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Archived Stories

In Memoriam - Wilma Sutton

The Northeastern Illinois University community extends its sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Wilma Sutton. She passed away on May 27, 2019. Wilma retired as the Executive Assistant to the President in 2014 after 18 years of service to Northeastern. A celebration of life was held 1-3 p.m. Aug. 8 at the Logan Center for the Arts, 9th Floor, 915 E. 60th St. in Chicago.

In Memoriam - Dr. Seymour Bryson

Seymour L. Bryson, 81, passed away on Sunday, May 5, 2019, in Memorial Hospital of Carbondale surrounded by his loving family.  Bryson is a three-degree alumnus of SIUC, earning a bachelor's degree in social work in 1959, a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling in 1961 and a doctorate in education in 1972.  Dr. Bryson served four decades of service to his alma mater, Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.  


Bryson's tenure encompassed numerous faculty and administrative positions, and he was a leader in the campus' efforts for diversity. He also helped bring at least $50 million in external grants to Southern Illinois University during his accomplished career. Widely sought as a consultant with numerous published works to his credit, he was very active in community service, including serving as president of the Carbondale chapter of the NAACP, Chair for the Illinois Committee on Black Concerns in Higher Education (ICBCHE), member and chair of the Diversifying Faculty Initiative, president of the Jackson County 708 Mental Health Board, and president and member of the board of directors of the Carbondale United Way. Numerous awards and honors recognized Bryson's contributions throughout the years.

Winner of the Senator Emil Jones Mentoring Award, the Introspect Access Award, the Distinguished Service Award from the Illinois Committee on Black Concerns in Higher Education, the School of Social Work Alumni Achievement Award, the Black Affairs Council Roby Given Award, the Iota Phi Theta Community Service Award, and the Lindell W. Sturgis Memorial Award, just to name a few. The Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame inducted Bryson in 1992 and he is also an inductee into the Quincy High School and SIUC Halls of Fame. Most recently, he was honored for his humanitarian impact during the 2019 SIU Distinguished Alumni Award ceremony in April. Bryson was also a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

Welcome new Steering Committee members!

Renique Kersh, Ph.D.

Associate Vice Provost for Student Engagement and Success, Northern Illinois University

Richard Greenfield

Master of Public Administration student.

Governors State University

Renique Kersh, PhD

For 19 years, Dr. Kersh has had a diverse higher education career with experience in student retention, leadership education and college student success and engagement. Her research interests include student engagement and success and women in leadership in higher education.

Richard Greenfield

Greenfield earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Illinois State University (cum laude, 2017). Richard has served as Governmental Relations Associate at Illinois State, as Chief of Staff to former State Representative Kimberly du Buclet, and he was a Community Relations Manager to former State Representative Esther Golar.

Daramola Abina, MPA

In Student Transitioning for Academic Success and Retention (STARS) , Abina leads in the development and use of assessment initiatives that measure student needs and use of university services. Abina has built her career in a variety of roles within the educational sector, as a College Adviser, Retention Coach and Community Mobilizer.

Vance Pierce, MA

Pierce oversees the Student Organization Resource (SOR) Unit for the Center for Student Involvement. The SOR Unit has responsibility to support 300 plus organizations including fraternity and sorority life groups.

Keith Wise

Director of TRIO Student Support Services,  Kishwaukee College

[not pictured]

Wise has worked in higher education for the past eight years with stops at the University of Southern Indiana, Carthage College, Illinois Tech, and Lake Forest College.  While at those colleges he served in roles in within Residence Life, Academic Advising, and campus-wide diversity programming before landing in his current role with TRIO SSS. He is passionate about working with first-generation and minority students. Keith believes that we as higher education professionals play a vital role in the development of our community by helping students tap into their potential.


Currently, Wise works with First Generation, Low income, and Disabled students by providing academic services to help them achieve their associate degree or transfer to Four-Year Institution.

Keith Wise holds a B.A. in History from Eastern Illinois University and a Masters in Liberal Studies, M.L.S. from the University of Southern Indiana. He is a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity INC. In his spare time, he volunteers with local youth sports groups. He now resides in Aurora, Illinois with his wife Maritere who is an early childcare educator.  

Illinois Higher Education Legislative Update
Higher Education Budget Summary - Higher education received $4.235 billion in total funding for Fiscal Year 2020, including $2.4 billion in institutional Operations and Grant funding. The most notable operations changes are as follows:
  • 8.2 percent increase in Higher Education Operations and Grant General funding from the previous year. This includes a $52 million increase in funding for the public universities and a $33 million increase in funding for the Community Colleges.

  • Colleges and Universities received a 4.8 percent increase in funding.

  • Community Colleges received a 12.3 percent increase in funding and Adult Education/CTE received a 3.7 percent increase.

  • $50 million increase in funding to the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) for the Monetary Award Program (MAP).

  • $10 million increase in the AIM High Program for the second year of the program.

  • $ 23.8 million Grant to the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB)for a New Competitive Grant Program.

  • $270 million or 20.7 percent increase in the payment to the State University Retirement System (SURS).

Public Universities were allocated $1.167 billion in all funds for Fiscal Year 2020. This is an increase of $53.8 million and represents a 4.8 percent increase over the Fiscal Year 2019 funding level.

Community Colleges (including adult education program funding) received total appropriations of $410 million for Fiscal Year 2020, including $314.8 million in general funds and $95.2 million in funding for Career and Technical Education. The total net increase is $10.8 million or 3.0 percent. Funding for grants and initiatives receive a 12.4 percent increase over the Fiscal Year 2019 level. ICCB also received $23.8 million for a new competitive grant program

Photos: Women of Color Summit - Saturday, Sept 14, 2019 (Northern Illinois University)
Photos: ICBCHE Co-sponsorships
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