduate School and the Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences; Charles W. Wootton, professor, School of Business, representing the LCBAS; Tim N. Taylor, associate professor of English, representing the Graduate School and the College of Arts and Humanities; and Jerry L. Daniels, professor and chair, Department of Music, representing the CAH.

This year's faculty marshals for the afternoon ceremony are Catherine L. Polydore, assistant professor, Counseling and Student Development, representing the Graduate School and the College of Education and Professional Studies; Janet L. Carpenter, instructor, early childhood, elementary and middle level education, representing the CEPS; Michael Menze, assistant professor, biological sciences, representing the Graduate School and the College of Sciences; Lynn Calvert, associate professor, communication disorders and sciences, representing the COS; and Donna Coonce, instructor, family and consumer sciences, representing the School of Continuing Education.

Jade N. Owen, a psychology major from Mattoon, will serve as Honors College banner marshal during both ceremonies.

Additionally, Andrew Methven, who was selected as EIU’s 2013 Luis Clay Mendez Distinguished Service Award recipient for his contributions to the university, the field of biological sciences and the community, will be formally recognized.  The award honors the memory of Mendez, an EIU professor of Spanish who died in 2003.

Panther Spirit Flags Are Now Flying in Charleston in Celebration of Upcoming Football Game 12/06/13

More than 40 Panther spirit flags are now flying along Lincoln Ave in Charleston to stir on the Panthers to victory for their upcoming playoff game.

Flags, which are displayed from Morton Park to Ninth Street along Lincoln Ave, create a new entryway for Panther Nation and display Eastern Illinois’s dedication for school spirit.

The second-round football game against Tennessee State University will start at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are available at EIU ticket office at (217) 581-2106 or online here.

'Just Moving Along, Following the Catfish...' 12/03/13

Somewhere in the Wabash River there swims a fish named after Robert Colombo, an associate biological sciences professor at Eastern Illinois University.

“Little Rob” is one of 44 flathead catfish who have been stunned with electricity, collected and surgically tagged before being released back into the 500-mile-long river that flows from northwest Ohio, across northern Indiana and along the southern Illinois border.

Anyone searching for these particular fish, however, would be advised to stay focused near the Illinois waters where EIU graduate student Sarah Huck concentrates her research.  “It’s been our experience that the fish usually continue to navigate in the same area where we found them,” she said.  “Three miles has been about the furthest we’ve tracked one of my fish.”

While it’s unlikely that the underwater creatures enjoy the treatment of being captured and tagged, Huck finds it necessary for her research.  And her studies are critical for determining the sustainability of the flathead catfish – one of the most sought-after fish in the Wabash.

“It’s a good-tasting fish, popular with both sport and commercial fishermen,” she said.  “And it’s a real aggressive fish.  It’ll give you a good fight.”

In addition to researching the large- and small-scale movements of the fish, she also studies their general behavior, along with their environment.  The proper habitat is critical for the fishes’ success.

“Our job is to determine their critical habitats, which means, in part, studying them for 24-hour periods throughout the year,” Colombo said.

And to do this, the fish must be traceable. That’s where Huck’s job began.

In order to collect her fish, Huck visited several sites along the Wabash, south of Terre Haute, Ind.  Using an electric current, she stunned the fish – “it doesn’t kill them,” she quickly adds – and collected them, placing them in aerated, water-filled tanks.  The “chosen ones” must fit certain size and weight requirements (at least 24 inches and four pounds) to properly withstand the tagging process.

(Her largest tagged fish, Huck said, weighed in excess of 50 pounds and was more than three feet long.)

Within a couple of minutes, each fish is weighed and measured, then has a small “coded ultrasonic transmitter,” similar in appearance to a battery, surgically implanted into its body cavity (near the fish’s shoulder) via a one-and-a-half-inch incision.  In addition, a separate identification tag is attached to the dorsal fin. 

The fish is then put back in the holding tank and given time – five to 10 minutes – for “post-op” recovery before being placed back in the river.

“That transmitter puts out ultrasonic signals in the water that we can hear through what we call a hydrophone,” Huck said.  “The tracking equipment we use is transported via boat to various spots on the river.”

For thorough research, tracking sessions must take place at varying times during the day and night and through all four of the seasons.

Huck and a research partner – “One never goes out alone,” she said – might spend a complete night out on the Wabash.  They could be dressed in shorts and tank tops or, instead, bundled up in winter gear.

Huck can tell the story about building a snowman as they floated along the river one cold, winter day.  She’s less inclined to reveal the details leading to her rescue by the Posey County River Rescue Team after running aground during the drought of 2012.

“That one’s embarrassing,” she admits, grinning. 

Les Frankland ’75, ‘77, fisheries biologist with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, admires both Huck’s dedication and her spunk.  “She goes places where I wouldn’t even think about going,” he said.  “Just moving along, following the catfish.”

He also appreciates the professionalism with which the research is done, and is appreciative of the data that Huck shares with the IDNR.  “The flathead catfish is one of the most sought-after species in the river,” he said, “and it’s important that it not be over-harvested.

“We want to protect the species, but we also want to be able to utilize it,” Frankland continued.  “I’m pleased to say that Sarah’s research indicates that the flathead catfish population in the Wabash River is a quite healthy one.” 

Huck – a self-proclaimed tom boy and “river rat,” having grown up along the Fox River near Barrington in Lake County -- never really gave much thought to fish.  Her plan upon coming to Eastern was to become a veterinarian.

That all changed with one class.

“I had to take a regular ecology class that Dr. Colombo taught,” she said.  “One day we took a trip to Polecat Creek east of Charleston), and something in me snapped.

“I kept thinking about how beautiful the fish are, and it amazed me to think about that entirely different world beneath the water.”

Still an undergraduate at the time, she immediately began helping graduate students with their research projects.  She reciprocates now by enlisting current undergraduates to help her with her own research as she strives to finish her master’s thesis.  She expects to graduate in May 2014.

Have you caught one of Sarah's tagged fish?  Please let her know...

When someone catches one of her fish, Sarah Huck wants to know about it.  Please.

It’s not hard -- contact information for the university is listed on the identification tag adhered to the fish’s dorsal fin.  Folks can call EIU’s Biological Sciences Department and let them know a tagged fish has been caught.  In return, EIU will send the caller a self-addressed envelope with which to return the tag and, if at all possible, the transmitter inside the fish.

Returning the transmitter helps in two ways:  First, each fish’s capture is carefully logged, becoming yet another piece of information to be used in Huck’s research.

“I basically write a story about each of the fish – its health, where it has been, etc.,” Huck said.

Secondly, many of the transmitters can be reused.  Since each one costs about $300, that can means a huge savings for the department – and for the taxpayer.

Much of the money spent to support fisheries research at Eastern Illinois University comes from funding made possible through the federal Sport Fish Restoration Act.  This act, originally passed in 1950, places a 10 percent excise tax on fishing rods, reels, lures, fishing line and related fishing equipment.  EIU receives roughly $60,000 annually; its use, however, is controlled by the IDNR. 

To date, transmitters from six of Huck’s 44 tagged fish have been returned by anglers. 

Medicare Advantage Informational Meetings Set for Nov. 27 on EIU Campus 11/25/13 Meetings designed to help state of Illinois retirees understand the new Medicare Advantage insurance program are scheduled to take place Wednesday, Nov. 27, on the campus of Eastern Illinois University.

Janice Bonneville, deputy director of Central Management Services, will be on hand to explain the program that is being offered to eligible retirees, survivors and dependents. Vendors representing the available insurance plans will be in attendance, as well.

Admission to either of two meetings -- one at 9:30 a.m. and the second at 1:30 p.m. -- is free. Both are scheduled to take place in the Grand Ballroom of the MLK Jr. Union. Parking is free for the event and available throughout campus.

Any state of Illinois retiree is encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about the Medicare Advantage program, although it is designed specifically for those who are 65 and over; who are on Medicare, Parts A and B; and whose dependent(s), where applicable, are also on Medicare, Parts A and B.

Family members -- especially those with or representing loved ones who meet the above-mentioned requirements but who are no longer able or may need assistance to make decisions regarding insurance needs -- are also encouraged to attend.

Those meeting the requirements MUST choose a new Medicare Advantage plan by Dec. 13. Those who do not choose a new plan will see their medical and prescription drug coverage end on Jan. 31, 2014, and they will not be eligible to re-enroll until the next enrollment period in the fall.

Eligible participants should have recently received an enrollment kit titled "Total Retiree Advantage Illinois - Your Trail to Better Health" in the mail. Anyone who did not receive this information, or who might have questions regarding this matter, should call CMS at 1-800-442-1300 or SURS at 1-800-275-7877.

Retirees are encouraged to bring their packets to the Nov. 27 meetings, where individuals will be available to help fill out enrollment forms.

The meetings are being co-sponsored by the EIU Benefits Office, the EIU Annuitants Association and State Rep. Brad Halbrook's office.
Director of Eastern Illinois Foodbank to speak about food insecurity at EIU 11/18/13

After serving eight years as executive director of the Eastern Illinois Foodbank, Jim Hires knows that food insecurity is an issue in the Coles County area.

During a lecture titled “Mission to End Hunger” at 7 p.m. Thursday at Eastern Illinois University, Hires plans to enlighten students and community members on ways they can help put an end to food insecurity in their community.

Hires’s lecture, at 7 p.m. in the Charleston/Mattoon room of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union, marks the end of EIU’s Hunger Challenge, a month-long awareness event, where student volunteers sponsored many events from food drives, advocacy opportunities and documentary screenings to help bring awareness about hunger and poverty in the region.

Hires is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University where he received bachelor’s degree in history education and a master’s degree in counseling. Before working at the foodbank, Hires worked in the private sector.

The Eastern Illinois Foodbank provides food to more than 200 food agencies and provides local food pantries in Charleston and Mattoon with about 60 to 70 percent of their food.

Jeffrey Boshart Named 2013 Illinois Professor of the Year 11/15/13
Jeff and Karen Boshart

Eastern Illinois University’s Jeffrey Boshart has been named the 2013 Illinois Professor of the Year by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

The U.S. Professors of the Year program salutes the most outstanding undergraduate instructors in the country – those who excel in teaching and positively influence the lives and careers of students.  It is the only national program to recognize excellence in undergraduate teaching and mentoring.

Boshart, who was selected from more than 350 top professors in the United States, was honored at an awards luncheon Thursday at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.  The announcement was made public on Eastern’s campus today during a meeting of the university’s Board of Trustees.

“I am pleased and honored to represent Illinois and, specifically, Eastern Illinois University as the CASE Illinois Professor of the Year,” Boshart said.  “I have spent my career striving to become a better teacher, mentor and student-centered activist, asking myself, ‘How can I help my students engage their profession, achieve better results and find success in their chosen field sooner?’

"It has been a challenging goal but one that has never left me without options, and the exploration of those possibilities has made the struggle worth every dime I’ve spent and every hour I’ve devoted to the quest.”

He added that his efforts in teaching, creative activity, research and service have been consistently supported by his family, colleagues and administration.

“I am humbled to have received this recognition but gleefully share it with my family, peers and students, both past and present,” he said.

Boshart joined the EIU Department of Art in 1988.  He routinely teaches classes from the introductory level all the way through graduate level.  He works with independent study students, is a departmental academic adviser and, on the high school level, has been both an instructor and the director for the EIU Summer High School Art Camp.

As an outreach educator, Boshart conducts workshops and symposia, ranging from kindergartner classes through professional art associations.  He is an ongoing visual arts guest curator and, most recently, developed several exhibitions, lectures and workshops in cooperation with Eastern’s Tarble Arts Center.

While Boshart is primarily a sculptor, he also engages in drawing, watercolor, photography and various other art forms as situations dictate.  He has installed large-scale and/or site-specific sculptures and has been featured in solo exhibitions, group shows, competitions and traveling exhibitions.

Boshart received the inaugural Master Educator Award from the international professional association, Foundations in Art:  Theory and Education, in 2007.  While at Eastern, he has received multiple achievement and contribution awards for his service commitment to students, his department, the university, community, state and nation.  Since 1980, he has received more than 35 grants in support of the classroom/studio activities, outreach programs and directed research assistantships.

Annie Cunningham, a 2011 EIU graduate and former student of Boshart’s, referred to her mentor as an outstanding instructor and an involved part of the community.  In addition to giving elementary students the “gift of expression,” she said, he provides “adolescents with ways to have healthy outlets for the pressures of life.”

Additionally, he helps young adults explore what they are capable of and introduces “the older generation” to new techniques, as well as the “classic ways” of doing things, Cunningham added.

“Jeff Boshart is many things to many people, but for me, he will always be a symbol as to what a true artist ought to be:  supportive, versatile, knowledgeable, creative and forever curious.”

EIU Commits to College Affordability with 'Zero Percent' Rate Increases 11/15/13

Citing continued commitment to college affordability and accessibility to higher education, Eastern Illinois University’s Board of Trustees on Friday voted not to raise room and board rates -- or tuition rates -- for the 2014-2015 school year.

Noting that Eastern has consistently been the best value among Illinois public universities, Dan Nadler, vice president for student affairs, said he was “very pleased and very proud” that the university was able to offer a "0 percent" increase in rates.

According to Nadler, this will be the first time since the 1992-93 school year that tuition rates have remained constant.  And it’s the first time on record (nearly 40 years) that  a year has gone by without increases in room and board rates, he said.

Voicing his pleasure over the Board’s decision, EIU President William Perry added that the university “was still mindful of providing a quality education.”

Students living in EIU’s residence halls and Greek Court will continue to range from $4,150 per semester for the 7 Meal Plan Option to $4,679 for the 15 Meal Plan Option.

Students living in one of the 148 units at University Apartments (designed primarily to meet the needs of student families and single graduate students) will see monthly rents ranging from $448 to $503, depending on the type of apartment being rented (one-bedroom, efficiency or super efficiency).  All utilities are included in the rent price.

Residents of University Court, a 146-unit university-owned apartment complex for sophomores, juniors, seniors and graduate students, will continue to see rates ranging from $2,412 to $3,225 per semester, depending on the type of apartment being rented.

EIU’s resident tuition rate will remain at $283 per semester credit hour for students entering the university during the 2014-2015 school year.  This means that those with an average 15-course academic load will pay $4,245 per semester.

Additionally, incoming resident students will be able to lock in the new tuition rate for four continuous academic years, as provided by the state’s “Truth in Tuition” Law.

EIU Students will “Stuff the Bus” for Local Food Pantries at Last Home Football Game 11/15/13

Before the Eastern Illinois University Panther football team plays its last home game of the regular season, students will “stuff the bus” with canned goods during a tailgate celebration Saturday morning.

The “Stuff the Bus” event is part of EIU Hunger Challenge Month designed to bring awareness to the community about hunger and poverty in the Coles County area and help provide support to local pantries.

“If you have food in the fridge and your parents are helping you out, hunger is not something on your mind,” said Samantha Sarich, student organizer. “At the end of the month, I hope to make more students and community members aware of the issue of hunger and poverty.”

The canned-good collection will occur on the east side of O’Brien Stadium in the tailgating section right behind the stadium, and participants are asked to bring non-perishable goods and monetary gifts. All donations will be given to local food pantries in Charleston. The event will also include a bounce house and laser tag.

“We want to help our community, and have a little fun too,” Sarich said.

Throughout the month of November, Sarich and other student volunteers sponsored many events from food drives, advocacy opportunities and documentary screenings to help bring awareness about hunger and poverty.

The “Stuff the Bus” event is sponsored by the Office of Student Community Service and EIU Athletics Department. After the event, participants are encouraged to watch the Eastern vs. Jacksonville State football game at noon in Lantz Arena.

Charleston Ties Help Attract New Facilities Director to EIU 11/13/13

As a boy on a bicycle, Tim Zimmer raced over the sidewalks at Eastern Illinois University, not realizing at the time that he would, one day, ultimately be responsible for the upkeep of those same walkways.

Earlier this year, the Mahomet resident was serving as associate director for construction services at the University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign.  Upon discovering that Eastern was seeking a director for its Facilities Planning and Management division, Zimmer submitted his application.

“The position appealed to me on many levels,” he said.

There were, of course, the memories of the town and the university when, as a youth, he visited his grandparents – long-time Charleston residents Lloyd and Katherine Thudium.  Even though he is a native of Neoga, Zimmer talks knowledgeably about former city landmarks, including, as an example, the former community pool, once located at the southwest corner of Lincoln Avenue and Division Street.

But he also longed for the opportunity to work at a university where academics and interpersonal relationships reign.

“I brought my wife down for Homecoming and every few steps, I’d find myself introducing her to yet someone else new and from all facets of university life – not just facilities,” Zimmer said.  “In fact, at one point, this tall fellow standing about 15 feet away turned around and, with a wave, yelled out, ‘Hi, Tim.’  And it was President Perry.

“You just don’t experience those types of relationships at bigger institutions,” he added.  “We’ve got some very friendly folks here.”

As director of Facilities Planning and Management, Zimmer is responsible for the overall operations, maintenance, construction, renewal and continuous stewardship of the campus’ physical facilities.  Specific areas of responsibility include management, oversight, fiscal authority and direction of maintenance functions in all buildings; grounds care; utilities and their infrastructure; engineering and architectural service delivery; campus design and construction activities; project management and coordination; renovations and alterations to campus assets; and janitorial services in administrative, classroom and athletics buildings.

“President (Bill) Perry and I have high expectations for the facilities team,” said William Weber, vice president for business affairs.  “Mr. Zimmer has a proven record of accomplishments, and I believe he will be an outstanding director of Facilities Planning and Management at Eastern."

Zimmer comes prepared for his new role, having served nearly 14 years at the U of I and seven years in the U.S. Air Force working in related positions.  He received his bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Ind., and completed graduate work toward a master’s degree at the University of Tennessee-Tullahoma and the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

Zimmer assumed his post at Eastern on Aug. 1.  Since then, he said, he’s spent a good deal of his time as director “observing and absorbing.”  Meetings, of course, have been plentiful and he’s looking forward to visiting the various individuals he’s met through those meetings on their own turf – in the classroom, the laboratory or the office.

He and his wife, Peg, also plan to begin building a home in Charleston – on land once owned by his grandparents.

There are no regrets about taking the position at EIU.

“My daughter recently told me, ‘you seem happier now.’  And I am,” he said.  ‘It’s really been great."

EIU Groundskeepers Settle Into New Headquarters 11/12/13
President Bill Perry tries on a pair of work gloves before using a pair of pruning shears to cut the ceremonial blue ribbon.

The grand opening was a simple one – cake, punch, a pair of pruning shears…

A small but appreciative audience gathered recently as Eastern Illinois University President Bill Perry donned a pair of workman’s gloves and, using the pruning shears, cut a ceremonial blue ribbon signifying the completion of the institution’s newest building.

Located west of O’Brien Stadium in the university’s Facilities Planning & Management complex, the facility is the new center of operations for Eastern’s groundskeepers and all the equipment they need to care for the 320-acre campus year round.

As a traditionally built pole building with a large, attached lean-to for additional storage, it’s not an architectural wonder.  It is, however, a significant improvement for the department and its employees who previously worked and congregated in a confined space.

“The new building allowed us to make some safety improvements,” said David Crockett, associate director for maintenance and operations.  “In addition to separate storage areas for chemicals and cleaning supplies, our employees now have a larger inside area in which to store and maintain the various machines they use in their work.”

Also in attendance at the grand opening, William Weber, vice president for business affairs, noted his appreciation for the new building and thanked the Council on University Planning and Budget for its support for the project.

"The council identified the new grounds facility as a campus priority that was worthy of funding," he said.

According to Scott Hall, superintendent of grounds, Eastern currently employs 18 individuals (13 during the winter months), hired to keep the campus safe for student, faculty and staff use, and attractive for Eastern constituencies and visitors – including future Panthers.

“The president has placed significant focus on the campus grounds, which, of course, is what all prospective students and their families see when they come to visit,” said Steve Shrake, associate director for design and construction.  “The overall appearance of a campus can certainly affect admissions.”

In addition to mowing, seeding, fertilizing, watering and maintaining the university's trees, shrubbery and flowers, the department removes trash from across campus.  Employees set up barricades and banners for special events.

And they’re the ones, Hall added, who are responsible for removing the snow and ice from sidewalks and parking lots to ensure the safety of students and other university employees – even if it means getting to work in the middle of the night.

In addition to mowing the sports and band fields, grounds crews also do additional tasks to help maintain some of Eastern’s athletic venues – the replacement of nets on the tennis courts, for example.

And then, there’s always the unexpected. 

“We retrieved a golf cart that someone had turned upside down in the center of the soccer field during spring commencement,” Hall recalled. 

Crockett said the area formerly occupied by the Grounds Shop is being renovated, and will allow for the expansion of Eastern’s Paint Shop and a new headquarters for Facilities Planning & Management’s building service workers.

EIU Campus at a Glance


320 total acres

42 acres of parking lots

230 acres of turf and landscapes

10-plus miles of sidewalks

4,100-plus trees

7,500 square feet of annual
     flower beds

330,028 square feet of perennial
     landscape beds

Sports Fields

Five intercollegiate game fields

Six intercollegiate tennis courts

Five intercollegiate practice fields

Four to six intramural game fields

Two club sports fields

General Campus Sports

Seven tennis courts

Seven basketball courts

One softball field

Five sand volleyball courts

Two band fields


Shown, from left to right (front row), are William Weber, vice president for business affairs; Larry Shobe; Greg Lee; Reggie Galey (kneeling); Robert Sedlmayr;  Brent Brown; Kayla Sondgeroth; Scott Hall, superintendent of grounds; Tim Zimmer, director of Facilities Planning and Management; and Steve Shrake, associate director, FPM.  Shown, from left to right (second row), are Dave Crockett, associate director, FPM; EIU President Bill Perry; Mike Rodebaugh; Mark Weaver; Karala Eastin; Ricky Haney; Mark Setzer; Jim Cox; and Levi Lee.

EIU to Commemorate Veterans Day with Series of Events 11/05/13

A series of events culminating with a Veterans Day Commemoration Ceremony on Monday, Nov. 11, will bring educational opportunities for and about military veterans to the forefront on the campus of Eastern Illinois University.

The Veterans Day Commemoration Ceremony has become an annual campus event.  Community residents are invited to join students, faculty and staff at 10:30 a.m. Monday in Old Main’s (the “Castle”) Cougill Foyer.  In addition to remarks by both Jacob Fryman, a student veteran and Purple Heart recipient, and EIU President Bill Perry, the ceremony will include the laying of a wreath.  The ROTC Panther Battalion will render a three-volley salute, while the EIU Department of Music will perform the National Anthem and the playing of taps.

During this year’s ceremony, Perry is also scheduled to sign a “Got Your 6” pledge as a public demonstration of EIU’s commitment to military student education opportunities.

According to Stephen Knotts, Eastern’s military student assistance coordinator, there is no set definition for a veteran-friendly school.  Eastern, he added, has already proven itself as an institution committed to providing resources, programs and policies to support the student veteran population.

The “Got Your 6” (a.k.a. “Got your Back”) pledge, Knotts continued, simply means that the university will continue to make efforts to create academic and social programs and services for veterans and active duty military personnel that will provide reasonable opportunities for academic performance and success.

The public is also invited to several related events.  Admission is free unless otherwise noted.

The Mattoon Junior ROTC Drill Team will present a demonstration on good citizenship at 9 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, in the Grand Ballroom of the MLK Jr. Union.

At 10 a.m., also in the Grand Ballroom, Paul Knudtson, director of armed services relations at National Louis University, will lead a discussion/question-and-answer session on “Student Veterans as a Strategic Asset.”  With nearly 20 years of military service, Knudtson is a dedicated and experienced leader of individuals and teams, and focused on serving the needs and interests of veterans and the communities in which they live.

EIU’s annual Veterans Day concert – “Call to Duty:  A Veterans Day Tribute” -- will feature the Eastern Illinois University Wind Symphony, plus special guests.  Admission to the concert, set to begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, in Dvorak Concert Hall, Doudna Fine Arts Center, is $12 for the general public, $10 for EIU faculty/staff and senior citizens, and $5 for EIU students.

Third-graders from Carl Sandburg Elementary School in Charleston will begin Friday’s (Nov. 8) activities with a presentation of the POW/MIA Remembrance Table -- a single table set appropriately for a meal but is never used.  This special scene honors those, be they prisoners of war or those missing in action, who cannot join their families and friends.  This activity will begin at 11 a.m. in Booth Library’s north foyer.

Later in the day, Chat Noir – a blues/jazz/60s/70s local cover band – will perform from 6 to 8 p.m. in 7th Street Underground (formerly known as the Rathskeller), located in the basement level of the MLK Jr. Union, east side.  Admission is free to the family-friendly performance; however, donations will be accepted for the DAV (Disabled American Veterans).

EIU Lauded by Illinois Fire Inspectors Association for Fire Safety Work 10/30/13

William Weber, vice president for business affairs, and Gary
Hanebrink (center), EIU safety officer, receive Corporate Award
from Joey
Jeraminas (far right), Homer Township Fire District
and IFIA president.

Eastern Illinois University has received state recognition for its proactive approach to fire safety on campus.

The Illinois Fire Inspectors Association honored EIU by presenting the institution with a Corporate Award during the IFIA’s annual Fire Prevention Week luncheon/meeting.  According to Bob Morris, executive director of the IFIA, the group annually honors emergency personnel, children, young adults, adults and corporations who have greatly enhanced or contributed to local fire prevention efforts in their community.

Eastern was recognized for having been the first state university to achieve complete compliance of the Fire Sprinkler Dormitory Act.  This act, enacted in January 2005, required all on-campus housing at post-secondary institutions to have fire sprinklers installed by 2013.  In January 2011, the state further enacted the Greek Housing Fire Safety Act, requiring all Greek housing to install fire sprinkler systems by 2019.

Eastern began its efforts in 2000 with the installation of fire sprinklers in Pemberton Hall, the oldest woman’s residence hall in the state of Illinois.  The first Greek housing was retrofitted with sprinklers in 2002.

The university finished its work in Summer 2012 by making installations in Ford, McKinney and Weller halls.  Eastern spent more than $10.5 million dollars on the total multi-year project, which involved the installation of fire sprinkler systems and fire alarm systems in all 28 of the university’s residential buildings on campus.

Gary Hanebrink, EIU safety officer, along with William Weber, EIU’s vice president for business affairs, accepted the IFIA award on behalf of the university.

“We’re grateful for the award and what it represents,” Hanebrink said.  “It’s a validation of the efforts Eastern has made to provide a safe, secure environment for our students and visitors.

EIU Students Demonstrate How to Put on Zombie Makeup for Halloween 10/29/13

EIU student Jake Cole models the less scary zombie look designed for children.

Want to look like a zombie from the hit AMC show “Walking Dead” and truly scare your friends for Halloween?  Eastern Illinois University theater students say it’s easy to create the look of a gruesome flesh-eating zombie for the Halloween season.

EIU theater students Miranda Buob and Chela Gurnea said the zombie look will only take about 20 minutes and parents and teenagers can buy all the supplies at a local Halloween store.

Children can get in on the zombie look, too, but the pair of makeup artists suggests a toned-down look for the younger set.

For a child zombie, Buob said parents will need a bruise wheel (essentially a makeup compact with a variety of dark colors), paint brushes, white makeup, sponges and store-brought blood.  For an adult zombie look, would-be makeup artists will also need liquid latex and tissue paper.

To create the child zombie face, Buob said parents should sit their child down in a lighted spot and apply white makeup evenly throughout their face.

After their child’s face has a pasty glow, parents should apply a black color along their high check bone with a sponge or with their finger.

Next, parents should mix browns and reds underneath their child’s eyes with a finger or brush, Buob said. 

“The bruise wheel keeps all the necessary colors in a convenient place,” Buob said. “But you can create the same effect with a collection of separate colors.”

Then, apply a little black makeup under the child’s eyes. As the child begins to look like one of the walking dead, Buob said parents can pick anywhere on the child’s face to add a bloody cut with red makeup and blood to complete the look.

After finishing the red cut, parents will have a zombie child ready to go trick-or-treating with friends or go to a Halloween party, Buob said. 

If parents want to join their children with an even scarier look, there are a couple extra steps for a slightly more gruesome look, said Chela Gurnea.

Gurnea, a makeup student who participated in workshops alongside makeup designers from the show “Walking Dead,” said adults should be careful not to overuse the bloody makeup.

“It might seem counterintuitive, but less makeup actually helps create more of a dramatic effect on the face,” she said.  “The idea is to go for realism and not necessarily gore.”

To start the adult zombie look, Gurnea recommends spreading a lighter color evenly throughout the face and on the lips.

After applying the lighter color, Gurnea said adults should spread a dark brown or purple on their eyelids and underneath their eyes with a brush or sponge. The next step to create a really scary look is to create a festering wound on their face.

First, pick the location of the wound, and apply latex liquid to the spot, she said.  If someone has latex allergy, Gurnea said adults can use Elmer’s School Glue as a substitute.

After applying the liquid, cut a piece of tissue, and then apply a piece of tissue to the spot onto of the glue.

“Repeat this step about eight times,” Gurnea said.

After the tissue and glue has dried, Gurnea recommends using a utensil to spread the tissue apart to open up the wound.  Inside the wound, Gurnea said adults should outline the hole with a dark color to create more depth for their wound.

She then recommends using a brush to place red makeup or blood in the middle to heighten the effect and create a really believable bloody wound.

With an adult subject, you shouldn’t be afraid to get messy with the makeup because wounds should not be perfect, Gurnea said. For adults you can even add hair spray on the wound to help make the wound look more alive. Finally, Gurnea recommends using a paintbrush to create veins on the zombie’s face with black makeup. 

The theatre arts program at Eastern Illinois University offers students like Buob and Gurnea a broad-based curriculum with a wide range of courses from theatre history, dramatic literature, basic acting , stage movement, scene study, costuming and scenic lighting.

Chela Gurnea, an Eastern Illinois University student, places the final touches of the adult zombie look to fellow student, Austin Scavone.

EIU Student from Stewardson Wins Statewide Writing Competition 10/29/13

Elijah D. Slifer, an Eastern Illinois University student from Stewardson, won first place in upper division of the 2013 Illinois Sociological Association Undergraduate Student Paper Competition.

Slifer was one of three students from Eastern who won awards from the competition. Others included Kirsten Taylor, of Sullivan, with first place in the freshman/sophomore division and Sheldon Aaron, of Bloomington, with third place in the freshman/sophomore division.

As a senior geography major at Eastern Illinois University, Slifer entered the competition last year and competed against other students throughout the state from public and private universities.

The requirements for entry included a written paper from an undergraduate sociology course and a word count of 5,000 words or less. Awards for the competition will be handed out at the Illinois Sociological Association’s yearly conference.

The Illinois Sociological Association is a statewide association focused on educating and stimulating research, discussion, interaction and service among students and professors engaged in the sociological study and teaching.

EIU Student from Sullivan Wins Statewide Writing Competition 10/24/13

Kirsten Taylor, an Eastern Illinois University student from Sullivan, won first place in the freshman/sophomore division of the 2013 Illinois Sociological Association Undergraduate Student Paper Competition.

Taylor was one of the three Eastern students, who won awards from the competition. Others included Elijah D. Slifer, of Stewardson, with first place in the junior/senior division and Sheldon Aaron, of Bloomington, with third place in the freshman/ sophomore division.

Her paper was titled "Internet Inequality: How the Web is Reinforcing and Creating Inequality.” Throughout her paper, she used the sociological theories of Karl Marx, Max Weber and Emile Durkheim to help explain the consequences of internet inequality in our society.

Taylor, the daughter of Kevin and Dorothy Taylor of Sullivan, is a junior psychology major with a sociology minor at Eastern. After entering into the competition last year as a sophomore, Taylor competed against students throughout the state from public and private universities.

The requirements for entry included a written paper from an undergraduate sociology course and a paper of 5,000 words or less. Awards for the competition will be handed out at the Illinois Sociological Association’s yearly conference.

The Illinois Sociological Association is a statewide association focused on educating and stimulating research, discussion, interaction and service among students and professors engaged in sociological study and teaching.

New Facility for Honors College to Open with Rube Goldberg Machine 10/17/13

Eastern Illinois students are busily building a "Rube Goldberg" machine to handle the ribbon-cutting duties at the grand opening of the new home of the EIU Honors College this Friday.

The machine – inspired by the contraptions of Pulitzer Prize -- winning cartoonist -- will use a long and complicated series of steps to perform the simple task of cutting the ribbon to officially open the new facility.

"We have Honors students in programs throughout the university," said Honors College Dean Richard England, "and we thought this was a great chance to show off a little bit."

In addition to the physics and technology students who built the ribbon cutting contraption, other honors students will be on hand displaying their artwork, giving musical performances and explaining some of their original research.

But, the flashiest part of the show will take place at 5:15 p.m. on the south end of Pemberton Hall when President Bill Perry sets the ribbon cutter in motion.

England, who just joined the university this year, says that he is particularly pleased with the new facility and said it shows how deeply Eastern values honors students.

The Honors program was founded in 1982 by history professor, Herb Lasky, and became an Honors College in 2004. It services the needs of academically talented students by encouraging intellectual and social growth through a flexible and rigorous curriculum of Honors classes.

Speakers to Present International Perspective to Gun Culture in U.S. 10/16/13

Two German police representatives -- Det. Captain Franz Plueckthun, commander of Undercover Operations of the Bavarian State Police, and Michael Tentler, consultant for the German BKA (FBI) -- will lead a discussion on how the issues of gun control are being handled in Europe.

Hafeez Muhammad, long-time resident and community activist of Chicago, will address the problem of gun shootings in his city.

These points of view, along with those of some Eastern Illinois University faculty members, will be presented during a two-hour gun forum beginning at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21, in Lumpkin Hall Auditorium on the EIU campus. There will be a question-and-answer period after the presentations.

A post-forum reception has been planned to allow the speakers to visit with members of the audience.

According to event organizers, it is hoped that this forum will provide a focal point for the gun policy challenge through the interaction of students, faculty and members of the community. The public is invited to attend this event free of charge.

Sponsors are EIU's Political Science Department and the Public Policy Institute. For information, please contact Kevin Anderson at 217-581-2619 or

Homecoming Prizes in Store for Students Wearing Blue Friday 10/15/13

How often does the president of a university give you a ride and then offer you a chance to win prizes? That’s exactly what’s going to happen Friday as Eastern Illinois University staff -- including President Bill Perry -- drive golf carts around the campus and run a mobile trivia game.

Based on the popular TV show “Cash Cab,” two golf cart “cabs” will pick up students wearing blue and give them a chance to answer trivia questions about Eastern as a kick-off to the 2013 Homecoming Celebration. Winners will walk away with T-shirts and other EIU giveaways if they can demonstrate their “Panther” knowledge.

Every student who rides on a golf cart will also be entered in a drawing for a football helmet signed by head football coach Dino Babers. The grand prize will be handed out at the Homecoming Pep Rally at 7 p.m. Friday at McAfee Gymnasium. Students must be present at the pep rally to win the grand prize.

Bob Martin, vice president for university advancement, said the purpose of the event is to make homecoming even more special and to promote school spirit.

“We have a lot to be proud of, and by wearing blue, students, faculty and staff come together in support of Eastern and show their love for this institution,” Martin said.

The “Cash Cab” was organized by the Quality Service Committee, composed of students and University Advancement staff members. The purpose of committee is to enhance school spirit and academic excellence.

Parking, Traffic Restrictions Announced for Homecoming Parade 10/14/13

Parking and traffic flow will be restricted in some streets and parking lots for part of the day Saturday, Oct. 19, to make room for the Eastern Illinois University Homecoming Parade.

The streets closed to traffic are as follows:

  • 6 a.m.-noon: Ninth Street, from Lincoln to Roosevelt avenues;
  • During parade: Grant Avenue, between First and Orchard streets; and
  • 3 a.m.-noon: Johnson Avenue, between Seventh and Ninth streets.

The areas closed to parking from 3 a.m. to noon are as follows:

  • Grant Avenue, between First and Orchard streets;
  • Seventh Street, from the Doudna Fine Arts Center to Monroe Avenue;
  • Monroe and Jackson avenues, between Sixth and Seventh streets;
  • Sixth Street, from Monroe to Polk avenues;
  • Polk Avenue, from Sixth to Division streets;
  • Division Street, from Polk to Grant avenues;
  • MLK Jr. Union parking lot;
  • Seventh Street parking spaces on campus;
  • Student Services Building parking lot;
  • Blair Hall parking lot;
  • X Parking Lot, north and south; and
  • Burl Ives Art Studio parking lot.

In addition, Grant Avenue between Seventh and Ninth streets will have controlled traffic and no parking from 3 a.m. until the end of the parade.

Those who live in Park Place Apartments and in the parade staging area on Ninth Street may park their vehicles in the Doudna Fine Arts Center parking lot from 5 p.m. Friday until the parade is over.

Vehicles parked in violation of these parking restrictions will be towed at the owners' expense.

The parade is to begin at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, at the intersection of Seventh Street and Lincoln Avenue. The route is as follows: north on Seventh Street, west on Monroe Avenue, south on Sixth Street, west on Polk Avenue, south on Division Street, and east on Grant Avenue (aka Panther Way), ending at the tailgate area at O'Brien Stadium.

The university appreciates the cooperation of the EIU and Charleston community in helping make the parade a positive experience for all.

Former EIU President Lou Hencken Takes Position as Interim Admissions Director 10/14/13

Former Eastern Illinois University President Lou Henken has agreed to serve as interim director of admissions for the university as it moves into a more aggressive recruiting program.

“Eastern is just beginning to reverse a multi-year decline in enrollments,” said Blair Lord, provost and vice president for academic affairs.  “But we know the competition is just going to get tougher and we needed a proven manager to help lead our admissions team.”

Lord said the university is just beginning a nationwide search for a new admissions director but felt that it needed to begin the transition.

“Henken is an EIU graduate and an avid supporter of the university,” Lord said.  “What’s more, when he was vice president of student affairs, he supervised the admissions department.

“But more than that, he has the proven management experience to help lead our admissions staff during this period of transition without losing any momentum,” he said.

University President William Perry said he was pleased that his predecessor remains so active and committed to Eastern.

“Lou has been a great role model, but he’s also willing to pitch in wherever he’s needed,” Perry said.  “Growing enrollments has been a particularly challenging problem to solve, particularly in a difficult economic environment.

“Our staff has worked hard,” he continued, “but we know we need to do some things differently if we’re going to complete the turnaround.”

Henken will be replacing Brenda Major who will remain with the university, but will be assuming special duties in the athletics department.

“Major is a passionate advocate for students as well as a great spokesperson for the university,” according to Blair Lord.  “We think her talents will be better used in her new position and look forward to her continued contribution to EIU.”

School Spirit is Turning the Town Blue in Time for EIU Homecoming 10/11/13

EIU's Facilities Planning and Management Unit shows school spirit.

School spirit is on the rise at Eastern Illinois University – just in time for EIU Homecoming 2013!

“Paint the Town Blue:  Homecoming 2013” activities will take place beginning Monday, Oct. 14, culminating with the traditional parade, football game and other popular events on Saturday, Oct. 19.

This year’s Homecoming committee has planned numerous thematic events and activities designed to showcase EIU Panther Pride throughout campus and the city of Charleston.  Several Charleston-area businesses and local residents plan to feature window displays, lawn signs and marquees displaying their EIU pride and spirit throughout the week.

Community residents are welcome to attend many Homecoming events, both on and off campus.  The most popular of those will occur on Saturday.

Early risers can prepare for a full day of activity with a warm meal, courtesy of the Charleston Rotary Club.  Serving for the 14th annual all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast will take place from 6:30 to 10:30 a.m. in the parking lot of Dirty’s Bar & Grill, located at the southeast corner of Seventh Street and Lincoln Avenue.  The price is $6 for adults and $3 for children, with all proceeds from the event going to various local charities.

With their appetites taken care of,  diners can either burn off those calories or simply support those who are by attending the 14th annual EIU/Charleston Homecoming 2.5k (1.5-mile) Race/Walk at 9 a.m.  Participants will begin at the corner of Seventh Street and Lincoln Avenue, make their way north on Seventh Street to the Charleston Square, then return to EIU’s Old Main via Sixth Street.

An entry fee of $10 will be collected from each participant, while awards are designated for the top male and female finisher in each of three categories: run, walk and wheelchair.  (See here for registration information.)

The EIU Homecoming Parade is an annual tradition consisting of more than 100 campus/community entries – floats, bands and decorated cars, to name just a few.  Participants will line up near on the east side of Old Main and, beginning at 9:30 a.m., march northward up Seventh Street to Monroe Avenue, west on Monroe to Sixth Street, then head south to Polk Avenue where they will again turn west.  Upon reaching Division Street, they will turn south, cross Lincoln Avenue and head for Grant Avenue (a.k.a. Panther Way), winding up at the tailgate area at O’Brien Stadium.

The annual Homecoming football game, in which the EIU Panthers will host Southeast Missouri State, begins at 1:30 p.m.  Tickets may be purchased the day of the game at O’Brien Stadium, or in advance online, in person at the EIU Ticket Office (Lantz 2530; open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday), or by calling 217-581-2106.

Football fans are invited to arrive early (10:30 a.m. or after) to show their Panther Pride at this year’s Billy’s Backyard Tailgate event, featuring food, inflatable games and live entertainment.

The public is also invited to attend many other Homecoming activities:

Members of the Charleston Fire Department show that they, too, have turned EIU Blue.  Shown, from left to right, front row, are James Calvert, Kirby Barr, Grant Hale, Colton Crowe, Mike Green, EIU President Bill Perry, Tim Meister, Jason Armstrong, D.J. Bailey and Steve Bennett.  Standing on the truck’s bumper are Dan Nadler, EIU vice president for student affairs, and Bob Martin, EIU vice president for university advancement.

**Monday, Oct. 14 -- Royal Blue Homecoming Coronation, 7 p.m., McAfee Gymnasium.

·         **Tuesday, Oct. 15 – “Blue Bash!” Family Fun Night, 5 to 7 p.m., Grand and University ballrooms, MLK Jr. Union.  Featuring Bingo, refreshments, inflatable games, craft stations and prizes for all ages.

·         **Wednesday, Oct. 16 – “Color Me Blue!” Spirit Party, 5 p.m., South Quad.  A celebration designed to get the EIU/Charleston communities excited for the weekend’s festivities.  Colored powder throws, refreshments, music and more.

·         **Thursday, Oct. 17 – BLUE-B-Que Luncheon for EIU faculty and staff, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., McAfee Gym.  Food, prizes, giveaways and more.  “BLUEfest,” 4 to 6 p.m., South Quad.  Games, giveaways, prizes and fun for all ages.

·         **Friday, Oct. 18 – Homecoming Pep Rally/Yell Like Hell and Who Wants to Be a Mascot? Contests, 7 to 9 p.m., McAfee.  High-energy and synchronized dance/chant routines.  Special appearances by the EIU Pep Band, Pink Panthers, Cheer Team, Head Football Coach Dino Babers and members of the EIU Football Panthers.

·         **Sunday, Oct. 20 – “Trash Bash,” 1 to 3 p.m.  Finally, after painting the town blue, it’s time to clean up the town.  Volunteers should meet at Old Main.

For information on EIU’s 2013 Homecoming Week events, see here

EIU Alumni Awards to be Presented During Homecoming 10/10/13

Recipients of the Eastern Illinois University Alumni Association’s 2013 alumni awards will be honored Saturday, Oct. 19, in conjunction with Homecoming activities.

Distinguished Alumni Awards will go to Barbara Baurer of El Paso, Ill.; Harry Frost of Paris, Ill.; Jonathan Gosse of Flossmoor, Ill.; Dennis Muchmore of Laingsburg, Mich. (formerly of Charleston); and Col. Robert Sinkler (ret.) of  Bettendorf, Iowa.

The Outstanding Young Alumnus Award recipient is David Cesar of St. Charles.  The Louis V. Hencken Alumni Service Award honoree is R. Scott Smith of Charleston.  The Distinguished Educator Award will be presented to Corey Duzan of Plainfield (formerly of Oakland).

For biographies of current and past award winners, please see here.

Established in 1973, the Distinguished Alumni Award is the most prestigious award bestowed by the Alumni Association. It is presented to individuals who have distinguished themselves in either academic or literary fields, business, public service and/or service to the university, and who, through their accomplishments and service, have brought prestige to their alma mater. Past recipients have included an Illinois governor, Oscar-nominated actors, an NFL head coach, a nuclear physicist, CEOs, educators at all levels and many others.

First presented in 1988, the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award is presented to alumni who are 35 or younger and have excelled in new careers and/or public service.

The Louis V. Hencken Alumni Service Award, established in 1988, is presented to alumni who have repeatedly displayed outstanding voluntary service to the university. In 2007, the name was changed to the Louis V. Hencken Alumni Service Award in honor of Eastern's retiring president, who held a variety of administrative positions at EIU for more than 40 years.

Established in 2004, the Distinguished Educator Award is presented to alumni who have distinguished themselves in the field of K-12 education.

More Than 100 Eastern Illinois University Athletes Packed 6,000 Meals for Haitian Families 10/05/13

More than 100 Eastern Illinois University student athletes spent their Saturday morning packing 6,000 meals in less than an hour for Haitian families in need at Lantz Area.

The Global Hunger Expedition will transport the meals directly to schools and orphanages in Haiti.

Mark Daily, a Global Hunger Expedition volunteer, collected money from local businesses and supporters to pay for the food and to help transport it to Haiti. In addition, some of the donated money will also go to a local food ministry --Standing Stone Community Center in Charleston -- because Daily said they wanted to support a local organization.

Athletic Director Barbara Burke said most of the athletes gave up their Saturday or came between practices to pack the meals.

“It is important lesson for our athletes that everyone is not as fortunate as them, and that they need to give back,” Burke said.“It is important lesson for our athletes that everyone is not as fortunate as them, and that they need to give back,” Burke said.

One of the packers, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo agreed with Burke after spending his one Saturday off in the fall EIU Panther football season by helping others.

“It sounded like a great idea to help those people who are less fortunate,” Garoppolo said.

Safety/Security Enhancements Planned for On-Campus Parties 09/26/13

Eastern Illinois University released its list of planned enhancements to safety and security for on-campus parties this afternoon.  President William Perry noted that this list was presented by a working group including both a student and staff members from a variety of campus offices.

According to Dan Nadler, vice president for student affairs, the working group reviewed existing policies and procedures for on-campus events and reviewed the practices of other colleges and universities – particularly those closest to EIU.

He also noted that EIU’s policies are reviewed regularly and periodically revised, but that the recent events prompted an additional review.

“We are not trying to interfere with the enjoyment of our students and their guests when they attend on-campus parties,” Nadler said.  “We value a vibrant student life on campus, but we need to make our best efforts to keep everyone safe at the same time.”

The working group has suggested the following changes which President Perry has agreed to adopt:

          With the exception of certain events, EIU students may bring one EIU or non-EIU student guest to a late-night event.

          With the exception of certain events, tickets must be purchased by noon on Friday in advance of the event.

          Tickets will be sold through University Tickets – an online service.  No tickets will be sold at the door.

          As before, all students and guests must have a photo ID for admittance.  However, now on entrance to the event, student IDs will be electronically card-swiped.  Non-EIU student guest IDs will be scanned or photographed.

These additions to the policy will allow the university and the sponsoring organization know who is in attendance and also reduce lines and crowding at the event entrance since students and guests will know in advance that they have a ticket.

In addition to the policy change, Nadler said that the university will engage the staff – including the University Police Department – in special event management training based on best practices in the industry.

"Our police department is always receiving training,” he said.  “In fact, they just hosted a special training session in diversity awareness and invited members of the Charleston Police to join them.”

“However, managing larger events goes beyond the police department, and everyone involved in hosting such events needs to receive ongoing training so that we can keep the events both enjoyable and safe for everyone involved,” he said.

EIU Has Third Consecutive Record Year in Fundraising Thanks to Dedicated Alumni and Friends 09/26/13

 Dedicated alumni and friends of Eastern Illinois University are to be credited for the institution’s third consecutive record year in fundraising.

Even after the multi-year “EI&U:  Expect Greatness” capital campaign ended a year ago, individuals continued to give in record amounts, said Bob Martin, vice president for university advancement.  Gifts and pledges during Fiscal Year 2013 (July 1, 2012, through July 31, 2013) totaled $15.8 million.

“We’re thrilled that our alumni continue to care about Eastern and our students,” he said.  “And we want them to know that we are thankful for their contributions -- from the $1 million donors to the $1, $5 or $10 donors.”

According to Martin, scholarships have been a top area of support.  More than 203 new scholarships were created during the “EI&U:  Expect Greatness” campaign, and more are continually being added as donors recognize scholarships as a top university priority requiring continued support.

Planned giving remains another area in which dedicated alumni show interest.  According to Martin, when alumni remember Eastern in their wills, it indicates they thought highly enough of their EIU education and experience to include the institution in their legacy plans.

During the most recent fiscal year – and for the first time in a single year – EIU legacy gifts exceeded $10 million, he added.

Since it can be difficult for an alumnus to stay connected with his/her alma mater after graduation, EIU steadily works to renew relationships with its graduates.  Martin praised Eastern’s Alumni Services team for “a fantastic job of involving alumni in exciting social activities.”

University-sponsored activities brought EIU administrators and staff together with alumni in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Missouri and throughout Illinois in 2012-2013.

"More than 30 events were held for EIU alumni across the county last year,” Martin added, citing a tour of the Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, a Cubs vs. Cardinals baseball game and performances at the university’s own Doudna Fine Arts Center as examples.

            In addition, Alumni Services and the EIU Alumni Association teamed up to form Students Today, Alumni Tomorrow, an organization aimed at engaging current students with Eastern alumni and the university as a whole.

            Tim McCollum, a 1973 graduate and past president of the Alumni Association board, said the organization could serve a multitude of purposes, including networking.

            “STAT can help students tap into the unlimited resources of alumni in whatever fields (the students) are interested in,” McCollum said.  “And when students reach out to alumni, they can see Eastern alumni with very successful careers.”

The organization also makes students realize the importance of giving back to the university after they graduate.

            Kaci Abolt, former student body president who is now an alumna, worked with Alumni Services to help jumpstart STAT.  She wants students to understand they will always be Panthers, even after graduation day.

             “Eastern alumni make so much of what we do at EIU possible,” Abolt said. “As a result of their giving, as well as constant support, we are able to grow and continue to excel in all forms of university life.”  (Learn more about Students Today, Alumni Tomorrow here.)

            Martin also voiced his appreciation for his entire university advancement team, which, in addition to Alumni Services, includes the offices of University Development and Communications, Marketing and Brand Strategies.

            “Through their great work, these employees have proven themselves as ambassadors of goodwill whose work positively changes the lives of our students,” he said.


EIU Named a Lead Institution in Civic Engagement by National Association 09/13/13

Eastern Illinois University has been selected to participate in a national initiative on civic learning and democratic engagement.  The university has been named one of 73 colleges and universities in the nation as a Lead Institution by NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, the leading voice for the student affairs profession.

As a participating institution in NASPA’s initiative, Eastern will continue to encourage students’ civic development through thoughtful community partnerships, engaging leadership opportunities and democratic participation.

Eastern Illinois University is pleased to have been selected to participate in NASPA’s network of institutions dedicated to developing students’ sense of civic identity as civic engagement is a core value of higher education,” said Dan Nadler, vice president for student affairs.  “Being recognized as a national leader in this field is a reflection of the quality of our current efforts and also our ongoing commitment to inspiring students to challenge themselves through leadership and service roles moving forward.”

“Eastern Illinois University has built a strong tradition of student volunteerism and civic engagement,” said Rachel Fisher director of student community service.  "During the past five years, our students have contributed more than 425,000 hours of service, addressing such critical issues as hunger, poverty and homelessness, animal protection, conservation, veterans appreciation and assistance initiatives, and helping our elderly and children.  We have been recognized for the second consecutive year as a member of President Obama’s National Honor Roll."

To learn more about NASPA’s Lead Initiative and view a complete listing of participating institutions, please visit the NASPA website.

EIU Notes Rise in U.S. News Rankings; Urges Prospective Students to Base College Decision on Personal Needs 09/12/13

Eastern Illinois University saw a significant increase in its placement in the U.S. News and World Report college rankings to No. 7 among Midwest public master’s institutions.

"We're pleased that our rankings have increased and that because of U.S. News’ change in methodology, that they are more focused on the quality of college education,” said Blair Lord, provost and vice president for academic affairs.  “We continually improve our programs, but not because we are overly focused on ratings.  We want to stay focused on helping our prospective students find if they're a good fit for us and if we are a good fit for them."

In addition, Lord said, Eastern is focused on continuing to keep college affordable and in giving EIU students the best possible education.

“We also believe that relationships are critical to the success of our students and we’re focused on keeping our classes small and our faculty accessible,” Lord said.  “Our faculty members know our students and work closely with them to create a great learning atmosphere.  In the end, those efforts are more important to us than any ranking – even when there is a big jump in the numbers.”

Lord noted that there are many good reasons for students to choose Eastern for their college education.  He noted that Eastern:

  • Maintains graduation and retention rates that are consistently above the national average.
  • Has actively committed to keep costs low and offer special features like the textbook rental program and the Commitment to Excellence merit scholarships.
  • Understands the value of relationships and pride ourselves in providing individual attention to students.
  • Provides 58 high quality undergraduate majors.
  • Provides students with a rich set of activities outside of the classroom including more than 200 registered student organizations and 21 NCAA Division I sports teams.
  • Takes pride in a 320-acre campus that is one of the safest in the region and the work that is continuously underway to keep it that way.

“As Americans, we have a real fascination with contests and rankings and this report plays to that interest,” Lord said. “But we hope in the end that prospective students consider their own talents and interests and pick a university based on the best fit for them – the place where they can thrive.”

EIU Apprenticeship Prepares Professor for Administrative Duties 09/11/13

As thousands of traditional students settle into a new semester of study at Eastern Illinois University, a student of a different kind is also learning his way around campus.

Jose Antonio Rosa, professor of marketing and sustainable business practices at the University of Wyoming, will spend the academic year at Eastern as one of 50 2013-14 American Council on Education (ACE) Fellows.

The ACE Fellows Program, established in 1965, is designed to build leadership in American higher education by identifying and preparing promising senior faculty and administrators for responsible positions in college and university administration.

Rosa, who was nominated for the ACE Fellows Program by Myron Allen, a colleague and then-provost at UW, said this coming year of intense training at EIU will give him a headstart toward his goals when he returns to the Laramie campus.

“When I go back, I’ll be able to step into an administrative role,” he said.  “I expect to learn much from this apprenticeship.”

As an ACE Fellow at Eastern, Rosa will be included in the highest level of decision making while participating in administrative activities.  The year-long learning experience will combine observation and participation with an individualized Fellowship project on an issue of key strategic importance.

All of this will be done under the mentorship of Eastern’s top administrators – Bill Perry, president of Eastern Illinois University, and Blair Lord, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Rosa’s office is housed in the Office of Academic Affairs, located on the first floor of Old Main, the university’s administrative building.  There, he will be close to Lord who, as a former ACE Fellow himself, has a full understanding of the program and its goals.

The provost acknowledged that the presence of an ACE Fellow on EIU’s campus was a win-win for both sides.

As Rosa hones his administrative skills, Lord said, “(EIU) will benefit by having an individual on board who can offer different perspectives and expertise to the issues at hand.

“In some ways, it will be like getting a trained consultant without paying the whole salary,” he added.

As an ACE Fellow nominated by his home institution, Rosa will continue to collect his customary wage and benefits from UW.  As the host institution, Eastern pays a participation fee to ACE and provides Rosa with a professional development budget.

In addition to the on-the-job experience and skills development, Rosa will attend retreats and national meetings specifically designed for program participants.

ACE Fellows’ subsequent successes in leadership positions testify to the value of the program.  Of more than 1,800 former Fellows, more than 300 have served as presidents of colleges and universities.  More than 1,000 Fellows have held the position of vice president or vice chancellor, and more than 1,100 have served as dean.

Finally, 80 percent of former Fellows -- including Provost Lord -- have indicated that the program was a decisive factor in their choosing to assume a significant leadership role.

Library Programs to Focus on 'Literature of Prescription' 09/06/13

Booth Library on the Eastern Illinois University campus will present “Literature of Prescription: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and ‘The Yellow Wall-Paper’” from Sept. 23 through Nov. 2.

This exhibit and programs will examine a 19th-century writer’s challenge to the medical profession and the relationship between science and society.  Artist and writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman was discouraged by her doctor from pursuing a career in order to preserve her health.  Gilman rejected this idea in a terrifying short story titled “The Yellow Wall-Paper.” The famous tale served as an indictment of the medical profession and the social conventions restricting women’s professional and creative opportunities.

“Literature of Prescription” will include national and local exhibits, lectures and a film screening. Faculty and staff from the EIU departments of English, art, women’s studies and the library will participate, in addition to the EIU Counseling Center.

The program will begin with an opening reception at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24, in the West Reading Room of the library.  Kim Hunter-Perkins, an instructor at Purdue University, will present the keynote presentation, “Lingering Pigment: The Place of Gilman’s ‘The Yellow Wall-Paper’ in the 20th and 21st Centuries.”

The public is invited to attend all programs in this series. For more information on “Literature of Prescription,” visit the program Web page.

The national exhibition was developed and produced by the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.

During the fall semester, Booth Library’s regular hours will be from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 1 a.m. Sunday. For more information on the library, visit the website, call 581-6072, or find the library on Facebook or Twitter.

Submitted by Beth Heldebrandt, Booth Library

Pokey LaFarge Coming to EIU's Doudna Fine Arts Center; Western Swing/Country Blues Artist to Perform Sept. 12 09/06/13

Pokey LaFarge is a musician, songwriter, bandleader, entertainer, innovator and music preservationist, and he’s bringing his band to Eastern Illinois University on Thursday, Sept. 12.  The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Doudna Fine Arts Center’s Dvorak Concert Hall. 

Pokey LaFarge has won the hearts of music lovers across the globe with his creative mix of early jazz, string ragtime, country blues and western swing. Focusing on various forms of traditional American music, Pokey has crafted a genre all his own. Born in the heartland of America and based in St. Louis, Mo., Pokey's Midwestern appeal and infallible charisma never fail to charm audiences.

This past year has been a banner year for Pokey LaFarge and his band. They signed with Jack White's Third Man Records; were honored with a second consecutive Best Americana Album win by the Independent Music Awards; were featured on NPR’s highly regarded radio program, "World Café"; and, most recently, performed as guest musical artists on CBS’s "The Late Show with David Letterman."

In addition, Pokey LaFarge ,along with the infamous jazz ensemble, Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks, recorded a track for HBO’s GRAMMY-winning series, "Boardwalk Empire." The tune “Lovesick Blues” will appear on the Boardwalk Empire Soundtrack Vol. 2, a compilation album featuring such legends as Elvis Costello, Patti Smith and Leon Redbone, among others.  The group also recorded alongside Jack White on his recent album "Blunderbuss."

Pokey LaFarge is currently touring with a five-piece backing band, including original bandmates Ryan Koenig (harmonica, washboard and snare), Adam Hoskins (guitar) and Joey Glynn (upright bass), along with Chloe Feoranzo (clarinet) and TJ Muller (cornet).  The group is touring in support of their second album release, "Pokey LaFarge."  Before departing on a European tour in November, the group will be the special musical guests on the popular NPR program “A Prairie Home Companion.”

Pokey LaFarge has opened for Jack White and has shared the stage with the likes of The Raconteurs, Nils Lofgren, Southern Culture on the Skids, Wanda Jackson and, most recently, with Old Crow Medicine Show at the historic Ryman Auditorium.

While it seems the group has been continuously on tour, Pokey LaFarge says he’s on a mission to encourage audiences worldwide to think differently about what it means to celebrate musical traditions. Simply put, Pokey explains, 'It's not retro music. It's American music that never died.'

Tickets for the Pokey LaFarge concert are $15 for the general public, $12 for seniors (62-plus), and $7 for students.  Tickets can be purchased online here or at the Doudna Fine Arts Center Box Office.  Box Office hours are Tuesday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; and one hour prior to the scheduled performance.

For Doudna reservations and information, or to arrange accommodations for those needing special assistance, contact Doudna Fine Art Patron Services at 217-581-3110 or Convenient free parking is located near the Doudna Fine Arts Center.

Submitted by Dan Crews, Doudna Fine Arts Center

Fall Numbers Show EIU's Enrollment Management Strategy Taking Hold 09/04/13

Eastern Illinois University has reversed a multi-year drop in the number of new freshmen, according to Provost Blair Lord.  This year, the university will see a modest increase of 2.50 percent in the number of new freshmen coming to EIU.

However, the overall number of freshmen at Eastern remained even with last year with an offsetting reduction in the number of continuing and returning students.  Continuing freshman students are those who haven’t earned enough credits to move onto sophomore status while returning students are individuals who have left the university and are seeking to re-enroll.

“We’ve been working hard on an overall enrollment management strategy and those efforts are beginning to pay off,” Lord said.  “"Not only did we increase our incoming freshman class, we did it while preserving our admissions standards.”

Lord said that the average ACT score is up more than a point from 21 to 22.1 and that the average high school grade point average of the incoming freshmen rose from 3.1 to 3.3 on a four point scale.

“It was important to us to maintain our academic standards,” he said, “so that the students we welcome to campus can succeed.  We have a strong retention rate and we wanted to keep it that way.”

Lord attributes at least part of the stronger academic profile to a series of merit scholarships the university established just last year.

“We now have several tiers of merit-based scholarships designed to attract higher achieving students, “ he said, “and we even provide a special online calculator so that students can quickly see how much they can expect to receive in merit scholarships.”

Lord did note that the number of transfer students is down from last year’s number, but indicated that really wasn’t a surprise.  That decline did hurt the overall enrollment number, though.

“There has been a decline in community college enrollments nationally,” he said, “and Illinois hasn’t been immune from that trend.”

Those declines have been driven by a difficult economy, according to Lord, which has made it difficult for many families to afford to go to school.  In addition, students have been taking fewer credit hours in community colleges which means they take longer to complete their associate’s degree.

“Put those two factors together and you have a much smaller pool of prospective transfer students,” he said.  “We did a good job of getting our share of transfer students, but it was a share of a smaller pool.”

The university also had a strong year in recruiting international students.  This year, the university has welcomed 104 new international students compared to 57 last fall.  In the graduate school, the number of true graduate students is up slightly despite a planned reduction of 125 students in one graduate program.  That number was offset by increases in enrollments in 20 of the university’s 30 graduate programs.

The overall graduate school numbers include students who have just earned a bachelor’s degree but are pursuing special certifications or a second bachelor’s degree.  A slight decline in that category brought total graduate school numbers down about 1 percent.

“We do expect our overall headcount to start back up as we continue to improve our recruiting,” Lord said, “hopefully with a little help from an improving economy.  We’ve taken strong action and we’ve managed to stop a multi-year trend and move toward growing once again.”

Enrollment numbers for Fall 2013 include on-campus enrollment of 8,726 and an off-campus count of 1,049 for a total of 9,775.  A year ago, the number of students taking on- and off-campus classes was 9,255 and 1,162, respectively, for a total enrollment of 10,417.

Other highlights from the enrollment report include:

•    A breakdown of Eastern’s 8,347 undergraduate students (down from 8,975 last year) is as follows (with Fall 2012 figures in parentheses):  freshmen, 1,941 (1,941); sophomores, 1,520 (1,694); juniors, 2,072 (2,229); and seniors, 2,758 (3,063).  Female students again outnumber male students – 5,848 to 3,927.

•    The number of new transfer students dropped to 938 from 1,029 in Fall 2012.

•    EIU officials also report that minority student enrollment continues to climb overall, with minority students now making up 23.57 percent of total enrollment, up from 21.72 percent in 2012.  Numbers reflect the following:  black, 1,587; Hispanic, 437; Asian, 87; American Indian/Alaskan Native, 21; Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, 6; and those listing two or more races, 166.  Hispanics represent the largest growth – nearly 10 percent – with an increase of 38 students over last year.

Fall Autism Conference Planned at Eastern Illinois University 08/23/13

A fall autism conference is planned for Oct. 3 and 4 on the campus of Eastern Illinois University.

David Finch will speak from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3, at Dvorak Concert Hall, Doudna Fine Arts Center, on how he was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome five years after his marriage and how he has since committed himself to relentless self-improvement, sometimes to a comical extent.  Finch is a humorist and author of the acclaimed New York Times best-selling memoir, “The Journal of Best Practices.”

Tickets for his presentation are $10 and can be obtained online here or call 217-581-3110.

Dr. Timothy Kowalski, a speech-language pathologist specializing in social-pragmatic communication deficits and an internationally known expert on Asperger syndrome, will present from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4, in the University Ballroom, MLK Jr. Union.  He is the author of five books and was named the recipient of the 2010 Clinician of the Year Award by the Florida Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

This workshop is approved for five hours of continuing education credit from ASHA.  Registration is $50 for professionals/the general public ($15 for students) and includes lunch.  For registration information, go here.

Both of these events are part of the EIU capital campaign to raise funds for an autism center on the EIU campus.  Sponsors include the EIU Department of Communication Disorders and Sciences and the Doudna Fine Arts Center.

For more information, please contact Sandi Thiele at 217-581-2712 in the Department of Communication Disorders and Sciences.


Faculty Laureate: 'Take Advantage of the Journey and Have Fun Along the Way' 08/08/13

It's not Michael Mulvaney's job to map out his students' lives.

Michael Mulvaney

As their teacher and mentor, however, he helps them explore the many directions available to them and provides the tools and equipment they'll need for the trip.

After all, it's not been too many years since he made the journey himself, and the memory remains fresh in his mind.

A native of Collison, Ill. -- a small Vermilion County farm-based community located between Champaign and Danville -- Mulvaney is one of eight children born of parents who "felt education was important."

"We were first-generation college students," he said, "but our parents recognized the value of education.  All eight of us received our undergraduate degrees."

Mulvaney's parents also were supportive of their children finding their individual niches in their own way.

"I started at Decatur's Millikin University," he continued.  "The size of that school seemed to fit me, and my experience there allowed me, as an undeclared major, to see what was available out there."

He was a double-major in sports management and sociology and was a student-athlete on the track and field team.  But, perhaps even more importantly, he gained knowledge via peer-to-peer interaction -- hearing and seeing his fellow students as they discussed their lives, experiences and contemporary, as well as historical, issues.

“I believe that knowledge is a critical piece of a student's education," Mulvaney said.  "Talking aloud -- the sharing of ideas and thoughts -- is a part of the personal development that occurs as individuals prepare to take on their roles as responsible members of society."

And that, he adds, will be one part of the message he'll be advocating as he serves as Eastern Illinois University's 2013-2014 Faculty Laureate, an honor presented to him by the institution's Council on Academic Affairs.  In addition to his duties as a full-time faculty member in the Department of Recreation Administration, Mulvaney will spend the coming year as the university's official spokesperson on the importance of a general/liberal education.

His first opportunity will take place at 9 a.m. Friday, Aug. 16, when he delivers the keynote address at this year's convocation, a welcoming ceremony for incoming students.  There, he plans to introduce three major thoughts to his audience.

"First, I want them to reflect on their own experience and life journey," Mulvaney said.  "I encourage them to think about, and embrace, who they are and where they want to be."

Then, he added, "I'd like to encourage these students to truly engage themselves in the many opportunities they'll have here at EIU.  This is their chance, their time, and they'll only get out what they put in to this educational experience.  They need to take advantage of it.  It's not too often a person gets an opportunity to immerse him or herself into an experience like this."

And finally -- "Have fun during the journey," he said.  "I've noticed that somehow, the fun one can and should have in life is frequently lost."

Mulvaney, who lives near Tuscola with his wife, Megan, and their Labrador retriever, Atticus, received his master's degree in sports administration/physical education from Eastern.  He then took a job with the Decatur Park District before receiving his doctorate in recreation, sport and tourism from the University of Illinois.

Mulvaney joined the faculty at Eastern in 2006 and while his area of research centers on management issues within public park and recreation agencies, his course load includes a junior-level general education course, "World Leisure," open to students of all academic disciplines.

Ruby Velle and the Soulphonics Kick Off EIU's Doudna Season 08/05/13

The Doudna Fine Arts Center will kick off its 2013-2014 season with Ruby Velle and the Soulphonics at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 22.

What some people might call retro-soul or dynamic R&B, Ruby Velle and the Soulphonics’ roots are embedded in the rich sound and history of Georgia soul.  The group’s Charleston performance will take place on the center’s Theatre stage.

Based out of Atlanta, Ga., the group has performed countless gigs since forming in 2005.  With a slew of 45rpm singles already under their belts, Ruby Velle and the Soulphonics have contributed heavily to increasing the awareness of genuine rhythm and blues music that exists today.  Their album, “It’s About Time,” has made waves around the globe since its September 2012 release.  Billboard ranked the album in the top 30 on the Heatseeker charts, a chart devoted to emerging artists.

The lead off single, “My Dear,” was a featured iTunes’ “Single of the Week” resulting in more than 200,000 downloads and 1,200 full album download sales, landing the album at number 4 on the iTunes R&B charts.  The single, “Heartlite,” was featured as the Starbucks “Pick of the Week,” which garnered more than 250,000 downloads and a presence in all Starbucks location wi-fi pages nationwide.

“With their unique brand of soul, we’re really looking forward to Ruby Velle and the Soulphonics performing at the Doudna,” said Dan Crews of the Doudna Fine Arts Center.  He added that the group tours continuously and performs to packed clubs and at various music festivals across the United States.  “The Theatre will be a great venue to see this group perform,” Crews said.

Tickets for the Ruby Velle and the Soulphonics concert are $15 for the general public, $12 for seniors (62+), and $7 for students.  Tickets for the concert are available online and at the Doudna Fine Arts Center Box Office.  Beginning the week of Aug. 22, Box Office hours will be 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday, and one hour prior to the scheduled performance.

For Doudna reservations and information, or to arrange accommodations for those needing special assistance, contact Doudna Fine Art Patron Services at 217-581-3110 or 

Submitted by Dan Crews, Director of Patron Services, Doudna Fine Arts Center

EIU's Electronic Repository, The Keep, Reaches Patrons Worldwide 08/01/13

A photo of Joan Allen appearing in a 1974 EIU theatre production of “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” A 1904 senior scrapbook from Eastern Illinois State Normal School. A Nutrition Jeopardy game designed by EIU faculty.

With a few computer keystrokes, these and thousands of other materials can be accessed in The Keep.

The Keep, administered by Booth Library, is the institutional repository for Eastern Illinois University. The electronic, open-access database is accessible through the library’s website.

Since it launched in early 2012, nearly 30,000 documents have been added to the database, and those materials have been downloaded more than 100,000 times. The Keep is the second largest academic repository in Illinois and among the largest in the Midwest. And it’s growing every day.

The Keep is different than other library databases because it focuses on materials generated on campus or of local interest.

Allen Lanham, dean of library services, said, “The Keep is an integral part of providing worldwide access to locally produced information and research, especially by Eastern faculty but also for worthy projects throughout our region. We want to promote the best work of east-central Illinois.”

“We try to include what we think will have an impact historically,” said Todd Bruns, institutional repository librarian at Booth Library. This includes information and images from EIU exhibits, conferences, video lectures, podcasts, posters, brochures, newsletters and press releases, as well as hundreds of photos and documents from University Archives.

Many EIU faculty and students contribute their research, papers and master's theses by creating a “Selected Works” page in The Keep. Bruns continues to recruit more faculty members to post their documents this fall.

“It’s a really good tool, and it’s a way for faculty to promote their work,” Bruns said. In fact, for several months the most downloaded item in the database was a locally written master’s thesis about wind turbines, he said. People doing research on a particular subject often are directed to The Keep after they conduct a search on a web browser such as Google.

“The Keep helps me to make connections with a global audience,” said Betsy Pudliner, assistant professor of hospitality management at EIU. “Because of the ability to upload work and create a place to enhance my own online digital portfolio, I have been able to reach a far greater field of audience than just here in the United States.”

In addition to individual faculty research, special collections in The Keep include Warbler yearbooks, past library exhibits and a plant inventory from Wesley Whiteside’s Botanical Garden, among many others. One popular collection highlights materials from the EIU theatre arts department.

Programs and photos for productions performed by EIU theatre from 1940 to today have been scanned into The Keep. “Although primarily from the files of the theatre arts department, these documents were found everywhere – on people’s laptops, file drawers and desks,” Bruns said. “We’ve put them all in one spot, and it’s searchable. The theatre arts department is ecstatic.”

Future collections will include photographs and programs from the 56-year history of the Little Theatre on the Square in Sullivan and editions from the 98-year history of the Daily Eastern News student newspaper.

The Journal of Collective Bargaining, a national publication of the National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions, also is housed in The Keep. The publication’s editor is Jeff Cross, EIU associate vice president for academic affairs.

The journal’s access numbers “exploded” once it was added to the EIU repository, Bruns said.

While Bruns oversees the development of The Keep, many library staff members help with gathering materials, conducting research, and providing computer and programming help. In addition, student assistants spend dozens of hours per week scanning materials for addition to the database.

“One of the college deans said we’re essentially building a second library here – an all-electronic library,” Bruns said. “Like any library, it takes a lot of resources. This is paying off.”

The Keep has received download requests from all 50 states and 135 countries around the world, from Fiji to the United Kingdom.

“EIU’s name is getting out there in a different way,” Bruns said. “We’ve extended the university’s reach immensely.”

For more information about The Keep, email, call Bruns at 581-8381 or access the repository here.

EIU Having Busy Week with 1,000-Plus Summer Visitors 07/23/13

The official move-in day for the fall semester at Eastern Illinois University isn’t until Aug. 15.  It may have looked, however, like the university was conducting a trial run this past weekend.

According to Matthew Boyer, EIU’s director of conference services, more than 1,000 campers arrived on campus for a week of music, baseball and badminton fun.  In addition, the Cebrin Goodman Teen Institute -- the largest group currently in attendance -- brought more than 460 campers and 80 adult supervisors to the university’s campus.

This is the first year that the teen institute has met in Charleston.  Sponsored by the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association, the annual event has previously been held on the campuses of other state universities or colleges.

“It’s my understanding that the event outgrew its last location,” Boyer said.  “And some other institutions were unable to meet the group’s physical needs.”

Able to provide the teen institute with a large central meeting facility, some larger area lecture sites and a series of technologically ready break-out rooms, Eastern was able to attract the event to its campus.

“They also liked our centralized campus,” Boyer said.  “And the price was right.”

The Cebrin Goodman Teen Institute is a national award-winning prevention program that emphasizes positive peer influence and helps youth and adults join together to prevent alcohol and other drug use.  It is a comprehensive education and training program that promotes positive attitude to improve all areas of life.

The mission of CGTI is to create a partnership of youth and adults from all walks of life to train and empower their peers about the prevention of substance abuse and other addictive behaviors, and to lead by example by accepting individual differences and advocating for healthy decision making in communities.

“We are excited to be hosting the IADDA on the campus of Eastern Illinois University,” Boyer said.  “This is an outstanding program for Illinois junior high and high school youth (grades 7-12), and this is an outstanding opportunity for us to showcase our great university.”

In addition to the Cebrin Goodman Teen Institute (July 21-25), other camps/conferences making their home on Eastern’s campus sometime this week include Smith Walbridge Mace and Signal Baton (July 19-21); the Monticello, Watseka and Evansville (Ind.) marching bands (July 21-26); Badminton Camp (July 21-25); Minority Leadership and College Prep (July 21-27); Smith Walbridge Drum Major II (July 21-26); and Baseball High School Advance Camp (July 23-25).

According to Boyer, more than 13,000 guests visit Eastern each summer to take part in various programs being offered.  Other camps and events include (but are not limited to) the IHSA state track meets, the IHSA badminton championship, Smith Walbridge clinics, Premier Illinois Boys State and Illini Girls State.

“We are proud of our campus and our summer program that serves to promote academic, athletic, cultural, artistic and educational experiences,” he said.


EIU Employees Recognized for Superior Performance on the Job 07/02/13

Shown, from left to right, are (front row) Julia Awalt, Michelle Morgan, Julie Benedict, Linda Barter and Cheryl Siddens; (second row) Joshua Norman, Jean Toothman, Susan DeRousse, Sally Bock and EIU President Bill Perry, who was on hand to congratulate the award recipients.  Not pictured is Jacqueline Joines.

Ten Eastern Illinois University employees are the first recipients of the institution’s Superior Performance Award, designed to “acknowledge and reward demonstrated outstanding contributions” by EIU employees.

In addition to a certificate of recognition and a plaque, recipients each received a monetary award of $500 during an on-campus ceremony.

“The intent of this award is to recognize those employees exhibiting exceptional levels of performance,” said Richard Enyard, director of EIU’s Office of Human Resources.  “We want our employees to know that we really value the work they do.”

Sponsored by Eastern’s Civil Service Council, the awards program acknowledges the work of non-negotiated civil service and administrative and professional (A&P) staff who “exemplify exceptional levels of work performance and display high regard and loyalty toward EIU and to their job responsibilities.”

“Individuals receiving this award exhibit exceptional customer service, display a positive can-do attitude, are team players, give extra effort, are creative in their ability to resolve problems, and are committed to the university mission,” Enyard said.

In addition to being a non-negotiated civil service or A&P employee, eligible individuals must have at least five years of consecutive EIU employment at the time of their nomination.  Given that criteria, Enyard estimated that approximately 400 of the university’s nearly 1,800 employees were eligible for the award.

This is the first year of a three-year pilot program for the Superior Performance Award and represents the end of a multi-year planning process as organizers worked out the logistics.

“We’ll see how well these first three years go, then proceed from there,” Enyard said.

In addition to letting employees know that “the administration does appreciate the good work they do,” Enyard hopes the award will serve as a motivator, encouraging other employees “to strive for the same success level that award recipients have received.”

The seven-member SPA Selection Committee received nearly 70 valid nominations.  Committee members scored each nomination based on the accompanying narrative; names were withheld during the reviewing process.

Eastern’s 2013 Superior Performance Award recipients include the following:

  • Julia Awalt -- office administrator, Housing and Dining; 17-plus years of service.
  • Linda Barter -- administrative assistant, College of Arts and Humanities; more than 22 years of service.
  • Julie Benedict – training and development specialist, Office of Training and Development; more than 16 years of service.
  • Sally Bock -- office administrator, Tarble Arts Center; more than 18 years of service.
  • Susan DeRousse -- unit director, Housing and Dining; more than five years of service.
  • Jacqueline Joines -- director of philanthropy, University Advancement; more than 18 years of service.
  • Michelle Morgan -- administrative aide, School of Family and Consumer Science; more than 18 years of service.
  • Joshua Norman -- senior report analyst/technology support specialist, Office of the Registrar; more than five years of service.
  • Cheryl Siddens -- compliance coordinator, Office of Research and Sponsored Programs; more than 10 years of service.
  • Jean Toothman -- office administrator, English Department; more than 20 years of service.

According to Enyard, nominations for the 2014 Superior Performance Awards will be accepted through the end of November 2013.  See for information on eligibility, criteria and the nomination process.     





Arts and Humanities Grant Workshop is July 18 at the Tarble Arts Center 06/27/13

Company of Folk and the Illinois Humanities Council announce a special workshop on funding opportunities for individuals and organizations in the arts and humanities.  The workshop will be presented by Bucky Halker, director of Company of Folk, and Matt Meacham, a program officer with IHC.

The workshop will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday, July 18, at the Tarble Arts Center, 2010 Ninth St., on the Eastern Illinois University campus.  Participation is free and everyone is invited to attend.

Halker is a musician and producer of the "Folksongs of Illinois" CD series.  He will discuss the work of Company of Folk in Illinois and the important role of ethnic and folk arts.   He will review funding opportunities in the arts, with particular attention to Illinois Arts Council programs and its master-apprentice awards for folk and traditional musicians and artists.

Meacham will review IHC grant opportunities for non-profit organizations, including project grants, media grants, technical assistance grants and general support grants.  He will also provide a brief overview of the council’s programs, emphasizing those that are available to organizations in downstate Illinois.

Halker and Meacham will also answer questions that participants may have about grants and the application process.

Anyone interested in attending the workshop, or who has questions, is asked to contact Halker at

Space is limited so reservations to attend the workshop are advised.  

Parking is free in the Tarble Arts Center visitor lot just north of the center.  For more information, see online at or contact the Tarble at 217-581-ARTS (-2787) or

Tarble Arts Center Showcases Drawings of Lincoln in Looking at Lincoln Exhibition 05/29/13

Drawings of Abraham Lincoln recently acquired by the Tarble Arts Center are featured in the latest version of the center’s Looking At Lincoln exhibition.  The exhibition explores the life and times of Lincoln through art selected from the Tarble’s permanent collection.

Looking At Lincoln is on view through Aug. 11 in the Tarble’s main galleries.  A related exhibition, The Experiences of the Illinois Civil War Soldier: Reflections in Art and Artifacts, is on show in the Tarble’s eGallery through July 7.

The newly acquired drawings are by Illinois artist Charles Turzak, who made the drawings in preparation for the creation of his seminal work from 1933, "Abraham Lincoln -- A Biography in Woodcuts."   Turzak’s woodcut images later became known to generations of school students as the illustrations for the book "True Stories About Abraham Lincoln" by Ruth Belov Gross, printed for Scholastic Publishing from 1973 to 1990.

Turzak’s Lincoln biography has also been incorporated into a recent book titled "An Abraham Lincoln Tribute:  Featuring Woodcuts by Charles Turzak" from Dover Publications Inc.  Copies of the Dover tribute book and some of Turzak’s original woodcut prints are available for purchase in the Tarble Gift Shop.

To print his original books, Turzak carved 36 wood blocks, in public, as a part of the 1933 Century of Progress Chicago World's Fair.  The artist based his woodcut carvings on the preliminary pencil studies now owned by the Tarble Arts Center.  Turzak printed 1,500 copies of the Lincoln biography, and personally signed and numbered each copy.  A draft copy and a signed, finished copy of the book are on view at the Tarble.

The exhibition also includes other woodcuts from the 1930s by Turzak, including the series titled "The History of Illinois," plus the 1939 lithograph "John Brown" by John Steuart Curry, and a collograph from a 1945 drawing of Lincoln by N. C. Wyeth.

There are also selections from the Tarble Arts Center Illinois Folk Arts Collection in the exhibition.  Folk art that actually dates from around Lincoln’s time are an appliqué quilt made in Coles County around 1840 by Sara Dollar, and a cane believed to have been carved by a Union Civil War veteran named Cornelius Sullivan.  The cane was donated to Eastern by the late EIU alumnus Burl Ives and his wife, Dorothy.

Twentieth-century Illinois folk art exhibited includes paintings and a quilt by Mary Eveland (1896-1981, Pekin), painted and carved wood dioramas by Ferd Metten (1893-1977, Teutopolis), dolls from the First Lady Doll Collection by Leta C. Whitacre (1902-1981, Lerna), a large-scale model of an 1830s' log tavern by Lodge Grant (1903-1994, McLeansboro), dolls from the Famous Black Americans Doll Collection by I. Roberta Bell (1904-1991, Chicago), and a whirlygig by contemporary Chicago folk artist Leonard Norman.

Grant’s tavern is a scale model of where Lincoln would have stayed while riding the circuit.  Metten’s dioramas depict 19th-century homesteaders, a farm and a railroad station.  From Bell are dolls of Elizabeth Keckley, Mary Todd Lincoln's seamstress and confidant; Underground Railroad guide Harriet Tubman; and the black abolitionists Fredrick Douglass, his wife, Anna Murray Douglass, and Sojourner Truth.

From Whitacre are dolls depicting Mary Todd Lincoln, Julia Dent Grant (wife of Ulysses S. Grant), and Martha Johnson Patterson (daughter of Andrew Johnson), who fulfilled many First Lady duties for her invalid mother, Eliza McCardle Johnson.  Eveland’s paintings depict Lincoln riding the circuit and giving the Gettysburg Address, and Norman’s whirlygig is titled "Rail-Splittin’ Abe."

A 1927 oil painting by Paul T. Sargent of a log cabin on the Sargent farm serves as a link to the Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site, located in Coles County, south of Charleston.  This site is the last homestead of Thomas Lincoln, Lincoln’s father.  The site now also includes the farmhouse of Stephen Sargent, a contemporary of Lincoln whose farm was also located in Coles County, and the grandfather of the artist.

Coles County has a number of other Lincoln-related sites, including the Lincoln-Douglas Debate Museum on the Coles County Fairgrounds in Charleston (the site of the fourth Lincoln-Douglas debate of 1858), and the Rutherford House in Oakland that relates to Lincoln’s Matson Slave Trial case.  Other sites include the Charleston courthouse square, site of the 1865 Charleston riot between pro-Southern “Copperheads” and Union soldiers; the Mattoon Public Library, which houses the historic wooden flag pole that flew at the Civil War camp in Mattoon where General U.S. Grant trained Union troops; and the Five Mile House (east of Charleston) and inn where travelers (probably including Lincoln) rested and watered their horses in the mid-1800s.

For more information or to arrange a group tour, contact the Tarble Arts Center at 217-581-ARTS (-2787) or at  The Tarble Arts Center is located on Ninth Street at Cleveland Avenue on the EIU campus.  Summer hours through Aug. 16 are:  10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, and closed Mondays and July 4. The Tarble is funded in part by Tarble Arts Center membership contributions, the Tarble Arts Center Endowment, and other project-specific sponsors and co-sponsors.

EIU Foundation Announces Recipients of 2012 Philanthropy Awards 05/21/13
Julie Nimmons  Carl Mito

Since its inception in 1953, the Eastern Illinois University Foundation has been dependent upon the generosity of its members and volunteers to fulfill its mission of support to the university.

And, since 1993, the foundation has formally presented the Outstanding Philanthropist Award.  In 1997, this award was renamed the Burnham and Nancy Neal Philanthropy Award in appreciation of the Neals' leadership, support and dedication to Eastern and the foundation.

The award is given to individuals and organizations who have demonstrated a sincere dedication and commitment to the financial, academic and cultural well-being of EIU.  The critical support and sustaining financial commitments provided by these distinguished philanthropists are essential to the future of the university and the students it serves.

Carl Mito of Arlington Heights and Julie Nimmons of Litchfield have been named the EIU Foundation's Outstanding Philanthropists of the Year for 2012.

Carl Mito, managing director of investments at Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. in Chicago, has volunteered in a variety of capacities at Eastern, including as a member of both the School of Business Advisory Board and the EIU Foundation.  A three-term member of the School of Business Advisory Board, he was an early supporter of the Securities Analysis Center and later hosted events in his Chicago office to connect business graduates with the university and promote the center's benefits to students.

He and his late wife established the Carl and Marion Mito Excellence in Finance Endowment Fund in 2003 to benefit the School of Business on an ongoing basis as part of his philanthropic commitment, which includes nearly $325,000 in gifts to support the university's students.

A member of EIU's Capital Campaign External Steering Committee, which provided guidance as the university significantly exceeded its goal, Mito also delivered the commencement address to EIU's graduates in December 2011.  Having joined Delta Chi fraternity as an undergraduate, he maintained his connection with that group after his 1972 graduation and assisted with the planning of its 2006 alumni reunion on campus.

In addition to his continuing support of EIU, he also sits on the board of directors for the Cancer Wellness Center and serves on the executive committee, co-chairs the fundraising committee and leads Team Marion for the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition Walk as he continues the fight against cancer.

Julie Nimmons, a former member of EIU's Board of Trustees who also served as the volunteer chair for the university's recently completed capital campaign, is recognized as a national leader in the sporting goods industry.  As an owner of Schutt Sports, she was twice named one of "25 Leaders to Watch" by Sports Edge magazine and was the first woman elected to the board of directors of the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, later serving as the organization's chairperson.

A leading manufacturer of sports-related gear, including baseball, softball and football helmets and the bases utilized by Major League Baseball, Schutt was recognized numerous times under Nimmons’ leadership and was selected as the Equipment Manufacturer of the Year by Sporting Goods Business magazine in 2004.

She has also been featured on CNN's "All About Women" and, in 2010, was inducted into the National Sporting Goods Association's Hall of Fame.

The recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service from EIU in May 2012, Nimmons currently serves on the national board for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Leadership Board for FCA Softball; volunteers for the Down Syndrome Association for the Greater St. Louis Area; and is a chair for Vistage International Inc., the leading CEO membership organization.

A 1977 graduate of Eastern, Nimmons and her husband, Ken, endowed the Nimmons Family Scholarship for EIU students.  The Nimmons Keyboard Studio in the Doudna Fine Arts Center on campus is named in recognition of her family's support. 


Barta Named 2012 Annuitant Ambassador of the Year 05/20/13
Richard Barta, right, with Leslie McDaniel, executive officer of the EIU Foundation

Richard Barta of Charleston has been recognized as the Eastern Illinois University Foundation’s 2012 Annuitant Ambassador of the Year.

Many EIU annuitants (retirees) serve as volunteer ambassadors at the Neal Welcome Center, assisting visitors, guests and students who come in to complete scholarship paperwork.  In recognition and appreciation of those who show exemplary service and dedication to the effort, the EIU Foundation Board recognizes one annuitant ambassador annually.

Staff members who work with the Annuitant Ambassadors on a daily basis overwhelmingly recommended Barta as this year’s recipient.

“Dick is warm and helpful to those who come in, volunteers extra time when needed and has a great sense of humor,” said Foundation staff members.  “He is very respectful and gracious to the students and the staff, and is a joy to be around.”

A native North Dakotan, Barta began his training in music at the age of six -- piano, vocal/choral, instrumental band and more.  His father had a small dance band and it was his wish that Barta play the clarinet and saxophone since his two older brothers played the trumpet and trombone.

Barta graduated from Mayville State College (N.D.), graduating with a bachelor’s degree in music.  He taught for one year before being drafted.

“Other than eight weeks of basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, the remainder of my military service took me to the Navy School of Music in Virginia Beach (Va.)., the Fifth Army Band at Fort Sheridan (Ill.), and the Eighth Army Band in Seoul, Korea,” he said.

After being discharged from the Army in May 1968, Barta taught and pursued additional education.  After receiving graduate degrees in music education (performance emphasis) and educational administration from Kansas University (Lawrence, Kan.), he and his family moved to Charleston where he began his 28-year career with EIU’s Department of Music.

“Retirement is an especially unique experience,” Barta said.  “Having thoroughly enjoyed the teaching profession, it was not an easy decision to make.  I am, however, keeping my ‘head in the game’ as the Westminster Choir director at First Presbyterian Church in Mattoon.  (And) we look forward to some significant travel in the years to come.”

Past recipients of the Annuitant Ambassador of the Year award are Barbara Funk, Dave Maurer, Eulalee Anderson, Shirley Moore, Carol Helwig, Mary Coutant and Dale Wolf.

EIU Hosts Annual Maurice Shepherd High School Chemistry Contest 05/16/13

More than 80 students from 10 area high schools participated in Eastern Illinois University’s 38th annual Maurice Shepherd High School Chemistry Contest.

Students participated in a 60-minute written examination (50 questions), followed by a dinner break and talk on "Chemistry:  Past, Present and Future Perspectives” by Radu Semeniuc of Eastern’s chemistry department.  The top four teams and the top 10 individuals were then recognized and awards presented.  A traveling trophy was presented to the first-place team, and plaques were awarded to the top students.

The four schools having the highest team averages were:

  • First Place:  Sullivan – Adam Davis, Travis Hanson, Patrick Hogan (alternate), Sean Johnson (alternate), Reagan Miller, Noah Workman (alternate) and Ted Walk (teacher);
  • Second Place:  Neoga – Jacob Alumbaugh, Natalie Burrell, Courtney Croy (alternate), Ryan Evans (alternate), Joseph Goldstein, Kaleb Henderson (alternate), Adam Morgan (alternate), Cassidy Strohl (alternate) and Leanne Craig (teacher);
  • Third Place:  Morrisonville – Scott Baird (alternate), Jessie Borgic (alternate), Leyton Brown, Clayton Cina, Priscilla Griffin (alternate), Jenna Holliday (alternate), Liz Jones (alternate), Hannah Lupton, Morgan Riggs (alternate), Hailey Samson (alternate), Alyssa Westcott (alternate) and Janet Walch (teacher); and
  • Fourth Place:  Mahomet-Seymour – Thomas Bane, Ian Belyea (alternate), Aly Brunner, Reid Bundy (alternate), Connor Dietrich (alternate), Hannah Douglas, A.J. Ellis, Kevin Kauffman, Jim McCue (alternate), Maddie See, Lane Shafer, Jacob Singleton, Michael Webb, William Wolf and Terry Koker, Janet Wattnem and Lori Clark (teachers).

This is the second consecutive year in which a team from Sullivan has captured first place.

The 12 highest-ranking individual students, in order, were Michael Webb (Mahomet-Seymour), first; Adam Davis (Sullivan), second; Joseph Goldstein (Neoga), third; Clayton Cina (Morrisonville), fourth; Travis Hanson (Sullivan), fifth; Kevin Kauffman (Mahomet-Seymour) and Patrick Hogan (Sullivan), tied for sixth; Sean Johnson and Reagan Miller (both of Sullivan), tied for seventh; Ryan Evans (Neoga), eighth; Hannah Holmes (Lawrenceville), ninth; and Thomas Bane (Mahomet-Seymour), tenth.

The contest's official website, which includes pictures and information, can be found here.


EIU's Old Main to Celebrate Charleston, Mattoon Graduations 05/14/13
Red and gold lights will decorate the walls of Old Main in commemoration of Charleston High School's graduation ceremonies this weekend.

Eastern Illinois University will share in the celebrations when Charleston and Mattoon high school seniors graduate in the coming days.

On Thursday and Friday (May 16 and 17) evenings, the institution’s administration building (Old Main, a.k.a., the “Castle”) will be illuminated in red and gold in commemoration of Charleston High School’s graduation activities.  The actual ceremony is set to begin at 8 p.m. Friday in EIU’s Lantz Arena.

Then, on the evenings of Thursday and Friday, May 23 and 24, the building will be decorated in green and gold.  Mattoon High School will hold its commencement at 8 p.m. that Friday at the high school.

A programmable lighting system allows Eastern to celebrate university and community events.  The system was installed in response to Eastern’s efforts, in working with the city of Charleston, to create a “collaborative landscape/streetscape plan” from the Neal Welcome Center, located at the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Douglas Street, eastward to 18th Street (Route 130).

In addition to helping provide a welcoming corridor along Lincoln Avenue, the new lighting is expected to strengthen the connection between campus and the community, and showcase the building’s outstanding architectural features.

Rain Barrels Available -- First-come, First-served -- on Saturday, May 11 05/09/13

Eastern Illinois University’s Office of Sustainability and Student Community Service will give out free rain barrels (on a first-come, first-served basis) on Saturday, May 11.

Distribution will take place at the site of the Giving Garden, located at the VFW Way Park, located at 1821 20th St. behind the Charleston VFW lodge.

Representatives will be giving out free rain barrels from 10 a.m. to noon. There is a very limited supply, so interested persons are asked to arrive early.

The Giving Garden is a partnership between the city of Charleston and EIU.  It is believed that, in the midst of an increasing local food crisis, every resident should be given access to fresh, healthy produce.  Organizers will grow vegetables in the garden, and work with organizations such as the Charleston Food Pantry and the Eastern Illinois Food Bank to ensure that the produce grown will benefit the community.

This event is the kick-off to the Giving Garden, which will be planted over the next two weeks.  Any groups or individuals who would like to help or support this initiative are asked to contact Rachel Fisher, director of Student Community Service, at 217-581-3967 or via email at

Noted Author, Illustrator and EIU Alumna Named as EIU Trustee 05/08/13

Jan Spivey Gilchrist was thrilled when she learned that Gov. Patrick Quinn had appointed her to serve on the Board of Trustees at Eastern Illinois University.

“I’m so thrilled about this opportunity and I really want to help,” she said.  “I want to be significant in my service to EIU.”

Gilchrist is no stranger to Eastern, having earned her bachelor’s degree in art education there in 1973.  She was named a Distinguished Alumna by the EIU Alumni Association in 1992, and is recognized on the EIU Notable Alumni website.

“I am pleased to have a distinguished alumna of EIU serving on our Board of Trustees,” said President Bill Perry.  “I very much look forward to working with Trustee Spivey Gilchrist to advance EIU.”

Gilchrist’s six-year appointment, which went into effect May 3, will need to be confirmed by the Illinois Senate.  Her first official board meeting is scheduled to take place Monday, June 17, on Eastern’s campus.

An award-winning writer and illustrator, Gilchrist has exhibited extensively throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and the Caribbean.  She has won numerous awards and commissions throughout her career, including the Coretta Scott King Award for “Nathaniel Talking” and a Coretta Scott King Honor Book for “Night on Neighborhood Street.”

Gilchrist has also written and illustrated picture books, including “Obama: The Day the World Danced,” the first picture book in the U.S. about the historical election; “Indigo and Moonlight Gold”; and “Madelia.”

She has illustrated many of Eloise Greenfield's books, including several award winners.  The most recent collaboration, “The Great Migration:  Journey to the North,” was named a 2012 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book, an ALA Notable Children’s Book, a Booklist Editors' Choice 2011 selection, an IRA/CBC Teachers' Choice, a Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies (NCSS/CBC), and on the New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age.

Gilchrist also illustrated the soon-to-be-published “The Girl Who Buried Her Dreams in a Can,” a picture book autobiography written by Tererai Trent, Oprah Winfrey’s “all time favorite guest."

Additionally, Gilchrist’s collaboration with Ashley Bryan on the book, “My America,” featured in “The Road to the White House,” has been the inspiration for the Bryan/Gilchrist Collaboration Award, given to the children who can best work together on a collaborative enterprise.

Other of Gilchrist’s works have appeared on national television, and her illustrations have been featured or reviewed in the New York Times, Boston Globe, the Washington Post, the L.A. Times, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, Ebony Magazine and others.

She was inducted into the International Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent in October 2000.  She was also inducted into the prestigious Society of Illustrators in 2001.

As a boy, her now-grown son, William, was the model she used for William and the “Good Old Days” by Eloise Greenfield.  Gilchrist also has a daughter, Ronke, and grandchildren.  She and her husband, Kelvin Gilchrist, live in Olympia Fields.

More information can be found at

Dr. Gordon Grado Receives Honorary Doctor of Sciences Degree from EIU 05/04/13

Renowned oncologist Dr. Gordon Grado received an honorary Doctor of Sciences degree from Eastern Illinois University today in recognition of his contributions to medical science and his commitment to his fellow man.

Grado, founder and medical director of the Southwest Oncology Centers and the Grado Radiation Center of Excellence, has helped develop prostate brachytherapy programs worldwide for early stage, advanced and recurrent prostate cancer.

The Scottsdale, Ariz., resident also heads the prostate brachytherapy program at the University of Minnesota Prostate Cancer Center and the Minneapolis Veterans Administration Medical Center.  In addition to his private practice, he has held academic appointments at various institutions, including Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota School of Medicine.

He has give hundreds of presentations throughout the world, and has authored numerous peer-reviewed articles on the subject of oncology.  In June 2000, Grado was personally invited by Jane Hull, the governor of Arizona, to serve on the Prostate Cancer Task Force.

Grado, who received his bachelor’s degree in zoology from Eastern in 1974, was named a Distinguished Alumnus by the EIU Alumni Association in 2006.  He works personally with his alma mater to establish meaningful programs for its students.  He has shown particular interest in helping to mentor pre-medical students to support them in realizing their dreams of becoming practicing physicians.  The Dr. Gordon Grado Pre-Medicine Internship program allows EIU students to fly out to his Arizona cancer facility and spend at least a week interning.

William Fernandez attended a two-week program in 2011.  “We spent countless hours with Dr. Grado himself, learning the basics of how to run a successful practice, how to interact with patients, and a great number of other skills.  My favorite experiences were the surgeries we observed as Dr. Grado narrated every minute step in the procedure in a jargon-free manner we could understand, and also the mock medical school interview.  Simply put, Dr. Grado’s care for us was obvious.  What we learned from him was truly invaluable.”

Grado regularly “Skypes” with EIU students during Alpha Epsilon Delta (pre-medical honors society) meetings at least once a month, answering questions about the medical field and presenting various aspects of his own practice.  His career “is something all medical students can aspire to,” Fernandez wrote.

Grado’s successes in both hospitals and private practice settings are inspirational.  He and his wife, Mary, have helped support and develop cancer treatment centers in the U.S., Mexico, Latin America and the Middle East.  Dr. Grado takes a personal interest in training the doctors and technicians who handle the daily operations of the clinics, and maintains an active role in their success.

Grado has met the needs of thousands of patients, bringing them both healing and hope.  Furthermore, he has shared his knowledge and skills with hundreds of students, residents and colleagues to expand his effect.

Gwendolyn Dungy Receives Honorary Doctor of Pedagogy Degree from EIU 05/04/13
EIU President William Perry with Gwendolyn Jordan Dungy

Renowned educator and counselor Gwendolyn Jordan Dungy of Columbia, Md., received an honorary Doctor of Pedagogy degree from Eastern Illinois University today in recognition of her commitment to and achievements in education.

As a young woman, Dungy -- then of the Chicago area -- never planned to go to college.  Instead, she took an exam to be a long-distance telephone operator -- a job that paid $45 a week.  One day, however, sitting up on a little bench at the switchboard, she thought, “I don’t want to do this.”

She recalled…  “My high school had offered me a teaching scholarship at Eastern Illinois University.  So I went back and said, ‘Do you still have that scholarship?’  And they did.  I barreled on down to Eastern Illinois.  It was 1962.  I did my student teaching in an all-white school, and I was terrified.  Being observed one day, I actually passed out.”

Dungy persevered and, in 1965, graduated from Eastern with her bachelor’s degree in English.  Two years later, she earned her master’s degree in educational psychology and guidance, with an emphasis in community counseling.  After completing her studies at EIU, she earned a second master’s degree from Drew University in New Jersey and a doctorate from Washington University in St. Louis.  Currently, she is a licensed psychologist and a nationally certified professional counselor and career counselor.

Throughout her career, Dungy has served as a counseling faculty member at St. Louis Community College; a senior administrator at the County College of Morris (New Jersey) and at Montgomery College and Catonsville Community College, both in Maryland; and as associate director of the Curriculum and Faculty Development Network and coordinator of the National Diversity Network at the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

In 1995, with nearly 30 years of experience in higher education, she was chosen to lead NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in High Education as its president.  With more than 11,000 members at 1,400 campuses representing 29 countries, NASPA is the foremost professional association for student affairs personnel.  It and its members are committed to the development of the whole student in higher education and are dedicated to student learning both inside and outside of the classroom.  During her 17-year tenure, Dungy served as a spokesperson for student affairs internationally, as well as domestically.

Current NASPA President Kevin Kruger praised Dungy for her “extraordinary leadership.”  “Perhaps her finest achievement, however, is her humanity,” he said.  “She cares deeply about the people with whom she works and interacts.  She has been a mentor to hundreds of young professional women and professionals of color in helping them reach their own dreams in higher education.  She has been a forceful leader in the national higher education scene to advance the important work of student affairs and to advocate for the reason we are all here – the students.”

Dungy is a 1995 recipient of Eastern’s Distinguished Alumni Award and a 2012 recipient of the Outstanding Graduate Alumni Award.  Since graduating from Eastern Illinois University, she has dedicated her career to enriching the lives and learning experiences of students in higher education and equipping student affairs professionals with the best knowledge and tools needed to serve the students on their campuses.

Sean Payton Receives Honorary Doctor of Public Service Degree from EIU 05/04/13

Sean Payton, coach of the New Orleans Saints, received an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree from Eastern Illinois University today in recognition of his generosity and service to society.

Payton, who received his bachelor’s degree from EIU in 1987, is the coach of the 2010 Super Bowl XLIV Champion New Orleans Saints and was the NFL Coach of the Year in 2006.  Prior to becoming head coach of the Saints, he served as an assistant coach for NFL and collegiate teams.  Payton played in the NFL, Arena Football League, and Canadian Football League.

The Eastern Illinois University Athletics Hall of Fame inductee (September 2000) played quarterback for the Panthers from 1983-86.  He was an honorable mention All-American in 1986, leading EIU to the NCAA FCS quarterfinals.  To this day, he holds four single-season records, four career records and three individual game records at EIU.

In 2010, the university retired his No. 18 jersey, and Payton was named a Distinguished Alumnus by the EIU Alumni Association.

He was honored by the NCAA in 2012 as a recipient of the Silver Anniversary Award, which annually recognizes a handful of distinguished individuals for career achievement on the 25th anniversary of the conclusion of their college athletic careers.

In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast of the United States.  Payton, who arrived as the Saints’ head coach in New Orleans a year later, witnessed firsthand the storm’s devastating and continuing effects on the city and region.  Believing that helping those less fortunate is not an option but, rather, a duty, he co-founded the Payton’s Play It Forward Foundation as a vehicle in which to help local children and families impacted by that storm.

The Foundation was created with the goal of raising funds and awareness for organizations fighting at the fore-front for children and families in need.  The Foundation’s assistance has addressed issues of homelessness, education, healthcare for the uninsured and disabled, domestic violence and other social welfare needs.  Since its inception, Play It Forward has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to several local and regional charities, including the Dr. Phil Foundation, the First Responders Fund, Habitat for Humanity, the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Louisiana and many others.

Additionally, Payton has always embraced his identification with Eastern, and has returned to campus numerous times to support his alma mater, spending time with students, faculty, staff and Panther fans whenever opportunity allows.

Donald Gher Receives Honorary Doctor of Public Service Degree from EIU 05/04/13

Donald L. Gher of Bellevue, Wash., received an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree from Eastern Illinois University today in recognition of his dedication, his generosity, and his service to others.

Gher graduated from Eastern in 1973 with a degree in business and a concentration in marketing.  A fellow alumnus and classmate said of him, “Don exhibited the energy and drive that would propel him through his immensely successful business career.  In class, he was always at the ready to help a friend, dive into a project, and eager to debate with professors, which often made class sessions memorable.”

Gher parlayed that energy and drive, along with his education, into a diverse and exciting career.  Professionally, he held several positions, including head of a multi-billion dollar trust /investment department for the Marine Bank of Springfield, and portfolio manager/analyst for the Public Employees Retirement Association of Colorado and Kingsley, Jennison, McNult and Morse in San Francisco.  He served as general manager, Wertheim Schroder, Tokyo, and as fund manager/analyst for Bank of America Investment Management in Seattle.

Gher retired in 2007 as managing director/chief investment officer of Coldstream Capital Management, which he co-founded in 1996.  He was awarded the Chartered Financial Analyst designation in 1981 and, in 2006, was one of only 20 CFAs worldwide to be awarded the first 20-Year Certificate of Continuing Education.

Upon retirement, Gher essentially became a teacher.  Having developed as an expert in his field, he now spends much time in Eastern’s School of Business, guiding students interested in an investment career and serving as a frequent guest speaker for EIU’s security analysis class.  He diligently provides considerable email contacts to the university and to the EIU Foundation with an emphasis toward investment education, performance reviews and strategies.

Gher was named as EIU’s School of Business Distinguished Alumnus in 2003 and a Distinguished Alumnus by the EIU Alumni Association in 2007.  He is a former member of both the EIU Business Advisory Board and the EIU Alumni Association Board of Directors.  After serving more than six years on the EIU Foundation Board, Gher retired; however, he continues to serve as a volunteer on the Foundation’s Investment Committee.

In the words of another of Gher’s friends:  “Don remains one of the busiest ‘retired’ people I know.  I have been amazed at his continued dedication to his church, his alma mater, Coldstream, and a variety of other organizations in the community.  When I’ve asked him why he hasn’t slowed down more, he responded that after a lifetime of work, he wanted to ‘do work for his soul.’”

EIU Honors 2012-2013 Retirees 04/30/13


More than 50 Eastern Illinois University employees were recently recognized as faculty/staff members who have retired or plan to retire during the 2012-2013 school year.  They include, from left to right, seated, Deborah Woodley, Nanette Carli, Sue Harvey, Marsha Bowyer and Vicki Bradley; from left to right, second row, Ralph McCausland, Cheryl Crowdson, Jeri Matteson-Hughes, Mahmoud Kashefi, Lucy Campanis, Mary Kuhn and Cheryl Noll; and, from left to right, third row, Will Hine, John Best, Peggy Kuhn, Monty Bennett, Joseph Landeck and EIU President Bill Perry, who was on hand to congratulate the retirees.

Other retirees include Gustavo Albear, Edward Andres, Lois Bass, Ross Bennett, Kathy Berry, Judith Black, David Carpenter, Arlene Chasteen, Phyllis Croisant, Lois Dickenson, Jerry Drummond, David Finley, Luminita Florea, Larry Fonner, Debbie Gerdes, Theresa Green, Helen Gregg, Lennie Heddens, Barbara Holste, Linda Huddlestun, Lynn Kimbrough, Gary Laumann, Linda Loy, Albert Lyons, Sharon Morgan, Thomas Mullins, Nancy Page, Christine Rechten, Carol Roberts, Christine Roszkowski, Kathy Simmons, Richard Sylvia, Wilma Tufts, Deborah Valentino, Franklin Wallace, Rebecca Watkins, Janet Werden, Erma Williams and Mary Yarbrough.

More Than 1,600 Students to March in EIU Commencement Ceremonies 04/30/13

More than 1,600 graduating students plan to participate in commencement ceremonies at Eastern Illinois University on Saturday, May 4.

Ceremonies will take place at 9 a.m., noon, 3 and 6 p.m. in Lantz Arena.  Guest tickets are required for admission.

Students from the College of Sciences will march in the morning ceremony, the College of Arts and Humanities and the School of Continuing Education at noon, the College of Education and Professional Studies at 3 p.m., and the Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences at 6.

Students from the Graduate School will walk with their respective colleges.

EIU President William Perry will preside over the ceremonies.  Kaci L. Abolt, student body president, and Andrew S. Methven, chair, EIU Faculty Senate, will also address the graduates.

Representing Eastern’s Board of Trustees will be Joseph R. Dively (9 a.m. and 3 p.m.), Kristopher M. Goetz (noon) and Jarrod T. Scherle (6 p.m.).

Each ceremony will feature a special guest speaker who will present the official “Charge to the Class.”  Dr. Gordon L. Grado, EIU alumnus (’74) and founder/medical director of the Southwest Oncology Centers and the Grado Radiation Center of Excellence, will speak at both 9 a.m. and noon, while William L. Robinson, EIU alumnus (’76) and senior vice president/general manager (retired) of the Pepsi Bottling Group, plans to speak at both the 3 and 6 p.m. ceremonies.

At noon, special recognition will be given to Melanie B. Mills, professor of both communication studies and women’s studies, who was named the 2013 recipient of Eastern's Distinguished Faculty Award.  This award is presented annually by the Faculty Senate to a full-time faculty member who has excelled in teaching, professional research/creative activity and service.

Additionally, four honorary degrees will be presented at this year’s ceremonies.  Dr. Grado will be presented with an honorary Doctor of Sciences degree at 9 a.m.; Gwendolyn J. Dungy, EIU alumna (’65, ’67) and former president of NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, and Sean Payton, EIU alumnus (’87) and coach of the New Orleans Saints, will receive an honorary Doctor of Pedagogy degree and Doctor of Public Service degree, respectively, during the 3 p.m. ceremony; and Don L. Gher, EIU alumnus (’73) and, most recently, managing director/chief investment officer (retired) of Coldstream Capital Management, which he co-founded in 1996, will receive an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree at 6 p.m.

Commencement marshals lead the procession while carrying the university mace inscribed with past marshals' names.  This spring's commencement marshals are as follows:

  • John Best, professor of psychology, representing the College of Sciences during the morning ceremony.  Best has been a member of Eastern’s faculty since 1979. 
  • Jeannie Ludlow, associate professor of English and women’s studies, representing the College of Arts and Humanities during the noon ceremony.  Ludlow has been a member of Eastern’s faculty since 2008.
  • Richard L. Roberts, chair, counseling and student development, representing the College of Education and Professional Studies during the 3 p.m. ceremony.  Roberts has been a member of Eastern’s faculty since 1998.  (Roberts is representing the CEPS in honor of James Wallace, an associate professor for counseling and student development, who died shortly after being chosen for this honor.  Wallace had been a member of Eastern’s faculty since 2001.)
  • Thomas R. Hawkins, associate professor, School of Technology, representing the Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences during the 6 p.m. ceremony.  Hawkins has been a member of Eastern’s faculty since 2003.

Faculty marshals are given the honor of carrying the college banner for their respective colleges.  This spring's faculty marshals are as follows:  Rebecca M. Throneburg, Graduate School and College of Sciences, and Mary E. Konkle, College of Sciences, 9 a.m.; Jeffrey G. Boshart, Graduate School and College of Arts and Humanities, Shirley A. Bell, College of Arts and Humanities, and Michael W. Cornebise, School of Continuing Education, noon; Clinton Warren, Graduate School and College of Education and Professional Studies, and Kathleen Phillips, College of Education and Professional Studies, 3 p.m.; and Linda Simpson, Graduate School and Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences, and Lucy Campanis, Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences, 6 p.m.



EIU to Reduce Summer Hours; Booth Library, Admissions Among Exceptions 04/30/13

In a continuing effort to conserve resource dollars, Eastern Illinois University will once again close selected buildings and offices from noon on Fridays until Monday mornings during the summer months.

The affected time period begins Monday, May 6, and ends Friday, Aug. 9.

Building/office exceptions include, but may not be limited to, the President’s Office, the Bursar’s/Cashier’s Office, Booth Library, Financial Aid, University Police, the Renewable Energy Center and the Office of Admissions, which plan to keep normal working hours.

All university offices must be open to the public between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and between 8 a.m. and noon on Friday.  Administrative offices (and others where possible) will remain open during the lunch hour (Monday through Thursday).

By ending the work week at noon on Fridays, the university can increase temperatures in all vacant offices and other work environments to allow energy savings for two and one-half days per week.

Employees will be required to work their regularly scheduled number of full-time hours during the four-and-a-half-day work week.  Classes scheduled to meet on Friday afternoons and/or weekends will be relocated to buildings where the air conditioning will remain on.

During weeks in which a holiday is observed (Monday, May 27, for Memorial Day and Thursday, July 4, for Independence Day), offices will return to regular business hours (7.5 hours per day), including Fridays.

Regular hours will resume on Monday, Aug. 12, for the 2013-2014 school year.  Classes will resume on Monday, Aug. 19.

Grant Gives Support to EIU Recycling Program 04/18/13
Ryan Siegel with one of 2,150 new recycling bins made possible via a grant from the Alcoa Foundation

A grant through the Alcoa Foundation is allowing Eastern Illinois University the opportunity to build upon an already active recycling program at the institution.

Ryan Siegel, campus energy and sustainability coordinator, announced that the grant enabled Eastern to obtain 2,150 deskside recycling bins to be placed in the university’s residence halls.  The approximate value of these containers is $15,000.

“We appreciate this opportunity as it allows a standardized program to be implemented on campus instead of a small program here and a small program there,” Siegel said.

EIU is one of 35 colleges and universities that received a portion of more than 11,500 recycling bins as part of the Alcoa Foundation Recycling Bin Grant program, made possible through a partnership between the foundation, national nonprofit Keep America Beautiful and the College & University Recycling Coalition.

The program is an effort to help schools expand their recycling efforts and raise awareness about waste reduction programs on college campuses.

“Alcoa Foundation has been a true leader in advancing recycling nationwide through its support of its bin grant and other programs,” said Matthew M. McKenna, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful. “Its involvement with the College and University Recycling Coalition’s webinar series has helped to increase recycling on campuses and instill a recycling ethic that college students will carry with them the rest of their lives.”

The College & University Recycling Coalition, in partnership with KAB and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, has announced the schedule for its 2013 series of educational webinars, sponsored by Alcoa Foundation.  CURC webinars feature recognized collegiate and industry recycling experts covering a range of topics related to sustainable materials management.  All webinars are free to registered participants.

For a complete schedule of webinars, go here.

Gilman Named New Dean, School of Continuing Education, at EIU 04/17/13

The newly named dean of the School of Continuing Education at Eastern Illinois University has a history of building strong relationships between a university and its local/regional constituencies.

Regis M. Gilman, currently serving as interim dean of Educational Outreach at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C., plans to assume her new position at the Charleston campus on July 1.

“Our School of Continuing Education has traditionally offered a wide variety of outreach programs that provide opportunities for economic, educational and professional development growth to a variety of individuals,” said Blair Lord, provost and vice president for academic affairs.  “I look forward to Dr. Gilman’s arrival and the impact she’ll have on our continuing success in extending academic programs and services beyond normal campus boundaries.”

Gilman, who has been at WCU since January 2007, previously served as an assistant professor of educational media at Appalachian State University (2003-2006) and as associate dean for academic affairs at Lenoir-Rhyne University (1999-2002).  She has also gained continuing education experience at Missouri State University (Springfield), Indiana University (Indianapolis) and Iowa’s Drake University, plus others.

“My experiences as an administrator at several institutions provide a broad perspective of how institutions of higher education can make a difference in their local and larger communities, particularly as they extend access through online programs and continuing/professional higher education,” Gilman said.

“Given the economic impact that programs of access and outreach have by extending the boundaries of the university to adults and underserved populations – we do truly change lives.”

As dean, Gilman will serve as the executive officer for the internal and external affairs of EIU’s School of Continuing Education, which is a “bridge to the community beyond the campus to provide credit and noncredit programs, degrees, certificates, workshops, seminars and conferences.”

On an annual basis, the School of Continuing Education provides programs for 10,000 students.

Gilman replaces Will Hine, who announced his retirement after having served as dean of the School of Continuing Education since 1986.

Kidney Disease Expert to Present Public Talk on EIU Campus 04/05/13


Dr. David S. Goldfarb, an internationally recognized expert on the prevention and treatment of kidney stones, will share some of his expertise when he visits the Eastern Illinois University campus as a visiting scholar.

Admission is free and the public is invited to his seminar, “Kidney Stones:  Why Do They Happen and How Can We Prevent Them?”   The talk is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 11, in the Lumpkin Hall Auditorium, Room 2030.

Goldfarb, a professor of medicine, physiology and neuroscience at the NYU School of Medicine, teaches first year renal physiology, and is the director of the nephrology section of the second year pathophysiology course.

He was the recipient of The Distinguished Teacher in the Basic Sciences Award, voted by the Class of 2006 at the NYU School of Medicine.  He has also been named Professor of the Year by the classes of both 2009 and 2010.

Goldfarb is also the director of the Metabolic Stone Clinic, NY Harbor VA Healthcare System (NYHHS); the Kidney Stone Prevention Program, Department of Urology, St. Vincent’s Medical Center; and the International Cystinuria Foundation.  He is chief of the Nephrology Section at NYHHS and clinical chief of the Nephrology Division at NYU Langone Medical Center.

He has published more than 145 articles, and his research interests cover such areas of kidney function and disease as nephrolithiasis (kidney stones), chronic renal failure, hemodialysis and hypertension.

Goldfarb’s visit to Eastern’s campus is made possible through the College of Sciences’ Visiting Scholar Award Program, the Faculty Development Partnership Grant Program and the EIU Department of Biological Sciences.

While in the Charleston area, Goldfarb will attend a medical staff meeting at Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center and give a presentation on nephrolithiasis.  In addition to his public talk on Thursday, he will spend the day with students and faculty.

On Friday, he and Steven Daniel, professor in EIU’s Biological Sciences Department, will be interviewed by Lori Casey for the show, “Being Well.”  That segment is scheduled to air at 6 p.m. May 7 on WEIU-TV.

See here for more information.




EIU Earns Place on National Honor Roll for Community Service 04/03/13

Eastern Illinois University was named to the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

This designation – presented to EIU for the second consecutive year -- is the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.

Inspired by the thousands of college students who traveled across the country to support relief efforts along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, the Corporation for National and Community Service has administered the award since 2006, and manages the program in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as the American Council on Education and Campus Compact.

“Institutions of higher education are helping improve their local communities and create a new generation of leaders by challenging students to go beyond the traditional college experience and solve local challenges,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of CNCS.  “Congratulations to Eastern Illinois University, its faculty and students for its commitment to service, both in and out of the classroom.”

“Eastern Illinois University has a long history of service-learning and believes strongly in preparing our graduates to be active leaders and participants in an ever-changing world,” said EIU President Bill Perry.  “We’re honored to receive this prestigious award, and owe much of it to the students themselves. They’re the energy driving our commitment and they’re the ones who make it all happen.”

“The Office of Student Community Service started in the Fall of 2008, and since then, we have seen great growth in volunteering and connection to our great communities,” said Dan Nadler, vice president for student affairs.  “This award recognizes the tireless and passionate efforts of more than 7,000 EIU students who annually participate in more than 100,000 hours of service.”

“We have great passion for our community and this award simply continues to motivate our students and staff to continue working hard with our community to enhance all the great opportunities that are here in Coles County and beyond,” added Rachel Z. Fisher, director of Student Community Service at EIU.

“Studies have said that an hour of volunteering is worth $22 to a local community.  In this past year, based on this, EIU students have contributed $2.2 million in volunteering!  We are looking forward to going even farther in the next year,” she said.

More information about Eastern’s community service efforts can be found here.  More information on eligibility and the full list of Honor Roll awardees can be found here.



Richard England Named New Honors College Dean at EIU 04/03/13

Richard England claims that a “vibrant honors community” transformed him as “a scholar, teacher and leader.”

“Honors, done well, provides a learning environment that moves beyond disciplinary boundaries and gives the whole person – mind, body and soul – a profound opportunity for growth,” he said.  “This is true for its students, and for those lucky enough to teach them.”

England will aim for such an environment at Eastern Illinois University as he assumes the position of dean of the institution’s Honors College, effective July 1.

“Eastern has a rich, 30-plus year tradition of vibrant honors programming, and I look forward to the contributions which Dr. England will make to our esteemed Honors College," said Blair Lord, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

England currently serves as an associate professor of philosophy at Salisbury University, Salisbury, Md.  Concurrently with his teaching, he served first as assistant director (2000-2006), then as director (2006-2011), of the Bellavance Honors Program at Salisbury.

He lists among his achievements as director an increase in the number of honors students (145 to 288 active students) and honors program graduates, the creation and operation of two honors living-learning communities, the promotion of honors study abroad, and the introduction of Salisbury’s first international honors seminars.

As dean of EIU’s Honors College, England will serve as the executive officer for the internal and external affairs of the college.  He will have overall leadership responsibility for undergraduate honors student recruitment, retention and support, as well as honors curricula, and their coordination with the academic deans and department chairpersons.

England replaces John Stimac, professor of geology/geography, who has served as dean of the Honors College since July 2010.

"Project: Hero" to Honor the Fallen, Assist U.S. Military Veterans 04/01/13

More than 300 Illinois service men and women, including Eastern Illinois University alumnus Lt. Jared Southworth of Oakland, will be honored at Booth Library on April 4 and 5.

Stephen Knotts, EIU veterans services coordinator, said the Illinois Fallen Heroes Traveling Memorial Wall is a near 200-foot wall of headshots of service men and women who were killed during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operating Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn.  The wall includes the names, portraits, hometowns, ranks and dates of death of these military heroes.

Don Pannier of Washburn originated the wall to honor his son who was killed in Iraq in 2008.

Members of the public are invited to visit the wall.  There is no charge; however, donations will be accepted.

The wall’s display on the EIU campus is part of a two-day event called “Project: Hero” that will include a veterans services fair, an ice cream social and a self defense class.  The Illinois Patriot Guard Riders also plan to place a line of flags outside of Booth Library to honor the men and women who sacrificed themselves for this country.

“The event is honoring veterans and making others aware of the sacrifices that men and women have made to the United States,” Knotts said.

The veterans services fair -- Rucksacks to Backpacks -- will feature more than 30 organizations from on and off campus, including veterans organizations and registered student organizations.  These veterans support groups include the Wounded Warrior Project, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion.

“We wanted to bring them all on campus so campus veterans and community veterans can see what is available to them,” Knotts said.

Many times, he added, veterans are bombarded with so many different veterans groups that it becomes “white noise” to them and they can’t decide with which one to affiliate.

During the fair, Veterans Services will be accepting donations for school supplies.  Many times, Knotts said, individuals transitioning from the military to college do not have enough money for school supplies.  This summer, every military veteran who starts school at EIU will receive school supplies.

Knotts said events like this are important because they help bridge the gap between veterans and civilians.

Less than 1 percent of the United States’ population has ever been in the United States Armed Forces, which means there is a cultural awareness gap between people who are protecting the rights of the U.S. and people of who are protected, Knotts said.

   Event Schedule

Thursday, April 4

9 a.m. -- Illinois Patriot Guard Riders to place a line of flags in front of Booth Library, Library Quad

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. -- The Illinois Patriot Guard Fallen Heroes Traveling Memorial Wall on display in Booth Library’s North Atrium

10 a.m. and noon -- Self defense classes at the Student Recreation Center (Aerobics Room)

1 p.m. – Water Wars, Library Quad

Friday. April 5

All Day -- Mobile Vet Center open, south of the MLK Jr. Union.  Will also have a table set up outside the Food Court in the MLK Jr. Union.

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. -- The Illinois Patriot Guard Fallen Heroes Traveling Memorial Wall on display in Booth Library’s North Atrium

9 a.m. to 3 p.m. -- Rucksacks to Backpacks (Veterans Service Fair), University Ballroom, MLK Jr. Union

3 p.m. -- Ice cream social for all veterans, University Ballroom

For more information, call 581-7888 or email















EIU to Colorfully Promote Autism Awareness 03/29/13


By coloring itself blue, Eastern Illinois University plans to join thousands of businesses, individuals and other colleges/universities in commemorating World Autism Awareness Day on April 2.

The institution’s administration building (Old Main, aka the “Castle”) will be illuminated in blue during the evening hours on Tuesday, according to William Weber, vice president for business affairs.

Additionally, the building will be lit up April 23-27 to further promote Autism Awareness Month and related activities taking place both on and off campus.

Eastern’s chapter of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association will sponsor an information booth from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday, April 24, on the campus’ South Quad.  Pamphlets and other information will be available, according to Trina Becker, NSSLHA co-adviser and associate professor of communication disorders and sciences.

Then, on Friday and Saturday, April 26 and 27, the EIU Run for Autism will take place in conjunction with the Illinois Marathon being held in Champaign-Urbana.  According to Becker, marathon participants may designate a particular charity to benefit from their efforts.

Funds raised through the EIU Run for Autism will support the development of the EIU Autism Center – a center that would provide clinical and consultation services for persons with autism and their families, provide outreach and in-service to education agencies, and enhance the clinical training of EIU students.

Those interested in participating should visit for information, and/or visit to register for the race.

Riccio Memorial Lecture to Discuss Satchel Paige and Black Baseball 03/21/13

A lecture about Satchel Paige is sure to be a lecture about baseball.

“That’s pretty much a given,” said Ed Wehrle, professor of history at Eastern Illinois University.  “But I think you’ll find that this one addresses race, politics and culture, as well."

“Satchel Paige and Black Baseball in the Rethinking of the Civil Rights Movement” will be presented at 7 p.m. Monday, April 1, in the Doudna Fine Arts Center’s Lecture Hall.  Admission is free and open to the public.

Guest lecturer Donald Spivey, a professor of history at the University of Miami, wrote the recently published “If You Were Only White:  The Life of Leroy ‘Satchel’ Paige,” after more than a decade of research into Paige’s career.

“Dr. Spivey offers a richly detailed portrait of the hurler, setting Paige in historical context,” Wehrle said.  “Paige and his unique relationship to the American Civil Rights Movement will be the subject of (Spivey’s) talk here at Eastern.”

Noting that he recently became interested in the history of sports, Wehrle recalled his first encounter with Spivey’s book and how impressed Wehrle had been with Spivey’s ability to bring the “historical craft” to the story of the former athlete.

“Arguably the greatest pitcher in the history of baseball, the legendary Satchel Paige played in his first major league ball game at the age of 42.  Improbably, he pitched his final game at age 59,” Wehrle said.

“Before becoming the third African-American to enter MLB, Paige barnstormed across the nation and the world with semi-pro and Negro league teams.  Often he pitched everyday, and often that meant nine innings of work.  Everywhere he drew enormous crowds, but -- due to the color of his skin -- Paige remained banned from playing in the major leagues until after Jackie Robinson desegregated the game in 1947.”

Spivey, born and reared in Chicago, attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he received both his bachelor’s (1971) and master’s (1972) degrees in history.  He was an athlete in his own right, having served as tailback for the Fighting Illini football team.

Spivey later earned his Ph.D. in history from the University of California at Davis, and has since specialized in the fields of African-American history, sport, labor, music and education.  He has lectured throughout the country and been a frequent commentator on radio, television and in print.

After teaching at the University of California at Davis, Wright State University, the University of Michigan and the University of Connecticut, he joined the faculty at the University of Miami in 1993.

EIU’s Department of History is sponsoring Spivey’s lecture, an event made possible through the Barry D. Riccio History Fund.  Riccio joined Eastern's history faculty in 1995. The author of "Walter Lippmann: Odyssey of a Liberal (1994)" and numerous articles, he was a devoted student of American ideas, politics and culture. At Eastern, he proved himself an outstanding teacher and wonderful colleague.

Following Riccio's death from cancer in 2001 at the age of 46, his friends, family and colleagues established the Barry D. Riccio History Fund in his honor.  The fund sponsors a lecture series with an emphasis on the history of ideas.  Beginning with the inaugural lecture in 2003, the generosity of fund donors has allowed the department to bring "many of the leading lights of American intellectual history" to Eastern's campus.

Welcome to Eastern! 03/21/13

In the pre-dawn hours Thursday (March 21, 2013), the Eastern Illinois University Panther Patrol hit the roads of Coles County to surprise area high school seniors who have been admitted as freshmen for the Fall 2013 semester.  Teams of current students and admissions staff – 19 individuals in all – braved icy temperatures and yes, even some mid-March snow flakes, as they visited homes in and around Charleston, Mattoon, Oakland, Ashmore and Humboldt.  Signs, balloons and backpacks with additional gifts inside were left for approximately 40 prospective students, welcoming them to the university.  Kelly Svoboda, a freshman from Edwardsville, is shown hammering in a sign outside one home while the unaware recipient (presumably) slept inside.  Parents of the recipients were in on the surprise, having already given their approval for the teams’ visits. 


EIU's Old Main to Glow Red 03/20/13

Eastern Illinois University will have a special glow about it during the coming week.

On the evenings of March 26, 27 and 28, the institution’s administration building (Old Main, a.k.a., the “Castle”) will be illuminated in red in observance of American Red Cross Month and Hemophilia Awareness Month.

Additionally, the university will host a Red Cross blood drive from 1 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 27, in the University Ballroom of the MLK Jr. Union.  The event is open to the general public.

A programmable lighting system, which made its official debut in December, allows Eastern to celebrate university and community events, as well as commemorate events such as American Red Cross Month, by displaying appropriately colored lighting on the front of Old Main.

The system was installed in response to Eastern’s efforts, in working with the city of Charleston, to create a “collaborative landscape/streetscape plan” from the Neal Welcome Center, located at the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Douglas Street, eastward to 18th Street (Route 130).

In addition to helping provide a welcoming corridor along Lincoln Avenue, the new lighting is expected to strengthen the connection between campus and the community, and showcase the building’s outstanding architectural features.

'American Idol' Phillip Phillips to perform at Lantz Arena on April 16 03/18/13

Phillip PhillipsPhillip Phillips, the most recent winner of "American Idol," is to perform at Eastern Illinois University's Lantz Arena next month.

The concert is set for 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 16. Tickets went on sale to EIU students on Monday, March 18; ticket sales will open to the public on Monday, March 25.

Phillips' first single, “Home," hit the charts at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it the most successful coronation song of any American Idol winner. His debut album, “The World from the Side of the Moon," also includes the songs “Gone, Gone, Gone,” “Man on the Moon” and “Volcano.”

The 22-year-old Georgia artist started 2013 touring as the opening act for Matchbox Twenty, but he's now made the transition to the headliner role in his college tour.

The opening act for Phillips' show will be Churchill, an up-and-coming band that has been featured on mtvU's The Freshmen list. Churchill’s songs include “Change,” “Ark in a Flood” and “Sing Out Your Love.”

Tickets -- $20 for EIU students and $23 for the general public -- may be purchased in the MLK Jr. Union Ticket Office (581-5122) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The concert is sponsored by EIU's University Board.

EIU Employees Honored for Continuous Years of Service 03/07/13
Shown, from left to right, front row, are Larry Ankenbrand, Cathy Engelkes, Mary Herrington-Perry, Jerry Daniels, Marilyn Thomas, Suzanne Mathews and Marsha Figgins; second row, Ali Moshtagh, Larry Shobe, Diane Ingle, Kevin Angell, Diane Smith, Judy Gorrell, Leeila Ennis, Karen Whisler, Wendy Long and Billie Rawlings; and third row, William Higelmire, Timothy Lewis, Andy Anderson and Kevin Larkin.


Eastern Illinois University recently recognized more than 250 of its employees for continuous years of service.

A luncheon was held in recognition of university employees with continuous years of service in five-year increments. Those employed at EIU for five years were eligible for a certificate; those with 10 or more years of service were honored with both a certificate and a pin.

The following were honored for their years of service:

35 Years – Larry Ankenbrand, Cathy Engelkes, John Krajefska and Andrew McNitt.

30 Years – Jerry Daniels, Mary Herrington-Perry and Marilyn Thomas.

25 Years – William Addison, Andy Anderson, Kevin Angell, Roger Beck, Parley Boswell, Douglas Brandt, Sonya Davee, Michael Eagan, Dean Elmuti, Leeila Ennis, Marsha Figgins, Judy Gorrell, William Higelmire, Diane Ingle, Janice Kozak, Kevin Larkin, Timothy Lewis, Wendy Long, Suzanne Mathews, Mark McGuire, Andrew Methven, Ali Moshtagh, Billie Rawlings, Randall Rodebaugh, Larry Shobe, Diane Smith, Cathy Thomas, James Tidwell, Richard Wandling and Karen Whisler.

20 Years – Peter Andrews, Sandra Baumgartner, Suzann Bennett, Brett Bensley, Sandy Black, Sandra Bradford, Arlene Brown, Lynn Calvert, Stephen Canfield, Nanette Carli, Nancy Coutant, Jonelle DePetro, Julie Dietz, Jo Gentry, David Griffin, Martin Hardeman, Eugene Harrison, Kelly Hart, Peggy Hickox, Norman Isacson, Brian Poulter, Sheila Simons, William Slough, Sue Sly, Jean Smitley, Pam Warpenburg and Vicki Shaw Woodard.

15 Years – Edward Barthelemy, Lori Brewer, Mary Brown, Robert Chesnut, Ruth Chesnut, Cris Costantino, Christopher Cougill, Sandra Cox, Kelly Crawford, Timothy Croy, Steven Daniel, Doris Darling, Don Dawson, Carol Galey, Bradley Green, Richelle Heise, Peggy Holmes-Layman, Catherine Jewell, Renee King, Roberta Kingery, Kathleen Kuhlig-Carter, Cheryl Laursen, Barbara Lawrence, Denise Love, Kent Martin, Shari McKinney, Susan Mounce, Debra Neal, Richard Norton, Patricia Orr, Denise Reid, David Rodebaugh, Linda Simpson, David Smith, Susan Teicher, Rebecca Throneburg, David Titus, Dawn VanGunten, Richard Whitaker, Dan Wilson and Ira Yarbrough.

10 Years – Kevin Armstrong, LeAnn Athey, Gregory Aydt, Mark Barrow, Trina Becker, Gary Bulla, Kristin Cann, Lori Casey, Ke-Hsin Chi, Jerry Coartney, Aaron DeRousse, Angela Dillman, Karim Ezzatkhah Yenggeh, William Feltt, Bonita Flynn, Joseph Gisondi, Daphne Griffin, Lisa Hugg, Ned Huston, Abdou Illia, Doral Johnson, Sarah Johnson, Christine Kilgore-Hadley, Robert King, Stacey Knight Davis, Joni Lutz, Thomas MacMullen, Michael McBride, Jon Oliver, Nick Osborne, Lynanne Page, Danielle Pendergast-White, Vaughn Plunkett, Cara Pschirrer, Susie Ray, Colin Robinson, Laura Smith, Karen Swenson, Daniel Tessitore, Terrah Thornton, Carol Turner, Mary Wallace, Carrie Wilson-Brown and Christopher Wixson.

5 Years – Ralph Ashby, Bruce Barnard, Karen Beason, Jon Bell, Vicki Bradley, Gordon Brown, Jeffery Brown, Jeremy Brown, James Brummer, Leigh Bryan, Lee Buchanan, Debra Buell, Diane Burns, Amie Calvert, Barbara Carlsward, Barbara Catron, Candra Chahyadi, Jerry Cloward, Christina Coffey, Darla Combs, Kent Conrad, Irene Coromina, Michael Cowan, Judith Cullen, Susan DeRousse, Donna Doran, Jerry Drummond, Mary Dwiggins, Elizabeth Ealy, Karen Easton, Cathy Feely, Richard Flight, David Flowers, Donald Flowers, Ovande Furtado, Elizabeth Gill, Matthew Gill, Thomas Goddard, Kathleen Grant, Gary Gravil, Marko Grunhagen, Clifford Harrison, Michael Herman, Carla Honselman, Vicki Huddleston, Lyle James, Rebecca Johnson, Daniel Jones, Rameen Karbassioon, Allen Kistner, Penny Krabel, Marty Lang, Tesa Leonce, Pamela Levine, Anne Lewis, Julie Lockett, Anne Marino, Clark Markwell, Katherine McBain, Christopher McClellan, Ryan McDaniel, Svetlana Mitrovski, Bryan Murley, Angi Parker, Paula Parker, Kamlesh Parwani, Fred Peralta, William Perry, Kathryn Pleasant, Brian Poelker, Betsy Pudliner, Misty Rhoads, Stephanie Rienbolt, Kathleen Rodems, Amy Rosenstein, Mark Rubel, Nichalas Sanders, Sara Schmidt, Shawn Schultz, James Schwartz, Radu Semeniuc, Mary Caroline Simpson, Deborah Smith, Karenlee Spencer, Joan Stack, Catrina Stanley, Keith Stanley, Luke Steinke, Nancy Stone-Johnson, Marie Taylor, Timothy Taylor, Antoine Thomas, Krishna Thomas, David Thompson, Erica Thornton, David Viertel, Angela Walsh, Chad Weber, Robert Wells, Peter Wiles, Alisa Wohltman, Traci Worby, Diana Wyatt, Zhiqing Yan and Martha Zarate.

EIU 'Moves Mud'; Clean Energy Research and Education Center Advances 03/01/13

Artist's rendering of planned facility

An exceptionally wet week meant that Friday’s groundbreaking was more like a mud-moving event.

Spirits remained high, though, as Eastern Illinois University took the next step forward toward the construction of a much anticipated facility for its Center for Clean Energy Research and Education.

“When, on Jan. 14, 2011, the Board of Trustees formally approved the creation of the center, we did so happily, knowing that this would be another fantastic opportunity for the students of EIU,” said Roger Kratochvil, chairman of EIU’s Board of Trustees.

“In addition to working in a wonderful facility conducive to solid, hands-on clean energy research, our students will have the chance to do so in the company of some of the country’s most capable and knowledgeable teachers.

“The board was also cognizant of the good Eastern could do to help support economic development in the region and, possibly, throughout the state, by conducting research that might provide area farmers with new markets for agricultural products and byproducts.

“It seemed to us to be a win-win-win situation,” he said.

When completed, the 5,000-plus-square-foot building will house a research facility in which faculty and students can conduct hands-on investigations of biomass sources that may be suitable as alternatives or additives to the wood chips being used in Eastern’s recently constructed Renewable Energy Center.   By studying the fuel characteristics of various biomass sources, students will gain a more integrated understanding of physics, chemistry, engineering and technology.

Shown, from left to right, are Bob Martin, vice president for university 
advancement; Richard Williams, Jeff Horn, Mike Metzger and Henry
"Woody" Kramer, representing the Charleston Area Charitable
Foundation; Roger Kratochvil, chair, EIU Board of Trustees;
and EIU President Bill Perry.

In addition to commemorating the beginning of construction work, Friday’s celebration also served as a thank-you to the Charleston Area Charitable Foundation.

“The foundation presented us with a significant gift on behalf of the project,” said Robert Martin, vice president for university advancement.  “And we wanted to thank them for their generosity.”

“We are grateful to our first and major partner in this endeavor – the Charleston Area Charitable Foundation,” echoed CENCERE Director Peter Ping Liu.

The foundation’s financial support has already “enabled us to acquire a laboratory scale gasifer and a gas analysis instrument,” he continued.  “The laboratory gasifier has become the center piece of our research and learning.  It enabled us to experiment with various biomass resources available in the area.  With the research in biomass gasification, we hope to develop alternative biomass fuels for the Renewable Energy Center.

“With (the foundation’s) support to our research, we have gained knowledge and confidence,” Liu said.

According to the director, work done through CENCERE has already helped forge partnerships with the community, including Charleston High School, other colleges and universities, and private companies in the region and state.  The expectation is that these relationships will only strengthen and increase in number with the construction of a new facility in which to house CENCERE.

EIU officials say that initial construction, estimated to cost right at $1 million, should be completed by the end of the calendar year.  The building will be located immediately north of Eastern’s Renewable Energy Center, located near the intersection of 18th Street (Illinois Route 130) and Edgar Drive.

Plans allow for expansion of the building as need and financing allow.

EIU Board of Trustees Approves 2013-2014 Tuition Rates 03/01/13

Eastern Illinois University’s Board of Trustees on Friday approved the lowest annual tuition rate increase for new resident students at EIU since 1993.

The 1.43 percent increase -- representing $4 per semester hour -- is the second lowest increase at EIU since 1979, according to President Bill Perry.

“The increase we recommend today sends a strong message of our commitment to affordable excellence in higher education,” he said.  “Our incoming new students and their families are dealing with difficult economic times.  A modest tuition rate increase is respectful of this.”

EIU’s resident tuition rate will increase from $279 to $283 per semester credit hour for students entering the university during the 2013-2014 school year.  This means that those with an average 15-course academic load will pay $4,245 per semester – an increase of $60.

Additionally, incoming resident students will be able to lock in the new tuition rate for four continuous academic years, as provided by the state’s “Truth in Tuition” Law.

“Our faculty and staff are the key players in upholding academic excellence,” Perry said.  “This increase is supportive of our obligations to our faculty and staff.  We continue to offer an educational experience marked by small classes, significant interaction between the professors and the students, and strong retention rates.”

In addition to keeping tuition increases as small as possible, Perry said the university will continue to invest in financial aid programs in order to assist students in their pursuit of a degree at EIU.

“We continue our efforts in making more scholarships available to students to help defray costs of attendance,” Perry continued.  Examples include Commitment to Excellence Scholarships -- merit scholarships for academically talented students – and the Panther Promise Tuition Waiver.

EIU's Carman Hall to Undergo Assessment 02/12/13

Eastern Illinois University is moving forward in preparing its residence halls for the next generation of students, starting this summer with an assessment of Carman Hall.

“In updating our housing master plan, we realized that we have an unusual window of opportunity to do a thorough analysis of Carman including all mechanical systems,” said Mark Hudson, director of housing and dining services.  “Right now, we have enough capacity to take Carman off-line for the next year or two and determine what we need to do to make sure we are ready for the next generation of students.”

He explained that new student enrollment levels are expected to rise starting next year so the timing was critical.

“Our applications are up substantially for the coming year,” he said, “so we knew we had to start the process now or lose this opportunity.  As it stands, we will have sufficient space in our other residence halls for the next two years.  After that, we’re anticipating needing more of our capacity back on-line.”

The process will start with an engineering assessment of the building – a process which can take several months to complete.  After that, a master plan for the building can be developed.

The university tries to schedule much of the work on residence halls during the summer, Hudson said, but noted that summer really only has 75 construction days – a time period insufficient to do a major project like the Carman assessment and upgrade.

What’s more, many of the systems in Carman that need to be evaluated and face potential upgrades – like the heating and air conditioning system – are hidden within the walls.

“You don’t want to be opening up walls when the students are in residence,” Hudson said, “and we know we have some issues that may take some time to address.”  The heating and cooling system, for instance, uses the same pipes to carry both hot and cold water.  Hudson said that more than 40 years of use have led to leaks in some of the pipes which run through the walls.  “We won’t really know the extent of the issues until we start opening up walls,” he said.  While the current systems are functioning effectively, doing some preventive maintenance will ensure we can continue to effectively serve the residents.

While the mechanical issues are dealt with, Hudson said, the university will also have a perfect opportunity to refresh the building and add key features which students expect such as wireless Internet service.  This will be a good chance to consider other service and building enhancements to meet the future needs of residents.

“Technological improvements such as better wireless access are specifically included in the university’s strategic plan as part of the infrastructure needed to support the university’s learning environment,” Hudson said.  “But the evaluation will also include some of the other initiatives contained in the strategic plan such as enhancing learning communities and maximizing integrative learning.”

In addition to the residence hall itself, the Carman Dining Center will also be taken off-line and undergo the same review.  “We will be able to accommodate the students in the remaining dining centers," he said.  “While Carman is off-line, we’ll be doing focus groups and surveys to see what other options we might want to provide in Carman once it re-opens.”

Hudson also noted that EIU staff members currently working in Carman will all be absorbed into other facilities and that no employees will lose their jobs as the result of Carman being taken off-line.

“We have had a number of retirements in the last year so those employees – along with the residence life staff – are needed elsewhere in the system,” he said.  “That was another important factor in moving ahead with this project right now.”

Hudson noted that there is a mistaken notion that the entire freshman class is housed in Carman.  That, he said, just isn’t true.

In reality, less than 25 percent of the freshmen are there with the rest being housed in other residence halls across the campus.  That means that the distribution of students throughout the campus really won’t change much.

While work on Carman Hall is under way, the university will also focus on the next major residence hall project – possibly an update of Pemberton Hall.  This historic building, the first women’s residence hall built in Illinois, is about to become the administrative home of the Honors College.  With those offices being placed in the south end of the building, in the former location of the Textbook Rental Service, talks are under way to explore the possibility of creating a ”Residential College” to further enhance this outstanding program.

“All universities need to update their residence halls periodically, and we have been doing just that for the past decade,” Hudson said.  “This is particularly important as we anticipate entering a period of new growth.  It’s a healthy sign and an indication that EIU is moving forward.”

EIU Receives Governor's Award for Excellence in Education 01/22/13

From the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs:

Going above and beyond basic veterans’ services while fostering a veteran-friendly atmosphere, Eastern Illinois University has been chosen as the Fall 2012 recipient of the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education, the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs announced today.

“On behalf of Governor Pat Quinn, we salute the professional and constructive efforts of Eastern Illinois University to support its student veterans,” said IDVA Director Erica Borggren. “Creating programs and policies that assist veterans entering or returning to higher education is one of our top priorities and EIU has those great programs.  Their leadership demonstrates this commitment to helping veterans, and is a great model for others to follow.  They are making lasting and tangible commitments to helping veterans overcome challenges in education.”

Among many outstanding attributes, EIU was recognized for its:
•  Veterans Transition Workshop, specifically designed to support and enhance the college experience of student veterans, enabling them to receive focused guidance pertaining to transitional matters, study techniques, time management skills, and on-campus opportunities;
• Administrative, programmatic and financial aid policies that support and accommodate student veterans who enter active military service or military training during the course of an academic term, thereby enabling them to make up academic work without penalty;
•  Veterans Service Office that is an invaluable resource to the student veteran population on campus, providing a host of specialized services to service members, veterans and their families that address critical needs in the veteran community.

IDVA presented the award during a ceremony today with EIU students, faculty and staff at the Charleston-based university. Previous winners include College of DuPage, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Northern Illinois University, and Western Illinois University. The Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education is presented in the spring and fall of each school year.

Governor’s Award nominations are now being accepted for the Spring 2013 term. Illinois colleges or universities that contribute to the betterment of our student veterans and their families are eligible. The nominated school must be a licensed, degree-granting school in the state of Illinois.

For more information, including nomination materials, please visit the Governor's Award homepage.

Room and Board Rates Set for 2013-2014 School Year 01/18/13

Eastern Illinois University’s Board of Trustees on Friday approved room and board rates for students living in EIU housing during the 2013-2014 school year.

Students living in EIU’s residence halls and Greek Court will see increases of $81 to $92 per semester (a 2 percent increase), depending on the chosen meal plan.  Room and board rates will range from $4,150 per semester for the 7 Meal Plan Option to $4,679 for the 15 Meal Plan Option.

Four meal plan options each permit students a specified number of dining center meals per week; a specified number of “Dining Dollars” that can be used to buy additional meals in any dining center; to make purchases at Eastern’s Food Court, Java B&B and Panther Pantry in the MLK Jr. Union and at the university’s two residence hall convenience centers; and to provide dining center meals to guests.

Students living in one of the 148 units at University Apartments (designed primarily to meet the needs of student families and single graduate students) will see increases of between $13 and $15 per month, with rent ranging from $448 to $503, depending on the type of apartment being rented (one-bedroom, efficiency or super efficiency).  All utilities are included in the rent price.

Residents of University Court, a 146-unit university-owned apartment complex for sophomores, juniors, seniors and graduate students, will see no increase in rent costs.  Rates there will continue to range from $2,412 to $3,225 per semester, depending on the type of apartment being rented.

Dan Nadler, vice president for student affairs, said he was pleased that Eastern was able to offer the lowest percentage increase in EIU housing rates in more than 35 years.

“We take a careful look at our needs, including fixed costs such as utilities, employee wages and food costs,” he said.  “We also consider the best ways with which to maximize our resources.  We try everything we can to economize while continuing to provide the best service possible to our students.”

According to Mark Hudson, Eastern’s director of Housing and Dining Services, university housing is home to approximately 35 percent of the student body.  Surveys among those residents indicate that “students really feel like they get a good return on their investment.”

In addition to routine maintenance performed annually in all residence halls, Eastern concentrates on on-going multi-year projects, as well.  By the end of Summer 2012, for example, the university finished adding sprinkler systems to all residence halls, including Greek Court, making EIU one of the first post-secondary institutions in Illinois to do so.

Currently, Eastern is adding wireless internet access to all residence rooms.  That project is more than half-way completed.

Annual MLK Jr. Candlelight Vigil March Planned at EIU 01/10/13

The Zeta Nu chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. will host its 26th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Candlelight Vigil March and Tribute Monday, Jan. 21, on the campus of Eastern Illinois University.

The event begins at 5:30 p.m. with a march -- punctuated with the singing of inspirational hymns -- from the Thomas Hall lobby (2120 Seventh St.) to the Grand Ballroom, located in Eastern’s MLK Jr. Union.  The program there will begin at approximately 6 p.m.

According to Leon Fields, Zeta Nu chapter president, the annual event honors “one of the most prolific men to have ever walked this planet.”

“This is one of the many ways we repay our debts for his contributions to all mankind,” Fields said, adding that since 1987,  between 100 and 200 students, faculty, family and friends have come and supported the vigil and the program annually.  Many join in the march; however, those who wish may participate in the Grand Ballroom activities only.

This year, Fields continued, the program will be much more interactive, displaying the talents of several EIU students, many of whom are not directly associated with the fraternity.  Students have submitted essays, and singers, speakers and others with different talents have all committed to participating in the program.

Students and faculty from Eastern will also be recognized by the men of the Zeta Nu chapter for individual accomplishments and be presented awards such as the humanitarian award, excellence awards and a few others, based on individual achievements.  Scholarships will also be awarded.

Three Inducted as Lifetime Members of EIU Foundation 01/04/13

Three Charleston residents have been chosen as honorary lifetime members of the Eastern Illinois University Foundation.

Ken Baker and Dr. and Mrs. Jerry Heath were inducted into this class when Foundation members met recently for their annual meeting.

Lifetime membership is bestowed upon individuals who have demonstrated exceptional and significant support for the university.  Previous recipients include former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar and his wife, Brenda; Richard A. Lumpkin; and Burnham Neal.

Ken Baker has been employed by Eastern since 1994, when he was hired as a physical education instructor.  He has served as the director of campus recreation since 2000.  From 2007 to 2008, he served as the university’s interim athletic director.

Most recently, Baker joined a group of alumni and friends in working to establish the Baker/Warmoth Hall of Champions at Lantz Arena.

He is a ’72, ’73 graduate of EIU, having earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education, and began his teaching career as an instructor in physical education at the Charleston junior and senior high schools.

Baker also served the NFL as an on-the-field official for 11 years, retiring in 2001, and as an instant replay official from 2003 through the 2011 football season.  His service as an official brought positive attention to EIU and helped support existing relationships with EIU alumni working and playing in the NFL.

In addition to his duties at and for Eastern, Baker has benefited the Charleston community in a variety of ways, including serving on the local school board (president from 1987 to 1988) and in various athletic organizations.  He was appointed to the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.

As a first-grader, Margery Heath walked to school alongside EIU President Livingston C. Lord.  Later, as a college student, she helped establish one of the first two sororities on campus, and served as the school’s Homecoming queen in the middle of World War II.

She met her husband, Jerry Heath, in a chemistry class.  He went on to graduate from both the U.S. Naval Academy and medical school before returning to Eastern as the director of Health Service.  He also volunteered his skills -- for 32 years -- as team physician for EIU’s athletics programs.

Additionally, Dr. Heath is a charter member of both the President’s Club and the Panther Club.

The Heaths further demonstrated their love for Eastern Illinois University by giving back financially.  Through the years, their major philanthropic gifts have benefited many areas, including Athletics, the Human Services Center, the Department of Kinesiology and Sports Studies and the Eastern Symphony Orchestra.

Fittingly, Dr. and Mrs. Heath were named the EIU Foundation’s Outstanding Philanthropists for 2009 in recognition of their decades of generosity.

EIU Lauded by City, State Officials for Proactive Approach to Fire Safety 12/18/12

From the Charleston, Ill., Fire Department:

Shown, from left to right, are Illinois Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis; Steve Bennett, assistant fire chief, Charleston; Pat Goodwin, fire chief, Charleston; EIU President Bill Perry; and Gary Hanebrink, EIU safety officer.  (Jay Grabiec photo)

Fire officials believe, without a doubt, that fire sprinklers installed in on-campus housing at Eastern Illinois University have saved lives.

In the Fall 2012 semester alone, two separate cooking-related fires were quickly extinguished in University Court when sprinklers were automatically activated.  And multiple lives were likely saved when, in December 2008, unauthorized candles ignited some silk sheets students had hung on the walls and doors of a room in Greek Court.  Several students were trapped until a sprinkler head activated.

“These sprinkler activations have saved lives and property,” said Steve Bennett, assistant fire chief for the city of Charleston.  “But (Eastern Illinois University) did not just do the bare minimum of installing sprinkler systems; they upgraded the fire detectors and alarm systems and installed a campus-wide alert system.

"Eastern Illinois University has gone above and beyond what was required of them to do.”

Bennett was joined by several city and state officials, including Illinois Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis, Tuesday (Dec. 18) to publicly laud Eastern for its pro-active approach to fire safety.  Matkaitis presented a proclamation, commending the university for its “commitment to life safety and preservation of property.”

In January 2005, the state of Illinois enacted the Fire Sprinkler Dormitory Act, requiring all on-campus housing at post-secondary institutions to have fire sprinklers installed by 2013.  In January 2011, the state further enacted the Greek Housing Fire Safety Act, requiring all Greek housing to install fire sprinkler systems by 2019.

According to Bennett, EIU “has met these requirements prior to the mandated deadlines by having 100 percent of the 28 residential buildings on campus with fire sprinkler systems and fire alarm systems installed.”

Eastern began its efforts in 2000 with the installation of fire sprinklers in Pemberton Hall, the oldest woman’s residence hall in the state of Illinois.  The first Greek housing was retrofitted with sprinklers in 2002.

“We wanted to begin with our wood-framed buildings -- those with the highest risk,” said Mark Hudson, Eastern’s director of Housing and Dining Services.

The university finished the project this past summer by making installations in Ford, McKinney and Weller halls.  In total, Eastern spent more than $10.5 million dollars on the project.

“As assistant fire chief, I have had the pleasure of working side-by-side with the staff of Eastern to help ensure the safety of students, staff and the general public,” Bennett said.  “Whether it was assisting with a pre-fire plan or collaborating on a side-by-side sprinkler demo at the tailgate of an EIU football game, Eastern has always put safety as a priority.

“These proactive efforts in fire safety have certainly made the job of the fire department a whole lot easier,” he added.

Shared Facts:

-- According to the National Fire Protection Agency, in 2011 there were more than 3,000 deaths, 17,000 injuries and more than $11 billion dollars in property damage due to fires in the United States.

 -- Statistics from The Center for Campus Fire Safety show that, since the year 2000, 80 fatal fires have been documented that occurred on a college campus, in Greek housing or in off-campus housing within three miles of the campus – claiming a total of 116 victims across the nation.


Eastern Symphony Orchestra Embraces Area's Outstanding Youth Musicians 12/14/12

SHIP participantsAfter the area's only school orchestra was cut in the 1970s, private music teacher Terry Coulton watched her young students diligently practice their craft alone, without the benefit of hearing their instruments the way they are most richly enjoyed -- as part of a symphony.

"There was a huge void," Coulton said. "Some had achieved an advanced level of playing and were ready for that next step."

On occasion, she'd get permission for outstanding young musicians to play with Eastern Illinois University's Eastern Symphony Orchestra. When conductor Richard Rossi took over the ESO in 2001, Coulton anxiously asked whether he would welcome children to his ensemble.

"He was just thrilled," she recalled. "He said, 'In fact, we'll make it a program; we'll make it an outreach."

And so the Symphonic Honors Initiative Program, or SHIP, was born.

SHIP is a win-win-win-win situation, as it provides experience to youth who would otherwise have no opportunity to play locally; gives EIU students an opportunity to mentor children, which is particularly beneficial to those who will become teachers; serves as a recruiting tool for the EIU music department; and bolsters the size of the orchestra, which also includes EIU students, professionals and community members.

"It does my heart good to look out and see such a diverse range of experience, from these little ones whose feet don't touch the ground, all the way up to musicians in their 80s," Rossi said, describing the Eastern Symphony Orchestra's "very unique setup."

The community involvement is "positive and unifying," Coulton said.

"Everybody looks out for the younger students, and everybody respects the older people," she said.

Coulton -- whom Rossi has affectionately dubbed the "Mother SHIP" for her central role in establishing and nurturing the program -- serves as a liaison for SHIP students and parents.

"SHIP has grown over the years and has also provided us with some string majors and a major source of recruitment," Rossi said.

Maura Shepherd and Terry CoultonIn fact, three SHIP alumni are now part of the Eastern Symphony Orchestra as EIU students: Maura Shepherd, violin; Elizabeth Southards, violin; and Riley Parish, cello.

By chance, a recent piece in the ESO's Christmas concert featured solos by those three SHIP alumni. It was a proud moment for Rossi, who has guided them since they were children.

Shepherd, who has played with the Eastern Symphony Orchestra since she was in fifth grade, said that SHIP pushed her to be her best, while reassuring her that her lifelong dream of making a career of music was the right path to follow.

Shepherd has decided to become a music educator, and SHIP is now helping to give her excellent first-hand experience in teaching children.

"It's kind of like coming full circle for me," Shepherd said. "I know the overwhelming feeling of seeing these notes they don't know how to play that fast. I get to work with them one-on-one, and I can reassure them that one day, they'll be playing right along."

The interaction of EIU students and the youth is part of the beauty of the program, Rossi and Coulton agree.

"The young students see the college students working and learning in the same situation, and I think they are inspired to be just as focused and as mature as they can be," Coulton said.

The Eastern Symphony Orchestra's principal players for each section act as SHIP faculty. Before each weekly rehearsal, each SHIP faculty member meets with a section for an hour: Coulton and Sharilyn Spicknall with two violin sections; Megan Goff with violists; Ka-Wai Yu with cellists; and Todd Gallagher with bassists.

"That's an opportunity to really sit down with them and really give detailed direction, and it's a chance for the students to ask questions," Coulton said, adding that the experience is "vital" for young musicians. "I think the learning happens without them really realizing it."

This year's SHIP program is comprised of three first violins, three second violins, one viola and one bass, representing Charleston, Newton, Sullivan and Terre Haute.

"These students gain invaluable experience with a college-level ensemble, learning the orchestra music literature and the skills of following a conductor and working within a section of musicians," Coulton said. "They learn about historical styles, orchestra etiquette and performance practice, and they can see what is ahead for them in their future musical pursuits."

For more details on SHIP, including information on how to apply to participate, please visit or call Rossi at 217-581-3111.

Senior Ranked Among Nation's Top 1% ROTC Cadets; Three Others in Top 15% 12/13/12

EIU ROTC Cadet Matthew BochenekEastern Illinois University senior Matthew Bochenek's longtime goal of becoming a military pilot is well on the way to becoming a reality.

Thanks to years of hard work, Bochenek is ranked among the top 1 percent of cadets -- No. 55, to be exact -- in the entire U.S. Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps.

Three fellow EIU cadets also made the National Order of Merit List: Steven Kutz of Holt, Mo., is in the Top 10 percent; and William Comstock of Charleston and Ryan Shumaker of Marshall are in the Top 15 percent.

Bochenek has long wanted to be a military officer, inspired in large part by stories from his paternal grandfather, who was an Army corporal in the Korean War, and his grandfather's brother, who flew a B-29 bomber in World War II.

"I flooded their brains with questions," Bochenek said. "I've always had a desire to serve."

When Bochenek was in sixth grade, his father took him to his first air show, and he was hooked, and he began attending every air show he could.

 As a high school student, Bochenek decided to take flying lessons to be sure he wanted to devote his career to being a military pilot. Though he was already busy as an outstanding three-sport athlete with a good GPA, he worked three part-time jobs to earn money for the lessons, which cost more than $100 per hour. He completed 24 hours of flight time, more than enough to convince him that he loved it.

When it came time to make a college decision, he opted against attending a military academy, because he wanted the opportunity to focus equally on academics and the military, while still having the chance to enjoy social aspects of college. Eastern Illinois University stood out, in large part due to its excellent ROTC program, which was small enough to allow him to develop strong relationships with his instructors and his fellow cadets.

"I felt like ROTC was the best for me because I could live a military life and a school life as well," Bochenek said. "I like the fact that you're a student first, because you can focus on your GPA. And then you are a cadet, and you gain the experience to lead other cadets."

Bochenek has amassed a wide variety of leadership experience through ROTC, including currently serving in the program's top student position, cadet battalion commander.

In Bochenek's sophomore year, EIU ROTC graduate Capt. John Pollard flew a helicopter to campus, providing Bochenek's first opportunity to ride in a helicopter cockpit.

"That really hit me right there that this is what I want to do," Bochenek said. "I knew I'd have to do everything it takes to make it happen."

He knew that in order to have a better chance of securing the Army assignment he wanted after graduation, he would have to do well on the national cadet ranking, which is based on combination of skill assessments, including grade-point average; physical fitness; extracurricular activities; and the score from the five-week Leader Development and Assessment Course at Fort Lewis, Wash., the pinnacle of ROTC program.

Exhibiting his usual dedication and perseverance, he worked as hard as he could to excel. "When things would get hard, I knew I couldn't stop, or I'd never be satisfied," he said.

All of the hard work paid off when he got the news that he was ranked No. 55 in the nation, allowing him to secure the assignment he'd long worked toward -- aviation officer, a highly competitive and demanding career field.

Bochenek is quick to give credit to the ROTC program and its instructors for equipping him for success.

"They gave me the right resources so I could study and pass the test," Bochenek said. "They have really high expectations of you, and they train you right. I'm very happy with all of the training opportunities."

Bochenek is not taking much time to sit and bask in the achievement of his long-time goal.

"I know that I was in the 1 percent, but that's all behind me now, and I've made it a goal to be the top in my flight school and keep going," Bochenek said.

Bochenek is on track to reach two major goals in May: earning his bachelor's degree in exercise science, and being commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

Sometime this spring, Bochenek will get his orders from the Army, dictating when he'll begin flight school at Fort Rucker, Ala. After 18 months of training, he'll be assigned to an active duty unit.

His ultimate goal is to become a master aviator, serving as a company or battalion commander -- "to achieve the banner of excellence in the aviation field," he said.

There is little doubt he will fulfill that ambition. The only question is what new challenge he will dream up next.

Message About Off-Campus Crime 12/13/12

A message from Dan Nadler, vice president for student affairs, sent to all EIU students and employees:

Eastern Illinois University has received several inquiries regarding an incident that took place in Charleston late Wednesday.  The crime was committed off campus, and the alleged attacker was apprehended shortly thereafter.

According to the Charleston Police Department (CPD), shortly after 9 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12, CPD officers responded to a call on West Locust Street, located more than two miles north of the EIU campus.  Two individuals - one male and one female - sustained knife wounds to their throats; both have been treated for their injuries.  Charleston resident Blackie Veach, 21, was arrested later in the evening and charged with attempted first-degree murder and aggravated battery.

While the individuals involved in this case have no connection to Eastern Illinois University, this incident should remind all of us to adhere to basic safety precautions:

. Be diligent.  Recognize your vulnerability.
. Avoid traveling alone at night.  Always carry a cell phone.
. Confine walking to well-lit, regularly traveled walks and pathways.
. Avoid shortcuts and keep away from shrubbery, bushes, alleyways or any other areas where an assailant might be lurking.   
. Report all suspicious persons, vehicles and activities to the University Police Department immediately, by using any campus emergency phone or by dialing 911.
. Use the "buddy system" and watch out for your neighbor.
. Keep your door locked when you nap or go to bed for the night.
. Report lights that are out and any hazardous conditions immediately.
. If threatened by an approaching vehicle, run in the opposite direction. The vehicle will have to turn around in order to pursue you.
. If you think you are being followed, do anything that might attract attention or summon assistance.
. Carry a loud whistle or other noise-making device; this will draw attention to your position if assailed.

These safety precautions, among others, can be found on the University Police Department and Student Affairs websites.

The EIU Police Department, located at the corner of Seventh Street and Grant Avenue, provides service and protection to the campus community 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  In case of an emergency, dial 911 or 581-3212, or go to the University Police Department headquarters.  Blue emergency phones are available throughout campus. (See here for locations.)

EIU Foundation Names 2012 Outstanding Members 12/12/12

Three individuals have been recognized as outstanding members of the Eastern Illinois University Foundation for 2012:  Alan Baharlou and June Giffin, both of Charleston, and Dennis Spice of Champaign.

This award is bestowed upon individuals who demonstrate the ideals of membership in the Foundation through their volunteer service to the Foundation and to the university’s academic and athletic programs, providing the leadership, expertise and knowledge essential for the work of its advisory and governing boards, administrative councils and committees, and its executives-in-residence programs.

Alan Baharlou

Although he retired from Eastern in 2005, Alan Baharlou continues to remain active and involved with the university.  In addition to teaching off-campus courses, he was instrumental in the establishment of the Academy of Lifetime Learning offered through the School of Continuing Education.  He and his wife, Carlene, established the Baharlou Service Award in the College of Sciences to recognize faculty members with records of distinguished service.

Baharlou served as chair of the Department of Geology/Geography during 22 of the 25 years he taught at EIU.  He was recognized with several awards during his teaching career, including being named the university’s faculty laureate in 1999.

That same year, he also won the prestigious Ringenberg Award, which is the highest award presented by the College of Sciences and recognizes an individual who has performed exceptionally during his or her academic career.

The School of Continuing Education honored Baharlou with the Paul Overton Award, which is given to someone who has provided exemplary long-time service to off-campus students.  He is also the recipient of the Roger Whitlow Award, given to an adjunct faculty member who has made an important contribution to SCE off-campus students and programs.

As a young woman, June Bubeck Giffin attended EIU, living in Pemberton Hall, and was active in women’s sports including

June Bubeck Giffin

volleyball, badminton and field hockey.  She met her husband, Jim, before graduating in 1946 with her bachelor’s degree in business education.

In 1971, after taking time away from Eastern to teach and begin raising her family, she began work as a substitute teacher in the EIU Lab School.  She later worked as an office manager, first in Eastern’s Philosophy Department, then in the Management/Marketing Department.  She eventually migrated to Old Main and the Department of Grants and Research, working there from 1981 until her retirement in 1993.

Giffin has served as an avid volunteer throughout the EIU campus and Charleston community for many years.  Behind the scenes, she and her late husband, who was the founding dean of Eastern’s College of Business, served as a “welcome wagon” to faculty and hundreds of students who crossed their paths in the classroom, as student workers, as renters, and students in need.  The couple willingly helped any student desiring an education, and adopted many as surrogate children and grandchildren.

The couple also established both the Elsie and Erson Giffin and the Jim and June Giffin scholarships through the EIU Foundation.

Giffin’s current efforts center mostly on Eastern’s Peace Meal Senior Nutrition Program, the Tarble Arts Center, as an usher for the Doudna Fine Arts Center, as a member of the EIU Annuitants Association, and as a volunteer annuitant for the EIU Foundation at the Neal Welcome Center.

Dennis Spice

Dennis Spice serves as president of Institutional Advisors, Ltd., a consulting firm he began in 1995.  His many other accomplishments since receiving his bachelor’s degree in management from Eastern include serving as founding partner and managing member of Open Prairie Ventures I, LP, a $40 million capital fund that focused on investments in Midwest-based seed and start-up companies.  He was a member of the board of directors of Infoblox, Cernium,, ReVas, Innovative Security Systems Inc. and Computrol.

Further, he was a managing partner of Prairie Capital Partners, which leased equipment to companies in the Midwest; a managing director in Agrarian Capital, a private equity firm focused on agricultural industry investments; and an investor and adviser to harVestco Agricultural Properties.

As a nationally recognized expert, Spice has testified on pension and investment issues before the Department of the Treasury, the Internal Revenue Service, the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., and the Illinois General Assembly.

Prior to founding his own company, Spice was the executive director of the State Universities Retirement System of Illinois (SURS).  He joined the system in 1980 and was appointed director in 1991, a position he held until 1995.  Previously, he was employee benefits manager at EIU.

Over the years, Spice has given countless hours of service to EIU.  He recently agreed to serve on the newly formed School of Continuing Education Bachelor in General Studies Degree Alumni Board.  He has also served on the Alumni Association Board of Directors, the School of Business Advisory Board for six years, the School of Technology’s Advisory Board for 11 years, and on the Foundation Board of Directors for five years.

He and his wife, Linda, established the Spice Entrepreneurship Fund at EIU in 2002, supporting projects that promote the spirit of entrepreneurship for the School of Business and School of Technology.

EIU Fall Commencement Ceremonies Set for Saturday, Dec. 15 12/11/12

Nearly 500 graduates plan to participate in Eastern Illinois University's Fall 2012 commencement ceremonies, scheduled to take place Saturday, Dec. 15, in Lantz Arena.

Ceremonies will take place at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.  Guest tickets are required for admission.

Students from the Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences and the College of Arts and Humanities will march in the morning ceremony, while students from the College of Education and Professional Studies, the College of Sciences and the School of Continuing Education (Bachelor of Arts in General Studies Degree) will march in the afternoon.  Graduate students will march with their respective colleges.

President William L. Perry will preside over the ceremonies.  Music will be provided by the EIU Wind Symphony.

Victoria Markley, an EIU alumna who has made a career as an information technology consultant, will present the “Charge to the Class” during both ceremonies.  Also addressing graduates will be Faculty Senate Chairperson Andrew S. Methven and Student Body President Kaci L. Abolt.

Representing Eastern's Board of Trustees will be Joseph R. Dively of Charleston at 10 a.m. and Robert D. Webb of Mattoon at 1 p.m.

Traditionally, a commencement marshal leads the commencement procession while carrying the university mace, a symbol of honor accorded a faculty member.  The commencement marshal for the 10 a.m. ceremony will be Lynne E. Curry, who, as a professor of history, will represent the Graduate School.  Representing the School of Continuing Education at 1 p.m. will be Carrie M. Dale, associate professor of early childhood, elementary and middle level education.

An EIU tradition also allows faculty members the honor of carrying the college banner for his/her college during the procession.

This semester’s faculty marshals for the morning ceremony are Melody L. Wollan, graduate coordinator, School of Business, representing the Graduate School and the Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences; Karen S. Drage, associate professor, School of Technology, representing the LCBAS; Matthew J. Gill, graduate coordinator, communication studies, representing the Graduate School and the College of Arts and Humanities; and Terri L. Johnson, associate professor, journalism, representing the CAH.

This year's faculty marshals for the afternoon ceremony are Christina R. Edmonds-Behrend, assistant professor, special education, representing the Graduate School and the College of Education and Professional Studies; Dawn M. VanGunten, professor, secondary education and foundations, representing the CEPS; Wesley Allan, graduate coordinator, psychology, representing the Graduate School and the College of Sciences; Daniel J. Sheeran, chair and associate professor, chemistry, representing the COS; and Teresa Britton, professor, philosophy, representing the School of Continuing Education.

Lena F. Elmuti, a biological sciences and chemistry major from Charleston, will serve as Honors College banner marshal during both ceremonies.

Additionally, William E. Addison, who was selected as EIU’s 2012 Luis Clay Mendez Distinguished Service Award recipient for his contributions to the university, the field of psychology and the local community, will be formally recognized at Saturday’s 1 p.m. ceremony.  The award honors the memory of Mendez, an EIU professor of Spanish who died in 2003.

EIU to be Recognized for Commitment to Fire Safety 12/07/12

Representatives of the Charleston Fire Department will be joined by city and state officials to collectively recognize Eastern Illinois University for its proactive approach to fire safety on its campus.

Larry Matkaitis, Illinois’ state fire marshal, is among those scheduled to attend a 2 p.m. ceremony on Tuesday, Dec. 18, in the Cougill Foyer of Old Main on EIU’s campus.  The public is invited to attend.

According to Fire Chief Pat Goodwin, Charleston and city fire department officials are “very proud” of Eastern’s commitment to the installation of sprinkler systems in the institution’s residence halls and Greek housing, and further laud the fact that Eastern is the first state institution of its type and size to reach 100 percent compliance.

By the beginning of the Fall 2012 semester, residence halls at EIU were 100 percent upgraded with a sprinkler system in each of its 28 residential buildings, Goodwin added.

An Illinois state mandate passed in 2004 requiring that residence halls in all public and private colleges and universities have sprinkler systems installed by 2013.  Eastern was ahead of the curve in that it had started its own sprinkler system update in 1999, with the process beginning in Pemberton Hall.

The state further mandated – via the Greek Housing Fire Safety Act of 2010 – that automatic fire sprinkler systems be required in all Greek housing structures built before Jan. 1, 2011, and that those systems be installed before Jan. 1, 2019.  The first of Eastern’s on-campus Greek housing was retrofitted with sprinklers in 2001, Goodwin said.

EIU's William Addison to be Recognized with Mendez Service Award 12/04/12

Long-time colleague John Best remembers Luis Clay Mendez as a man who “recognized the essential dignity of each person with whom he worked.”

William Addison “exemplifies Luis in just the same way,” Best added.  “By recognizing the value and worth of each individual, Bill brings out the best in that individual.”

It was for that reason that Best nominated Addison for the 2012 Luis Clay Mendez Distinguished Service Award.  The award, presented annually by Eastern Illinois University’s Faculty Senate, recognizes an individual who exemplifies Mendez’s service to the university, their respective profession and the community-at-large (local, national and international).

The award will be officially presented to Addison during EIU’s commencement ceremonies on Saturday, Dec. 15.  Mendez, an EIU professor of Spanish, died in 2003.

Addison, who joined EIU’s psychology faculty in 1987, has regularly taught courses in introductory psychology, statistics, research methods and experimental design, as well as independent study.  In addition to serving on numerous committees during his 25-year tenure at the university, he has chaired the Faculty Senate, the Council on Academic Affairs and the University Personnel Committee, as well as the Psychology Department itself.

“Most people think of this last job as being that of an administrator, and that’s technically true,” Best said.  “But Bill made the chairperson’s job a service position:  He served his faculty people by helping them to develop their talents; he served the students of our institution by leading his faculty people to develop the best curriculum we could offer with the resources available to us.”

Best noted that Addison discharges all of his responsibilities with “zeal, energy and wise acumen.

“Working with him on service responsibilities is generally a joy, not a job,” Best added.  “Bill is a gracious, generous and warm person who is genuinely concerned with the welfare of those around him.”

Addison’s friends and colleagues say his service extends much further than the boundaries of the university campus.

"Bill has served the discipline of psychology admirably for decades,” Best said.

Addison is nationally recognized for his empirical and practical scholarship on teaching, and has served in leadership positions in professional organizations, including president of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology.

“Through his efforts at promulgation, and his vantage on the national scene, we have seen our curricular model at Eastern used as a basis for the development of national-level principles of psychology curricula in universities across the U.S.,” Best said.

Addison has also served as an American Psychological Association-recognized consultant to psychology departments across the country, and has served high school teachers throughout the nation with his work as a faculty consultant for the Advanced Placement program in psychology.

Mary E. Kite, professor and director of Undergraduate Studies at Ball State University, Muncie, Ind., described Addison as a friend and colleague of long-standing whom she holds in high esteem.

“Bill’s leadership and service contributions to the discipline of psychology are exemplary,” she said.  “I’m honored to have the opportunity to support his nomination.  I know I speak for many, many others who also think very highly of (him) and so appreciate the many things he has done to advance our discipline.”

EIU to Host Lions in Winter -- An Annual Literary Festival 12/04/12

Registration is now open for Eastern Illinois University’s annual literary festival, Lions in Winter, set to take place Friday and Saturday, Jan. 25 and 26, 2013.

For the first time since the festival’s inception, it will be a two-day event, featuring workshops, lectures, readings, a book fair and more.

The festival will begin with a reading by Jaimy Gordon, 2010 National Book Award winner for her novel “Lord of Misrule,” at 7 p.m. Jan. 25 in Eastern’s Doudna Fine Arts Center’s Lecture Hall.

Individual events planned for Saturday, Jan. 26, include intensive genre workshops led by EIU creative writing faculty; craft lectures from featured writers Eduardo C. Corral, Tina May Hall and Randa Jarrar; an editor’s panel with editors from The Missouri Review, Ninth Letter, 32 Poems, PANK and Bluestem; and an evening reading by the festival’s featured writers.

All events will take place in the Doudna Fine Arts Center.  Detailed schedules and information, including registration details and area hotel accommodations, can be found on the festival’s website (

Participant registration includes continental breakfast and lunch on Saturday, well as entry into workshops and/or lectures.  Students may register to attend the craft lecture for free, or $10 for those who wish to join the group for lunch.

Admission to the readings on both Friday and Saturday are free and open to the public.

Lions in Winter, co-sponsored by EIU’s Department of English and College of Arts and Humanities, is an annual reading series for new and emerging writers.  Past featured writers include Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz, Megan Stielstra, Maureen Stanton, Peter O’Leary and Anastasia Royal.

Those with questions should contact

New EIU Lighting System Adds Color to the Charleston Community 11/30/12

Eastern Illinois University plans to make the trip down Lincoln Avenue a little more colorful for travelers.

A newly installed lighting system will allow the institution to celebrate university and community events, as well as commemorate events such as World Autism Awareness Day, by displaying appropriate colored lighting on the front of Old Main (the “Castle”).

The system will have its official debut on Monday (Dec. 3) evening, with the building being lit up in blue – one of Eastern’s official colors.

“One of the goals emerging from last year’s strategic planning process was to pay more attention to the streetscape along Lincoln Avenue,” said William Weber, vice president for business affairs.  “The new lighting on Old Main will provide the community with a visual reminder of some of the many worthwhile events occurring at EIU and in Charleston.”

The new programmable lighting system was installed in response to Eastern’s efforts, in working with the city of Charleston, to create a “collaborative landscape/streetscape plan” from the Neal Welcome Center, located at the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Douglas Street, eastward to 18th Street (Route 130).

In addition to helping provide a welcoming corridor along Lincoln Avenue, the new lighting is expected to strengthen the connection between campus and the community, and showcase the building’s outstanding architectural features.

New Foundation Board Understands, Embraces Financial Responsibility to EIU 11/29/12

Since its inception nearly 60 years ago, the Eastern Illinois University Foundation has focused on giving.

“The Foundation plays a very important role in supporting the university we care so much about,” said Timothy Burke, newly seated Foundation Board president.  “And the Foundation Board of Directors understands and accepts its responsibility to protect and grow the assets entrusted to us.”

That responsibility has grown by leaps and bounds over the past two years as Eastern engaged in its “EI&U:  Expect Greatness” capital campaign.  The expectation was that the campaign, which publicly began in October 2010, would run through June 2014 and raise $50 million for student, faculty/staff, program and facility support.  Response was so positive, however, that the university ended the campaign in September 2012 – two years early and $13.7 million over goal.

“The original goal of $50 million was eclipsed by almost $14 million – an accomplishment made possible through more than 43,000 individual gifts,” Burke said.  “Many of these individuals supported the campaign because of their desire to allow future students the same opportunities they had as a result of their EIU experience.”

As Foundation president, Burke will head an 11-person board of directors who, in turn, represents a 300-member organization.

Founded in 1953 under the leadership and direction of H. Ogden Brainard, the EIU Foundation has been dependent upon the generosity of its members to encourage and provide private support to the university and to promote the ideals of volunteerism and philanthropy among alumni, friends and employees of the university.

Burke, of Evanston, is joined on the Foundation Board by Christine Reid Robertson (vice president) of Naperville; William Robinson (treasurer) of Scottsdale, Ariz.; Judy Ethell (secretary) of Chesterfield, Mo.; Jason Anselment of Springfield; Michael Cunningham of Marietta, Ga.; H. Michael Finkle of Naples, Fla.; Timothy McCollum of Charleston; Sue C. Payton of Colorado Springs, Colo.; Janet Treichel of Reston, Va.; and Charles Witters of Las Vegas, Nev.

Additional Foundation members have been appointed as volunteer committeemen:  Scott Biermann of Clayton, Mo.; Cal Campbell and William Hill, both of Charleston; Rick Edwards of Arcola; Donald Gher of Bellevue, Wash.; Rick Ingram of Chicago; Alison Maley of Springfield; Tom Maskey of Fairfax, Va.; and James Schnorf of Longwood, Fla.

Volunteers bring an added dimension to board discussions and deliberations, and provide potential candidates for future vacancies on the board.

EIU Plans Annual Holiday Gatherings at Old Main; Public Invited 11/27/12

Community residents are once again invited to join Eastern Illinois University's students, faculty and staff for two festive gatherings -- this year titled “Celebrating the Arts” -- scheduled to take place in Old Main (the "Castle").

Guests are welcome to attend either of the two holiday events, the first of which is scheduled to take place from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5, and the second from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 13.  Both will take place in Old Main’s Cougill Foyer.

Parking is available in most university lots after 5 p.m. Guests attending the Dec. 13 event may park in the "X" lot, located east of Old Main.

Following an annual tradition, this year’s gatherings will showcase six holiday trees, five of which feature decorations made by students of Ashmore, Carl Sandburg, Jefferson, Lake Crest (Oakland) and Mark Twain elementary schools.

Refreshments and holiday music will be available at both gatherings.

Family members and others unable to attend either of the two events but who still wish to see their child’s ornament on display are welcome to view the decorated trees between Monday, Dec. 3, and Thursday, Dec. 13.  The building will be open between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday.

Chicago Theatre Troupe to Perform Skits to Promote Understanding of Mental Health Issues 11/26/12

Erasing the Distance, a Chicago theater group dedicated to promoting understanding of mental health issues, will perform two shows at Eastern Illinois University on Wednesday, Dec. 5.

The first show is to begin at 3 p.m. in 7th Street Underground in the MLK Jr. Union. The second show is set for 7 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom, also in the union. Both shows are free and open to the public.

Erasing the Distance "uses the power of performance to disarm stigma, spark dialogue, educate, and promote healing surrounding issues of mental health," according to its website.

Erasing the Distance will present five skits in each show, with topics including dealing with sexual assault, eating disorders, depression, drug addiction, suicide and long-term health issues.

The events are sponsored by the University Housing and Dining Services committee for Social Justice, Diversity and Community Engagement.

For more information on Erasing the Distance -- including video and links to Chicago Tribune stories about the troupe -- please see the website at

Holiday Art Sale Offers Unique Handmade Items from Faculty, Students and Community 11/21/12

Holiday Art SaleEastern Illinois University's 26th annual Holiday Art Sale will offer a variety of handmade items, including ceramic dishes, jewelry, toy trains and much more.

The shop will be open three days -- 5-8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30; and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1 -- in 1910 Doudna Fine Arts Center. Refreshments will be available.

"All the items are handcrafted, one-of-a-kind items," said organizer Sue Rardin. "These people put their hearts and souls into these, and they're collectible."

The art sale features work from around 30 vendors, including faculty, students and community members.

"We're always trying to draw in new artists," said Rardin, who is in her 16th year of chairing the Holiday Art Sale Committee. "It's constantly changing."

Among the new items this year are wooden trains created by Professor Jeff Boshart's sculpting students, who have created about 50 different rail cars that can be combined in various combinations.

Annual favorites include ceramics, especially useable cups, bowls, serving dishes and other containers; many different styles of jewelry; stained glass; wood cutting boards; purses; and knitted scarves.

Forty percent of the cost of each item goes to the Art Scholarship Fund, which provides financial assistance to an average of 20 students per year.

For more information, please contact Rardin at 581-3410.

Faculty Member's Film Examines Significance of Independent Record Store; Screening Set 11/01/12

David GraconAn Eastern Illinois University faculty member will screen his new documentary about the significance of an iconic independent record store on Wednesday, Nov. 7.

The free showing of "Walls of Sound: A Look Inside the House of Records" -- an in-depth look at the 40-year history of the House of Records in Eugene, Ore. -- will begin at 7 p.m. in the Doudna Fine Arts Center Lecture Hall at EIU.

“I chronicle the history of (the store), the stories behind it, the social meanings of the store, how it acts as a community gathering space for local music scenes,” said David Gracon, an assistant professor in the EIU Department of Communication Studies. “These kinds of places are for more than just buying and selling music, they’re a form of community for many people -- a place where subcultural scenes can flourish and have a place to meet each other.

“The store is also situated in an old house, and there are a lot of stories about people who used to live in this house and even some ghost stories. It’s sort of an amalgamation of all these topics under this umbrella of the record store.”

Places like House of Records are becoming more and more of a rarity with the advent of digital music. The 2006 closing of a record store across the street from Gracon's childhood home in Buffalo, N.Y., inspired him to study similar businesses and their societal impact.

“There was a reaction when that store closed,” Gracon said. “It was kind of an outcry. I thought maybe I could go see what’s going on with this store (House of Records); see if it is struggling to exist as well.”

The documentary is the result of Gracon's doctoral research at the University of Oregon in Eugene. He filmed from 2006 to 2008, and then shelved the project as he devoted most of the next few years to his written dissertation.

When he joined the EIU faculty in 2011, he began the daunting task of assembling the hundreds of hours of footage into a 63-minute film.

This fall, Gracon took the resulting film back to the Pacific Northwest for showings in Eugene, Portland, and Olympia, Wash., so people could watch the film as part of a community, rather than in individual homes.

“The stores themselves are about physical space and being around people, and I felt the film tour should also be like that," Gracon said. “We had a discussion with the audience about the social significance of these stores, what local businesses mean to people, and how to preserve them and keep them going."

Gracon plans to take the documentary to film festivals, and he hopes to secure a distribution deal. In the meantime, he has already incorporated the filmmaking experience into his teaching at EIU.

“I teach video production, so I tell my students about the trials and tribulations of making a film of this nature,” Gracon said. “I always tell my students, if you’re not passionate about the work you’re making, you’re not going to have good work. I was super invested in this project; if you’re going to spend years on a topic, you have to really love it.”

In his spring Documentary Production class, Gracon showed his students the first 20 minutes of Walls of Sound, and they provided valuable feedback.

“(The students) are developing as videomakers, but at the same time, they may catch something I’m not seeing," Gracon said. "I think they like the fact that this work is being presented publicly and getting out there. I want them to do the same thing; I want them to look up to a project and feel like they can do that, too.”

EIU to Commemorate Veterans Day With Week of Events 10/30/12

A week-long series of events culminating with a Veterans Day Commemoration Ceremony on Monday, Nov. 12, will bring educational opportunities for and about military veterans to the forefront on the campus of Eastern Illinois University.

According to Stephen Knotts, EIU’s coordinator of Veterans and Military Personnel Student Services, “Veterans Week” will demonstrate both veterans’ support and veterans’ awareness.

“We want to support our student veterans on campus by letting everyone know that they, too, are EIU,” he said.

The Veterans Day Commemoration Ceremony has become an annual campus event.  This year, community residents are invited to join students, faculty and staff at 10:30 a.m. Nov. 12 in front of Old Main (the “Castle”).  The ceremony will include the laying of a wreath and remarks by both Cody Gallagher, a student veteran and ROTC cadet, and EIU President Bill Perry.  The ROTC Panther Battalion will render a three-volley salute, while the EIU Department of Music will perform the National Anthem and the playing of taps.

In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be moved inside the building.

The public is also invited to three related events, including two panel discussions featuring some of Eastern’s current student veterans.

The first panel will talk about their military service experience, then discuss their transition to EIU, including the challenges they face as older, nontraditional students.  A question-and-answer session will follow the discussion.

“Many of them feel that there’s no connection.  They don’t have that strong bond they felt with their military unit,” Knotts said.  “Plus, over time, they’ve may have lost some of the studying and/or testing skills they knew before entering the military.”

That discussion is scheduled to take place from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6, in the Doudna Fine Arts Center Lecture Hall.

During the same time period and in the same location on Wednesday, Nov. 7, a panel of female student veterans will tell their stories, focusing on those issues specific to “being a female in the military,” including “expectations, hygiene, sexual harassment and sexual assault.”

EIU’s annual Veterans Day concert – this year titled “Call to Duty:  A Veterans Day Tribute” -- will feature the Eastern Illinois University Wind Symphony, plus special guest, the Springfield-based 144th U.S. Army Band’s Five Star Trombone Ensemble.  Admission to the concert, set to begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, in Dvorak Concert Hall, Doudna Fine Arts Center, is $12 for the general public, $10 for EIU faculty/staff and senior citizens, and $5 for EIU students.

Additional events scheduled in commemoration of Veterans Day include those aimed at military veterans only.

EIU’s Career Services will hold a workshop designed to teach veterans how to use their military experience to write a civilian resume.  The one-hour workshop, scheduled to begin at noon on Thursday, Nov. 8, will be followed from 1 to 4 p.m. with opportunities for student veterans to participate in mock job interviews.

Those interested in the workshop need only show up at the appointed time at the Career Services office, located in Eastern’s Human Services Building.  Those wishing to participate in a mock interview should contact Career Services in advance, either in person or by calling 217-581-2412, to schedule a 30-minute slot of time.

Also, the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs will feature its mobile Veterans Center – a 40-foot-long RV – throughout the day on Tuesday, Nov. 6, and from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday, Nov. 7, near the southeast corner of the MLK Jr. Union (just south of Java Beanery and Bakery).   Veterans are welcome to visit the center for information on such topics as veterans’ benefits, counseling services and more.

School Districts to Seek New Employees at Fall Education Job Fair 10/22/12

Representatives from school districts throughout Illinois and beyond will be seeking new employees at the upcoming Fall Education Job Fair at Eastern Illinois University.

Anyone who is or will be qualified for the positions offered is invited to the free job fair, which is set for 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7, in the MLK Jr. Union's Grand Ballroom. It is sponsored by EIU Career Services.

School district representatives will be seeking candidates for teaching, administrative and support services positions. A list of participating schools and available jobs is available online at

Attendees are encouraged to dress professionally and bring plenty of resumes. The Career Services website provides more tips for making the job fair a success.

For more information, contact Jennifer Peterson, the EIU career counselor who is coordinating the event, at 581-7073 or

Embarras Valley Film Festival to Honor Danville Native Gene Hackman 10/19/12

This year's Embarras Valley Film Festival will honor Academy Award-winning actor Gene Hackman, who grew up in Danville.

A collaborative effort between the community and Eastern Illinois University, the film festival -- "The Versatile Gene Hackman" -- will offer film screenings and related events Oct. 27 and Nov. 1-3. All are free and open to the public.

Five Hackman movies will be shown:

  • In "Bonnie and Clyde" (R, 1967), a bored small-town girl and a small-time bank robber leave in their wake a string of violent robberies and newspaper headlines that catch the imagination of the Depression-struck Midwest in this take on the legendary crime spree of these archetypal lovers on the run. Hackman plays Buck Barrow, older brother of Clyde and member of the Barrow gang.
  • "Unforgiven" (R, 1992) blurs lines between heroism and villainy, and man and myth, when prostitutes unsatisfied by the justice served by Sheriff "Little Bill" (Hackman) in the death of one of their friends put a bounty on her cowboy killers. The bounty attracts a young gun billing himself as “The Schofield Kid” (Jaimz Woolvett), as well as aging and reformed killer William Munny (Clint Eastwood) and his partner Ned (Morgan Freeman), complicating conflicts between law and lawlessness in the West.
  • In "The Royal Tenenbaums" (R, 2001), an estranged family of former child prodigies reunites when their father, Royal (Hackman), announces he has a terminal illness.
  • Based on a true story, "Hoosiers" (PG, 1986) highlights Norman Dale (Hackman), a coach with a checkered past, and Shooter (Dennis Hopper), a local drunk, who train a small-town high school basketball team to become a top contender for the state championship.
  • William Friedkin's gritty police drama "The French Connection" (R, 1972) portrays two tough New York City cops trying to intercept a huge heroin shipment coming from France. An interesting contrast is established between "Popeye" Doyle (Hackman), a short-tempered alcoholic bigot who is nevertheless a hardworking and dedicated police officer, and his nemesis, Alain Charnier (Fernando Rey), a suave and urbane gentleman who is nevertheless a criminal and one of the largest drug suppliers of pure heroin to North America.

The 2012 EVFF is sponsored by EIU's College of Arts and Humanities, Tarble Arts Center, Doudna Fine Arts Center and Booth Library, as well as the Coles County Arts Council and Charleston Carnegie Public Library. The EVFF also receives support from City of Charleston Tourism Funds.

The co-project directors for EVFF are Jeanne Goble (also chair of community activities), Kit Morice and Robin L. Murray (also program chair). Other EVFF Planning Committee members are David Bell, website manager; Dan Crews, film rights, publicity/promotion; Robert Hillman, exhibits; Bonnie Irwin; and Patricia S. Poulter.

For more information on the EVFF, please email Morice ( or Murray (, or visit the website at

The full schedule follows. All events are on the EIU campus unless stated otherwise.

Saturday, Oct. 27

  • 10 a.m.-1 p.m.: Stop Motion Film Workshop for middle-school-age students, led by Gabe Przygoda, a graduate student in the EIU School of Technology. Classroom, Tarble Arts Center.

Thursday, Nov. 1

  • 2 p.m.: Colloquium: The Films of Gene Hackman. 3290 Coleman Hall.
  • 3:30 p.m.: "Bonnie and Clyde," with introduction by Robin Murray, who teaches in the EIU English department and serves as the coordinator for the College of Arts and Humanities’ film studies minor. Lecture Hall, Doudna Fine Arts Center.

 Friday, Nov. 2

  • 7 p.m.: "Unforgiven," with introduction by Chuck Koplinski, who been reviewing films for 20 years for central Illinois media. The Theatre, Doudna Fine Arts Center.
  • 10 p.m.: "The Royal Tenenbaums," with introduction by Koplinski. The Theatre, Doudna Fine Arts Center.

Saturday, Nov. 3

  • 10:30 a.m.-noon: "Heroes or Villains" art workshop for children ages 6-12 to create emblems, masks, finger puppets and cartoons. Led by EIU librarian Jeanne Goble and Charleston artist Karen Reed. Please register by Oct. 29 by calling 345-1514. Sponsored by the Coles County Arts Council. Charleston Carnegie Public Library, 712 Sixth St.
  • 1:30 p.m.: Student Stop Motion Film Premiere, featuring films created in the Oct. 27 workshop. Atrium, Tarble Arts Center.
  • 2 p.m.: "Hoosiers," with introduction by EIU men's basketball coach Jay Spoonhour, a self-described "movie junkie" who co-hosted the "Movie Show" on KFNS radio in St. Louis in the late 1990s. Atrium, Tarble Arts Center.
  • 7 p.m.: "The French Connection," with introduction by Dann Gire, a Charleston High School and EIU graduate who is president and founding director of the Chicago Film Critics Association. The Theatre, Doudna Fine Arts Center.
Chuck Burke Named EIU's 2012 Journalism Alumnus of the Year 10/12/12

Chuck Burke, senior editor/designer and chief typographer at the Chicago Tribune, has been named 2012 Alumnus of the Year by the Eastern Illinois University journalism department.

Burke, a 1998 EIU journalism graduate, is being honored this weekend in conjunction with the university’s homecoming.

Before joining the Tribune, Burke worked in California at the San Jose Mercury News, in northwest Indiana at The Times and in Chicago’s south suburbs at Star Newspapers, a predecessor of the Southtown Star.  He was editor-in-chief of The Daily Eastern News for fall semester 1998.

According to James Tidwell, chair of the EIU journalism department, recipients of the alumni award must:

• be a graduate of EIU with a journalism major or with significant media experience during their collegiate days;

• have attained professional experience and a positive reputation in the field; and

• have continued to support the journalism department or student media programs following graduation.

“Without question, Chuck Burke meets all the criteria,” Tidwell said.  “He has a national reputation in newspaper design circles and has a leadership role in the design, editing and presentation of the Tribune.”

Tidwell also said Burke has returned to campus many times to speak to classes and student groups.

“In Spring 2011, he hosted a half-day workshop in the Tribune newsroom for our Advanced Publication Design class,” Tidwell said.  “The students absolutely loved the experience.  We really appreciate Chuck’s willingness to share his expertise with our students.”

Sally Renaud, chair of the department’s Outreach Committee, said Burke’s commitment to his profession and to sharing it with high school and college-age students has been exceptional.

“He represents our department and our field so well,” she said. “From presenting sessions at high school conferences throughout the state to talks to Eastern’s Student Publications staffs, Chuck has been the perfect ambassador for our department and for journalism.”

EIU Alumni Awards to be Presented During Homecoming 10/11/12

Recipients of the Eastern Illinois University Alumni Association’s 2012 alumni awards will be honored Saturday, Oct. 13, in conjunction with Homecoming activities.

Distinguished Alumni Awards will go to Jack Dadam of Lafayette, Calif.; Christopher Desmond of Glen Ellyn; Jaime Martinez of Naperville; William McNulty of Alexandria, Va.; Jill Nilsen of Charleston; Julie Nimmons of Litchfield; and Kevin Seitzer of Overland Park, Kan.

The Outstanding Young Alumnus Award recipient is Richard Keaton of Pearland, Texas. The Louis V. Hencken Alumni Service Award honoree is Carl Mito of Arlington Heights. The Distinguished Educator Award will be presented to Tim McCollum of Charleston.

For biographies of current and past award winners, please see the Alumni Association website.

Established in 1973, the Distinguished Alumni Award is the most prestigious award bestowed by the Alumni Association. It is presented to individuals who have distinguished themselves in either academic or literary fields, business, public service and/or service to the university, and who, through their accomplishments and service, have brought prestige to their alma mater. Past recipients have included an Illinois governor, Oscar-nominated actors, an NFL head coach, a nuclear physicist, CEOs, educators at all levels and many others.

First presented in 1988, the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award is presented to alumni who are 35 or younger and have excelled in new careers and/or public service.

The Louis V. Hencken Alumni Service Award, established in 1988, is presented to alumni who have repeatedly displayed outstanding voluntary service to the university. In 2007, the name was changed to the Louis V. Hencken Alumni Service Award in honor of Eastern's retiring president, who held a variety of administrative positions at EIU for more than 40 years.

Established in 2004, the Distinguished Educator Award is presented to alumni who have distinguished themselves in the field of K-12 education.

View, Discuss Second Obama-Romney Face-Off at EIU 'Debate Watch' 10/09/12

The Eastern Illinois University Department of Communication Studies will host a viewing and discussion of the nationally televised presidential debate on Tuesday, Oct. 16.

"Debate Watch," a voter-education program that brings citizens together to watch the televised debates and talk about what they learned, will begin at 7:45 p.m. in 1255 Coleman Hall.

The televised debate -- the second debate between President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney -- will be viewed live starting at 8 p.m.

Following the debate, the local audience will discuss their thoughts, with discussion led by EIU communication studies faculty members Marita Gronnvoll and Sara Gronstal. Representatives of the EIU College Democrats and EIU College Republicans have been invited to attend. The goal is not necessarily to pick a winner or a loser, but to become informed citizens and voters.

The event is free and open to the public.

Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences Plans EIU Homecoming Events 10/08/12

The Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences at Eastern Illinois University has planned a few events for its alumni Saturday as part of EIU Homecoming festivities.

  • The School of Business Alumni Homecoming Breakfast is set for 8-9 a.m. in Lumpkin Hall. School of Business alumni and their guests are invited to enjoy a free breakfast, reconnect with faculty and alumni, meet current students, and tour the Lumpkin Hall classrooms and the newly renovated student lounge and building entryways. To RSVP, please email
  • The Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences will host a tent in Tent City, the university's tailgate event prior to the Homecoming football game at O'Brien Stadium. From 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., the tent will offer caramel apples, sweet tea and coffee, as well as give-away items.
  • To celebrate its 100-year anniversary, the School of Family and Consumer Sciences (formerly home economics) invites FCS alumni to ride on the FCS float in the Homecoming Parade. Lineup will begin at 9:30 a.m. Participants are encouraged to RSVP by contacting Felicia Magee at or 217-581-6076.

A full schedule of Homecoming activities is listed at

Community Invited to Help Celebrate EIU Homecoming 10/05/12

EIU Pump Up the Blue Homecoming 2012 LogoEastern Illinois University will celebrate Homecoming 2012, "Pump Up the Blue," with several events incorporating the community throughout the week of Oct. 8.

Of particular community interest are the coronation on Monday; Family Fun Night on Tuesday; and many Saturday events, including the pancake breakfast, 2.5K race, parade and football game.

Throughout the week, Charleston businesses and residents are invited to participate in Paint the Town Blue by offering "Billy's Bucks" food discounts and specials, as well as showing Panther Pride through EIU-themed window displays, marquee signage, yard signs and more.

EIU alumni, students, faculty and staff are invited to enter the Show Me The Blue photo contest with their "Best Individual" and "Best Group" photos of themselves, family or friends wearing EIU blue. To enter, go to Facebook, friend "EI&U Pump Up the Blue 2012" and tag "EI&U Pump Up the Blue 2012" in the photos being submitted. Winners will be chosen daily and featured online throughout EIU Homecoming Week. Prizes will be awarded.

The parade will be broadcast live on WEIU-TV (Your 13 channel on Consolidated Communications cable) and on the WEIU website, (click "Streaming Video").

To view details on all Homecoming events -- as well as download EIU ringtones and desktop wallpaper -- visit the website at

The public is invited to attend the following EIU Homecoming 2012 activities. Events are free unless otherwise noted.

Monday, Oct. 8

  • 7 p.m.: Royal Blue Homecoming Coronation. McAfee Gym South.

Tuesday, Oct. 9

  • 7 p.m.: Family Fun Night, featuring BINGO, refreshments, carnival games, inflatables and prizes for all ages. Grand and University ballrooms, MLK Jr. Union.

Friday, Oct. 12

  • 1 p.m.: Homecoming Golf Outing. $80 per player, with proceeds helping to support EIU student-athletes. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m. For details, see Charleston Country Club.
  • 7 p.m.: Homecoming Pep Rally, Yell Like Hell and Who Wants to be a Mascot? featuring student cheers/chants, dance routines and contests. McAfee Gym South.

 Saturday, Oct. 13

  • 6 a.m.: Rotary All-You-Can-Eat Pancake Breakfast. $6 for adults, $3 for age 10 and younger. Former Domino's Pizza parking lot (northwest corner of Lincoln Avenue and Seventh Street).
  • 9 a.m.: Homecoming 2.5K Race. This 1.5-mile run/walk, sponsored by the EIU Department of Recreation Administration and the City of Charleston, begins at the corner of Lincoln Avenue and Seventh Street. Registration begins at 7:45 a.m.; entry fee is $10, which includes gift pack and refreshments from McDonald's. Awards for top male and female finishers in each category: run, walk and wheelchair. Prize for best full-body costume. Register online at
  • 9:30 a.m.: Homecoming Parade, which will begin at the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Seventh Street, and head north on Seventh Street, west on Monroe Avenue, south on Sixth Street, west on Polk Avenue, south on Division Street, and east on Grant Avenue (aka Panther Way), ending at the tailgate area at O'Brien Stadium.
  • 10:30 a.m.: Billy's Backyard Tailgate, featuring a kids area; free food; inflatable games; live entertainment; giveaways; and Alumni Tent City, where faculty and staff from many departments will visit with alumni and guests. O'Brien Field Tailgate Area.
  • 1:30 p.m.: EIU vs. Jacksonville State football game. $15. O'Brien Field.
  • 6 p.m.: Alumni Awards Dinner, honoring this year's recipients (for the list of honorees, see $25 per person, a portion of which will support the Legacy Scholarship Fund. For tickets, call 581-6616 by Tuesday, Oct. 9. Grand Ballroom, MLK Jr. Union.
  • 10 p.m.: Homecoming Late Night Dance. Sponsored by the Black Student Union and National Pan-Hellenic Council student organizations. $8 for BSU members, $10 for general admission. McAfee Gym.
'EI&U: Expect Greatness' Campaign Exceeds Goal by 27 Percent, Ends Early 09/28/12

Eastern Illinois University's announcement that its "EI&U: Expect Greatness" campaign was ending -- nearly two years early and $13.7 million over goal -- was met with a bang… literally.

 The declaration that the campaign had raised $63,696,747 was followed by a fireworks display near the university's Campus Pond. Celebrants included 300 donors and supporters gathered for a thank-you barbecue, scheduled to coincide with Eastern's 2012 Family Weekend activities.

 The university-wide capital campaign, which publicly began in October 2010, was expected to run through June 2014. It was designed to raise $50 million for student, faculty/staff, program and facility support.

 "We exceeded our goal," said Robert Martin, vice president for university advancement, explaining the decision to officially end the campaign. "People really stepped up right at the beginning.

 "And this," he said, referring to the celebration, "is a way in which we can thank our alumni and donors and show our appreciation for their gifts. We want them to know that we are thankful for their contributions -- from the $1 million donors to the $1 donors."

 Martin said the nearly $64 million total was a result of more than 43,000 individual gifts. He added that the campaign's success was based on relationships "built over a long, long time."

 "These gifts were a great expression of generosity and loyalty by our alumni and friends," he said.

 Approximately $19 million was achieved as a result of 12 regional campaigns and outreach to Eastern alumni from across the country, including New York, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Phoenix and Chicago.

 And, Martin added, approximately one third of the campaign total came from those who made the decision to include Eastern in their final estate plans. "That means a lot to us in that it tells us that our alumni are appreciative of the education they received here at EIU."

 Julie Nimmons, campaign chairman and a 1977 graduate of Eastern, echoed Martin's comments.

 "Throughout the campaign, when calls were made, meetings were held and receptions attended, stories about lives being changed, new beginnings taking place, and life-long lessons learned at Eastern were told," she said. "We heard about alums being the first in their family to attend a university and get a degree. We heard about professors going out of their way to help someone make it through a particularly tough class.

 "We heard about someone in student services helping them find a job so they could stay in school. And, of course, we heard about the social interactions which created relationships that now span many years and, in most cases, many miles in distance between friends, yet remain so important and intact."

 EIU President Bill Perry, who made the final total announcement jointly with Martin and Nimmons, noted his appreciation for all involved.

 "There are so many people to thank for the success of this campaign. Donors, volunteers, faculty and staff who for many years have built such a great EIU experience for so many alumni, our outstanding philanthropy team, and our Campaign Steering Committee are among those to whom we are extremely grateful," he said. "I want to especially thank Vice President Bob Martin and Campaign Steering Committee Chair Julie Nimmons for their roles in the campaign; their leadership was a key factor in our success."

 Although the campaign has officially ended, Martin said the university will continue to accept monetary gifts. "We always take donations," he said, smiling. Especially those in support of those programs that are near and dear to the hearts of our donors."

EIU Alumnus to Discuss His Role in Hurricane Cleanup 09/26/12

Col. Robert Sinkler, an Eastern Illinois University alumnus, will return to his alma mater to discuss, in part, his leadership role in the reconstruction of the New Orleans levee system in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.

His presentation, “Solving the Nation’s Toughest Geology and Geography Problems,” will be presented at 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28, in Phipps Lecture Hall, Physical Sciences Building.  It will be followed at 5 with a reception.

The free event is open to all those with interest.

Upon his graduation from EIU in 1983 with a degree in geology, Sinkler received a commission with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  Since then, he has furthered both his career and his education.

He earned several post-baccalaureate degrees, including a master's degree in UGeographic Information Systems from Kansas State University, a master's degree in administration from Central Michigan University, a master's degree in military art and science from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and a master's degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College.

Sinkler has also worked on the “other side of the podium” as a faculty member of the U.S. Army Engineer School.

In more recent years, he has been named to top positions in the Army Corps of Engineers.  In 2006, Sinkler became commander of the Corps’ Rock Island Office which boasts 950 employees and handles work in a five-state portion of the U.S. Midwest.

In 2009, he was designated the leader of the Hurricane Protection Office, and charged with oversight of a multi-billion dollar project designed to reduce the risk of storm damage in the greater New Orleans area.

Presently, Sinkler is stationed at the Pentagon and is the Department of the Army’s chief of environmental programs in the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management.

His presentation is being sponsored by EIU’s Department of Geography/Geology.

EIU's Athletic Training Education Program Approved for Reaccreditation 09/24/12

Eastern Illinois University’s Athletic Training Education Program has once again been recognized for its high quality by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education.

The CAATE voted to award continuing accreditation to the program following a comprehensive evaluation, including a self-study and on-site visit.

According to the final report from the CAATE, Eastern’s program “has met all of the nationally recognized standards for entry-level athletic training education that were established with support of the following sponsoring organizations:  the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine and the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Inc.”

Particular strengths of the program as identified by the site visit team include the involvement and support of Dr. Sheila Baker, medical director, and EIU Health Service; the number and diversity of affiliated clinical sites; teamwork/cooperation between the academic athletic training and athletic department athletic training staff members; and the support of Eastern’s upper administration.

“The Athletic Training Education Program developed strong partnerships across campus, as well as with area schools and health care facilities,” said Diane Jackman, dean of EIU’s College of Education and Professional Studies.  “Our faculty, staff and partners spent many long hours preparing for a site visit by two CAATE representatives.  We knew that our athletic training program was very strong and met all of the CAATE standards, and it was wonderful to have that validated by CAATE.”

Eastern’s Athletic Training Education Program was initially accredited in 1994.

Certified athletic trainers are most often the staff members who arrive on the scene first when a sports injury occurs.  They are health care professionals who specialize in preventing, recognizing, managing and rehabilitating injuries that result from physical activity.

As part of a complete health care team, the certified athletic trainer works under the direction of a licensed physician and in cooperation with other health care professionals, athletics administrators, coaches and parents.  Athletic trainers have been recognized by the American Medical Association as an allied health care profession since 1990.

Eastern’s reaccreditation is valid for 10 years, with the next comprehensive review scheduled to occur during the 2021-2022 school year.

Donated Van Allows Peace Meal Funding to Stay Focused on Meals 09/21/12
Shown, from left to right, are Alex Feliciano; Rene Hutchinson; Roger Kratochvil, chair, EIU Board of Trustees; Barbra Wylie; and EIU President Bill Perry.

Less money spent on vehicle repair means more money to spend directly on meals for those who need them.

That’s the bottom line for Barbra Wylie, director of Eastern Illinois University’s Peace Meal Senior Nutrition Program, who gratefully accepted a “gently used” van donated by Allstate Insurance Company.  Prior to being delivered to the EIU campus, the 2006 Kia Sedona was refurbished to “like new” condition by Sterling Autobody of East Dundee as a part of the Recycled Rides Program.

Recycled Rides is a national community service project whereby members of the National Auto Body Council repair and donate vehicles to families and service organizations in need.  The program recruits repairers, insurers, paint suppliers, parts vendors and others, “to contribute in their own, yet synergistic ways,” to mobilize those in need.

The program benefits, among others, low-income families, military families and organizations in need, victims of domestic violence, service organizations in need, people with medical needs and victims of natural disasters.

Allstate and Sterling teamed up with Recycled Rides six years ago and, to date, have gifted more than 100 vehicles to local charities and families across the country.

The gift to Eastern was triggered by Rene Hutchinson, a 25-year employee of Allstate and EIU alumnus who also serves on EIU’s Board of Trustees.  He, along with Alex Feliciano, regional director for Sterling Autobody Centers, were the guests of honor at Friday’s official presentation.

“Sterling is extremely proud to be part of the Recycled Rides program,” Feliciano said.  “We believe it’s important to give back to our local communities, and Recycled Rides allows our employees to use their time and talents to make a significant difference in the lives of many.”

Peace Meal Senior Nutrition serves between 1,400 and 1,500 meals a day, Monday through Friday, to eligible individuals in 14 east-central Illinois counties – Champaign, Coles, Clark, Cumberland, Dewitt, Douglas, Edgar, Ford, Iroquois, Livingston, McLean, Moultrie, Piatt and Shelby.

The suggested donation for meals is $3.50; however, no one is refused service for inability to contribute a donation toward a meal.  While targeted populations include the most at-risk senior citizens, the program seeks to serve all seniors who are in need of nutritional support with a focus on those who are low income, live alone, and who are a minority or female head of a household.

Central Peace Meal kitchens are located in Bloomington, Mattoon, Oakland, Rantoul and Toledo.  According to Wylie, the newly acquired van will be based out of one of those central kitchens and serve three counties.

“We’re so appreciative of this gift,” she said.  “We were at the point of having to have one of our older vehicles fixed all the time.  And that, of course, was costing money that could be better spent on food and other needed supplies.

“It’s nice to be able to have a safer, more reliable vehicle out on the road,” she added.

Smith Walbridge Agrees to Five More Years at EIU 09/19/12

A “great campus” helped influence Smith Walbridge’s decision to extend its relationship with Eastern Illinois University for another five years.

“A major issue for us has always been space,” said Barry Houser, director of the Marching Illini at the University of Illinois and director of the Smith Walbridge Clinics.  “By the nature of our camps, we need access to what would be the equivalent of seven football fields.  Eastern, with all of its green space, provides that to us.”

Founded in 1949, Smith Walbridge was the first camp in the United States to specialize in instruction related to various marching band activities.  Intended at first as a baton twirling school, the then-Syracuse, Ind.-based camp soon grew to include programs for majorettes, drill teams, cheerleaders, color guards and marching/concert bands.

In 1990, the clinics were moved to the University of Illinois.  In 2000, they were moved again -- this time to the EIU campus -- where they continue to flourish today.  Clinics currently include sessions for drum majors, color guards, marching percussion, marching bands, student leaders, marching band directors, drill designers and mace/signal batons.  More than 1,000 students from across the country, including 27 states, are represented each summer.

 Houser said that in addition to actual “work” space, Smith Walbridge appreciates the fact that its campers can be housed directly on the Charleston campus which, he added, is a “safe environment.”

Mark Hudson, director of Housing and Dining Services at EIU, said that Smith Walbridge “signed their last contract with us five years ago and this year they could decide if they wanted to pick up another five years.

“And they did so, without hesitation, even though they were heavily recruited by other campuses,” he added.

Calling it “the premiere band camp in the country,” Dan Nadler, vice president for student affairs, said he appreciated Smith Walbridge’s continued trust in EIU.

The camps are customarily held at Eastern for three weeks each July.

“I’m happy that we can offer Smith Walbridge the facilities they want and need for their summer activities,” Nadler said.

EIU Conference to Address Strategies for Eliminating Bullying 09/07/12

Eastern Illinois University is taking a lead in the fight against bullying.

“It’s become an issue more and more for schools to address,” said Melanie Mills, assistant chair of the “Beyond Awareness:  Strategies to Eliminate Bullying” conference, set to take place on the Charleston campus on Friday, Oct. 5.  Hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

"Our event is, by design, geared primarily toward supporting K through 12 educators from throughout the state and education students,” Mills added.  “We want to address bullying and work toward its elimination by connecting people in our communities on the topic.”

The conference is a product of EIU’s Bridging Voices in Our Community project, which serves as a catalyst to help educate and equip learning communities in the area of bullying prevention.  Mills, along with BVC Chair Mildred Pearson, received a 2012 Faculty Development Partnership Grant and also Redden Grants to help support the event.  These grants, coupled with additional support from other sponsors, are enabling the university to offer the conference free of charge to participants.

Organizers expect 350 teachers, community members and interested students to attend the conference, and that even more teachers will participate via Skype.

The event has nationally recognized experts, along with several local speakers, scheduled to talk as part of the program.  Jennifer Roscoe, WCIA-TV’s “Beyond Bullying” spokesperson, will kick off the event, and will introduce the conference’s keynote speaker Dorothy Espelage, professor of educational psychology, University of Illinois.

Other speakers will include Justin Patchin, associate professor and co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center at the University of Wisconsin Eau Clair, and a host of participants from EIU and the surrounding area.

The conference will conclude with a panel discussion, featuring Eastern students speaking out about their own bullying experiences, including tales of “being the bully to the pain of being the victim of bullying.”

A complete list of speakers, short bios and subject topics, as well as an online registration form -- can be found at the conference’s website.

“This conference will serve as a time for learning communities to unite and promote bullying intervention,” Mills said.  “We are asking administrators, teachers, coaches and other school personnel to join us from around the four corners of the state in becoming a ‘human bridge’ as we come together and serve as voices against bullying.”

Phone 217-581-5728 or email for information.

An Evening with REO Speedwagon: Tickets on Sale to Public Sept. 10 09/06/12

Tickets for the Sept. 29 Family Weekend performance of REO Speedwagon will go on sale to the general public on Monday, Sept. 10.

The band will perform at 8 p.m. in Lantz Arena.  Tickets are $27 each, and may be purchased between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, at the MLK Jr. Union Ticket Office, located on the second floor of the west wing.  For phone orders, call 217-581-3616/581-5122.  Visa and Mastercard are accepted.  All seats reserved.

Fronted by iconic vocalist Kevin Cronin since 1972, members of REO Speedwagon began by riding in station wagons, going from tiny gigs to even tinier gigs, just to get their name out.  Later, they rode the top of the charts with 22 million albums sold in the U.S. and 40 million around the globe, with a string of gold and platinum records and international hit singles.

REO Speedwagon has that Midwest work ethic.  The band has gone onstage and in the studio and done the work -- dozens of albums, hundreds of concerts and infinite radio spins.  Not a year has gone by where REO Speedwagon didn’t perform live, thrilling fans with hits like “Keep On Loving You” and “Can’t Fight This Feeling.”

Enrollment Off Slightly as Expected; Aggressive Recruitment, Marketing Planned 09/05/12

Enrollments took a dip as expected this year at Eastern Illinois University, but the institution has already launched a new enrollment management effort designed to reverse the trend.

 “There were a number of factors that combined to hurt our enrollments this year,” said Blair Lord, provost and vice president for academic affairs.  “And, while it will take a little while to reverse the trends, we are confident that we’re moving in the right direction.”

 Chief among the problems facing EIU, according to Lord, was a tough economy coupled with a decrease in state financial aid.

While EIU has little control over what happens outside its campus, university officials are optimistic that steps they are taking internally will help “reverse the momentum and put us back on a positive trend,” he said.

 “We are in the process of creating a Strategic Enrollment Management plan which will help us identify, market to and recruit the student body best matched to EIU.

“In the coming year, you will see a much more aggressive marketing and recruiting effort -- an effort which will involve everyone in the university.  We know that Eastern is a special place, but we need to work much harder to tell our story and bring potential students to Charleston.”

Current enrollment numbers reflect a Fall 2012 on-campus enrollment of 9,255 and an off-campus count of 1,162 for a total of 10,417.  A year ago, the number of students taking on- and off-campus classes was 10,036 and 1,142, respectively, for a total enrollment of 11,178.

A breakdown of Eastern’s 8,975 undergraduate students (down from 9,657 last year) is as follows (with Fall 2011 figures in parentheses):  freshmen, 1,941 (2,114); sophomores, 1,694 (1,814); juniors, 2,229 (2,431); and seniors, 3,111 (3,298).  The number of new transfer students dropped from 1,150 in Fall 2011 to 1,029.

Graduate students number 1,442, a decrease from last year’s 1,521.  Female students again outnumber male students – 6,199 to 4,218.

EIU officials report that minority student enrollment continues to climb, with minority students now making up 21.71 percent of total enrollment, up from 19.05 percent in 2011.

Numbers reflect the following:  black, 1,580; Hispanic, 399; Asian, 94; American Indian/Alaskan Native, 27; Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, 9; and those listing two or more races, 153.

In addition, the number of international students attending the university stands at 152, a slight increase from 149 in Fall 2011.

According to Lord, overall enrollment in Illinois colleges and universities has declined as families struggle to pay for their children’s education.  College costs have continued to increase, even as Illinois families’ income decreases.  Tuition increased 21 percent at community colleges and 57 percent at universities from FY02 to FY11.  During the same time, family income decreased by 15 percent.

Need-based aid has decreased, as well.  Illinois Monetary Assistance Program (MAP) grants, in particular, decreased by 21 percent since FY02.  As the state’s financial situation continues to worsen, MAP funds lower percentages of students’ costs, and more students are applying for aid than the program can serve.  In 2011, thousands of eligible students did not receive aid because unprecedented demand required the Illinois Student Assistance Commission to -- once again -- suspend the program early.

Furthermore, the largest enrollment decreases have been at the community college level, significant to EIU since 40 percent of its students are transfer students.

‘In addition,” Lord added, “we are facing a five-year period in which there are fewer high school graduates.  That is a national trend and it is the first time that has happened in the nation's history.

“This means we are facing the toughest competition for students in our history.  There are 181 colleges and universities in Illinois alone and we're all competing for a smaller pool of potential students.”

According to Lord, EIU has a systematic plan in place to increase enrollment in Fall 2013.  Its linchpins, he said, “are strategic marketing, recruiting and financial aid,” and it’s based on “university-wide collaboration and participation, the effective use of cutting-edge technology, and assessment and accountability.

“In the end, we will benefit from passing through this difficult period with better recruiting processes and -- with a little time -- growing enrollments,” he added.

EIU President Bill Perry Addresses Faculty 08/30/12

Good afternoon. Thank you for the opportunity to make a few remarks today on the coming year, and then some.

First and foremost, thank you for your dedicated teaching, scholarly work, and service to the university. Consistent with our strategic plan and true to our history, you uphold academic excellence and build personal relationships with our students through mentoring undergraduate and graduate research, supervising study abroad, preparing students for national competitions, encouraging community service, and holding high standards for performance in your classes.

Second, but just as important as the first, welcome to our new faculty, some of whom I was privileged to meet during new faculty orientation. We welcome you to our community of scholars, faculty and students alike, and look forward to the intellectual vitality and energy you bring to the table.

As always, I am pleased with our ability to attract new faculty whose academic backgrounds include the finest universities in the nation.

EIU has achieved much over the past several years, and is poised to achieve more. To do so, we will have to meet some challenges, two of which I will mention later in my remarks.

First, regarding the past, EIU has strengthened the quality of its programs, and through many actions, including the first choice graduate program initiative, the integrated learning initiative, completion of a campus master plan, and completion of a strategic plan, set the stage for continued advancement of academic excellence. In 2011, our strategic plan process in the early stages allowed us to take stock of the many accomplishments of the university. Then, recognizing our capabilities and assessing the environment we operate in, we focused on a few very important themes for the progress of the university. The resulting strategic plan, approved by the Board of Trustees this past spring, provides guidance for our future actions. The main themes of the strategic plan center on academic excellence, financial sustainability, emerging technologies, global competition and changing demographics, marketing and communication, and campus and community life. We have already taken actions on some plan recommendations. You can check progress on the EIU website.

Since the strategic plan is so important to us, I want to make a few observations about recent events and how they are connected to our strategic plan themes.

Academic Excellence. By National Science Foundation study, we are in the top 5 percent of comprehensive universities whose students go on to complete doctoral degrees. Our faculty and staff continue to gain recognition through publications, awards, and grants. In the last budget cycle, the state’s adopted performance model had us performing second of the 12 public campuses. We continue to move forward on the renovations to the old Textbook Rental Center to enable us to move the Honors College onto the North Quad. We plan to break ground this year for a building next to our Renewable Energy Center to support our Center for Clean Energy Research and Education. This last project is partially funded from private sources. Our publishing scholars reception is scheduled for this fall. I always look forward to this event to become more familiar with our faculty’s scholarly work. Our alumni satisfaction remains high: 99 percent after seven years. That is due to a team effort that has your teaching at the core of the student experience.

Financial Sustainability. Our comprehensive Campaign for Eastern surpassed the $50 million goal two years early and now, eight months later, we are at $58 million in gifts, pledges, and planned gifts. EIU’s faculty and staff participated in the campaign at a 40 percent rate this past year—extremely strong participation for any university. We will celebrate the campaign success on September 28. Initiatives we have underway are focused on increasing enrollment, since more and more of our financial resources are dependent on overall tuition revenue. I will give some details later in my remarks. Through careful and conservative budgeting, we continue to improve our cash flow management related to delayed state payments of general revenue appropriations.

Campus and Community Life.  Jumpstart 2 Give had all of our new students in many communities in our region completing service projects, and on campus completing projects for organizations in need of many helping hands. For the projects I visited, the students were excited to be making a difference in the community. By the way, last year, almost 8,000 of our students completed more than 110,000 hours of community service—doubling our efforts from only four years ago. EIU was listed in the United States Presidents National Honor Roll for community service. By being in the Princeton Review’s Green Campuses listing, we are in the top 10 percent of campuses in the U.S. The Arbor Day Foundation has granted us Tree Campus designation, one of 150 or so such campuses across the country. We continue to upgrade sidewalks, residence halls and grounds. We have been able to complete some waterproofing, tuck pointing, and other infrastructure projects in support of our library and academic structures.

In addition to these developments, we are off to a good start this academic year. Move-in went extremely well, and the students and parents with whom I have visited are excited to be part of EIU. I received many compliments regarding our students, faculty and staff who assisted in the transition to campus.  Eastern Reads was again a success with the choice of this year’s book, "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks." From the shared email comments of the many facilitators, it is clear that we have an engaged group of new students at EIU. Many facilitators said this was their best Eastern Reads experience from the standpoint of student participation.  By all accounts, the first week-and-a-half of classes have gone very smoothly.

Thus we have many positive developments at EIU.

Now, I have a colleague from a former life who, from time to time, would say, “Perry, remember, for every silver lining there is a cloud.”

There are two clouds to mention today. These clouds are not unique to EIU, but they are clouds that we must deal with.

Cloud number one is state support for higher education. State support has declined and will likely continue to decline, through reduced appropriations, or mandating assumption of normal costs of pensions by campuses, or both. We work hard to make our case in Springfield, doing everything possible to showcase our performance and impact on the goals of the Illinois Public Agenda for College and Career Success. Our fiscal year 2013 state appropriation is 6.1 percent less than our 2012 state appropriation—a nearly three million dollar reduction. We are gradually being asked to continue to provide an outstanding educational experience with fewer funds from the state. We are in my opinion being forced to operate in the future as a public/private hybrid university.

In addition to the decrease in appropriations, as you all know, the state is also considering changes to the pension plans of university employees and shifting the normal pension costs from the state to the individual university campuses.  Rather than get into too many details today, I will just say that our consistent position with respect to pension reform has been that a “deal is a deal” and the state should honor the individual contracts our employees entered into with respect to pensions. I will also say that as a university we, along with the other public universities, have been open to assuming some of the normal costs of our pensions with our appropriated funds, provided:

  1. Our future general revenue appropriations be no less than the FY12 level, and
  2. Our employees not be required to forfeit individual benefits.

Regrettably, the political process led to drafted legislation mandating universities assuming normal costs, but not supporting a floor for appropriations and forcing loss of benefits to our employees. The legislation has not passed, but is still in play.

We will continue to press our position. We have established a website to track the pension reform matter. To access this website, go to and click on pension news.

Cloud number two--Enrollment. Our overall enrollment has declined. How are we dealing with this, and how will we continue to work on enrollment?

This past year, during the second half of the admissions cycle, working with consultants we implemented some analytical tools to maximize the impact of financial aid, offered tiered merit scholarships to students with ACT scores above our mean, and offered targeted waivers under our panther promise program. The good news is that the yield rates from those programs were strong. Our job this admissions cycle is to generate more undergraduate applicants in those categories. As the recession wears on, financial aid is becoming more and more important to recruited students and our continuing students.

For the recruitment of undergraduate students entering in Fall 2013, that is, for this admissions cycle, we have in place an Undergraduate Recruitment Plan based on our experience this past spring and what we have learned from the consultants. This will be shared with Faculty Senate and other groups on campus during this fall. The plan has several goals, but here are four in particular:

  1. Improve the overall academic profile of entering freshmen. (Academic Excellence)
  2. Increase the number of new Honors students by 15 percent over Fall 2012. (Academic Excellence)
  3. Increase the number of new freshmen by 10 percent over Fall 2012. (Financial Sustainability)
  4. Increase the number of new transfer students by 15 percent over Fall 2012. (Financial Sustainability)

I would also note that undergraduate enrollment is up in some majors: Communication Disorders and Sciences, Engineering/Engineering Physics, Health Studies, General Studies, Organizational and Professional Development, Nursing, Health Studies, and Kinesiology and Sports Studies. Where there is room for more growth in some of these areas, we must pursue those student markets, as well as shore up other areas where demand has fallen.

Enrollment depends also on graduate enrollment. I believe we have room to grow in this area. The Graduate School has been working with departments in this sector of enrollment. I encourage extra effort in this area by the departments.

Enrollment depends on more than student recruitment. It depends on student retention. I urge your participation in our Early Alert system. It is an automated way for you to notify EIU colleagues when a student is falling behind in your classes. When you use it, the EIU village goes into action to assist the student and get him or her back on track. It is a system that works and should be used to its maximum effect.

Going into the future, guided by the principles of our strategic plan, we will be reshaping the university to respond to our environment. As we operate more like a private university, the revenue we generate will depend more and more on enrollment. That is our future. Everyone on campus benefits from strong enrollment. That means each one of us has a stake in and will have some measure of responsibility in enrollment.

In addition to our specific recruiting plan for undergraduate students entering in Fall 2013, we are developing a broader strategic enrollment plan by means of a Strategic Enrollment Planning Committee to begin meeting this fall. It will involve a faculty representative. You will hear more on this later in the semester.

I believe higher education in Illinois will have to change rapidly over the next five years because of many factors, a major one being the decrease in state support for public universities. I believe EIU needs to deeply consider how we are shaped and how we will respond to the many forces upon us, while remaining true to our mission.

As we make these deep and detailed considerations, I think we should heed the words of the philosopher Rollo May, writing in "The Courage to Create," (W.W. Norton and Company, New York, 1975): “Shall we, as we feel our foundations shaking, withdraw in anxiety and panic? Frightened by our loss of familiar moving places, shall we become paralyzed and cover our inaction with apathy? If we do those things we will have surrendered our chance to participate in the forming of the future. We will have forfeited the distinctive characteristic of human beings—namely to influence our evolution through our awareness.”[pp. 11-12]. May also says that creativity in its authentic form is the “process of bringing something new into being.”[p. 39]. We, at this time, have to create new ways for our university to function and achieve its mission. Following May, this means we will have to experience a genuine and “intense encounter” [pp. 44-54] with our world and our situation in it.

The coming year and those following will be years of encounter and creation—we will certainly have to grapple with many significant issues. These must be years of creativity as we build upon the past to reshape the university. I believe we are capable of the encounter with the tides of change coming our way, and already upon us. This university has met many challenges and created opportunities before: World Wars, the Great Depression, Recessions, the effects of the GI Bill, high school population growth, a (now long past) time of growing state support, environmental responsibility, and others. We were chartered in 1895 as Eastern Illinois State Normal School. In 1921, we became Eastern Illinois State Teachers College and evolved to Eastern Illinois State College in 1947. A short 10 years later, we became Eastern Illinois University. Now some 55 years later we have matured and grown in our role as a comprehensive state university. Through these many years, EIU has always responded and reshaped because of the will, spirit, and hard work of its family of faculty, staff, students, and alumni. EIU will respond now, as well, and because we do have the collective courage to create, we will emerge stronger than ever, fulfilling our mission, and becoming the premier comprehensive university we desire to be.

In closing, thank you once again for committing yourself to the highest ideals of our profession, and for the excellent work you have done and continue to do for EIU. I look forward to serving the university with you as we expect greatness of ourselves, our students, and each other. Best wishes for a very successful year.

Remarks to the Faculty from Blair Lord, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs 08/30/12

While we are well into our second week, basically an eighth of the way through the semester, I believe it is still appropriate to say welcome back!  We have had a very smooth start made possible because of the hard work of you and your faculty and staff colleagues.  Thank you!

My stated function this afternoon is to introduce the president for his annual address.  Starting my 12th year as provost, I’m going to take advantage of having the mike for a few moments and offer a couple of provostial observations. (Well, at least they will be from the provost, if not provostial.)

As a well-seasoned Eastern provost at this point, I like to brag about the quality of the educational experience you make possible.  I know that we deliver an even better educational product now than when I arrived.  Eastern has raised its game because you have raised yours.

As you probably know, our freshly minted Strategic Plan has as the first of its six planks, Academic Excellence.  I am pleased, although not surprised, at the prominence given academic excellence and know that the work on past goals has promoted this.  Specifically, we have made progress on the goals I shared six years ago:

•  Being a showcase for teaching and learning at a regional comprehensive university.

•  Having the most active and highly regarded student research/student scholarship program of any Illinois public comprehensive university.

•  Having each degree program identified as the “first choice” program for students considering that major at an Illinois public comprehensive university.

•  Being known as the university of choice for Honors College/Programming among the state’s public comprehensive universities.

•  Having the highest student participation rate in Study Abroad of the state’s public comprehensive universities.  (This has been achieved.)

More recently we have used the concept of Integrative Learning, an intentional holistic view of learning, to promote academic excellence.  This, of course, speaks not only to the intellectual development of our students but also to their personal development as engaged citizens, as well.

Finally, last year, I rolled out my revisionist take of the old "Three Rs" of education.  They are still fully relevant for us, but I’m going to reverse their order now.  As the chief academic officer committed to advancing academic excellence, “Rigor” needs to top the list.  I am very aware that the Academic Excellence plank seeks the proverbial “more better students,” and this is a worthy goal on which we are working very hard.  Eastern, however, always has been and will continue to be an institution of opportunity and access.  We do not get vast numbers of students who can garner admission to the small group of designer-label, elite institutions.  Rigor, however, must apply fully to the students we have.  To deliver on the promise of higher education, demands rigor.  AAC&U has framed the challenge before all of higher education, not just Eastern, as the challenge of making excellence inclusive -- that is, assuring that all the students invited into higher education are given the opportunity to achieve excellence.  In this framing, “excellence will be determined by high expectations coupled with high support, high hands-on practice and a very high degree of faculty and staff collaboration to assure an intentional educational experience."  For the students of today, we must never abandon high expectations.  It also is true that merely imposing high expectations without the other pieces will not be sufficient for any students.  It strikes me, however, that when Eastern is referred to as a superior teaching institution committed to the success of its students, and we are often referred to in this way, it is because we have always connected high expectations with the other pieces of support.

Certainly, many students today, here and elsewhere, do not understand the concept of rigor and how to achieve academic excellence.  Dean Irwin shared with me P.M. Forni’s book "The Thinking Life," which suggests that we need to help today’s students understand that reading is not the same as studying… that studying requires reflection upon what is being read to understand and retain… that grades are a by-product of good work, not the primary goal… and finally, that students should be thinking about how their courses link to their other experiences and how this prepares them for life.  I would submit that such intentional reflection, a key element in the Integrative Learning equation, is rigor itself.

The second R, of course, is Retention.  We retain students at rates that are equivalent to the retention rates for institutions in next higher tier of selectivity.  Our Noel-Levitz consultants reflected that we do very well at retaining our students.  Nevertheless, while keeping students enrolled is advantageous in a business sense, our real objective is to retain students so that they can meet their educational goals.  The President has set a high bar here which we need to continue to strive to attain.  If I can pry Dr. Herrington-Perry away from her recruitment duties, I know she wants to devote some serious time to working on retention issues.

The last R, of course, is Recruitment, and rather than say anything more about this, I will use it as a segue to introduce President Perry because I know he will have some things to say on this topic.

I look forward to a terrific year – again.  Thank you for all you do.

Now it is my pleasure and honor to introduce President Perry to deliver his annual address to you.  While I am starting my 12th year, Dr. Perry has commenced his sixth.  There have been many noteworthy achievements during his years of leadership including, of course, the soon-to-be-celebrated success of our Capital Campaign.  He has an agile, inquiring mind and loads of ideas – almost daily!  Without further adieu, the 10th President of Eastern Illinois University, Dr. William “Bill” Perry.

New HR Director Seeks to Make EIU 'Employer of Choice' 08/23/12

Eastern Illinois University’s newly hired Human Resources director operates via a “rallying motto.”

"I want EIU to be an employer of choice,” said Richard Enyard.

He acknowledges that with such designation comes much responsibility:  Competitive wages and benefits, exemplary customer service, fair and equal treatment, professional growth opportunities and challenges, excellent cooperation between colleagues, a diverse work environment, and the consistent application of all policies and procedures.

“I’m an idealistic person,” Enyard continued.  “If I firmly believe in something, I’ll try to make it happen.  I believe we can always look for ways to improve.”

As HR director, Enyard manages the Benefits Services, Classification/Compensations, Employment/Examinations, Training and Development, and Workers’ Compensation offices of Human Resources.  He also serves as the university’s Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator.

With more than 1,900 full- and part-time employees, not including student employees, Eastern is the largest employer in Coles County.

This won’t be Enyard’s first venture as director of human resources for a state agency.  In addition to his most recent position, serving Stephens College in Columbia, Mo., he served nearly 10 years (1998-2007) as HR director for the Missouri Department of Corrections, which employed 12,000 people.  Although that job was based in Jefferson City, Enyard traveled the state, visiting approximately 20 different prisons, 100 parole offices and two release centers on a regular basis.

In addition to his success in increasing the retention rate of employees in that department (especially given that the state of Missouri invested so much money into the training of its corrections staff, only to see them leave for other jobs), Enyard is most proud of his work in resolving grievances, enhancing diversity recruitment efforts and establishing effective working relationships.

Enyard also lists the establishment of a “meaningful” employee recognition program at Stephens College in his credits, as well as cost reduction initiatives.

William Weber, EIU’s vice president for business affairs, welcomed Enyard, saying he appreciated the skill set that the new director brings to Eastern.

“I’m pleased that Dr. Enyard has joined us, and I expect that his skills in reviewing and improving business processes will certainly be of value to us,” Weber said.  “His experience in compensation analysis will also be of benefit to the EIU community.”

In addition to his work with Stephens College and the Missouri Department of Corrections, Enyard has owned and operated his own human resources consulting firm.  He previously served as coordinator of employee relations at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, and as assistant to the vice president for minority affairs and faculty development at the University of Missouri (Columbia), his alma mater.

He received his bachelor’s degree in educational studies counseling services, his master’s degree in education counseling and personnel services, and a doctorate in higher and adult education/foundation administration.

Enyard indicated that he is happy to be on the EIU campus and looks forward to meeting and working with the university community.

From Examining Room to Classroom: Stowell Says 'No Regrets' 08/13/12

As a young man, Jeffrey Stowell imagined himself treating aches, pains and broken bones.  Instead, years later, he finds himself teaching.

“I don’t think I could have been nearly as happy as a doctor as I am in the classroom,” he said.  “I have no regrets.”

Stowell’s talent and enthusiasm as a professor, coupled with his excitement for learning overall, are why his colleagues first nominated him as Eastern Illinois University’s 2012-2013 Faculty Laureate.  This recognition – bestowed upon him by the Council on Academic Affairs – will allow him to spend the coming year as the university’s official spokesperson on the importance of a general/liberal education.

His first opportunity will take place at 9 a.m. Friday, Aug. 17, when Stowell delivers the keynote address at this year’s convocation, a welcoming ceremony for incoming students.

The plan, he says, is to offer his audience a condensed version of what he terms “the last lecture.”

“I reserve time at the end of each semester in my courses to share nine things that college students should know about life that aren’t found in a psychology textbook,” he said.  “One of these insights just might be the missing piece that students need to make their education complete.”

He cited examples:  “It’s not what you earn; it’s what you spend.”  “Don’t wait to be happy.”  And, “you’ll be the same person you are now unless you change.”

As an Oregon farm boy, “I had not planned on psychology or teaching,” Stowell recalled.  “But after I didn’t get in to medical school, I applied for the master’s program in psychology (at Brigham Young University).  And I found that I felt very comfortable with the people in the program.  I felt that I fit in very well.”

And, he added, as he considered entering academia, he realized teaching, too, could lead to a career conducive to raising a family – especially when he and his wife, Missy, already had three children.  (Three more soon followed!)

Shortly after receiving his doctorate from The Ohio State University, Stowell began teaching in Eastern’s Department of Psychology.  And in his 12 years of teaching, he’s been content to teach introductory psychology courses (including honors sections), as well as advanced courses in his specialty.

“The intro class is a pretty popular (general education) class,” Stowell said.  “I think a lot of students, regardless of their major, are interested in human behavior, including their own.”

Typically, he continued, a psychology major requires fewer hours of coursework than some other majors.  “That allows a lot of flexibility in their coursework,” Stowell added.

So unless (or even if) a student elects to pursue an accompanying minor, Stowell has a suggestion for all undergraduates:  “You’re probably only going to be in college once.  Look through the catalog and find a class you think you might have an interest in.  Then take it.  This may be your last chance.”

He recalled his own undergraduate years, during which he took courses to keep active and learn new skills.

“I took snow skiing, canoeing, social dance classes…  that sort of thing.  And I enjoyed the opportunity to have those experiences,” Stowell said.

He added that he appreciated school overall, and continues to pursue learning for his own betterment.  He has a sign hanging in his office that seems to say it all:

“Blessed are they who go to college and never get out for they shall be called professors.”

Iconic Old Oak Tree on EIU Campus to Continue as a 'Giving Tree' 06/29/12

Eastern Illinois University President Bill Perry has issued a reprieve for the giant sentry which has stood guard over the campus “castle” since it was built more than a century ago.

For decades, a huge bur oak tree – estimated now to be 300 years old as evidenced by its 61-inch-wide trunk – has provided shade and shelter to students at work, at play and in love.  On warm spring days, entire classes have listened to lectures underneath its leafy branches.  Hundreds of homecoming courts, floats and bands have gathered near it, readying themselves for participation in the annual fall parades.

Romances have blossomed; friendships have flourished.  The tree is as much a fixture on campus as nearby Old Main, EIU’s administration building.

It’s no wonder, then, that hearts are already broken by the imminent demise of the stately tree.

“Retirement is inevitable,” said David Crockett, associate director with EIU’s Facilities Planning and Management.  “A significant part of the tree is already dead and will not come back.  It might last another year or it might last 10 more years.  We just can’t predict.”

Experts concur that a lightning strike nearly 10 years ago probably initiated the oak tree’s decline.  A huge scar running down the tree’s east side is a lingering reminder of that fateful day.

“Someone who saw that lightning strike said the ground shook around the tree.  So it might have hurt the root system,” Crockett said.  He noted that specialists have confirmed the unwanted presence of fungal growth on the roots.

The tree’s condition is so bad, in fact, that EIU’s administration struggled with the decision as to whether it needed to be felled completely.  Campus safety was a primary concern.

But in the end…

“The president has said, ‘Let’s not give up on it.  It has served us since the campus was built,’” Crockett said.

The reprieve is not without conditions.  Work will begin in July to drastically trim the tree in order to make it safe for the campus community.  While the branches on the west side of the tree are leafy and green, the branches on the east side are bare, brown and sickly looking.  And potentially dangerous should the damaged branches begin breaking off.

“The tree naturally balances itself,” Crockett said.  “If we take off the old, dead limbs alone, that would create abnormal stress on the trunk, and that would make the situation even worse.  So we need to balance the tree.”

The plan is to remove all limbs, living and dead, less than six inches in diameter.

“All the thin stuff comes off,” Crockett said.  “It should then be able to withstand any winter storms or high winds that might come its way.”

In addition, crews will install some kind of fencing –“nothing too elaborate, nothing too gaudy,” Crockett said – and remove the picnic table that has been a fixture under the tree for years.

In the meantime, efforts are also being made to ensure that the tree lives, and gives, on – in one form or another, including through academics.  The oak is, of course, an integral part of a university campus.

Henry Owen, EIU professor of biological sciences, is attempting to clone the bur oak – a process he says would produce individual plants that are genetically identical to the parent plant.

"Seed propagation, by contrast, would result in genetic variability in the offspring,” he said.

An earlier cloning attempt, made in Spring 2012, was unsuccessful.  Owen attempted the process with stems collected by EIU Grounds Superintendent Justin Perry.  Altogether, there were 72 cultures; however, none of them “took.”

“It’s going to be a tougher problem than we originally thought,” Owen said.  Because of the age of the tree and the particular “woodiness” of the material, it “harbors a lot of critters.  The surface was too overgrown from contaminants,” he added.

Owen said the key will be to see what can be done about getting the bacteria/fungi off the samples without killing the plant.  The next effort will begin in the fall, when Owen plans to enlist a couple of biological sciences students interested in undergraduate research to help.  They should have some idea by late fall or early spring as to whether their efforts are successful.

While cloning efforts take place on one part of campus, the university groundskeepers are attempting yet another method of tree reproduction – a method apparently considered, but perhaps not followed through on, by many over the years.

Robert F. Zeigel grew up in Charleston and graduated from Eastern in 1953.

“I recall fondly my ‘association’ with the bur oak tree on the eastern aspect of Old Main,” he once wrote, recalling the years of his youth.  “My Cub Scout/Boy Scout buddies and school mates played marbles or mumbly peg under its branches.

“On balmy spring and fall days and, indeed, during the warmer summer sessions in elementary school, the teachers would bring us outdoors where we would sit in the copious shade of the bur oak and listen to stories, or receive instruction.”

Zeigel added that he and his father, William H. Zeigel, once an EIU administrator, frequently walked together to and from school.

“As we usually entered Old Main from the eastern entrance, we passed by the bur oak, which usually generated a glance or a comment regarding its seasonal leafy garb.  Just why, through all those years, it never occurred to me to attempt to germinate some acorns from this tree, I cannot explain – possibly because I thought that it would always be there, with a permanency that would transcend many human life spans,” Robert Zeigel wrote.

Perhaps urged on by the tree’s decline, the idea did occur to Justin Perry.  Approximately 50 acorns were collected directly from branches of the old oak in the fall of 2011.

“We picked them off the tree before the squirrels got them – a hair, perhaps, before they were ripened all the way,” he said.

The acorns were then planted in pots with nutrient-enriched compost; the pots, in turn, were stored in a protected campus area where deer and rabbits couldn’t get to them.

“We have about 31 seedlings,” Perry said, noting that was “a good return” on what had been planted.  “The largest is about a foot tall.”

Of course, regardless of the method of growth, the next question to be answered is what to do with any of the old oak’s offspring.

“Possibilities include sales to alumni, students and other interested folks,” Owen said.  “Or we can plant one and ultimately replace the old tree in the same location.”

Crockett suggested that the “certifiable ‘Sons and Daughters’ of the old oak tree” could be planted across campus at various sites where they could be enjoyed “for another 300 years.”

As for the old oak itself…

“We won’t give up on the tree until absolutely necessary, and even then the tree may be able to give to artists, the community and the university with its repurposed wood,” said President Bill Perry.

William Weber, vice president for business affairs, said many have sent messages and emails with suggestions for any wood harvested from the old oak.

“We appreciate these suggestions and will take all of them under consideration,” he said.

“A lot will depend, however, on the condition of the wood once it’s cut and what we see when we examine it.  We’ll just have to wait and see.”

Colleagues Honor Young with 2012 Distinguished Faculty Award 06/28/12

Bailey K. Young -- a professor of medieval history, French history, and archeology -- was honored with Eastern Illinois University's 2012 Distinguished Faculty Award by the Faculty Senate.

Young studied Merovingian archaeology at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etude in France. From 1975 to 1987, he lived in France, doing research with the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, holding visiting appointments with the Universities of Paris XII and Lille III, and working on medieval excavations in Paris, Burgundy and Montpellier.

Before joining Eastern’s Department of History in 1994, he taught at Loyola in Chicago and Assumption College in Worcester, Mass. In 1998, in collaboration with EIU’s Honors and Continuing Education programs and in partnership with the Centre de Recherches d’Archéologie National in Louvain, he launched a Summer Archaeology Program that sends American students to Belgium to help excavate Walhain Castle alongside Belgian students.

Young has published widely, including in French journals. Recent studies in English include “The Iconography of Personal Objects: Hints of Do-it-Yourself Christianity in Merovingian Gaul” (2009), and a study of the Merovingian collection at the Spurlock Museum in Urbana (2011) based on an exhibit he curated with co-author Barbara Oelschlager-Garvey of the Early American Museum.

He is a founding member of the association Francaise d’Archéologie Mérovingienne, and a contributing editor to the Journal of Late Antiquity. In 2011, Belgian cultural television filmed his team at work at Walhain Castle and came to EIU for a 90-minute special on castles in Wallonia that was broadcast on Belgian television in May 2012.

CENCERE Receives $198,695 National Science Foundation Grant 06/28/12

Eastern Illinois University's Center for Clean Energy Research and Education (CENCERE) has received a three-year, $198,695 grant from the National Science Foundation.

The funded project, "Enhancing Undergraduate Education Through Student-Led Research in Biomass Renewable Energy", will position EIU as a strong leader in educating students about renewable energy and biomass research.

CENCERE will operate as an extension of EIU's Renewable Energy Center, one of the country's largest university biomass installations. Plans call for the CENCERE facility to be built next to the REC starting in Fall 2012.

CENCERE will include a research-scale biomass gasification reactor to serve as a demonstration site/laboratory that will allow students to gain a more integrated understanding of physics, chemistry, engineering and technology.

The lab will be particularly useful for students pursuing some of EIU’s sustainability-focused programs, including:

  • the master's program in renewable energy (in development);
  • the biology department's new sustainability major, with emphases including rain water recovery, biodiesel production and sustainable city planning;
  • the interdisciplinary minor in sustainability studies (in development); and
  • the concentration in alternative energies and sustainability.

Student-led research will include investigations of various plant-based biomass sources that may be suitable as alternatives or additives to the wood chips used in the Renewable Energy Center, which could provide new markets for area farmers' agricultural products and byproducts.

The research team is led by Peter Liu and includes fellow School of Technology faculty members Jerry Cloward, Rendong Bai, Issac Slaven and David Melton, as well as Rose Gong from the Department of Secondary Education and Foundations.

When the Renewable Energy Center went online in 2011, EIU became the first Illinois public university to make the switch from coal to renewable biomass. The $80 million project ($55 million for the Renewable Energy Center, and $25 million for additional energy conservation measures) was completed at no cost to students or taxpayers, thanks to a contract with Honeywell International, the Fortune 100 company that oversaw the building’s construction. The contract guarantees that within 20 years, construction and financing costs will be offset by cost savings through the university’s increased efficiency.

The Renewable Energy Center is the first known power plant to be registered with the United States Green Building Council for their Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) New Construction program. The center is on track to be among the first power plants in the nation to receive certification at the Gold level.

Methven Receives NSF Funding for Role in Major Macrofungi Project 06/27/12

Eastern Illinois University Professor Andrew Methven, biological sciences, is collaborating on a National Science Foundation-funded project, "The Macrofungi Collection Consortium: Unlocking a Biodiversity Resource for Understanding Biotic Interactions, Nutrient Cycling and Human Affairs."

The project's total grant award amount is more than $2.8 million, and EIU will receive more than $50,000 for Methven's role.

The study, led by an employee of the New York Botanical Garden, will digitize and share online data regarding the 1.4 million dried scientific specimens that have been collected over the past 150 years in 35 institutions in 24 states. The resulting database will further the understanding of the diversity of these organisms and the relationships between macrofungi and the other species.

Eastern Illinois University Honored for Community Service 06/18/12

Eastern Illinois University has been recognized by the Corporation for National and Community Service and the U.S. Department of Education for its commitment to bettering its community through service and service learning.

The President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll recognizes higher education institutions that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities.  Inspired by the thousands of college students who traveled across the country to support relief efforts along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, the initiative celebrates the transformative power and volunteer spirit that exists within the higher education community.

The CNCS, which has administered the National Service Honor Roll since 2006, admitted a total of 642 schools, colleges and universities for their impact on issues from literacy and neighborhood revitalization to supporting at-risk youth.  Of that total, 513 – including Eastern Illinois University -- were named to the Honor Roll.

EIU was admitted for its work in volunteerism and community service.  This past year, Eastern students have completed more than 110,000 hours of community service, including direct and indirect service to more than 40 different organizations in the Coles County area, as well as in-classroom service with faculty members.

These efforts represent an on-going long-term commitment EIU students have to their community.

“Service has become increasingly important at Eastern,” said Dan Nadler, vice president for student affairs.  “I am pleased our student leaders are being recognized for their outstanding contributions and commitment to community service.”

“We are very proud of the legacies of EIU students; certainly, a key is the legacy of service,” echoed Rachel Z. Fisher, director of Student Community Service.  “We are incredibly delighted and thrilled with this listing.  This is a tremendous honor and we celebrate the hard work of the over 7,000 student volunteers here at EIU!”

She added, “I am incredibly impressed with the passion of our students and I am greatly appreciative of the support of so many non-profit and community partners. Together, we can be the difference!"

Robert Velasco, acting CEO of CNCS, said that through service, the honored institutions are “creating the next generation of leaders by challenging students to tackle tough issues and create positive impacts in the community.”

“Preparing students to participate in our democracy and providing them with opportunities to take on local and global issues in their course work are as central to the mission of education as boosting college completion and closing the achievement gap,” added Eduardo Ochoa, the U.S. Department of Education’s assistant secretary for post-secondary education.

“The Honor Roll schools should be proud of their work to elevate the role of service-learning on their campuses.   Galvanizing their students to become involved in projects that address pressing concerns and enrich their academic experience has a lasting impact -- both in the communities in which they work and on their own sense of purpose as citizens of the world.  I hope we’ll see more and more colleges and universities following their lead.”

According to the CNCS, millions of students from colleges across the country are engaged in innovative projects to meet local needs, often using the skills learned in classrooms.  In 2010, 3.1 million college students dedicated more than 312 million hours of service to their communities, service valued at more than $6.6 billion.

“I am proud of the commitment that Eastern Illinois University students make in the community,” said President Bill Perry.  “They are making a real difference in the world.”


Tropical "Corpse Flower' Flowering at EIU 06/18/12

The H.F. Thut Greenhouse, located on the campus of Eastern Illinois University, will soon smell like rotting meat – again.

Manager Steven Malehorn eagerly awaits the third flowering of the university's titan arum, or corpse flower, affectionately named the Velvet Queen.  And, again, he’s issuing an invitation to residents of east-central Illinois -- and anywhere else, for that matter -- to come join him.

Malehorn estimates that the plant will flower sometime between June 23 and 25.

"However, because of its unpredictable nature, the exact date can't be known in advance," he said. "But when it blooms, it will happen fast -- within hours -- and only last one night!"

The plant flowered twice before -- once in June 2008 and again in June 2010. Based on those events, Malehorn believes the spathe (the sheath enclosing the flower) will begin to open in the early afternoon and will be fully open by about 6 p.m.

"The roadkill aroma will begin to develop shortly thereafter and will be strongest from about 8 p.m. until midnight. The bloom will be open and at its peak from about 6 p.m. until about 5 a.m. the next morning, and the spathe will then slowly close through the morning. The aroma will gradually fade away that morning. Then the inflorescence will slowly collapse over the next few days.

"That being said," he added, "it could surprise all of us and start blooming late in the evening and we won't know until the following morning. Therefore, no promises on the blooming schedule."

In order to let others share in the waiting, Malehorn is keeping the greenhouse open from 4 to 8 p.m. daily. Hours will be extended to midnight on the day the bloom opens, and the greenhouse will open again at 9 a.m. the following morning.

In addition, the Velvet Queen is positioned close to the south window so visitors can have an excellent view of it from the sidewalk outside at any time.

Malehorn recalled that the greenhouse received 3,000 visitors during the 2008 flowering and about 1,000 in-person visitors in 2010.  Additionally, the second flowering received about 15,000 views via live video streaming on the internet.

A page has been created on the EIU Department of Biological Sciences' website to provide daily updates and images of the plant as the flower develops:  A map to the greenhouse, located just north of Eastern's Life Sciences Building, is available on the page, as well, and Malehorn has provided a live broadcast at this link:

He is also "tweeting the event" at, and will tweet updates to followers and inform them as soon as he becomes aware that the flower is opening.

The corpse flower, discovered in 1878, grows wild only in the tropical forests of Sumatra. It first flowered in cultivation in London in 1889; since then, more than 100 cultivated flowers have blossomed.

EIU obtained its seed in 2001, and Malehorn has tended to the plant since it was planted. Its "grandparent" seeds were collected in 1993 from the only titan arum found in fruit during a BBC expedition filming "The Private Lives of Plants." The seeds were distributed to U.S. and British conservatories and greenhouses for cultivation.

Noting that the Velvet Queen “seems to have the personality to bloom every other year,” Malehorn said that’s not true of every titan arum.

“There’s a lot of variability out there,” he said.  “Some go 10 to 15 years and never bloom.”

For more information, please contact Malehorn at, 217-581-3126 (Department of Biological Sciences' main office, Monday through Friday), or 217-581-2513 (greenhouse).

EIU Honors 2011-2012 Retirees 06/05/12

More than 100 Eastern Illinois University employees recently were recognized as faculty/staff members who have retired or plan to retire during the 2011-2012 school year.  They include, from left to right, seated, Margaret Garrett, Vicki Hampton, Linda Kingery, Nancy Dole, Lorraine (Rita) Baker, Robert Plummer, Sandy Bingham-Porter, Kay Carter, Anita Thomas, Sandy Nees and Joanne Roach; from left to right, second row, Tom Rennels, Dennis Updegraff, Terry Ramsey, Don Braswell, Carolyn (Jody) Johnson, Carol Miller, Cheryl West, Deanna Smith, Brenda Ferguson, Margaret Messer, Janet Patterson, Barbara Poole, Linda Coleman, Norma Updegraff and Kay Amyx; and from left to right, third row, Gary Reed, Boyce Dillman, Ronald Miller, Norm Garrett, Timothy Taflinger, Leo Comerford, Jonell Comerford, Chuck Titus, D. Kathleen Bence, Debbie Gerdes, Michele Olsen, William Davis, Henry (Hank) Davis, Michael Boorom, Michael Hubbartt, Bob Spoo, Leland Bough, John Bennett, Susan Ambrose, Jim Slavik, Joyce Bishop and Judy Kopp.          

Those not shown include Michael Adair, Ricky Bagwell, David Bailey, Judith Barbour, William Barter, Wayne Bennett, Jim Bishop, Eldridge Bowlby, Ronald Cassiday, James Craven, Richard Crome, Carl Dell, Lois Dickenson, Jeannie Doty, James Dowland, Glenda Duke, Larry Farris, Kathleen Ferguson, Catherine Frazier, Dixie Gough, Helen Gregg, Larry Grigg, Tami Hackett, Terry Hale, Stephen Hallett, Morton Heller, Rosalie Herrington, Richard Holt, Terry Hook, Jody Horn, Carol Hubbartt, Roger Hudson, Richard Jewell, Susan Johnson, Linda Leal, Mary Maddox, John Marquart, John Martone, Leslie Mason, Sherry McRaven, Danny Milburn, Wanda Milburn, Bryan Miller, Joanna Newberry, Beverly Newman, Michael Nickell, Guy O’Brien, Nancy Page, Elyn Pogliano, Linda Rogers, Alvin Rohr, Sue Sallee, Bruce Sanders, Deborah Schultz, Kathy Simmons, Robert Simpson, John Sims, Sue Smyser, Michael South, Patrice Stratton, Jacalyn Swango, Dickie Tipsword, Billy Waddell, Janet Werden, Toni Whitley, Diane Wilke, Judith Young and Diana Zuhone.



EIU to Host State-Level Emergency Exercise on Tuesday, June 12 06/01/12



On the EIU Campus

All public emergency alerts (Web-based, email, text-messaging, public address systems, etc.) issued as part of the June 12 exercise will be standard test messages.  IF A REAL EMERGENCY SHOULD OCCUR, the exercise will be immediately terminated and the appropriate warnings issued instead.

Seventh Street between Johnson and Grant avenues is scheduled to be closed to the general public.  There should be no parking on Seventh Street.

The Student Services Building parking lot will be closed to all incoming and outgoing traffic between 7 and 9 a.m.

Parking lots scheduled to be closed to routine campus traffic include the lot directly west of Greek Court I (Ninth and Roosevelt); the lot directly east of the Doudna Fine Arts Center (Ninth and Hayes); the UPD lot, located between Doudna and the UPD; and the Blair Hall south lot.

Entrance to and exit from the Student Services Building will be limited to the north entrance between 8 and 9 a.m.

The north entrance of the Food Court, MLK Jr. Union, will be closed between 8 and 9 a.m.

The McAfee building will be closed to occupants between 1 a.m. and 3 p.m.  The adjoining parking lot will be closed.

Simulated shots will be fired; sirens will sound.  Emergency announcements (with the appropriate disclaimer) will be made via the Web, email and text messaging.

Even a helicopter will be circling overhead as rescue personnel from all over east central Illinois converge on the campus of Eastern Illinois University.

“Don’t be surprised at whatever you might see,” William Weber, vice president for business affairs, advises.

On Tuesday, June 12, the campus will become the site of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency’s 2012 State Level Exercise.  A similar event is held annually, with activity rotating every three years between the southern, central and northern parts of the state.

This will be the first time an exercise of this magnitude has taken place on the EIU campus.  And although the planning process has been a long one – two years or more in the making – the administration at Eastern welcomes the opportunity to host the event.

“You never know when an emergency situation is going to arise, although you always know it is a possibility,” Weber said.  “This exercise will help us learn and improve on our emergency preparedness, with an emphasis on how we work with local, regional and state emergency response groups.”

In turn, said EIU Safety Officer Gary Hanebrink, an exercise of this kind is an excellent way in which to extend the university’s educational services to outlying communities and strengthen partnerships between local and area entities.

“Emergency response units are always looking for this sort of possibility,” he added.

Details of the training exercise are being kept confidential so as not “to give the secret away” to exercise participants.  However, notice of the exercise is being provided to prevent panic among the public – both on and off campus – and to give advance warning about certain road, parking lot and campus closures during the duration of the exercise.

In addition, Weber emphasized that all activities associated with the exercise will be treated as a real emergency, meaning, in part, that observation by non-participants will be discouraged.

Individuals will be on the scene to evaluate all levels of the exercise, including the response of the university’s Emergency Management Team who, in the case of a real on-campus emergency, would shoulder the responsibility of providing necessary resources; communicating with on- and off-campus constituencies, including the media; and developing plans for campus recovery.

“An assessment of the exercise is always positive in that it identifies areas for improvement in our procedures,” Weber said.  “Constructive feedback only helps participants learn from the exercise.”

Emergency responders scheduled to participate in the exercise include IEMA; Mutual Aid Box Alarm System; Illinois Fire Service Institute; Illinois State Police; the American Red Cross; the Champaign, Charleston, Decatur, Mattoon and Urbana fire departments; the Charleston, EIU, Lake Land College and Mattoon police departments; the Coles County Sheriff’s Department; the Lincoln Fire Protection District; the Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center’s EMS Department; Coles County 911; Coles County EMA; and EIU’s ROTC.

In addition, the exercise could involve 50 or more individual volunteers portraying victims.

Public Meetings Planned to Discuss Center for Clean Energy Research and Education Facility 05/31/12

Eastern Illinois University President Bill Perry invites university and community members to two public meetings to discuss the institution’s Center for Clean Energy Research and Education (CENCERE) and plans for a building in which to house the center.

Groundbreaking for the 4,300-square-foot academic building, to be located immediately north of the newly commissioned Renewable Energy Center, is tentatively scheduled to take place in Fall 2012.  The site is located near the intersection of 18th Street (Illinois Route 130) and Edgar Drive.

The building will house a research facility in which faculty and students can conduct hands-on investigations of various plant-based biomass sources that may be suitable as alternatives or additives to the wood chips being used in the Renewable Energy Center.  By studying the fuel characteristics of various biomass sources, students will gain a more integrated understanding of physics, chemistry, engineering and technology.

In an effort to share information and answer questions, community meetings have been scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 6 and June 13, at the Charleston Public Library, 712 Sixth Street, in Rotary Room A.

All interested persons are invited to attend either or both meetings.  More information about CENCERE can be found at

EIU to Again Reduce Summer Hours; Booth Library, Admissions Among Exceptions 05/03/12

In an effort to conserve resource dollars, Eastern Illinois University will once again close selected buildings and offices from noon on Fridays until Monday mornings during the summer months.

The affected time period begins Monday, May 7, and ends Friday, Aug. 10.

Building/office exceptions include, but may not be limited to, the President’s Office, Booth Library, Financial Aid, University Police, the Renewable Energy Center and the Office of Admissions, which plan to keep normal working hours.

All university offices must be open to the public between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and between 8 a.m. and noon on Friday.  Administrative offices (and others where possible) will remain open during the lunch hour (Monday through Thursday).

By ending the work week at noon on Fridays, the university can increase temperatures in all vacant offices and other work environments to allow energy savings for two and one-half days per week.

Employees will be required to work their regularly scheduled number of full-time hours during the four-and-a-half-day work week.  Classes scheduled to meet on Friday afternoons and/or weekends will be relocated to buildings where the air conditioning will remain on.

During weeks in which a holiday is observed (Monday, May 28, for Memorial Day and Wednesday, July 4, for Independence Day), offices will return to regular business hours (7.5 hours per day), including Fridays.

Regular hours will resume on Monday, Aug. 13, for the 2012-2013 school year.

Nearly 1,700 Students to Participate in EIU Commencement Ceremonies on May 5 05/02/12

Nearly 1,700 graduating students plan to participate in commencement ceremonies at Eastern Illinois University on Saturday, May 5.

Ceremonies will take place at 9 a.m., noon, 3 and 6 p.m. in Lantz Arena.  Guest tickets are required for admission.

Students from the College of Sciences will march in the morning ceremony, the College of Arts and Humanities and the School of Continuing Education at noon, the College of Education and Professional Studies at 3 p.m., and the Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences at 6.

Students from the Graduate School will walk with their respective colleges.

EIU President William Perry will preside over the ceremonies.  Edward M. Hotwagner, student body president, and Andrew S. Methven, chair, EIU Faculty Senate, will also address the graduates.

Representing Eastern’s Board of Trustees will be Roger Kratochvil (9 a.m.), Robert Webb (noon), Joseph Dively (3 p.m.) and Jarrod Scherle (6 p.m.).

Each ceremony will feature a special guest speaker who will present the official commencement address.  Nancy Elwess, EIU alumna (’76) and associate professor/molecular biologist from SUNY Plattsburgh, will speak at 9 a.m., while Robert Corn-Revere, EIU alumnus (’77) and an attorney specializing in First Amendment and communications law, plans to speak at both the noon and 3 p.m. ceremonies.  William Keiper, EIU alumnus (’72) and founder/chairman of FirstGlobal Partners, will address students during the 6 p.m. ceremony.

At noon, special recognition will be given to Bailey K. Young, professor of history, who was named the 2012 recipient of Eastern's Distinguished Faculty Award.  This award is presented annually by the Faculty Senate to a full-time faculty member who has excelled in teaching, professional research/creative activity and service.

Additionally, three honorary degrees will be presented at this year’s ceremonies.  Astronomer Robert E. Holmes Jr. will be presented with an honorary Doctorate of Science at 9 a.m., while Corn-Revere and Julie Nimmons, EIU alumna (’77) and former member of the EIU Board of Trustees, will receive an honorary Doctorate of Laws and Doctorate of Public Service, respectively, at noon.

Commencement marshals lead the procession while carrying the university mace inscribed with past marshals' names.  This spring's commencement marshals are as follows:

  • Peter G. Andrews, chair and professor, mathematics and computer science, representing the College of Sciences during the morning ceremony.  Andrews has been a member of Eastern’s faculty since 1992. 
  • Marilyn J. Coles, professor of music, representing the College of Arts and Humanities during the noon ceremony.  Coles has been a member of Eastern’s faculty since 1988.
  • Phyllis T. Croisant, professor, kinesiology and sports studies, representing the College of Education and Professional Studies during the 3 p.m. ceremony.  Croisant has been a member of Eastern’s faculty since 1984.
  • Norman A. Garrett, professor, School of Business, representing the Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences during the 6 p.m. ceremony.  Garrett has been a member of Eastern’s faculty since 1990.

Faculty marshals are given the honor of carrying the college banner for their respective colleges.  This spring's faculty marshals are as follows:

  • 9 a.m. – Ahmed S. Abou-Zaid, Graduate School and College of Sciences; Leo P. Comerford, College of Sciences.
  • Noon – Patricia K. Belleville, Graduate School and College of Arts and Humanities; Mary Caroline Simpson, College of Arts and Humanities; Richard E. Cavanaugh, School of Continuing Education.
  • 3 p.m. – Stephen E. Lucas, Graduate School and College of Education and Professional Studies; Rebecca J. Cook, College of Education and Professional Studies.
  • 6 p.m. – Deborah A. Woodley, Graduate School and Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences; Vicki A. Hampton, Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences.

Kara Butorac, an accounting major from Bloomington, will serve as the Honors College banner marshal during the first three ceremonies; Margaret Messer, director of Honors Student Affairs, will serve as marshal at the 6 p.m. ceremony.

EIU Foundation Announces Recipients of Outstanding Philanthropist Award 04/27/12

Since its inception in 1953, the Eastern Illinois University Foundation has been dependent upon the generosity of its members and volunteers to fulfill its mission of support to the university.

And, since 1993, the foundation has formally presented the Outstanding Philanthropist Award. In 1997, this award was renamed the Burnham and Nancy Neal Philanthropy Award in appreciation of the Neals' leadership, support and dedication to Eastern and the foundation.

The award is given to individuals and organizations who have demonstrated a sincere dedication and commitment to the financial, academic and cultural well-being of EIU. The critical support and sustaining financial commitments provided by these distinguished philanthropists are essential to the future of the university and the students it serves.

Helen Krehbiel-Reed, left, and Janet Fraembs

Helen Krehbiel-Reed of Charleston and Joan B. Stough of Houston, Texas, have been named the EIU Foundation's Outstanding Philanthropists of the Year for 2011. The two were recognized during the foundation's Legacy Celebration.

Helen Krehbiel-Reed retired in 1998 as an associate professor of music education at Eastern, where she taught courses in the fundamentals of music and elementary music methods for elementary education majors.

While at Eastern, she was also the coordinator for music student teachers, coordinator for the music education area of the Department of Music, and adviser for the EIU chapter of Illinois Collegiate Music Educators.

Krehbiel-Reed began her higher education career at EIU in 1988. Previously, she taught in the public schools of Illinois and Kansas. As a music specialist, she worked in both K-6 and K-12 settings for a total of 11 years. When district budget cuts included the entire elementary music program, Krehbiel-Reed became a classroom teacher, first in first grade, then in third grade. Music is still a focus of her life, as she is active in playing church music and piano duets for groups in the area. She also enjoys volunteering and working with several local charities.

In 1985, Krehbiel-Reed established the Eugene B. Krehbiel Scholarship for students who are enrolled in either the Pre-Medical Studies Program or the Biological Sciences-Animal Studies Program with the intent of pursuing graduate-level studies. In 2003, she established the Helen J. Krehbiel Music Education Scholarship for students enrolled in the Music Education Program with the intent of pursuing a career in music education.

In 2005, she received the Graduate School Alumni Award. She is an active supporter of the Eastern Symphony Orchestra and the Tarble Arts Center.

She and her husband, John, have six children: Sharon Staley, Cathie Reynolds, Rick Reed, Tim Krehbiel, Rod Krehbiel and Jeff Krehbiel.

Joan B. Stough, a good friend of the university, is a geologist/paleontologist who has contributed much to the field of science. Stough dedicated her 2011 Outstanding Philanthropist Award in memory of her longtime friend, Marion Webb.

In 2009, Stough established the Marion Railsback Webb Foreign Language Scholarship. Webb had long ties to EIU, starting with her father, Ora Railsback, who came to EIU in 1924 and was its first physics teacher. Webb graduated from Eastern Illinois State Teachers College with a bachelor’s degree in education. She received her master’s degree in Spanish from the University of Colorado and her Ph.D. in Spanish from Ohio State University.

Webb dedicated 40 years of her life to teaching and education. For the last 23 years of her career, she taught at Houston Baptist University, from which she retired as a Distinguished Professor in Spanish. Webb has received many honors, including studies at the National University of Chile as a Fulbright Scholar, the Yale University Award for Outstanding Secondary Teaching, the Piper Award for Outstanding College Teaching in Texas, the Award for Outstanding College Teaching and Leadership from the Sears Foundation, Texas Foreign Language Association Spanish Teacher of the Year, and Outstanding Teaching Awards and Faculty Woman of the Year from Houston Baptist University.

Webb co-authored many publications for practical applications, including “Communicating in Spanish for Medical Personnel.” Throughout her career, in addition to teaching a language, she taught her students appreciation for the culture. In all of her endeavors, she followed her father’s example by providing practical help in the service of others.

Accepting the award in memory of Marion Webb was her sister, Janet Fraembs of Charleston.

EIU Featured in 'The Princeton Review's Guide to 322 Green Colleges' 04/19/12

Eastern Illinois University is one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the United States and Canada, according to The Princeton Review.

The well-known education services company selected EIU for inclusion in the just-released second annual edition of its free downloadable book, “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges: 2012 Edition.”

Created by The Princeton Review in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council, the guide is the only free, comprehensive guidebook profiling institutions of higher education that demonstrate a notable commitment to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation.  The Princeton Review chose the schools for this guide based on a survey of administrators at hundreds of colleges that the company polled in 2011 about their school's sustainability initiatives.

“It is an honor to be recognized as a university leader in green,” said Ryan Siegel, EIU’s campus energy and sustainability coordinator.  “This recognizes Eastern's commitment to being green in all aspects of operations from curriculum to facilities.

“Our Renewable Energy Center has allowed the university to make a large leap forward and to set itself apart from other universities in the country.  The new Center for Clean Energy and Education is allowing walls between departments to fall, bringing a collaborative and well-rounded approach to education as Eastern prepares students for the future.

“We look forward to a positive future where we educate students that being green makes economic sense and includes being a good steward of the resources provided,” he added.

Released this week, just days prior to the April 22 celebration of the 42nd anniversary of Earth Day, the guide has profiles of the colleges that provide application information, plus facts, stats and write-ups reporting on the schools' environmentally related policies, practices and academic offerings.

Eastern’s profile reads, in part, that “With all of its sustainability initiatives coming to fruition, Eastern Illinois University is proving why it was ‘green before it became a buzzword.’”

Also, since Eastern implemented its recycling practices, "more than a million pounds of waste have been diverted from landfills each year for the past 12 years, while cutting yearly waste production from 4.1 million pounds to 3.2 millions during that same span.”

The profile also mentions EIU’s commitment to planting and maintaining trees, performance contracts that have cut energy and potable water consumption, recycling programs in every building across campus, and the use of green certified cleaning products.

Additionally, the profile mentions the university’s recently completed Renewable Energy Center, which utilizes biomass gasification and replaces the coal plant that had fueled the campus for nearly 80 years.

"The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges: 2012 Edition" guide can be downloaded for free at and

The Princeton Review first created this one-of-a-kind resource for college-bound students in 2010 with the U.S. Green Building Council, which is best known for developing the LEED standard for green building certification. In Fall 2010, USGBC launched its Center for Green Schools ( to increase its efforts to drive change in how campuses and schools are designed, constructed and operated so that all educational facilities can enhance student learning experiences.

"College-bound students are increasingly interested in sustainability issues," said Robert Franek, senior vice president/publisher, The Princeton Review.  "Among 7,445 college applicants who participated in our 2012 College Hopes & Worries Survey, nearly seven out of 10 (68 percent) told us that having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the school.

"Together with USGBC, we are pleased to make this free resource available to all students seeking to attend colleges that practice, teach and support environmentally-responsible choices.  To that end, we highly recommend the terrific schools in this book."

EIU Again Earns 'Tree Campus USA' Honor 04/18/12

Eastern Illinois University is one of 148 colleges and universities to achieve Tree Campus USA status for 2011.

The Tree Campus USA program, a partnership between the Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota, gives national recognition "for promoting healthy urban forest management and engaging the campus community in environmental stewardship."

To be eligible for the distinction, a school must have a campus tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan with dedicated annual expenditures, involvement in an Arbor Day observance, and a service-learning project aimed at engaging the student body in sustainable efforts.

For details on EIU's sustainability efforts, see

EIU Board of Trustees Elects New Officers 04/13/12

The Eastern Illinois University Board of Trustees elected new officers at its meeting Friday.

Elected to one-year terms in their leadership positions were Roger Kratochvil of Mt. Olive, chairman; Leo Welch of O'Fallon, vice chairman; Joseph Dively of Charleston, secretary; and Rene Hutchinson of Chicago, member pro tempore.

Kratochvil and Welch were appointed to the EIU Board of Trustees in August 2004. Dively and Hutchinson joined the board in October 2011.

Roger Kratochvil of Mt. Olive, chairman

Kratochvil is retired from the Mt. Olive school system, where he served 24 years in various capacities, including athletic director, guidance counselor and coach for the baseball, basketball and football teams. Kratochvil was inducted into the Illinois Coaches Hall of Fame in 1981 and the EIU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1998. Following his teaching career, he served as principal of Mt. Olive High School. In addition, he has worked with the St. Louis Cardinals for more than 20 years.

Kratochvil's community service includes serving as president of the Mt. Olive Academic Foundation, vice president of the Macoupin County Housing Authority, and a member of the Advisory Committee for Lincoln Land Community College.

He received his bachelor's degree in education from EIU in 1960, his master's degree from Southern Illinois University in 1966, and his master of educational administration degree from the University of Illinois–Springfield in 1984.

Leo Welch of O'Fallon, vice chairman

Welch was a biology teacher at ROVA High School in Oneida prior to becoming a professor of biology at Southwestern Illinois College, where he currently serves as professor emeritus. Welch has participated in many professional societies, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Institute for Biological Sciences, the Illinois State Academy of Sciences and the St. Louis Academy of Sciences.

Welch received the 1991 Excellence in Teaching Award from Emerson Electric for outstanding achievement for higher education in the metropolitan St. Louis area.

Welch, who obtained his bachelor's and master's degrees from EIU, went on to receive a specialist in education degree from Southern Illinois University.

Joseph Dively of Charleston, secretary

Dively is president of First Mid-Illinois Bank and Trust (Mattoon), with a business career that includes serving as a senior vice president for Consolidated Communications and in sales and management roles with IBM and Caterpillar.

A Charleston native, Dively has served EIU as president of the Alumni Association, chairman of the Business School Advisory Board, and a member of both the EIU Foundation Board and the Panther Club. He has been an active member of the business community, serving as chairman of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, president of the Charleston Chamber of Commerce, chairman of the Sarah Bush Lincoln Health System, and on the board of the U.S. Telecom Association. He currently serves on the board of directors for First Mid-Illinois Bancshares Inc.

Dively, who received his bachelor's degree in business from EIU in 1981, was presented the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2003.

Rene Hutchinson of Chicago, member pro tempore

Hutchinson has been with Allstate Insurance since 1986, working in various areas of the company, including finance, underwriting, agency sales and compliance.

Hutchinson has served on the EIU Alumni Association's Board of Directors since 2003. He is an active member of the community, speaking to Chicago area high school students regarding the importance of education.

Hutchinson received his bachelor's degree in business from EIU in 1974.

Nineteen Faculty Members Awarded Tenure 04/13/12

Nineteen Eastern Illinois University faculty members have been awarded tenure, effective with the 2012-13 academic year.

The EIU Board of Trustees approved the list Friday.

Tenure, awarded in an academic department, connotes a relationship of continuing commitment between the university and a faculty member.

Generally, in order to qualify for tenure consideration, a faculty member must complete a probationary period and demonstrate progressive achievement and effectiveness in three areas of evaluation: teaching/performance of primary duties, research/creative activities, and service. Among these three areas, teaching/performance of primary duties is given the most consideration.

This year's recipients of tenure are as follows:

  • Wesley D. Allan, psychology;
  • Lola A. Burnham, journalism;
  • Ahmed S. Abou-Zaid, economics;
  • David J. Boggs, business;
  • Barbara S. Carlsward, biological sciences;
  • Irene S. Coromina, foreign languages;
  • Carrie Dale, early childhood, elementary and middle level education;
  • M. Eugenia Deerman, sociology and anthropology;
  • Christiane K. Eydt-Beebe, foreign languages;
  • Jill Fahy, communication disorders and sciences;
  • Luminita Florea, music;
  • Mark S. Kattenbraker, kinesiology and sports studies;
  • Eunseong Kim, journalism;
  • Jeannie Ludlow, English;
  • David Wayne Melton, technology;
  • Kamlesh Parwani, mathematics and computer science;
  • Gopal R. Periyannan, chemistry;
  • Luke Joseph Steinke, technology; and
  • Larry R. White, business.
EIU Mourns Loss of One of Its Greatest Supporters, Burnham Neal 04/12/12

From Bob Martin, vice president for university advancement at Eastern Illinois University:

Burnham NealEastern Illinois University has lost a great friend with the passing of Burnham Neal. On behalf of the entire EIU community, I express sincere sympathy to the family and friends of Mr. Neal, whose overwhelming generosity made a positive difference in so many lives.

Mr. Neal and his late wife, Nancy, were among the biggest financial supporters in the university's history. In fact, the Neals were so representative of the spirit of leadership, dedication and generosity that EIU named its annual Philanthropy Awards after them in 1997. Mr. Neal received an honorary Doctor of Public Service from EIU in 2003.

The Neal family's biggest and most prominent gift to EIU was the $2 million Neal Welcome Center, which has greeted visitors entering Charleston from Illinois Route 16 and Interstate 57 since 2002. It also houses offices for the EIU Foundation and the Office of Philanthropy.

As an astute businessman, Mr. Neal recognized the importance of EIU to Charleston and the surrounding region, knowing that his contributions would have a significant return on investment in the form of enhancing the quality of life of the residents of east-central Illinois. The impact of his gifts is incalculable, and we will always be grateful for his forward-thinking generosity.

Blagojevich Judge to Discuss 'The Breach of Public Trust' 04/10/12

The federal judge who presided over both trials of Rod Blagojevich plans to present a talk on the campus of Eastern Illinois University.

However, U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel will probably refrain from talking specifics about the 2011 case that led to the former Illinois governor’s 14-year incarceration in a Colorado federal prison.  That case, under appeal, is still open.

Instead, Zagel, who has served as a U.S. district judge since 1987, will speak more generally on “The Breach of Public Trust.”  James Burns, a former top federal prosecutor from Chicago, will also be in attendance.

A question-and-answer session will follow Zagel’s talk.

Admission to the presentation, scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 19, in the Recital Hall of Eastern’s Doudna Fine Arts Center, is free and open to the public.

Zagel, who received his law degree from Harvard University in the 1960s, began his career as an assistant state’s attorney in Cook County.  As such, he assisted in the prosecution of mass murderer Richard Speck.

He later served as assistant attorney general for the state of Illinois (1969-1977); executive director of the Illinois Law Enforcement Commission (1977-79); director of revenue, state of Illinois (1979); and director of the Illinois State Police (1980-1987).

In addition to a number of legal books, Zagel has had one novel, “Money to Burn,” published (2002), and he has made cameo appearances in the movies “Music Box,” with Jessica Lange, and “Homicide,” starring Joe Montegna.

This event is being co-sponsored by EIU's College of Sciences and the Public Policy Institute.

Former Governor Edgar to Return to Alma Mater, Give Lecture 04/02/12

Former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar will return to his alma mater as the next speaker in his own lecture series.

His student-oriented presentation -- “Unobstructed Views:  Lessons Learned from Charleston to Springfield” -- will address how his education and experiences at Eastern Illinois University helped him achieve the success he has had in life.

The talk, to begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 17, in the Doudna Fine Arts Center Lecture Hall, will be followed by a reception in the Doudna concourse. Admission is free, and the public is invited to attend.

Edgar and his wife, Brenda, demonstrated their continuing support for their alma mater by establishing the Edgar Speaker Series in 2007.  Working in conjunction with the EIU Foundation, the couple finalized details for a gift which provides for at least one speaker a year.

The series focuses primarily on state government, and addresses current issues in state government and historical implications.

"I always thought that a person learns both in and outside the classroom," Gov. Edgar said at the time the lecture series began. "I know I particularly enjoyed the lectures I heard as a student here at Eastern. They certainly enhance learning opportunities for students, as well as for the entire community.

"Charleston's a great place, but it's not a large city," he continued, recalling that as a high school student and city resident, he took advantage of learning opportunities -- such as lectures -- that were open to the public. "This series will benefit the community, as well as the students of the university."

The Edgars personally launched the speaker series during the 2007-2008 school year, with the governor speaking in the fall and Brenda Edgar taking her turn behind the lectern in the spring.

Other speakers have included Mike Lawrence, Edgar’s former press secretary and senior policy adviser; historian and biographer Richard Norton Smith; author/reporter James L. Merriner; Washington Post columnist Dan Balz; and David Yepsen, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.

Prior to being inaugurated as Illinois' 38th governor in January 1991, Edgar spent more than 30 years in state government, including terms as both a state representative and as secretary of state. Previously, however, he was enrolled at Eastern where he majored in history and minored in political science. He was extremely active in the university's student government, serving as student body president his senior year (1967-1968).

He was named an Eastern Illinois University Distinguished Alumnus, the highest honor the Alumni Association can bestow upon a former student, in 1982.

It was also at Eastern that he met fellow student Brenda Smith of Anna, Ill. The two married while still students at the university, and Mrs. Edgar put her own education on hold while supporting her husband's political career and raising the couple's two children.

In the 1990s, while serving as Illinois' First Lady, Brenda Edgar contacted Eastern to see what would be needed to complete her degree. Working with the School of Continuing Education, she finished her coursework and received what is now known as the bachelor of arts degree in general studies during commencement ceremonies in May 1998.

Within months, Mrs. Edgar, in conjunction with Ronald McDonald Charities, had established the Brenda Edgar Scholarship for Women, to be awarded to returning adult female parents over the age of 25.

In addition, the Edgars have donated a number of papers and artifacts from Gov. Edgar's years in state government to the university.

Veteran Administrator Named to EIU Dean's Post 03/19/12

The newly named dean of Eastern Illinois University’s College of Sciences, Harold Ornes, wants to play an active part in helping students reach their destinations in life.

“One of my hobbies is piloting an aircraft,” said Ornes.  “Perhaps a metaphor for our future together would be to think of the College of Sciences as an airplane and the faculty, staff, and administration as the flight crew.

“Our job would include studying, understanding and utilizing the complex systems of power, structure, navigation and communication to achieve optimal, efficient and sustainable performance of these systems to get the crew and passengers to our destination safely with joy and enthusiasm for the next destination,” he added.

“While higher education is not exactly the same as airline customers purchasing tickets, EIU is certainly of a size and configuration that has proven itself by delivering high quality educational experiences that prepare students for a lifetime of unlimited destinations.  I look forward to being a part of the flight crews at EIU.”

Ornes, who has served as the dean of Winona (Minn.) State University’s College of Science and Engineering since June 2008, will assume his new duties as EIU’s COS dean on July 1.  He replaces Mary Anne Hanner, who retired in 2011.

EIU Provost Blair Lord noted that Ornes was selected after a national search which elicited substantial interest.

"The pool of potential candidates was among the richest and most accomplished we have seen for such searches," he said.  "Dr. Ornes was very positively received by all constituencies, and I look forward to working with him to assist the college in reaching new levels of excellence."

In addition to his current administrative duties, Ornes has served as dean and a professor of biology in the College of Science and Engineering at Southern Utah University, and as a professor of biology and department chair, Department of Biology and Geology, at the University of South Carolina, Aiken.

He earned two bachelor’s degrees (zoology and botany) and a master’s degree (biology) from Northeast Missouri State University (now Truman State University), Kirksville, and his Doctor of Philosophy (majoring in aquatic plant biology) from Iowa State University, Ames.

Kick Butts 5K, Picnic Set for April 14; Register by March 26 for T-shirt 03/16/12

The fifth annual Kick Butts Day 5K run/walk and community picnic are to be held at Morton Park on Saturday, April 14.

The run/walk will begin at 9 a.m., and the picnic will directly follow.

Both events are sponsored by Eastern Illinois University's Health Service and Student Community Service to raise awareness of the dangers of tobacco use, encourage smoking cessation and encourage an overall healthy lifestyle

Registration for the 5K is $12 for adults and $6 for children under 12. The fee includes a T-shirt, food and beverages. To guarantee a T-shirt, please register by March 26. Walk-up registration will also be available.

The registration form is available online at

For more information, please contact Catherine Bocke in the EIU Health Service at or 581-7786.

EIU Employees Honored for Continuous Years of Service 03/15/12

Eastern Illinois University recently recognized more than 250 of its employees for continuous years of service. 

A luncheon was held in recognition of university employees with continuous years of service in five-year increments. Those employed at EIU for five years were eligible for a certificate; those with 10 or more years of service were honored with both a certificate and a pin.

The following were honored for their years of service:

30 Years -- Lisa M. Childress, Rosalie Herrington, Michael B. Hubbartt, Jeri Matteson-Hughes, David Raybin, Gail Richard, Timothy A. Shonk, John A. Whisler and Erma J. Williams.

25 Years – Sirus Aryainejad, Lew Ayers, Lucy A. Campanis, David Carpenter, John L. Coffey, Linda A. Coffey, Terry M. Collins, Craig M. Eckert, Paula J. Embry, Cathy L. Gray, Theresa A. Green, Marjorie Hanft, William C. Hine, Diana S. Ingram, Belayet H. Khan, Stephen R. Lane, Mary Leonard-Cravens, Janet T. Marquardt, Kay E. McElwee, David G. McGrady, Linda L. Moore, Charles E. Nivens, Mary L. Russell, Sue Sallee, Deanna S. Smith, Richard A. Sylvia, Michael Watts and Deborah Woodley.

20 Years – Cathy J. Ashmore, John E. Bailey, Lorraine Baker, Linda K. Barter, Steven R. Calhoun, Ronald Cassiday, Henry H. Davis, Lynette Drake, Samuel W. Fagaly, Russell E. Gruber, Lennie K. Heddins, Susan D. Kohn, Allen K. Lanham, Catherine M. Lentz, Peter P. Liu, Ronald B. Mason, Jeanna K. McFarland, Danny R. Milburn, Kelly P. Miller, James W. Morecraft, Kelly Partenheimer, Joanne Roach, Daniel J. Sheeran, Toni Whitley, Keith Wilson, David W. Wolski and Mary Yarbrough.

15 Years – Kay Amyx, Lawrence D. Auchstetter, Audrey A. Bachelder, Patricia K. Belleville, Julie A. Benedict, Tristum M. Bennett, Caridad F. Brito, Douglas E. Buell, Bryan K. Callaway, Mitchell H. Coe, Ralph C. Embry, Janet L. Fopay, Reggie L. Galey, Kenneth F. Gerhardt, Melissa K. Gordon, Martha L. Hackler, Kathryn A. Hussey, David W. Jobe, Gloria E. Keener, Deanna L. Kelly, Sandra L. King, Sonna L. Lawrence, Gregory J. Lee, Johnny B. Morton, Rose Myers-Bradley, Britto P. Nathan, Jyoti Panjwani, Jennifer A. Porter, Jennifer S. Reed, Steven J. Scher, Ellen Shupe, Richard D. Staley, Paul V. Switzer, Jo Anne Thill, Philip C. Thompson, Gordon C. Tucker and Robert A. Zordani.

10 Years -- Missa E. Anderson-Cook, Ke'an S. Armstrong, Sherri L. Arnholt, Jeffrey S. Ashley, Michael W. Babcock, Jeffrey M. Bailey, Joseph M. Beals, Rhonda S. Bence, Michael L. Boorom, Carol A. Boroughs, Sandy Bowman, Cindy W. Boyer, Dagni A. Bredesen, Peggy A. Brown, Lola A. Burnham, William B. Burnside, Daniel J. Carter, Rose M. Clapp, Melissa D. Coleman, Michael W. Cornebise, Deborah D. Cunningham, Jose R. Deustua-Carvallo, Cindy M. Diehl, Jeffrey A. Duck, Maria A. Dust, Pamela R. Ealy, Patrick C. Enstrom, Scott E. Erwin, Michael C. Fowler, Ann H. Fritz, John E. Fugate, Evgeny Gordon, Bradley J. Green, Tonya L. Green, Christopher Hanlon, Stephen M. Hayward, John G. Henderson, Mary B. Hennig, Jamie L. Huckstead, Mark A. Hudson, Tracey S. Hutchison, Nenad Ilic, Dennis B. Jackson, Gary J. Jensen, Colleen N. Kattenbraker, James L. Kestner, Marshall B. Lassak, Blair M. Lord, Daiva Markelis, Linda K. Marrs-Morford, Rodney K. Marshall, Randy G. McCammon, Allen C. McCowan, Francine P. McGregor, Scott J. Meiners, Christopher J. Mitchell, Mary Jo Montgomery, Kimberlie A. Moock, Kathleen A. O'Rourke, Rebecca A. Peebles, Sean A. Peebles, Joan Peters, Vicki M. Phillips, Lee Ann Price, Stacey L. Ruholl, Kelly A. Runyon, Shijuana M. Shannon, Brian C. Sowa, Shannon F. Storm, James L. Thomas, Marsha L. Toner, Edward M. Treadwell, Bryan D. Walden, Penny S. Walk, James A. Wallace, Sandra K. Wheeler, Diane E. Wilke, Julie A. Wilson, Christina S. Yousaf and Douglas A. Zuhone.

5 Years – Sid J. Acord, Aaron B. Allison, Bettina T. Becker, Sherry M. Beech, Thomas A. Blair, David J. Boggs, Bernard Borah, Paul D. Brown, Robert N. Calhoun, Lisa E. Canivez, Robyn B. Carr, David J. Closson, Bethany M. Craig, James D. Craig, David M. Crockett, Nancy J. Crone, Juanita C. Cross, Carrie M. Dale, Mai T. Dao, John Dively, Patrick D. Duzan, Angela R. Eubank, Christiane K. Eydt-Beebe, Candace R. Flatt, Chelsea L. Frederick, Gary M. Fulk, Robert M. Goble, Carrie E. Gossett, Gabriel J. Grant, Daniel U. Hagen, Amanda L. Harmon, Gregory E. Harris, Janet L. Harris, Jennifer Hess, Patricia A. Hood, Justin T. Hubbartt, Jonathan J. Hunt, John B. Hutchinson, Sandra L. Ibbotson, Diane H. Jackman, Jana M. Johnson, Michelle L. Jones, Eunseong Kim, Cay A. Kolling, Joseph J. Landeck, Gary M. Laumann, Cherie B. Lehman, Warren K. Lilly, Stephen E. Lucas, Felicia Y. Magee, Gishanthi P. Marasinghe, Paul A. McCann, Bradley L. McElravy, David W. Melton, Richard L. Moser, Michael A. Mulvaney, Jeffrey L. Oetting, Rachel D. Panepinto, Lindsay N. Partlow, Dee M. Pepperdine, Gopal R. Periyannan, Justin R. Perry, Jerry C. Rankin, Deborah D. Reifsteck, Eric N. Repp, Angelyne M. Rhoads, Kathryn Rhodes, Joel E. Richardson, Jeffrey R. Sanders, Yun Sanders, David L. Schmidt, Brian S. Shull, Jenifer D. Shupe, Ryan W. Siegel, Denise S. Smith, Magie Smith, Stacy J. Smith, Steven D. Steele, Brion M. Storm, Stephen A. Stumeier, John P. Taylor, Sandra L. Thiele, Quacy M. Timmons, Tina K. Veale, Johna Von Behrens, Heather K. Webb, Robert E. West, Larry R. White, Yolanda V. Williams, Christopher J. Wojtysiak, Marjorie G. Worthington, Westley N. Wright, Barbra D. Wylie and Angela M. Yoder.

Shown at right, from left to right, are Rosalie Herrington, Gail Richard, David Raybin and Jeri Matteson-Hughes.

Shown below, from left to right, front row, are Sue Sallee, Mary Russell, Diana Ingram, Deanna Smith and Lucy Campanis.  Back row: Linda Coffey, Mike Watts, Belayet Khan, William Hine, Steve Lane, Paula Embry, Cathy Gray and Deborah Woodley.

Sue Sallee, Mary Russell, Diana Ingram, Deanna Smith and Lucy Campanis; back row, Linda Coffey, Mike Watts, Belayet Khan, William Hine, Steve Lane, Paula Embry, Cathy Gray and Deborah Woodley.

Professor Revisits His Past with Acclaimed Film on Chile's Pivotal 'Woodstock' 03/12/12

When Gary Fritz headed to South America last year to document the ramifications of Piedra Roja, Chile's 1970 version of Woodstock, he simply wanted to preserve the history of the pivotal festival that he had helped organize as a teenager.

Fritz, a biological sciences professor with little filmmaking experience, had no idea the resulting documentary would resonate so deeply with Chileans that it would even be chosen over a Martin Scorsese movie for film festival honors.

Fritz's film, "Piedra Roja," is a two-hour, close-up look at how the festival profoundly affected Chilean society during a time of social and political upheaval -- the inception of Salvador Allende's socialist government and the subsequent military coup d'etat.

Emotional interviews with some of the festival's organizers illustrate how their involvement with the festival changed the courses of their lives as they dealt with backlash from both conservative Chileans and outraged government forces.

Fritz spent 40 days in Chile filming interviews with people who had been involved with the festival. At the time, he planned to simply submit the resulting footage to the Chilean national archive. But he soon realized the story needed to be seen more widely.

He submitted it to the IN-EDIT International Film and Music Documentary Festival in Santiago, Chile, which chose it -- over Martin Scorsese's film on George Harrison -- as its inaugural film in December. In January, it was shown in the Festival of the Arts in Valparaiso, Chile. Fritz plans to continue with the film festival circuit.

EIU Among Top 5% of U.S. Master's Institutions in Preparing Doctoral Students 03/05/12

Eastern Illinois University continues to prepare more undergraduates who go on to earn doctoral degrees than any other master's college/university in Illinois, according to a recent National Science Foundation survey.

In addition to ranking first in the state, EIU ranks in the top 5 percent nationwide, as it has for several years.

"A great indicator of an undergraduate institution's quality is the success of its graduates in doctoral programs, and it comes as no surprise to us that our alumni continue to excel in academic endeavors at every level," said EIU President William Perry. "We are pleased that the figures confirm the success of EIU's excellent integrated-learning experience."

The results of the recent Survey of Earned Doctorates -- a federal agency census conducted annually by the National Organization for Research -- indicate that many Eastern graduates continue their education by seeking doctorates and achieving other educational goals.

The survey reports that 227 EIU graduates obtained doctoral degrees in the years 2000 through 2009. This means that as a baccalaureate-origin institution, Eastern ranked No. 1 among 22 master's colleges and universities within Illinois, and No. 35 among 560 master's colleges and universities in the United States, for that 10-year time period.

Only schools with 10 or more recipients were included in the study.

The SED gathers information annually from 45,000 new U.S. research doctorate graduates about their educational histories, funding sources and post-doctoral plans. Only recipients of research doctorates were included in the survey. Therefore, recipients of professional degrees, such as medical doctors, veterinarians, dentists, attorneys, etc., are not included.

The SED survey is sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

EIU Board of Trustees Approves 2012-2013 Tuition Rates 03/02/12

Eastern Illinois University’s Board of Trustees on Friday approved the smallest percentage increase in new resident student tuition at EIU in 11 years.

The one-time increase for new students subject to EIU's resident tuition rate is from $269 to $279 per semester credit hour, and this rate is fixed by state law for at least four years of continuous enrollment.

The one-time increase of 3.7 percent is half the 7.4 percent increase in the CPI-U (CPI-Urban) Midwest over the past four years.  According to EIU President Bill Perry, "Past CPI increases do not predict future CPI increases, but they do give us a trend line that influences our thinking regarding tuition increases.

“Whether you consider the effect of the one-time tuition increase on a four-year basis or on equivalent annual bases, the impact is much less than the historical cost of living increase and likely future CPI increases. Paying attention to CPI data is one way we are being respectful of our students' individual or family financial situations in setting tuition."

No new fee increases were proposed at Friday’s meeting.  However, previously approved staged fee increases were presented for confirmation.

University officials consider a number of factors, such as the potential level of state funding, estimated increases in financial obligations, projected enrollment, Consumer Price Index data, and the impact of previously implemented cost containment measures, before determining a tuition recommendation to the board.

“We proposed to our Board of Trustees a tuition rate that enables continued investment in the quality of our programs, while maintaining our commitment to affordability and access to a university education second to none,” Perry said.

“We are a top-performing comprehensive university with virtually the most affordable tuition and fees in the state.  The board's action today confirms our historical and ongoing commitment to affordability, accessibility, and excellence."

Eastern Takes Third in International District Energy Association Video Contest 02/29/12

A team of Eastern Illinois University students made a respectable showing, coming in third only behind Princeton and Harvard in the International District Energy Association’s first campus energy video contest.

A video produced by Keith Sutterfield of Effingham, Wesley Smith of Chicago and Bobson Mercier of Ft. Myers, Fla., was chosen over entries from New Hampshire’s Dartmouth College, Texas A&M and the University of Connecticut.

“We congratulate these students in bringing EIU into the same league as the Ivy League schools in the nation,” said Ryan Siegel, EIU’s campus energy and sustainability coordinator.

Gary Reed, director of Facilities Planning and Management, formally accepted the award on behalf of the students during the association’s annual Campus Energy Conference, held earlier this month in Washington, D.C.  The award included a framed certificate and a cash prize of $100.

“Congratulations to the students and their advisory support staff in the Center for Academic Technology Support (CATS) for this great effort and the resulting award,” Reed said.  “This is yet another testimony of the dedication to efficient and environmentally responsible operations supported by the EIU campus community.

“This particular award reflects on our students’ appreciation for the efforts toward sustainability demonstrated through continuous improvements in campus operations and infrastructure.  The EIU example continues to be a leading model in energy use optimization and environmental responsibility.”

The video competition was sponsored by the IDEA to promote student engagement in distributed energy concepts and applications.  Student submissions were judged by the IDEA board for content and communications effectiveness in delivery of the focal message.

Sutterfield said that, while none of the three students had a lot of knowledge about Eastern’s Renewable Energy Center, they thought it would make a great subject for a video.  The three men compiled a list of people who were involved with the plan and contacted them about interviews.

“The whole process took several weeks to complete,” he said.

He commended Michael Babcock, a graphic designer with CATS, who “served as a great mentor to us all.”

The EIU video can be seen at

EIU School of Business to Host 'Accounting Watchdog' during Holley Ethics Awareness Week 02/23/12

The Eastern Illinois University School of Business' Holley Ethics Awareness Week will include two March 6 lectures by "Accounting Watchdog" writer Francine McKenna.

McKenna's writings have appeared in the Financial Times, Boston Review, American Banker, Columbia Journalism Review, Accountancy Age and Accountancy Magazine. She also has a website that covers the accounting industry and columns on ("Accounting Watchdog") and American Banker ("Accountable").

The first presentation, “Who Will Slay the Dragon? Penn State and College Football: How an ‘Ethical’ Institution Dropped Its Sword and Shield,” begins at 3:30 p.m. The second, “Stay on Your Feet: How ‘New Hires’ Can Successfully Negotiate the Slippery Ethical Slopes of the Workplace” is at 7 p.m.

Both of McKenna’s presentations -- which are free and open to the public -- will be in the Roberson Auditorium, Lumpkin Hall 2030.

In addition, presentations from the Holley Ethics Awareness Week Essay Contest participants will take place at 7 p.m. March 7 in the Roberson Auditorium. The public is invited to attend.

The essay contest is open to EIU students who are either undergraduates in the School of Business or graduate MBA students. For full contest rules and details, visit

Holley Ethics Awareness Week is co-sponsored by the School of Business and Beta Gamma Sigma.

For more information, contact Jaime Hendrix at 581-2627 or

Student Veterans to Honor William Miner Through Memorial March 02/20/12

Survivors of the 1942 Bataan Death March could not have envisioned anyone voluntarily making the grueling 26.2-mile journey.

But 70 years later, thousands of active and retired military personnel, as well as civilians, are in training to do just that. And a group of student veterans from Eastern Illinois University plan to be involved. Michael Ruybal, EIU’s coordinator of Veterans and Military Personnel Student Services, said he and six others plan to participate in the Bataan Memorial Death March (, held annually across the rugged desert terrain of the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. This year’s commemoration, to take place March 25, will mark the second consecutive year of EIU’s involvement.

Shown, from left to right, front row, are Shannalee Karrick of Ashmore and Anna Boehlefeld of Davis; from left to right, back row, are “Gus” Lamezyk of Radom, DeNel’ Howery of Charleston, Greg Schoonover of Sullivan, Tommy Hamilton of Carbondale and Michael Ruybal, EIU coordinator of Veterans and Military Personnel Student Services.  Not pictured is Michael Bird of Villa Grove.

Shown, from left to right, front row, are Shannalee Karrick of Ashmore and Anna Boehlefeld of Davis; from left to right, back row, are “Gus” Lamezyk of Radom, DeNel’ Howery of Charleston, Greg Schoonover of Sullivan, Tommy Hamilton of Carbondale and Michael Ruybal, EIU coordinator of Veterans and Military Personnel Student Services.  Not pictured is Michael Bird of Villa Grove.

The seven prospective marchers are all members of the Black Knights of the Embarras, a veterans group first established on Eastern’s campus in 1952 by students returning from the Korean War. According to Ruybal, the Black Knights wanted to participate in this year’s memorial march in order to “pay respect and honor a former EIU professor of history and Veteran Services director, William D. Miner.”

Miner, who died in 1998 at the age of 83, was a veteran of World War II and a survivor of the Bataan Death March. He was an Army veteran and prisoner of war for 39 months during World War II.

The Black Knights will also be marching in honor of EIU alumnus and fellow Black Knight Dave Peontek, whose father, Henry William Peontek, was a Bataan survivor. “Mr. Peontek, who passed in 1994, suffered from severe PTSD, having nightmares nightly of his Japanese captors attempting to execute him and his fellow soldiers,” Ruybal said.

The Bataan Memorial Death March, which began in 1989, honors those World War II heroes who were responsible for the defense of the islands of Luzon, Corregidor and the harbor defense forts of the Philippines. On April 9, 1942, tens of thousands of Americans and Filipino soldiers were surrendered to Japanese forces, and were forced to march for days in the scorching heat through the Philippine jungles. Thousands died.

Since its inception, the Bataan Memorial Death March has grown from about 100 to thousands of participants from across the United States and several foreign countries. Some participate in the full 26.2-mile march, enabling them to experience, in part, what soldiers endured during their long forced trek through the Philippines; others participate in a smaller, less intense 14.2-mile version.

“I’m hoping our participation will continue to build ‘esprit de corps’ within the veterans program here at Eastern,” Ruybal said. “The event builds team work, collaboration and personal pride, along with self accomplishment for the individuals.

“But, most importantly, it is an activity for veterans to take part of, in remembering those who came before us and, in some cases, made the ultimate sacrifice for this nation. We do this to remember and to pay respect,” he added.

In addition to Ruybal, this year’s prospective marchers include men and women ranging in age from their twenties to their fifties, and representing all branches of the U.S. military: Anna Boehlefeld, Davis; Shannalee Karrick, Ashmore; DeNel’ Howery, Charleston; Michael Bird, Villa Grove; August Lamezyk, Radom; and Greg Schoonover, Sullivan.

The Black Knights are currently in the process of raising the $7,000 it will take to get this year’s participants to New Mexico and pay for room/board and registration costs. Anyone wishing to contribute may do so by sending a check made payable to the Black Knights, care of Michael Ruybal, Veterans Services, Eastern Illinois University, 600 Lincoln Ave., Charleston, Ill. 61920.

Additionally, a fund-raising pancake breakfast will be served from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, at the Charleston VFW, 1821 20th St. The cost is $5 per individual. Tickets may be purchased in advance through EIU’s Veterans Services or at the door.

Questions? Contact Ruybal at 217-581-7888.

EIU Surpasses $50 Million Fundraising Goal More Than Two Years Early 02/20/12

EIU campaign logo"EI&U: The Campaign for Eastern," the largest fundraising effort in Eastern Illinois University's history, has surpassed its $50 million goal more than two years ahead of schedule.

A total of $53.1 million has been secured, fitting for a campaign with the theme "Expect Greatness," which was publicly launched in October 2010 with a goal of raising $50 million by July 2014.

"When we began the 'Expect Greatness' campaign, I fully believed we would reach our goal, not only because Eastern touches so many lives, but also because giving back is the Eastern way," said EIU President Bill Perry.

"What has been a pleasant surprise is the speed at which our supporters have responded to our call for assistance. The challenging economy has made charitable dollars more precious than ever, but our alumni and friends have proven that Eastern is a priority to them. We're very grateful."

Part of the campaign's success stemmed from a huge response to its "Fund for the Future" component, in which people commit planned gifts. The goal for this area was $12 million, but $19.4 million has been secured.

The campaign received an influx of support from many people who believe in the university's mission, with alumni chief among them, said Robert Martin, vice president for university advancement.

"The most meaningful part of reaching our goal in such an impressive manner is seeing that the Eastern experience meant so much to our alumni," Martin said. "We touched their lives in such significant ways that they were more than willing to invest their own funds in keeping Eastern's tradition of excellence alive for current and future students."

Faculty and staff donations were up in the past fiscal year as well, with the percentage of employees donating increasing 75 percent from the previous year. Seventeen departments and offices had 100 percent participation.

The contributions received will allow EIU to remain a first-class institution while keeping tuition affordable for students, Perry said.

The campaign focuses on four priorities: students (funding scholarships); faculty and staff (attracting and retaining world-class faculty, as well as supporting research, creative projects and service activities); capital improvements (including building a new science center, courtyard spaces and a Lantz Arena gateway); and programs (including developing centers that would focus on specific subjects, with possibilities such as autism, entrepreneurship and innovation, ethics, financial health, geographic information systems and remote sensing, humanities, student community service and wellness).

Martin expressed deep appreciation to the members of the "EI&U" campaign Steering Committee: Chairperson Julie (Humphrey) Nimmons of Litchfield; Timothy L. and Vickie (Krupp) Burke of Evanston; Max and Mary Cougill of Charleston; Judy A. Ethell of Chesterfield, Mo.; Bob Glover of Chicago; Robert A. Ingram of Durham, N.C.; Charles Keller of Effingham; Jeffrey P. Knezovich of Naperville; Herbert and Jane Lasky of Ashmore; Richard A. Lumpkin of Mattoon; Carl T. Mito of Arlington Heights; Tony Romo of Dallas, Texas; Paul L. Snyder of Oro Valley, Ariz.; and Charles W. Witters of Las Vegas, Nev.

For more information about the campaign, please contact Karla Watson, assistant vice president of university advancement, at or 217-581-3315, or visit the "EI&U: The Campaign for Eastern" website at

School Districts to Attend Mid-America Educator's Job Fair 02/13/12

Representatives from school districts from across Illinois, as well as other states and countries, will be seeking new employees at the upcoming Mid-America Educators' Job Fair at Eastern Illinois University.

The public is invited to the free job fair, which is set for 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 29, in the MLK Jr. Union's Grand Ballroom. It is sponsored by EIU Career Services.

A list of participating schools and available jobs in teaching, school administration and special services is available online at

Professional dress is required. Those attending should bring several copies of their resumes.

For more information, please contact coordinator Diane Smith at or 217-581-8423.

EIU Dancers to Present Annual Spring Performance 02/02/12

The EIU Dancers will present four stagings of their 31st annual spring performance, "Alive on the Inside," Feb. 16-18.

Shows are set for 7 p.m. Feb. 16; 7 p.m. Feb. 17; and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Feb. 18, all in The Theatre of the Doudna Fine Arts Center.

Antoine Thomas, the director of the EIU Dancers, said the performance is a celebration of different genres of dance, allowing the dancers to showcase their range of talents.

"We look at exploring all types of dance, including jazz, lyrical, modern, ballet and hip-hop, and for the first time ever, we will be performing stomp and Bollywood pieces this year as well," Thomas said.

The performance will consist of 18 dance pieces, and the type of music featured will be as diverse as the types of dance represented, Thomas said.

Tickets, $5 each, are available to the public at the Doudna Box Office, which can be reached at 581-3110. Tickets can also be purchased online at

The EIU Dancers are sponsored by the kinesiology and sports studies department, the theatre arts department and the DanceLife Center.

For more information, contact Antoine Thomas at 581-8397 or or visit

Book Earns EIU Professor Praise From National Book Critics Circle 01/27/12

Readers of Roxane Gay’s book, “Ayiti,” shouldn’t expect to read about the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

“I’m sure I’ll write something about it in the future,” she says.  “Once I know what it means.  I haven’t yet figured it out.”

Instead, “Ayiti” (the Haitian Creole name for Haiti) examines “what it means to be Haitian” through a collection of short stories and essays.  Some of the selections date back nearly a decade, says Gay, whose parents are Haitian by birth.  In “Ayiti,” she writes about people who “are still in Haiti, those who have left and some who tried to return.”

The book is a very personal collection of work, which made it particularly meaningful to the author when “Ayiti” was named one of the National Book Critic Circle’s “Small Press Highlights of 2011” (

“It meant a lot, both personally and professionally,” Gay said.  “It’s given the book a level of attention that it wouldn’t have otherwise received.”

That attention came through a succession of personal contacts.

“Ayiti” was published in October 2010 by Artistically Declined Press.  The publisher – a personal acquaintance of hers – likes Gay’s writing.  “He approached me and I sent them the ‘Ayiti’ manuscript which they liked and accepted,” Gay said.

Another friend, who had bought a copy of the published work, liked it so much that she shared it with Rigoberto Gonzalez, who serves on the executive board of directors of the National Book Critics Circle.  In mid-December 2011, he included “Ayiti” as one of only 12 books on his annual “Small Press Highlights” list.

In introducing “Ayiti” on his list, Gonzalez wrote, “In this brief but powerful collection of stories (most no longer than three pages), Haitians navigate their beleaguered homeland or their adopted country (the U.S.) as immigrants, refugees, and undocumented border crossers pining for their loved ones left ‘kneeling in a bed of sand and bones’ in one of the world’s poorest nations.  Gay doesn’t shy away from critique, showing how Haiti’s misfortunes appeal to the exploitative foreign media and well-meaning though condescending outsiders: ‘Then the world intruded. It always does.’”

Gay, an assistant professor of English at Eastern Illinois University, is accustomed to having her work published.  She regularly has work seen in such periodicals as American Short Fiction, Indiana Review, Cream City Review, Black Warrior Review, Noon, Salon and The Rumpus, and has recently been published in two anthologies --  “News Stories From the Midwest 2011” and “Best Sex Writing 2012.”

“Ayiti,” however, is her first published book.  She’s currently working on a novel based on a short work of fiction – Things I Know of Fairy Tales – found in that book.

EIU Student to Compete on 'Jeopardy! College Championship' 01/26/12

Alex Trebeck, Anne Rozek on 'Jeopardy!'Eastern Illinois University will be in the national spotlight when one of its Presidential Scholars competes for $100,000 on the "Jeopardy! College Championship" on Feb. 2.

Anne Rozek, a junior from Cary, was one of 15 students from throughout the nation chosen for the game show, putting EIU on the same stage as schools including Duke, Harvard, Stanford and Columbia.

Rozek, who can't discuss how she fared on the show until after it airs, said the entire experience was surreal.

It all began with the encouragement of a family friend who was once a five-day "Jeopardy!" winner and competitor in the show's Tournament of Champions.

So, during spring break in March, Rozek and her older sister each took the online test.