Friday, August 30, 2019

Friday Night Star Parties to return in Sept. at the UIS Observatory

The University of Illinois Springfield’s popular Friday Night Star Parties will resume the Friday after Labor Day. Star Parties will be held from 8-10 p.m. on Sept. 6, 13, 20, and 27 and Oct. 4, 11, 18 and 25, weather permitting, at the UIS Observatory on the roof of Brookens Library.

Star Parties are hosted by John Martin, UIS associate professor of astronomy/physics. The observatory’s telescopes will be used to view a number of celestial objects, including the planets Jupiter and Saturn; the Moon, when visible; the Ring Nebula; globular star clusters M13 and M15 and other double stars and star clusters.

A typical Star Party begins with a presentation as visitors ascend the stairs to the observatory, learning about galaxies, the sun and stars along the way. On the roof observation deck visitors are invited to view the skies through telescopes and ask questions. Participants are welcome to arrive and leave as they wish between 8-10 p.m.

Friday Night Star Parties are free and open to the public. Reservations are not required, and groups are encouraged to attend. The entrance to the campus observatory is located outside Brookens Library on the southeast corner of the building.

Star Parties may be canceled for cloudy weather. Questions about whether the weather is suitable for viewing should be directed to 217-206-8342 at 7 p.m. on the evening of the Star Party. Participants may also follow the UIS Observatory on Twitter (@UISObservatory) for updates.

Anyone who has accessibility issues with regular Friday Star Parties should contact John Martin at 217-206-8342 or about Accessible Star Parties. Learn more on the UIS Astronomy/Physics website.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

UIS Lunch & Learn Series presents “New Salem & Stephen A. Douglas”

WHAT: The University of Illinois Springfield’s Office of Advancement, Alumni SAGE Society and the Illinois State Historical Society presents “New Salem & Stephen A. Douglas” as part of the Lunch and Learn Series.

WHEN: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 10, 2019

WHERE: UIS Student Union Ballroom, 2251 Richard Wright Drive, Springfield

DETAILS: Mark B. Pohlad, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of History of Art and Architecture at DePaul University, will present “The Reconstruction of New Salem: A Brief, Passionate History.”

Reg Ankrom, author of “Stephen A. Douglas: The Political Apprenticeship” will present “The Rise of Stephen A. Douglas: Illinois Politician, American Statesman.”

The cost for the hot buffet lunch and program is $25/per person. Reservations are requested, as seating is limited. The registration deadline is one week prior to each event. A discounted series subscription is available for $65/per person but is only available through September 3, 2019.

Other upcoming Lunch & Learn events include “Footprints of Sangamon” on October 8 and the “Second Annual Illinois Statehood Day Symposium” on December 3. These lunch-time programs will stimulate thinking as they build upon the University’s tradition of open and intelligent dialogue.

Visit to register online. For more information, contact the UIS Office of Advancement at 217/206-6058 or email

Friday, August 23, 2019

UIS Speaker Series explores the right to free speech in a Constitution Day event

WHAT: The University of Illinois Springfield Engaged Citizenship Common Experience (ECCE) Speaker Series will take an in-depth look at free speech with committed peace activist John Tinker.

WHEN: 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 12, 2019

WHERE: UIS Brookens Auditorium, located on the lower level of Brookens Library

DETAILS: In February 1969, John Tinker made history when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that First Amendment rights applied in school, thus reminding young people that they have a voice.

Tinker’s case started when, at age 15, he wore a black arm band to school protesting the Vietnam War. He was threatened with suspension and challenged the school district in his right to protest.

In the 50 years that followed the Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District ruling, Tinker has remained a committed peace activist. He and his wife currently run a non-profit radio station in Fayette, Missouri with volunteers in their community.

As president of the John F. Tinker Foundation, he also helps educate students, teachers and school administrators regarding the First Amendment rights of students.

This event is cosponsored by the UIS Department of Legal Studies.

Individuals with disabilities who anticipate the need for accommodations should contact the UIS Speaker Series Office at 217/206-8507 or in advance. For a list of other upcoming ECCE Speaker Series events, visit

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Four UIS faculty members to present their research during public presentations on campus

Four faculty members from the University of Illinois Springfield will present their research as part of the Fall Semester 2019 Faculty Scholarship Series. All presentations are free and open to the public.

The series starts with Kenneth Kriz, UIS professor and director of the Institute for Illinois Public Finance. He will present “Tax Increment Financing and the Future of Community and Economic Development” from 2 to 3 p.m. on Sept. 5 in the Public Affairs Center (PAC) Conference Room H.

Sarah Webb, UIS assistant professor of English, will discuss the results from her ongoing project to engage the public through art and writing, called “ReVision: Colorism Healing Through Creative Writing,” from 4 to 5 p.m. on Oct. 3 in PAC Conference Room G.

From 4:30 to 6 p.m. on Oct. 14, Jason Pierceson, UIS professor of political science, will present his sabbatical research results on “From José Sarria to Danica Roem and Mayor Pete: LGBTQ+ Candidates Past and Present” in PAC Conference Room H.

Finally, from 6 to 7 p.m. on Nov. 6 John Transue, UIS associate professor and chair of political science, will discuss “White Racial Identity and Support for Black Political Candidates” in PAC Conference Room G.

The purpose of the Faculty Scholarship Series is to highlight research at UIS and to share these results with the larger Springfield community.

For more information, contact Keenan Dungey, UIS associate vice chancellor for research and institutional effectiveness, at 217/206-8112 or

UIS Visual Arts Gallery presents “Tectonic Soliloquy” by Minnesota-based artist Liz Miller

The University of Illinois Springfield Visual Arts Gallery is pleased to present “Tectonic Soliloquy,” an immersive mixed-media installation by Minnesota-based artist Liz Miller. The exhibition will open on Monday, August 26, and run through Thursday, September 19. A reception for the exhibit will take place from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, September 5 in the Visual Arts Gallery.

Miller’s exhibit explores the fallibility of infrastructure and the precariousness of perception, as seen through a materially-intensive, process-based lens. She utilizes undulating planar forms in conjunction with fabric and rope as a metaphor for shifting landscapes, altered topographies, and imagined realities. References to the natural world and the built environment collide in interludes that are alternately beautiful, absurd, menacing, and poetic, alluding to the complexity of our world. Tensions between fact/fiction and dimensionality/flatness are endlessly intriguing to her, playing out in her work as a dialogue between reality and illusion.

Miller received her bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the Rhode Island School of Design and her master’s degree in fine arts from the University of Minnesota. Her installations and works on paper have been featured in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States and abroad. Her awards include a McKnight Professional Development Grant from Forecast Public Art, a McKnight Foundation Fellowship for Visual Artists, a Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grant, a Jerome Foundation Fellowship and five Artist Initiative Grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board.

Miller recently completed residencies at the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans and the McColl Center for Art + Innovation in Charlotte. She lives and works in Good Thunder, Minnesota and is a professor of installation and drawing at Minnesota State University-Mankato.

The Visual Arts Gallery is centrally located on the UIS campus in the Health and Science Building, Room 201, and is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

For more information, visit the UIS Visual Arts Gallery website at or contact the gallery by phone at 217/206-6506 or by email at

UIS Prairie Star 5K run/walk to raise money for the local non-profit Triple Heart Foundation

WHAT: The University of Illinois Springfield will hold the fourth annual Prairie Star 5K run/walk to raise money for the Triple Heart Foundation, a local non-profit organization. The Prairie Star 5K run/walk is open to UIS students, faculty, staff and community members.

WHEN: 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, September 7, 2019

WHERE: The Recreation and Athletic Center (TRAC) on the UIS campus

DETAILS: The flat and fast race course will begin outside of The Recreation and Athletic Center (TRAC) and go east along scenic University Drive before entering the heart of campus. The race will end near TRAC on Eliza Farnham Drive where door prizes and awards will be distributed.

This year’s race will benefit the Triple Heart Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides books to parents with newborns in the intensive care unit. Research has shown that reading to these babies not only helps brain development, but also helps to create a special bond between the parents and their baby. Each book is given to a NICU family, allowing them to create a library of books and memories during their hospital stay.

The cost to register for the Prairie Star 5K run/walk is $8 for UIS students and $13 for faculty, staff, alumni and community. Registration is available online at You may also call 217/206-7103 or stop by TRAC in person to register for the race.

The deadline to register for the race and be guaranteed a t-shirt is Tuesday, Sept. 3 at 12 p.m. Participants may also register on the day of the race from 7:30 to 8 a.m., however they are not guaranteed a t-shirt.

The run/walk is made possible by UIS Campus Recreation, the Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority, UIS Cross Country and Track & Field and Stokes Race Timing Services.

For more information, contact Anna Schoenherr, at 217/206-7103 or

Classical violinist who escaped Syria to kick off the UIS Speaker Series

WHAT: The University of Illinois Springfield Engaged Citizenship Common Experience (ECCE) Speaker Series will kick off the semester by hosting a musical presentation and performance titled “A Tribute to Syria” featuring world-renowned and award-winning violist Mariela Shaker.

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 10, 2019

WHERE: UIS Brookens Auditorium, located on the lower level of Brookens Library

DETAILS: Mariela Shaker, who began playing the violin at age nine, will share her harrowing story of escape from Syria through inspiring words and music.

Full-ride scholarships to both Monmouth College and DePaul University in Illinois allowed her to escape the war in her home country. She is now a violin professor at Monmouth College helping students develop their full potential through their own personal voice and expression.

Shaker has performed with the Mesopotamian Symphony Orchestra and gave her debut recital at the Kennedy Center in celebration of World Refugee Day. She was named a Champion for Change for World Refugees by President Barack Obama and has played all over the world at the request of international leaders. She received the first-ever Anne Frank Promisekeeper Award in 2018 and is the peace ambassador for the World Council of Arameans.

This event is cosponsored by the World Affairs Council of Central Illinois.

Individuals with disabilities who anticipate the need for accommodations should contact the UIS Speaker Series Office at 217/206-8507 or in advance. For a list of other upcoming ECCE Speaker Series events, visit

Thursday, August 1, 2019

UIS to co-host special Star Party viewing for Perseid meteor shower

WHAT: The University of Illinois Springfield Astronomy-Physics Program, Lincoln Memorial Garden and the Sangamon Astronomical Society will host a special Star Party to view the annual Perseid meteor shower.

WHEN: 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. on Monday, August 12, 2019

WHERE: Lincoln Memorial Garden, 2301 East Lake Shore Drive, Springfield, Illinois

DETAILS: The Perseid meteor shower takes place annually in the beginning of August when the Earth passes through a stream of debris crossing the Earth’s orbit from the Swift-Tuttle. The 2019 shower is predicted to peak between August 11 and 13.

The Perseid meteor show is known for producing more fireball type meteors than any other meteor shower. In a dark location on any given night, between three and five meteors per hour can be spotted. During the peak of a shower, like the Perseids, there could be up to 60 meteors per hour.

People attending the event at Lincoln Memorial Garden should park in the spaces just off East Lake Shore Drive. Observing will be done in Crawley Meadow across the street from the nature center. Attendees are encouraged to wear bug repellant, dress appropriately for the weather and bring lawn chairs or blankets to sit on.

The meteor viewing may be cancelled for cloudy weather. Questions about suitable weather viewing should be directed to 217/206-8342 after 6 p.m. on August 13. Updates will also be posted on the UIS Observatory Twitter feed (@UISObservatory).

Please note that this event in on Monday, August 12. Some of the Star Parties posters printed and distributed have the wrong date on them.

For more information on UIS Star Parties, contact John Martin, UIS associate professor of Astronomy-Physics, at 217/206-8342 or