On Feb. 12, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the release of $500 million in state funds to begin construction of permanent Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) headquarters in downtown Chicago and Illinois Innovation Network (IIN) hubs across the state. The U of I System is raising matching funds that grew through a $10 million gift from U of I Board of Trustees Chairman Don Edwards and his wife, Anne, which will be divided between DPI and programs in Urbana. U of I System President, Tim Kileen, Chicago Mayor, Lori Lightfoot, Chairman Edwards, and DPI City Scholar, Azriel Alvarado also spoke at the event where the governor announced the release of funding for DPI and IIN. Read more about the Chairman's gift here and the Governor's release on funding here.
Robin Fretwel Wilson has been appointed director of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs (IGPA), Executive Vice President and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Barbara Wilson, announced on Feb. 10 Wilson, a professor and associate dean of the College of Law in Urbana, will be the 10th IGPA director, pending approval by the U of I Board of Trustees on March 12. Wilson formerly served on the IGPA's working group focusing on substance use disorders. Read more here.
A new study by researchers from Urbana-Champaign and Reed College in Portland, Ore., is addressing the problem of stormwater buildup in urban communities. According to the study, innovative solutions such as "green infrastructure"-rain barrels, green roofs, rain gardens- are cost-effective and something the general public is willing to invest in. The study, which was jointly funded by the Illinois Water Resource Center, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and the National Science Foundation, included a survey of residents in Chicago and Portland to calculate what urban citizens are willing to spend to fix stormwater management issues.
Read more here.
The U of I System hosted its 11th annual U of I Day at the Capitol on Feb. 26. More than 200 students and alumni gathered in Springfield to talk to state legislators about the importance of investing in higher education. The advocates began the day at the luncheon, where Deputy Gov., Jesse Ruiz, received the inaugural U of I System Award for Advocacy. Following the luncheon, the U of I System hosted a rally in the Capitol rotunda with speakers that included State Treasurer Michael Frerichs, Sen. Scott Bennett, Sen. Michael Hastings, Sen. Steve McClure, Sen. Jim Oberweis, Rep. Carol Ammons, Rep. Bob Morgan, Rep. Sue Scherer, and University of Illinois at Springfield student, Eric Loera.
The Office of Governmental Relations was happy to welcome advocacy groups from across the system to Springfield to meet with their legislators at small lobby days. On February 19, iVenture, a group of students from Urbana, spoke with legislators about the importance of supporting innovation in Illinois. Additionally, on February 18 a group of graduate and undergraduate students from the UIC School of Public Health traveled to Springfield to meet with state legislators, including Senate President Don Harmon.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker invited President, Tim Killeen, Senior Director of State Relations, Jennifer Creasey and DPI City Scholar Azriel Alvarado to his budget address on Feb. 19. The Governor acknowledged his recent release of $500 million in capital funding for DPI and IIN, along with a proposed increase in MAP grant funding and an increase in funding for higher education if voters approve the graduated income tax in November.
Illinois Connection, U of I System's grassroots advocacy network, organized the Illinois Public Universities Higher Education Reception on Feb. 26. The reception took place in the Governor's Mansion where Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton and Deputy Gov. of Education, Jesse Ruiz spoke about the value of public higher education.
On Feb. 20, Gov. J.B. Pritzker held a press conference at the UIC highlighting his efforts to support higher education in Illinois. He was joined by UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis and Illinois Student Assistance Commission, Director Eric Zarnikow. Jacky Salgado, a UIC student and member of the Student Advocacy Coalition, spoke about the personal impact of MAP funding.
On Feb. 8, UIC hosted elected officials from the Chicagoland area at a men's basketball game. U.S. Rep. Jesus "Chuy" García, a UIC alumnus, lit the Eternal Flame at the beginning of the game. Other attendees included State Sen. Celina Villanueva; State Reps. Lashawn Ford, Camille Lilly and Edgar Gonzales and Alderman Byron Sigcho-Lopez of Chicago's 25th Ward.
On Feb. 7, Ron Batory, administrator of the Federal Railway Administration, visited Urbana to deliver a William W. Hay Railroad Engineering Seminar. During his visit, Batory met with students and faculty and toured the Grainger College of Engineering rail laboratories.
An archive of these email announcements is available here.
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