Every month the Administrative/Professional (A/P) Council highlights an A/P staff member through a series of questions as another way for the Illinois State community to connect. This month readers can get to know Vince Cunningham, TRiO/student support services coordinator in University College.

As coordinator for TRiO/student support services, what are your job responsibilities?

TRiO/Student Support Services (SSS) program is designed to

  • Identify 231 first-generation undergraduate students with a demonstrated academic need.
  • Encourage strong academic performance by improving academic skills, academic planning, and monitoring class performance.
  • Assist and advocate for participants as they navigate the university system.
  • Assist with career development and graduate/professional school preparation.
  • Assist efforts to reduce any unmet financial need.
  • Provide special support to transfer students as they transition to the four-year institution.
  • Work to circumvent any types of obstacles that may prevent retention and graduation of program participants.

How long have you been an employee at Illinois State?

Ten years.

What do you love the most about working at Illinois State?

I love working with the students.  As I always say to them, “I like that you’re here, but I love seeing you leave with a degree.”

What is one fact about yourself that might surprise other people?

I do not know if it will come to a surprise, but I serve on the Deacon board, and I teach Sunday school for middle school children at my church.

When you’re not working, what are you most likely doing?

I am an IHSA varsity football and basketball official, as well a NJCAA women’s basketball official working for the Arrowhead and MWAC Conferences. When I am not officiating, I like to spend time with my family (especially my wife and our grandchildren) as well as attending church with my wife.

What is your favorite spot on Illinois State’s campus?

The Student Fitness Center is my favorite place for two reasons. First, I know what that area looked like before we built it. 🙂 Second, I think it not only helps beautify our campus, but it is 10 times better than what students had to use a decade ago.

And just for fun, if you could host a talk show, who would be your first guest? Why?

Magic Johnson.  I have been a loyal Lakers fan since the team drafted him in 1979.  I remember watching the 1979 NCAA Championship game were Magic’s Michigan State Spartans played against Larry Bird’s Indiana State team. I love his style of team ball, and I said whichever NBA team drafted him would earn a loyal fan. He never disappointed me on the basketball court. Aside from my father he has always been a hero of mine.