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U of I System Updates

On September 7, former President Barack Obama was honored by the University of Illinois System with the Paul H. Douglas Award for Ethics in Government, presented annually by the system's Institute of Government and Public Affairs. During his visit, Obama also spoke to about 1,000 students at Foellinger Auditorium at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Read the news release.


The U of I System pumps $17.5 billion into the Illinois economy annually and supports 171,000 jobs – one in every 46 jobs across the state, according to a new economic impact study released September 27.

Read the news release.


Total enrollment increased to nearly 85,600 students across the U of I System this fall, up 2.7 percent and rising to a record high for the sixth straight year, President Tim Killeen announced on September 12.

Read the news release.


On September 21, the U of I System and the University of Illinois Foundation announced record fundraising for fiscal year 2018, with $498.5 million in new business, comprised of new gifts, grants, pledges and deferred commitments. The total for the fiscal year that ended June 30 is a $212.2 million, or 75 percent, increase from FY2017, and eclipses the all-time high of $434.9 million set in FY2013.

Read the news release.


One September 27, the University of Illinois Board of Trustees approved a $6.8 billion budget for fiscal 2019 with nearly $300 million in projected new revenue that will help fund key educational and research priorities such as faculty, facilities and student financial aid.

Read the news release.

University Highlights

University of Illinois at Chicago

University of Illinois at Springfield

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Advocacy in Action

On September 12, Illinois Connection hosted its first Chicago Alumni in Government Reception. Alumni from Urbana-Champaign, Chicago, and Springfield joined U of I System leadership for the evening reception, along with elected officials from state and local government including Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia and Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer, both Urbana alumni. 

 Photo: Courtesy of Rep. Lipinski's office

At the invitation of Rep. Dan Lipinski, Andy Singer, associate dean for innovation and entrepreneurship in Urbana's College of Engineering, participated in a congressional briefing on the National Science Foundation's Innovation Corps program on September 6. The program was created to help researchers identify valuable product opportunities and to gain the customer discovery and entrepreneurial skills needed to commercialize them.

Urbana-Champaign Agricultural and Consumer Economics professor Craig Gundersen testified on September 26 before a joint subcommittee hearing within the House Oversight Committee on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The federal aid program offers nutritional assistance to eligible, low-income individuals and families, and the hearing focused on ways to combat program fraud and more effectively assist states in the program's administration. Gundersen is a leading expert in analyzing the causes and consequences of food insecurity and evaluating food assistance programs


From September 4-6, the U of I System's President's Executive Leadership Program (PELP) visited Washington, D.C. During their trip, Executive Vice President Barbara Wilson led 16 high-level administrative and faculty leaders from across our three universities though a series of meetings with associations, agencies, and members of Congress. The fellows met with officials from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Homeland Security, strategized with American Council on Education President Ted Mitchell and Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities President Peter McPherson, and engaged with Reps. Rodney DavisRaja Krishnamoorthi, and Cheri Bustos.


The UIC College of Dentistry was presented with the Center of Excellence Award from Liberty Dental Plan on September 19. The college was selected to receive the award for demonstrating a commitment and dedication to quality care, and for its service to patients on Medicaid. UIC Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Robert Barish and College of Dentistry Dean Clark Stanford accepted the award from state Sen. Patricia Van Pelt and Liberty's Judy Bowlby.


Officials from the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System participated in several events focused on stemming the increase in maternal and infant mortality, particularly as it relates to disparities for African-American mothers and infants. Angela Ellison, director of Community Engagement and Neighborhood Health Partnerships and Kathy Tossas-Milligan, director of the Office of Global Assets and Innovative Approaches, were panelists at a September 25 state hearing on this issue. In addition, Dr. Joan Briller, cardiologist at UI Health, Abby Koch, Senior Research Specialist at the Center on Women and Gender and Shirley Scott, Perinatal Outreach Educator, are all members of the Illinois maternal mortality review committee and participated in a roundtable discussion hosted by Rep. Mike Quigley on the importance of the Illinois maternal mortality review committee and the increased CDC funding the committee recently received.




Jennifer Creasey, Senior Director of State Relations

Paul Weinberger, Director of Federal Relations

Melissa Haas, Associate Director of Federal Relations

Deon Thomas, Visiting Community Relations Coordinator

Emily Tuttle, Federal Relations Specialist