The Parkland College Blog

Parkland College Celebrates Black History Month 2019

Join faculty, staff, students in events celebrating African American achievement

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"History, Heritage and Hope: Looking Forward" is the theme of Black History Month 2019 observances at Parkland College.

The school will celebrate the historical achievements of African Americans with events including faculty lectures, student presentations, a cultural fashion show, and a popular soul food luncheon.

The public is invited to participate in the following events, unless otherwise noted.

Reasons to Rethink Black History Month
Tuesday, Feb. 5
1 p.m., Room U140
During this presentation, Social Sciences and Human Services faculty chair Dr. Joe Walwik will explore why we should think more critically about Black History Month and how we celebrate the month of recognition for African Americans. The event is part of Student Life's monthly Dine and Discuss series.

Black Student Success Project: Relationships I 
Wednesday, Feb. 6
1–2 p.m., Room U140
This in-depth discussion of romantic relationships in the African-American community is a popular one with Parkland College students.

Black Muslims in the U.S.
Tuesday, Feb. 12
Noon–1 p.m., Room U140
Sociology Professor Evelyn Reynolds explores the intersection of African Americans and the Muslim faith.

Leaning In and the Black Experience
Wednesday, Feb. 13
Noon–1 p.m., Room U140
Presented by Dr. Marietta Turner, Parkland College's dean of students, this presentation centers around Michelle Obama’s new book “Becoming” and the conversations that are of value to the next generation of African Americans.

Black History Month Luncheon 
Thursday, Feb. 14
11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m., Room U140
Sample an array of foods from traditionally Southern African American cuisine. Luncheon tickets may be requested via email to

Black Panther and AfroFuturism
Tuesday, Feb. 19
Noon–1 p.m., Room U140
Literature Program Director Amber Landis will explore the recent popularity of AfroFuturism, especially in the Black Panther series. The talk is part of the monthly Dine and Discuss series.

Racialized Stress and Trauma in Higher Education
Wednesday, Feb. 20
11 a.m.–noon, Room U140 
Nathan Stephens, director of the Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, leads this discussion, which deals with the mental health of African American students in higher education.

Black Student Success Project: Relationships II 
Wednesday, Feb. 20
1–2 p.m., U140
This in-depth discussion of romantic relationships in the African American community is a popular one with Parkland College students.

The Art of Kehinde Wiley: Painter of President Obama’s Official Portrait
Thursday, Feb. 21
11 a.m.–noon, Room U140 
Giertz Gallery Director Lisa Costello and Art History Instructor Laura O’Donnell discuss the work of Kehinde Wiley, a celebrated contemporary artist and the first African American artist selected to paint an official presidential portrait, that of President Barack Obama, which hangs in the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery.

Diversity in the Classroom
Monday, Feb. 25
10 a.m.–11 a.m.,  Room D105 
Political science professor Dr. Willie Fowler will discuss how diversity plays a factor in classrooms all across the world.

Donald Trump and African-Americans: Has He Delivered?
Tuesday, Feb. 26
11 a.m.–noon, Room D105 
President Donald Trump promised numerous initiatives and projects during his 2016 presidential campaign that would empower African Americans. Dr. Willie Fowler's presentation will take a look at the progress the Trump Administration has made on these initiatives.

Afro-Puerto Rican Women in Popular Culture
Wednesday, Feb. 27 
11 a.m.-Noon,  Room D105 
UIUC Anthropology's Dr. Quinones, a Caribbeanist, will focus her talk on how Afro-Puerto Rican women are depicted in popular culture.

Cultural Fashion Show
Wednesday, Feb. 27
Noon–1 p.m., Student Union Cafeteria 
Parkland College Student Government will host a fashion show that provides a cultural exhibition of black fashion, pre- and post-Americanization.

Student Voices, Spoken Word and Original Songs by Parkland Students
Friday, March 1
11 a.m.–1 p.m., Cafeteria Stage, Student Union
This open mike show features Parkland College students reciting original poems, monologues, and other spoken word. Event is sponsored by the academic coaches of the Center for Academic Success.

Registration for Late-Start Classes Underway

 Earn full-semester credit in 13 weeks

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Although Parkland College's full-semester classes are now in session, another range of classes is available to students who still wish to enroll.

Registration is now open for Parkland's Late-Start Class Session, which begins the week of Feb. 4.

Residents can earn full-semester college credit in just 13 weeks, in classes taught at a slightly more accelerated pace than full-semester classes. Students can select from transferable, online and campus-based spring courses in math, biology, education, English, foreign languages, and many other subjects, plus career-specialty classes in aviation, automotive, hospitality, computer science, agribusiness, and more. 

Registration for the 13-week session ends Feb. 3. To get started at Parkland College, visit or contact Admissions and Records at 217/351-2482 or

Student Startups Chosen for New CobraVenture Accelerator

Ten-student cohort to begin developing business plans

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Pursuing their place in industries ranging from home healthcare to casual dining, the 10 student startups chosen for Parkland College's new CobraVenture accelerator are eager to get to work this month.
This pilot cohort includes students from a variety of academic programs who want to start their own businesses while still enrolled in college. This week, participants will begin attending a series of educational workshops on how to get started with their business plan and become their own boss. Session facilitator Marc Changnon will join powerful speakers at each workshop to help students succeed.
"We are as excited about the group's business ideas, which will have a great impact on this community and beyond, as the students are," Changnon said. "Now it's time for them to learn what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur and put these ideas on paper to make sure they're sound and sustainable."
The 10 startups in CobraVenture's 2019 cohort are:
Dylan Taylor, Good Game and Food
Laura LaBaugh, Handmade Bridal Veils
Mitchell Thompsen, Vanguard Drone Services 
Giscard Roland, Screenboard LLC
Nichole Pearson, Medical Rides
Preston Richardson, The Helping Hand Company
James Buhr, Brace and Byte Woodworks
Gayle McDonald, PS 31 Productions
Elizabeth Allen, Vinyl Record Press
Samy Mackey, Samy's Food
Part of the Parkland Entrepreneurial Network (PEN), the CobraVenture program provides students with an avenue for networking and business mentorship. The semester-long accelerator will feature a collaborative workspace, topics taught by local serial entrepreneurs, and one-on-one guidance with business mentors.

Participants will have the chance to bring their business ideas to fruition by competing for up to $3,000 in seed money in CobraVenture's capstone Pitch Showcase this May, along with opportunities to raise even more capital as their pitches impress area leaders.

In its pilot year, CobraVenture joins two other PEN successes including Applied Media Promotions (AMP), a student-run public relations firm, and Perimeter Road Sound Recordings, a student-run record label. Both are operated by the college's Arts and Sciences division.

CobraVenture is funded through existing funds from the Parkland Foundation Entrepreneurial Founders Program, Murray Wise Associates PEN Program, and those raised through its annual Entrepreneur of the Year event. Parkland Community Education, the college's noncredit arm, is helping to plan and administer the workshops. The program is operating with oversight from an advisory committee comprised of community leaders and Parkland College faculty and staff, spearheaded by Stephanie Stuart, vice president for communications and external affairs.

"Conceptualizing CobraVenture and getting it off the ground has been an exciting experience because we're bringing together so many different units on campus and assets in the community to make it happen," Stuart said. "The students bring such creativity, passion, and energy to the table. We hope to bring them a rich experience and fuel the local economy with small businesses started right here at Parkland College." 

Local Physician Provides Gift to Parkland College Ceramics

Dr. Victor Feldman began taking ceramics classes after his retirement

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A Parkland College arts department received the major lift of a $150,000 donation from a local physician who had taken classes in the department.

On Jan. 7, family members of the late Dr. Victor Feldman presented the Parkland College Foundation with the gift, designated to support Ceramics, a studio-art department within the college's Art and Design program.
A longtime Champaign-Urbana ophthalmologist who passed away last May, Dr. Feldman began taking Parkland Ceramics classes after his retirement, discovering a new skill he enjoyed for many years thereafter. 

His generous gift will be used to improve Ceramics course curricula and provide other program support. Associate art professor and Ceramics faculty Chris Berti felt humbled by the gift, calling it a continuation of Dr. Feldman's generosity to the program. 

"I'm touched beyond words!" Berti said. "As a continuing student, Victor was a fixture in my Ceramics class. His positive contributions to the class environment were demonstrated by his positive energy, consistent work ethic, skill, and passion for ceramics. Additionally, he generously donated numerous works every year to Parkland Art Gallery (Giertz Gallery) fundraisers and frequently helped other students in the combined beginning and advanced Ceramics class."

A University of Illinois medical school graduate and former US Army captain, Dr. Feldman completed his residency in ophthalmology at the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary before joining the staff of Champaign's Christie Clinic in 1967. He practiced ophthalmology locally for 35 years. 

At the University of Illinois Medical School, where Dr. Feldman taught, he won two Golden Apple Awards as outstanding teacher of the year. He also served on the board of the Busey Trust Company for 30 years. He was known for his philanthropy, serving as a Rotarian and volunteering his services to community nursing homes.

And as a lifelong learner, Dr. Feldman was a model student.

"He set a great example for both traditional and nontraditional students alike," Berti said. "I will miss him."

[Images: Upper left: Dr. Feldman's daughter, Ruth Lyons, second from left, presented his gift to Foundation Director Tracy Wahlfeldt, Art Professor Chris Berti, and Fine and Applied Arts Chair Julie Weishar. Middle right and lower left: Ceramic art by Dr. Feldman.]

Campus Closure - Inclement Weather

No MTD bus service to campus Saturday, Jan. 12

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All classes, programs, and services have been cancelled at Parkland College for Saturday, January 12, and all offices will be closed as well. This notice includes all athletic events and partner classes taking place on campus. All access roads to campus will be closed, and there will be no bus service by the MTD.