Chancellor Message to UIC Class of 2013

Dear UIC Class of 2013:

Commencement is a time to reflect on one's experience at UIC and the people who make it an outstanding institution -- our faculty, staff, alumni, and you, our students.

At the end of each year, I have the pleasure of attending the Chancellor's Student Service and Leadership Awards ceremony. I am proud to report that 320 outstanding students were honored this year for their volunteer service to the campus and the community.

Much has happened during your time at UIC. This graduation year is particularly notable, since last September marked the 30th anniversary of UIC, when the Medical Center and the Chicago Circle Campus merged to create the University of Illinois at Chicago. The merger in 1982 created the largest and most comprehensive research, teaching, and learning institution in the Chicago metropolitan region. A symposium celebrating UIC's 30th anniversary last September brought together major figures in UIC's creation, including former University of Illinois presidents Stanley Ikenberry and James Stukel, and UIC's first chancellor, Donald Langenberg, for an illuminating discussion of the consolidation of the university and the incredible foresight that led to the growth of one of the nation's premier public institutions of higher learning.

As you join the ranks of UIC alumni, you can take great pride in UIC's achievements. In 2012, Times Higher Education, published in the UK, ranked UIC 11th on its list of the world's best universities under 50 years old, with UIC coming in a prestigious 3rd among all young universities in the United States.

UIC's student population remains one of the most diverse in the country. Our last survey showed students speaking 46 different languages. This year UIC completed the final phase of its three-year Diversity Strategic Thinking and Planning initiative, which will put diversity at the center of UIC's academic, service, and social mission and make UIC a model for diversity excellence nationwide.

UIC has continued its upward trajectory in research expenditures. According to the National Science Foundation's FY 2011 Higher Education R&D Survey, UIC was ranked 56th nationally, with total R&D expenditures of over $380 million, an increase of 4.9 percent. UIC ranked 52nd in federally financed R&D, up two spots from FY 2009, with federal expenditures of almost $249 million.

The College of Nursing is one of five U.S. nursing schools selected to participate in the new Rwanda Human Resources for Health initiative. U.S. News & World Report recently ranked the College of Business Administration No. 1 among Chicago-area universities with accredited undergraduate business programs. The College of Pharmacy is launching the first drug-discovery center at UIC, the Collaborative Engagement in Novel Therapeutic Research and Enterprise.

An international conference in April on historical issues of food justice helped launch a two-year program, "Food Studies at UIC: Local and Global Issues," a collaboration with the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Chancellor's Initiative in the Humanities. When the National Science Foundation made its budget request to Congress, presenters featured a description of CAVE2, the large-scale virtual environment developed by the College of Engineering's Electronic Visualization Laboratory. The presentation highlighted CAVE2's dazzling new use by UIC neurosurgeons to display 3-D models of the full human brain.

UIC was honored this year for designing beautiful and innovative spaces that serve students. The IDEA Commons in the Richard J. Daley Library, the library's most popular gathering place, won two Design Excellence citations from the American Institute of Architects Chicago Chapter.

UIC's new Commuter Student Resource Center, which averages more than 3,000 student visits per week, won a Gold Excellence Award from the National Association of Student Affairs Professionals. The center provides commuting students access to computers, a locker room and showers, kitchen facilities, and a lounge area.

The College of Business Administration moved into its new home this year in the $11.7 million renovated Douglas Hall, which recently received Gold LEED certification for excellence in environmentally sustainable architecture. And for its innovative and inclusive approach to preservation and social justice, the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum received a prestigious National Trust for Historic Preservation Award.

Looking ahead, I am very enthusiastic about the future, including new construction plans. UIC's College of Dentistry, celebrating its Centennial in 2013, received an $8.2 million gift from the Guy D. and Rebecca E. Brunetti Foundation to modernize outdated clinical facilities and serve more patients.

A new $104 million Advanced Chemical Technology Building is also on the horizon. It will allow researchers from the LAS science departments to work collaboratively on drug discovery, battery technology, and solar cells.

New York Yankees centerfielder and UIC alumnus Curtis Granderson pledged funding for a new, multi-million-dollar baseball stadium on the UIC campus. The ballpark will be home for UIC Flames baseball and serve area youth and the Chicago community.

And we are pleased to announce that UIC alumnus Rick Hill and his wife, Loan, have made an additional gift commitment of $6.5 million that, along with their previous commitments of $1.5 million for three professorships in Engineering, will allow UIC to initiate the process, following designated protocols, to name this department. Rick, a graduate of the UIC College of Engineering, has served as Chair of the University of Illinois Foundation board and has been a member of the UIC Chancellor's advisory board.

I hope that you are as proud of these select accomplishments as I am.

Graduates, I send you all my good wishes for the future. We look forward to your continuing participation in the life of UIC. Please return to campus often and share your achievements with us. We will always be proud to call you our alumni, our ambassadors; you are UIC's true legacy.

Paula Allen-Meares
John Corbally Presidential Professor