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Uncensored: U of Chicago makes free speech its hallmark

Maroon2

Anton Ford, a philosophy professor associated with UofC Resists, leads chants at an event featuring Corey Lewandowski. Feng Ye/The Chicago Maroon

Media literacy, thorough event planning emphasized on hyper-tolerant campus

By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN
For Illinois Press Association

CHICAGO – No American university is more committed to free speech on campus than the University of Chicago, according to a recent FIRE student survey.

Whether or not faculty and administrators are Spider-Man buffs, they subscribe to the sage advice of Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

“This is important: Our faculty are not the kind of faculty that will just invite a speaker to come and have free reign,” Dean of Students Michele Rasmussen said. “It’s usually a defined program, where it’s an atmosphere for those ideas to be challenged.”

The university scored highest out of the 55 universities that took part in the survey conducted by The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a nonprofit focused on protecting free speech rights on campuses.

The survey covered universities’ openness, how willing they are to invite a speaker to address controversial issues, self-expression and administrative support.

Geoffrey Stone (left), an Edward H. Levi distinguished law professor who’s filled various leadership positions at the university during his 47-year tenure, says the university has emphasized First Amendment rights since its inception in 1890.

GeoffreyStoneIn 2014, the university’s president, Robert Zimmer, addressed a nationwide trend of free speech challenges at universities by enlisting Stone and other distinguished professors to draft a statement clearly spelling out that under virtually no circumstances the university would prohibit free speech.

The “Chicago Principles” have since been adopted by 70-plus universities, including Princeton, Columbia, and multiple Big Ten universities, including the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, which ranked 42nd in the survey. The University of Wisconsin was a notch above at 41st, and the U of I-Chicago was 44th.

The universities effectively lopped off the first half of the principles, which pertained to the University of Chicago specifically, but kept the universal elements.

Stone said arrogance often gets in the way of sharing intellectual property among higher education, “so adopting another’s statement is hard to do.”

Further, he said, universities have to be prepared for students and faculty who oppose expression of free speech from opposing or extreme viewpoints.

“It takes a good deal of courage, frankly,” Stone said. “It does piss off a lot of people.”

 

Media literacy is key

The crux of the “Chicago Principles” is summarized nicely in the document’s reference to a dissenting
opinion from Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in a Sedition Act case in 1918.

“... The ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas – that the best test of truth is the
power of the thought to get itself accepted in the free competition of the market,” the dissent reads.
Stone said free expression was integral to desegregation, interracial marriage, and the women’s rights
movements.

“They would have been flat-out rejected without hesitation at different times in the past,” he said.

He said the university was among the first to offer benefits for gay marriages.

“At a point in the past, that would have been regarded as absurd,” Stone said. “Because we have allowed the advocacy of those challenging positions, we’ve learned and changed our minds about things. We always have to be open to challenges.”

The difference today, he readily concedes, is the speed at which information, and misinformation, travels. Five years ago, Stone began teaching a Freedom of Speech course that keyed on vetting information.

“We live in an environment where it’s more important than ever for people to be skeptical,” Stone said.

As baseless claims and conspiracy theories flood the media – both social media and broadcasts and print publications – consumers must scrutinize the content.

“Our students are living in that society. That’s the reality of the world we’re living in,” Stone said.

He said shielding students from misinformation fails to prepare them for the real world.

Three years ago, the university retooled its orientation program to emphasize media literacy to new students as soon as they arrived on campus. Not coincidentally, the university borrowed heavily from the orientation program of Purdue University – one of the first institutions to adopt and adapt the “Chicago Principles.”

MicheleRasmussen“We sort of returned the favor,” Rasmussen (left) said, laughing.

In a large venue, faculty, students and special guests speak, do a Q&A session and role-play. Videos of such figures as Barack Obama are shown. It’s all done in an hour.

“It’s not too preachy, and it brings some abstract concepts down to a level students can understand,” Rasmussen said. “It’s not effective to have a bunch of talking-head administrators.”

It was obviously difficult to conduct orientation virtually, she said. Another challenge has been meeting students at their level, given that about two-thirds of the University of Chicago’s students are graduate students.

“One could argue they’re even more diverse than undergrads,” Rasmussen said. “They represent different age groups, some have families, and they’re from different countries.”

Rasmussen said interactive modules have been built, and much of the First Amendment work has been folded into curriculum and separate exercises. For instance, the law school had its students write a speech code.

“It ended up looking a lot like the ‘Chicago Principles,’ ” Rasmussen said.

 

Infrastructure keeps events ‘on the rails’

Controversial figures are more than welcome to speak at a campus event – as long as they’re willing to be rebutted.

Many such events at the University of Chicago have failed to materialize, because speakers have refused to take part in a debate or a Q&A session.

“It wasn’t because of the political views,” Rasmussen said. “They weren’t willing to have the back-and-forth discourse.”

She said the university has “hundreds, if not thousands” of speakers on campus, and that faculty and administration collaborate to know what’s on the calendar and plan each event in such a way that “it doesn’t go off the rails.”

They designate protest areas, train staff to de-escalate situations, and provide ample security. Disrupting events is not allowed, and if interrupters persist, they’re removed.

“We take events management and planning very seriously,” Rasmussen said. “When you see a lot of events on a college campus that goes off the rails, when you dig a little deeper, it’s usually because of bad planning of the event. You need to do that work up front to ensure you have the kind of event you want.”

Maroon1

MaroonHead

After kids broke a piñata that represented Donald Trump by hitting it with a long stick, the head of the piñata hung in front of the protesters. Feng Ye / The Chicago Maroon 

Rasmussen said the university has “had plenty of dust-ups over the years,” but its employees will neither be gagged nor disciplined for exercising their First Amendment rights.

“That just doesn’t happen at the University of Chicago,” she said. “This is not the kind of place where you’re going to see administrative overreach.”

Stone conceded it’s challenging to tell students and faculty they will hear ideas they find offensive, even revolting.

“That’s not easy, and the reason they have to learn to do that is they cannot trust anyone in positions of authority to decide what ideas cannot be spoken,” he said.

He and Rasmussen emphasized the university provides “safe spaces”, which are spelled out in the principles as various student organizations.

“You don’t have to just sit there, take it, and feel upset,” Rasmussen said. “There are places you can take your concerns, and get support. We do have safe places, where students can step out of a controversial situation.”

 

‘A slightly cynical point of view’

Rasmussen said there isn’t a threshold at which the university will determine a point of view too outrageous to be allowed on campus.

That doesn’t sit well with Caroline Kubzansky, a fourth-year senior who’s worked for The Maroon student newspaper since she set foot on campus. She’s now the managing editor, and is skeptical of the university’s motivations.

“I take a slightly cynical point of view on the university’s emphasis on free speech,” she said. “The university’s efforts have struck me as a marketing scheme.”

She said a culture of curiosity is a good thing, and that universities deserve credit for thinking outside the box, and outside the domain of scholars. But she thinks the university’s policy is perhaps too tolerant.

“[The Chicago Principles] is a way of saying that people don’t immediately tar and feather conservatives for what they have to say,” she said. “Sometimes it might be too good at not tarring and feathering people with reprehensible viewpoints.”

The university does not require its professors to provide content warnings before they introduce content that’s bound to be offensive to some, if not repulsive or potentially incendiary.

Kubzansky said that while she respects the policy, she’s grateful all the professors she’s had alert their students

“Most professors who care about that stuff will put it in anyway,” she said. “In the circles I run, it’s called manners. Try not to blindside someone with something offensive.

"The world is awful enough as it is.”

Return
Press Releases

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 18, 2024

Media Contact Information:
Laura Bissett, myWHY Agency
312-291-1099
laura@mywhyagency.com

 

Loretto Hospital hosts vital blood drive and health screenings to support Chicago's African American community 

The event highlights the importance of African American blood donors for collecting a larger supply of Type O blood and fighting sickle cell disease
 

CHICAGO (July 18, 2024) — Loretto Hospital announces its 4th free Summer Screening Series event to be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 27. The day’s main events will revolve around a blood donation campaign and kidney health checks. These activities are being presented in collaboration with Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. (Nu Pi Chapter), Versiti Blood Center of Illinois, the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois and state Sen. Kimberly A. Lightford. Additional supporters of the Summer Screening Series event include Black Men United, Fathers Who Care, Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network, and Habilitative Systems, Inc.

The free July 27th blood drive and kidney screenings will be held on the 6th floor of the hospital. The brothers of Nu Pi Chapter will support the blood drive, which provides critical opportunities for blood donations within the African American community. Concurrently, the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois will offer health screenings for kidney disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Attendees can also enjoy a Community Resource Fair located in the parking lot at 645 North Central Avenue (enter on Harrison Street), offering music, fun activities, health education and community resources.

“Decades ago, segregation in blood donations perpetuated mistrust and disparities. Today, Loretto Hospital is committed to inclusivity and actively addressing health care disparities by encouraging more donations from various communities, particularly African Americans,” Loretto Hospital President Tesa Anewishki said.

Statistics underscore the urgent need for blood donations within the African American community, as one in three African American blood donors is a match for patients with sickle cell disease — a profound statistic highlighting the critical role that African American blood donors play in saving lives. In addition, 51% of African Americans have Type O blood, higher than the average 45% of Caucasians.

“We are proud to demonstrate our commitment to community health and unity through our active participation in the blood drive,” said Jabari Saunders, president of the Nu Pi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. “By donating blood, we honor the memory of Dr. Charles Drew, a fraternity member widely recognized as the pioneer of blood banking.”

By donating blood on July 27, people can directly impact lives in the Austin community, ensuring that patients — especially those with sickle cell disease — receive the life-saving blood they urgently need. As such, this blood drive is not just about donations, it is about community solidarity and health care equity, ensuring that every patient receives the compassionate care they deserve.

Visit the Loretto Hospital website at Lorettohospital.org/summerscreening to learn more.

About Loretto Hospital
Loretto Hospital is a community hospital that serves more than 33,000 patients each year from Chicago’s Austin and surrounding communities. As a not-for-profit community-focused health care provider, Loretto offers its community a unique patient-centered health care delivery system that promotes general wellness and education. The hospital staff are committed to providing the best possible medical care in a holistic, safe and comfortable resident environment. By empowering patients with knowledge and resources, Loretto Hospital strives to cultivate a culture of proactive medical management within the community, with the goal of increasing the quality of life for patients and community residents.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 18, 2024

Contact Information:
Purple Wave Auction
866-608-9283
marketing@purplewave.com
 

Purple Wave Auction announces new strategic account manager

Erik Holzhauer to serve Purple Wave as a strategic account manager for the fleet industry
 

MANHATTAN, Kansas (July 18, 2024) - Purple Wave Auction is pleased to announce that Erik Holzhauer has joined the company as a strategic account manager.

Purple Wave Auction is a leader in online, no-reserve equipment auctions serving the agriculture, construction, government, and fleet industries, providing opportunities for customers to buy and sell equipment with confidence.

As a strategic account manager, Erik will be responsible for facilitating relationships with fleet operators and their equipment partners. He will work closely with customers to find the best fit for Purple Wave to assist with their fleet remarketing needs.

Before Purple Wave, Erik spent 20 years in the supply chain and logistics industry. He started as an industrial engineer and operations supervisor before transitioning into supply chain sales.

"I truly enjoy digging in with customers to better understand their current operations and business model and discover if there is any way I can help them be more efficient," Erik said. "I am most looking forward to reconnecting with those folks I've worked with over the years and getting to know the wonderful people here at Purple Wave."

If you would like to learn more or discuss opportunities, please reach out to Erik Holzhauer directly.

Erik Holzhauer
760-331-3805
erik.holzhauer@purplewave.com
 

# # #
 

ABOUT PURPLE WAVE AUCTION
Purple Wave Auction was founded in 2000 and has become a leader in online equipment auctions. The company provides the easiest, most straightforward way to buy and sell equipment in the marketplace. Purple Wave is committed to the core values of trust, team, care, and passion and delivers those values throughout all offered services to bidders, buyers, and sellers.


 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 17, 2024

Media Contact:
Dana Swinney, myWHY Agency
Dana@MyWhyAgency.com
 

IFF announces second round of funding, additional $3 million awarded to Chicago's Cultural Treasures grantees 


CHICAGO (July 17, 2024) —Administered by IFF, Chicago’s Cultural Treasures (ChiTreasures) announced today a second round of grant funding, totaling $3 million, to be distributed to the 40 current ChiTreasures grantees.

Launched in 2021 as a regional component of the Ford Foundation’s America’s Cultural Treasures, and co-created with the Chicago arts community, ChiTreasures is a race-conscious initiative that aims to strengthen, grow, and preserve  organizations whose mission is to enable the creation, preservation, and dissemination of art stemming from BIPOC traditions, leadership, and culture. 

The first round of grantmaking awarded $14 million to 40 BIPOC-led and -focused arts and culture organizations representing a diverse group of artforms, neighborhoods, racial and ethnic backgrounds, and contributions to Chicago’s history, vibrancy, and identity. These organizations serve as important neighborhood anchors, helping to ensure that experiences and stories from the communities they serve are shared and heard. In addition to the funding, grantees were provided technical assistance to help further support their sustainability, covering topics such as fundraising, board development, marketing communications, financial management, and facilities planning and support. Funding is provided by the Ford Foundation as part of America’s Cultural Treasures; philanthropist MacKenzie Scott; and a Chicago-based funding collaborative comprising The Joyce Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation, Terra Foundation for American Art, and Walder Foundation. 

“One of the goals of ChiTreasures is to provide the grantees with opportunities to reach financial sustainability – through grants and technical assistance,” said Tara Townsend, president of IFF’s Social Impact Accelerator. “Both grants and technical assistance have been provided over the last three years, but there is a need for more. We are excited to be able to award another round of funding to these organizations to further support their futures.”

“Funding for organizations that are elevating the traditions and culture of people from historically marginalized backgrounds and disinvested communities has never been sufficient. We need to do more to lift up organizations that have enriched Chicago for generations,” said Tara Magner, director of the MacArthur Foundation’s Chicago Commitment Program, on behalf of the Chicago-based funding collaborative. “The Chicago funders made a commitment to support Chicago’s rich arts and culture scene, and this next round of grants provides an opportunity to continue to do that.”

According to an October 2023 report from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, the past few years have seen a decline in philanthropic, private, and public funding for arts and culture organizations. This second round of funding aims to counter that by providing additional support to the current 40 ChiTreasures grantees and reflects ChiTreasures’ commitment to continuing to support Chicago’s BIPOC arts and culture scene. 

To learn more about Chicago’s Cultural Treasures, visit www.chicagosculturaltreasures.org.  
 

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ABOUT CHICAGO’S CULTURAL TREASURES
Chicago’s Cultural Treasures is a four-year initiative that aims to bolster the long-term financial resilience and sustainability of BIPOC arts and cultural organizations through a combination of critical general operating support as well as capacity-building and technical assistance. 

Administered by IFF, a mission-driven lender, developer and real-estate consultant, the initiative launched in winter 2021 with a participatory grantmaking process, comprising a diverse group of community members, civic leaders, and artists whose common denominator is an appreciation for how art and culture fit into the fabric of community in the Chicagoland region.  

The 40 ChiTreasures grantees include:

• Africa International House USA
• Aguijon Theater Company of Chicago
• American Indian Center
• Asian Improv aRts Midwest
• The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians
• Black Ensemble Theater
• Chicago Blues Museum
• Chicago Jazz Philharmonic
• Chicago West Community Music Center
• Community Film Workshop of Chicago    
• Congo Square Theatre Company
• Cuerdas Clasicas Inc.
• Deeply Rooted Dance Theater
• Diasporal Rhythms
• DuSable Museum of African American History
• eta Creative Arts Foundation, Inc.
• Gingarte Capoeira
• Inner-City Muslim Action Network
• International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago    
• Jazz Institute of Chicago
• Joel Hall Dancers & Center
• Little Black Pearl Workshop
• Live the Spirit Residency / Englewood Jazz Festival
• Mexican Folk Dance Company of Chicago
• Muntu Dance Theatre
• Musical Arts Institute
• National Cambodian Heritage Museum & Killing Fields Memorial
• National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture
• Natya Dance Theatre
• Puerto Rican Arts Alliance
• Red Clay Dance Company
• Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center
• Silk Road Rising
• Sones de Mexico
• South Shore Drill Team
• South Side Community Art Center
• Teatro Vista
• Threewalls
• UrbanTheater Company
• West Point School of Music/Epic Stee


 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 16, 2024

Contact Information:
Matt McGarvey, executive director
(515) 554-2908
mmcgarvey@telligenci.org
 

Telligen Community Initiative awards 13 grants, including three in Illinois
Grants to support nonprofits improving health workforce development in Iowa, Illinois, Oklahoma and Colorado
 

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (July 16, 2024) – Telligen Community Initiative (TCI) announced today it has awarded Health Workforce Development grants totaling $923,959 to 13 nonprofit organizations in Illinois, Iowa, Oklahoma and Colorado.

Since 2014, TCI has funded more than $17 million in community-based support to more than 400 projects in Illinois, Iowa, Oklahoma and Colorado, which are among the states served by Telligen.

“TCI is excited to support all of these bold and innovative projects, which collectively, will positively impact thousands of individuals in all four states by building organizational capacity, and, ultimately, improving health outcomes within several populations in need,” said Matt McGarvey, executive director of Telligen Community Initiative. “We look forward to seeing the results of these projects and are hopeful they will serve as catalysts for other organizations searching for similar solutions.”

The grants will support numerous innovative projects, including supporting bilingual faculty, coordinating wrap-around social and professional development support for under-resourced individuals entering the health care workforce, educating and training doulas in underserved communities, offering EMT and dental assistant apprenticeships, and many others. 

The 2024 Health Workforce Development grant awards may be found on Telligen Community Initiative’s website at https://www.telligenci.org/recent-grantees and include: 

ILLINOIS
Shawnee Health Services Development Corporation  |  Carterville, IL  |  $75,000
Provide salaries, benefits and educational costs for two dental assistance apprentices as well as financial support for a dental assistant preceptor that will train and oversee the apprentices. The organization’s apprentice program promotes dental health and provides jobs in an area where dental positions have been difficult to fill. 

VNA HealthCare   |  Aurora, IL  |  $75,000
Support 8-10 VNA employees to pursue one year of study in the nursing field through VNA’s Nursing Career Pathway Program, which improves opportunities for career development, closes staffing gaps, and promotes diversity and equity in the organization’s nursing workforce. Cover 75% of tuition of under-resourced individuals pursuing a nursing career at VNA serving vulnerable populations.

Chicago Volunteer Doulas  |  Chicago, IL  |  $75,000
Educate and train 25 Doulas, making them eligible for Medicaid reimbursement and equipping them with employable skills. Trained and certified Doulas will help decrease infant mortality in their communities by serving under-resourced families. 

IOWA
Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque  |  $75,000
Train 20 local, certified Marshallese (10) and Spanish (10)-language medical interpreters.

University of Iowa Healthcare  |  $75,000
Provide scholarships for four new students in the university’s Nurse-Midwifery Education Program. 

Indian Hills Community College  |   $74,017
Provide paid summer EMT apprenticeships to 15 young adults from disadvantaged backgrounds. 

OKLAHOMA
Madison Strategies Group  |  $75,000
Provide training, job placement and support to 75 under-resourced people pursuing healthcare jobs. 

The University of Tulsa  |  $74,962
Provide 360 high school students with experiences to spark interest in pursuing a healthcare career. 

Imani's Village, Inc.  |  $40,000
Provide free doula services to 40 families to enhance infant/maternal health in the Black community.

American Cancer Society  |  $63,063
Support eight research internships for under-represented students pursuing cancer research careers.

COLORADO
La Cocina  |  $75,000
Support bilingual (Spanish-English) faculty and Spanish-speaking trainees at its training center.

HealthTeamWorks  |  $75,000
Train 25 under-sourced young adults entering the healthcare workforce in target jobs. 

Mental Health Colorado (Envision:You)  |  $71,917
Train 120-140 providers on mental health needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning (LGBTQ+) Coloradans.
 

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About Telligen Community Initiative
Telligen Community Initiative (TCI) is the charitable foundation of Telligen, Inc., a private, nonprofit health care intelligence company. TCI’s mission is to initiate and support innovative and forward-looking health-related projects aimed at improving health, social well-being, and educational attainment. TCI’s funding focuses on project support in Colorado, Illinois, Iowa and Oklahoma within the areas of health workforce development and strengthening families and communities. For more information about TCI, please visit www.telligenci.org

 
 
 

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 11, 2024

Contact Information:
Craig Baumberger
craigbaumberger@yahoo.com
 

Fly with the 'Sky Soldiers'
 

Coming Aug. 24, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Army Aviation Heritage Foundation in Creve Couer, Missouri, will bring its Bell UH-1 “Huey” and AH-1 “Cobra” helicopters to the Greenville, Illinois, Airport Airstravaganza. The public will be able to purchase rides on each of these historic warbirds. This will be a unique opportunity for people to get a close look at two of the most important aircraft utilized by the US Army during the Vietnam War and in the years following. Vietnam veterans will be able to recall their experiences when they flew, rode in, worked on, or were supported in combat by these warbirds.

The Army Aviation Heritage Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to finding, restoring, and flying Army aviation aircraft from the Vietnam era up until the 1990’s. Its vision statement:

"Empowering the past to inspire the future, the Army Aviation Heritage Foundation and Flying Museum envisions a world where the courageous legacy of Army Aviation pioneers lives on, igniting the spirit of innovation, service, and excellence in generations to come. Through dynamic preservation, immersive educational experiences, and community engagement, we honor the bravery and sacrifice of those who charted the skies before us, while fostering a deep appreciation for the evolution of flight, military service, and the critical role each has played in shaping history. Guided by our commitment to preserving heritage, educating minds, and inspiring hearts, we aim to be a beacon of excellence, enriching lives, and building a bright and patriotic future for our nation."

There are three chapters nationally with the local chapter based at Creve Couer Airport in Creve Couer, Missouri. They welcome visitors at their hangar on Thursdays and Saturdays. Membership is open to the public and not limited to veterans or pilots. 
 
The UH-1 was first developed by Bell Helicopter in the 1950s to fill the need for a utility helicopter for the US Army. They were manufactured in large numbers starting in the early ‘60s and played a major role in enhancing the mobility of infantry in Vietnam. Seven thousand saw action in Vietnam with an estimated three thousand destroyed. They continued to serve the Army well into the 1980s anywhere troops might be deployed. They were replaced by the Sikorsky UH-60 Blackhawk.

Bell also developed the AH-1 Cobra. It was designed as an armed escort for the UH-1 transporting troops in Vietnam. It was developed around 1965 and entered service in 1967. It played an important role in protecting the lightly armed and armored UH-1s as they delivered troops, supplies and especially performed their famous Medevac role in Vietnam. The Cobra could respond quickly to suppress ground fire from the enemy. The Cobra had various armaments, most common being pod mounted rockets and nose mounted mini gun. Over a thousand were manufactured for the US Army. Three hundred were lost in combat. It was replaced by the AH-64 Apache.

      

Ticket prices
Huey $125
Cobra $800
To purchase advance tickets: Go to “armyav.org
For “Airstravaganza” information, call or text 618-322-3532
For questions about the Army Aviation Heritage Foundation:
Gateway (MO) – Army Aviation Heritage Foundation or call 636-362-4839
“Airstravaganza” is hosted by: EAA Chapter 1382/Greenville Pilots Association


 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 1, 2024

Contact Information:
Alison Maley, government & public relations director
(217) 299-3122
alison@ilprincipals.org

Illinois Principals Association names new executive board and board members
 

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois – The Illinois Principals Association, which serves more than 6,500 educational leaders throughout the state of Illinois, announces the following school leaders to serve as the Executive Board for the IPA, effective July 1, 2024. 

President – Cris Edwards, Richland County Elementary School, Olney 
Immediate Past-President – Dr. Paul Kelly, Elk Grove High School, Elk Grove Village   
President-Elect – Dr. Angie Codron, Normal West High School, Normal 
Treasurer – Shaun Grant, South Elementary School, Chillicothe  
Secretary – Dr. Courtney DeMent, Downers Grove North High School, Downers Grove  

Other new board members include: 

– Diversity & Equity Chairperson – Sonia Ruiz, Jane Addams Middle School, Bolingbrook 
– Dr. Jennifer McCoy, principal of Lexington High School, Lexington, as state director for the Corn Belt Region 
– Dr. Rebecca Gabrenya, principal of Marquardt Middle School, Glendale Heights, as state director for the DuPage Region 
– Mandy Hughes, principal of Glenbrook North High School, Northbrook, as state director for the North Cook Region 
– Doug Owens, principal of Tri-City Elementary School, Carterville, as state director for the Shawnee Region 
– Heather Baker, assistant principal of Northview Elementary School, Peru, as state director for the Starved Rock Region 
– Nick Stoneking, assistant principal of Edison School, Macomb, as state director for the Western Region 

For information about other board members and IPA regions, please visit www.ilprincipals.org/board and www.ilprincipals.org/regions.  

The Illinois Principals Association mission is to develop, support, and advocate for innovative educational leaders. For more information about the IPA, please visit www.ilprincipals.org

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