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UIS Honors Alumni for Outstanding Achievement and Distinguished Service

The University of Illinois Springfield presented awards for alumni achievement and distinguished service during the annual UIS Alumni Gala held at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum last month.

The 2024 Alumni Achievement Award for outstanding success and national or international distinction in one’s business, profession or life’s work was presented to Micah Bartlett. Bartlett earned his bachelor’s degree from the UIS College of Business and Management in 1995. 

Passionate about community banking, he started out as a 16-year-old bank teller in Girard, became a CFO at age 22 and rose to the post of president and CEO of Town and Country Financial Corp. Bartlett served multiple communities including Raymond, Mattoon, DeKalb and Rockford. Under his leadership, Town and Country Financial Corporation/Bank improved profitability from $1 million to $12 million in annual net income, grew assets to more than $900 million and expanded its community banking presence into west central and southern Illinois.

With his focus on community banking, Bartlett also volunteered for multiple causes. He served in multiple roles, including as a board member and campaign chair of the United Way of Central Illinois, a former board member and chair of the Illinois Bankers Association and a member of the Campaign Planning Committee at UIS.

  "My UIS education had a direct impact toward my career success,” Bartlett said. "UIS was particularly excellent at preparing students for the CPA exam.” 

After 33 years in community banking in Illinois, Bartlett retired in 2023, but is still involved in investing and as a strategic advisor. He now lives in Florida with his wife where they enjoy spending time with their four grandsons.

The 2024 Distinguished Service Award for extraordinary commitment, dedication and service to the advancement of the University of Illinois was awarded to Karen Moranski. Moranski served UIS for 21 years as a professor, scholar and an administrator.

Moranski served as the director of the UIS Capital Scholars Honors Program and as the associate vice chancellor for undergraduate education. She led the English department in developing an online degree program, becoming the first faculty member to teach an online course. Her signature accomplishment was leading the creation of the Capital Scholars Honors Program, which reshaped the university and made possible the transition from Sangamon State University to UIS.  

 Moranski also helped plan the two undergraduate residence halls on campus and was instrumental in bringing music and theatre programs to UIS, in addition to growing the Engaged Citizenship Common Experience (ECCE) Speakers Series.

Among her favorite memories are teaching Arthurian literature and Chaucer, having deep conversations about whether students needed to learn Shakespeare and greeting students who wore bunny slippers to her office in Lincoln Residence Hall. Moranski states that the 11 years she spent in the provost’s office, particularly under the leadership of Lynn Pardie and Harry Berman (recipient of the 2023 Distinguished Service Award) helped her grow as a leader and as a manager of change.

"UIS gave me leadership opportunities I never would have had at another university, and I am so proud of what we did together to change the mission and vision of my institution,” she said.

Moranski currently serves as the provost and vice president of academic affairs at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Part, California, a position she’s held since 2020.

Moranski earned her bachelor’s degree in English and history in 1986 from Tulane University and a doctorate in medieval English literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 


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