Personal Giving Stories


Estate Gift from UIS Alum and Former Trustee Provides Global Perspective

Photo of Karen Hasara “Even a short-time experience in another country provides a totally different outlook on life, which is why I think it is so important that every student have that opportunity.”

Karen Hasara, UIS alum and former member of the Board of Trustees at the University of Illinois, has created a lasting legacy at UIS through a gift in her will. Karen believes strongly that we can best appreciate other cultures through personal interactions, so her gift will help more students to take part in study abroad experiences, service learning projects in other countries, and short-term global encounters. To achieve this, she has designated her gift for the Global Experience Unrestricted Support Fund. The students destined to benefit from Karen’s gift will be better able to contribute to a stronger, more connected world—and that will be a fitting legacy to represent her own life of service.

Karen has lived in Springfield most of her life and has a distinguished career as a public servant, including being Mayor of Springfield from 1995 to 2003. She holds two degrees from UIS: a B.S. in Psychology and Elementary Education (1972) and an M.A. in Legal Studies (1993). She also served on the University of Illinois Board of Trustees from 2009 to 2017.

As strong as her local ties are, however, her vision encompasses a much wider world. Since leaving elected office, she has worked in Russia and several Eastern European countries—encouraging tourism and economic development—and has trained women in these countries on issues related to holding government office. She has also served on Springfield’s World Affairs Council Board and on the board of the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy in Washington, D.C.



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