The Parkland College Blog

Meet the Parkland College Athletics 2019 Hall of Fame Class

Bailey, Hawkins, Munch, Neaville, Robinson, Sykes

Parkland College will induct six new members to its Athletics Hall of Fame on Saturday, January 25, during halftime of the Cobras men's basketball game at 3 p.m. central time. The Hall of Fame Class includes five NJCAA All-Americans and were members of four teams that reached the NJCAA National Tournament.

Dating back to the inaugural class of 2007, the Parkland Hall of Fame now has 86 inductees that range from players, team, coaches and administrators. To see the full list of Hall of Famers, click here.
Will Bailey, '95 Men's Basketball
Will Bailey played for the Men's basketball team during the '94-'95 season. During his first season, Will helped lead Parkland to a #1 ranking and to the NJCAA National tournament. During the '95 season, Will averaged 18 points per game, led the country in assists, and was 1st Team All-Conference.
Following his time at Parkland College, Will played for the University of Alabama at Birmingham where he led his team in assists and helped the Blazers to the NIT, where he was UAB's top defensive player of that season. He earned his Bachelors in Criminal Justice and became a Graduate Assistant Coach for UAB from 1999-2001 where he was part of the '99 appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
Bailey went on to coach at Maine, Chicago State, and seven seasons as assistant coach of East Tennessee State University, helping the Buccaneers earn 6 conference titles, 3 NCAA Tournament berths and an NIT appearance. Following his time at ETSU, Will coached at La Salle University where he helped them reach an NCAA Sweet 16 appearance and was ranked 4th in the nation in 3-point field-goal percentage thanks to Will's instruction.
Coach Will Bailey is now at St. Louis University where he has helped the Billikens move from last to first place. During last year's season, they won the Atlantic 10 Championship and earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Neeley Hawkins, '05 Softball
Neeley (Hupp) Hawkins played for the Cobra softball team during the '04-'05 season. During her first season, Neeley and the team finished 5th in the NJCAA National Tournament. During the '05 season, Neeley was a critical member of the NJCAA National Runner-Up team which. Neeley was named NJCAA 2nd Team All American and was part of the 2005 Parkland Softball team induction into the Class of 2012 Parkland Hall of Fame.
Following her two years at Parkland, Neeley transitioned to Eastern Illinois University where she earned a B.S. in Family Services in 2007. Post-graduation, she spent several years working in health care and real estate before shifting her focus to raising two daughters, Elynn and Ivy. Neeley currently lives in Findley, OH with her husband and two daughters and enjoys watching both of her girls pursue their own achievements.
Devon Munch, '08 Men's Soccer
Devon played for the Parkland College men's soccer team during the '07-'08 seasons. During his two seasons, he played in 40 games with a starting role at center defense. He scored 3 goals and had 7 assists for a Parkland career total of 10 points.
During the '08 season, Devon helped lead the Cobras to a 17-1-2 record finishing the season ranked 13th in the NJCAA Division 1 rankings, a first for Cobra men's soccer. He became the first ever men's soccer player to receive NJCAA All-American recognition. He was also awarded First Team All-Region 24, Region 24 Defender of the Year, and First Team All-MWAC.
Following Parkland, Devon continued his education in Ontario studying Criminal Justice. After graduated, he joined the Canadian Armed Forces, served 3 years as an infantryman in the Royal Canadian Regiment, 1st Battalion. He now resides in his hometown of Pickering, Ontario, Canada where he works as a Special Operations Response Team member for the City of Toronto.
Matt Neaville, '06 Men's Basketball
Matt Neaville played for the men's basketball team during the '05 and '06 seasons, and was Freshman and Conference Play of the year in the '05 season. During his '06 season, Matt averaged 26.2 points per game, ranking 4th in the country for scoring, and had a 90% shooting average from the free throw line, ranking 2nd in the country. He set the NJCAA record for most three-pointers in one game with 17, and clenched the highest scoring record for Parkland College after scoring 58 points in a single game. He was NJCAA 3rd team All-American, and is proud to still own the scoring record for Parkland.
After earning his Associates Degree in General Studies from Parkland, Matt earned a basketball scholarship at Union University in Jackson, TN. During his first season at Union University, Matt averaged 24.3 points per game and 153 three-pointers, leading the NAIA in scoring, and set the record for three-pointers at Union University. Matt was named NAIA 3rd team All-American and Transouth Newcomer of the Year. During the '09 season, Matt averaged 19 points per game, was named Transouth Play of the Year, NAIA First team All-American, led Union University to a regular season championship and Transouth Conference Championship, and graduated with his Bachelors in Sports Management and Marketing.
After graduation, Matt went on to play professional basketball in the NBA Pro Am, Mexico, IBA, NBA D-league Pre-Draft Camp, WMPBA, and the CBA. He retired in 2013, and now owns the Neaville Basketball Academy and teaches Physical Education at Urbana High School and has a 9 year old son named Jaden.
Rachel Robinson, '07 Volleyball
Rachel played for the Parkland College volleyball team during the '06-'07 seasons. In her first season, Rachel played 65 sets, had 126 kills, 17 digs and 51 blocks. During the '07 season, she played 150 sets, had 377 kills, 108 digs and 153 blocks. She was named Parkland Female Athlete of the Year, MWCAC Play of the Year, 2nd Team All-American, 1st Team All-Conference, and Academic All-American.
After Parkland, Rachel played Division 1 volleyball for the University of Evansville as a middle blocker from '08-'10. Rachel graduated Cum Laude with her B.S. in Business Administration, and currently lives in Boise, ID with her two dogs working as a packaging consultant for Container and Packaging. She spends her time being active, collecting antiques, and exploring the west.
Jennifer Sykes, '09 Volleyball
Jennifer played volleyball for the Parkland Cobras during the '08-'09 seasons. During the '09 season she played in 143 sets, had 1451 assists, and 10.15 assists/set. Her other accolades during the '09 season including being named first team All-American, MWAC Player of the Year, All Region Team, First Team All-Tournament at the NJCAA national tournament, and National All-American Scholar Athlete.
Jennifer went on to play volleyball at Bradley University during the 2010 season where she had 250 assists, 6.94 assists/set, and 1.9 digs/set.
Jennifer graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a B.S. in Biology, then went on to Palmer College of Chiropractic and graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2018 as a Doctor of Chiropractic, and is practicing in Racine, WI.

[Article by Joey Gruner]

"Complex Territory" Group Exhibition to Open at Giertz Gallery

Works by nine US artists explore imagery as a way to investigate ideas

The art exhibition "Complex Territory: Image and Appearance" opens Feb. 10 and will run through Mar. 24 at Giertz Gallery at Parkland College.
This exhibition includes nine contemporary artists who explore and create imagery as a way to investigate their ideas. Using a variety of methods such as historical research, mapping, found imagery, and landscape, they examine our relationship with complex imagery as it relates to the personal, the collective, and the unknown.
A reception for the artists will take place Thursday, Feb. 13 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and will feature an artist talk by Hale Ekinci at 6:30 p.m. and music by the Cobra Lounge Trio. Ekinci will also provide a lecture about her artwork earlier that day, at 2:30 p.m. at the Staerkel Planetarium.
Exhibit participants comprise artists and faculty from the US including Paul Flippen, associate professor at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Co.; Adriane Little, associate professor of photography and intermedia at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Mich.; Collaborative artists Casey McGuire and Mark Schoon, both associate professors at University of West Georgia, Carrollton, Ga.; and Thom Sawyer, a studio artist who spends his time in both New Mexico and Washington State. The four artists residing in Illinois include Peg Shaw, associate professor of art and design at Parkland College in Champaign; Chicago-based studio artist Michael Thompson; and Hale Ekinci, associate professor of art and design, and Whitney Sage, assistant professor of art and design, who are both faculty at North Central College in Naperville.
Drawing on the layers of history, transcultural identity, and gender, Ekinci paints and embroiders colorful family portraits. Domestic fabric surfaces like bedsheets set the stage for transfers of old photos from her Turkish heritage and her American husband. She obscures the bodies and faces with pattern and color; these families could belong to anyone or no one of a particular background. Using Islamic arts of ornamentation, she embellishes the images by painting over the patterns of the fabric and embroidering eclectic, at times gendered, cultural symbols like party hats or papal garments that add an element of humor when combined with carefully posed scenes. These scenes are then framed with customized, colorful crochet edgings—a nod to the old tradition of "Oya," a narrow lace trimming used on headdresses of women and household textiles, she explains.
"Similar to the way identity is constructed, through a heavily additive process adorned with a combination of symbolic patterns and densely layered imagery, my work explores the complexity of communication and translation—translation of culture, identity, tradition, and gendered labor," Ekinci said.
Two other artist lectures will feature during the exhibition run. The lectures are free and open to the public. Whitney Sage will speak about her work on Monday, March 2, at 3 p.m. in Lecture Hall C118. Sage is a native of the suburban Detroit area; the rich cultural heritage of Midwestern cities and their relevance to the American way of life are things that influence her artwork. "Midwestern cities are places of increasing cultural relevance with parallels to larger American struggles, big industry and suburban migration, leaving behind empty storefronts, ghostly architectural skeletons and scarred empty plots of land," she remarks. Throughout her career, Sage has continually depicted the city as subject matter to create an open dialog about tough histories and the lenses through which communities view one other.
The third artist presenter is Peg Shaw, who teaches photography and video at Parkland College. Her presentation about her work takes place Tuesday, March 10, at 10:30 a.m. in Lecture Hall C118. Shaw reflects on her interest in the making of images. "The beauty of images captured or created is that we can pass on what we witness and hope the intrigue continues for others," she said. "It is how we connect to people we may never meet. For me, looking back and looking forward is time coming full circle."
Giertz Gallery's fall hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and noon to 2 p.m. Saturday. The gallery will be closed Feb. 27 for Professional Development Day and March 16–21 for spring break.
To find the gallery when classes are in session, we suggest using the M6 parking lot on the north corner of the campus. Enter through any door and follow the ramps uphill to the highest point of the first floor, where the gallery is located. The gallery windows overlook the outdoor fountain area.
Programs at the gallery are partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. Parkland College is a section 504/ADA-compliant institution; for accommodation, call 217/353-2337 or email For more information on the group exhibit, please call the gallery office at 217/351-2485 or visit
[Image: Hale Ekinci, Monument for Feisty Women of My Distant Land, mixed media, 52" x 80", 2017]

Occupational Therapy's LIFE Clinic, Jan. 28–March 10

Free services to help residents with everyday pain, mobility issues

Residents who live with daily pain or who have difficulty completing simple to more complex day-to-day activities can get help from a free clinic at Parkland College starting Jan 28.

The Learning Information for Everyday (LIFE) Clinic, offered by the Parkland College Occupational Therapy Assistant program, offers simple strategies to conserve energy or can recommend or construct an assistive device to help residents navigate their activities better.

For Spring Semester 2020, the LIFE Clinic will offer services Tuesdays, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Jan. 28 through March 10. For more information or to seek assistance through the clinic, please call Michelle Roberts, OTA program director, at 217/353-2782.


Parkland Theatre Wins Awards at C-U at the Show Globes

Parkland wins in five of 15 categories for local theatre in 2019

Parkland Theatre won awards at this year's C-U at the Show Globes, held Jan. 12 at Analog Wine Bar in Urbana. The awards winners are as follows:

  • Outstanding Production of a Play: Elephant's Graveyard

  • Outstanding Set Design: Mike O'Brien for Elephant's Graveyard

  • Outstanding Sound/Mixing: Brian Morgan for Young Frankenstein

  • Outstanding Actress in a Musical: Mallory Sellers for Young Frankenstein

  • Outstanding Comedic performance: Autumn Ellis as Igor in Young Frankenstein

A celebration of C-U community theatre, the Show Globes brought the theatre community together to reflect on art and artists on local stages during 2019. Twin City Theatre Company, Parkland College Theatre Productions, The Celebration Company at The Station Theatre and Champaign Urbana Theatre Company were represented during the event. Fifteen categories of awards were presented, a culmination of competition between 140+ actors, directors and others who participated in the 19 productions considered, according to the C-U at the Show Globes Facebook page.


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Parkland Theatre Tickets Now Available Online

Visit now for advance tickets for spring shows

The Parkland College Theatre will sell its show tickets online starting this month.

Theatre patrons will now be able to skip the lines at the campus-based ticket booth and purchase tickets in advance through a secure site available at

Patrons can choose either to download e-tickets (which they can print or show from a mobile device) or to have their tickets mailed to their US addresses. Patrons also will be able to purchase multiple tickets as well as tickets for different shows during the same transaction.

Advance tickets are available online at any time. For more information on online ticket sales and upcoming productions, visit or call 217/351-2528.

NOTE: As of January, all Parkland Theatre tickets must be purchased either in advance online or from the ticket booth at the time of the performance. Ticket reservations will no longer be accepted. All Parkland Theatre ticket purchases are nonrefundable.