Public Affairs Reporting Scholarships

Several scholarship programs are earmarked for graduate students in the Public Affairs Reporting program. The annual awards are based on academic achievement, financial need, and potential for a career in journalism. They are the:

  • Mark D. Allan PAR Scholarship established by Mr. Allan, a 1986 Public Affairs Reporting graduate.  Allan is currently the Director of Marketing and Public Relations at Butler University.

  • James E. Armstrong Scholarship established in memory of the late publisher of the Illinois State Register and the Illinois State Journal, predecessors of the State Journal-Register in Springfield.

  • Mary Frances Fagan PAR Memorial Scholarship established by friends in memory of Ms. Fagan, a 1983 Public Affairs Reporting graduate. Fagan served as assistant press secretary for Governors Jim Thompson and Jim Edgar.  Her career included 23 years as a spokesman for American Airlines.  She is credited for the industry’s first frequent flyer program and through her involvement with Eberfest, she turned what could have been a local film festival into one of international reputation.

  • Milton D. Friedland Communications Scholarship established in memory of the late founder and general manager of WICS-TV, NewsChannel 20 in Springfield, and former community relations associate for the campus.

  • Steven B. Hahn Reporting Scholarship established by his parents in his memory. Hahn was a legislative correspondent for the State Journal-Register and United Press International.

  • Robert P. Howard Scholarship, established by friends in memory of the late capitol correspondent for the Chicago Tribune, and author of Illinois, A History of the Prairie State.

  • Illinois Legislative Correspondents Association (ILCA) / Miller and Heinecke Scholarship established in honor of Burnell A. Heinecke who was a former Chicago Sun-Times Statehouse correspondent and former president of the ILCA, the late Bill Miller who was the former director of the UIS PAR program and a founding member of the Illinois News Broadcasters Association, and deceased ILCA members.

  • Thom M. Serafin Public Affairs Reports Scholarship made possible through a gift from Thom Serafin, a 1974 PAR graduate whose distinguished career includes founding and serving as CEO of Serafin and Associates, Inc., serving as press secretary for several national-level political campaigns, serving on the Washington D.C. staff of U.S. Senator Alan Dixon, and most recently serving as a Chicago-based political and public relations consultant.

  • Valerie Wiener Award made possible through a gift from Valerie Wiener, a member of the Nevada state senate and founder/CEO of her own consulting firm specializing in media relations, positioning strategies, and power presentations.

  • Vu Nguyen Scholarship established in memory of Vu Nguyen, a 2008 PAR graduate who served as an education reporter for the Daily Breeze in Torrance, CA.

  • Mary and Jim Beaumont Public Affairs Reporting Scholarship established by Mary and Jim Beaumont. Mary has a graduate degree in Communication from UIS and Jim has a graduate degree in Public Affairs from UIS.

For more information, contact the Director of the Public Affairs Reporting program via telephone at (217) 206-7494, or by email at You may also visit the PAR program website.