Chancellor Message 10/5/09

Message to Campus
RE highlights of recent UIC achievements

Dear Colleagues,

With the academic year in full swing, I take any opportunity I can to visit colleges and departments across UIC and at the regional campuses in Peoria, Rockford and Urbana/Champaign. I come away from all my encounters with great appreciation for the talent and dedication of our faculty, staff and students. I’m very pleased to share with you highlights of our recent achievements.

Enrollment and New Student Convocation

This fall we have record enrollment of more than 26,200 students, including almost 16,000 undergraduates. As has been the case for many years, there is no ethnic majority among our students; our total student body is 46.1% Caucasian, 19% Asian, 14.3% Hispanic and 8.4% African American. There are many reasons for our record enrollment but chief among them is the quality and breadth of our academic programs. UIC attracts serious students who want the benefits of attending a major research university in a great urban center.

Monetary Award Program

I am very proud that Governor Quinn selected UIC to be the venue for the Town Hall Meeting on the critical issue of continued funding for Illinois’s Monetary Assistance Program (MAP), which provides support to more than 6,000 UIC students and tens of thousands of students across the state. The meeting, held last Tuesday, was a very productive start to the conversation of how we can go about making this program sustainable over the long term.

Innovation Center

On September 14, the UIC Innovation Center welcomed more than 250 Chicago entrepreneurs to celebrate their selection as finalists for the prestigious Chicago Innovation Awards. Kuczmarski & Associates, co-founders along with the Sun-Times, presented UIC with a $5,000 Innovation Scholarship for a student to gain valuable experience as a summer intern. The Innovation Center represents a collaboration between the Colleges of Engineering, Business Administration, and Architecture & the Arts. The Center exemplifies UIC’s commitment to multidisciplinary learning and translational progress.

Student Outreach

Since my arrival at UIC, I have had the pleasure to meet with many students and members of student organizations who reflect this institution’s vibrancy and high quality. In October, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Barbara Henley and I will continue our dialogue with students by hosting a reception for student leaders at my residence. This will be an opportunity for us to engage in conversation about our students’ hopes and dreams and to learn how, through collaborative efforts, we can enhance the UIC experience for all students.


Recent examples illustrate the excellence of our faculty:

  • Mary Jo LaDu, associate professor of anatomy and cell biology, was awarded more than $9.8 million to head a five-year National Institute on Aging Program Project Grant. The project will examine the biology of the most important risk factor in Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Donald Wink, professor of chemistry, is the lead investigator in a five-year, $5 million National Science Foundation grant to UIC, the Chicago Public Schools and researchers at four other Chicago-area universities. They will create the Chicago Transformation Teacher Institutes. The Institutes will train teachers at public high schools to develop 12th-grade science and math courses to help college-bound seniors once they enter their freshman university year.
  • UIC was awarded $7.2 million from the National Institutes of Health to establish the Center of Excellence in Eliminating Health Disparities. Elizabeth Calhoun, associate professor of health policy and administration in the School of Public Health, is director of the new Center, and Carol Ferrans, professor and associate dean at the UIC College of Nursing, is co-director.
  • Federal Stimulus Program - To date, our faculty have received an astounding $54 million in funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. This reflects not only the expertise of our faculty but countless hours of work on their part, and on the part of our administrators and staff.

Cultural Engagement

The College of Applied Health Sciences’ biomedical visualization students, faculty and alumni have an art exhibit at The International Museum of Surgical Science. Curated by student Meena Malhotra, “Redefining the Medical Artist” includes 26 images and animations of such varied subjects from surgical tools to ovulation to Influenza A infection. The goal of the exhibit is to educate the public while boosting awareness of the field. The exhibit extends through October 16.


The UIC Office of Sustainability’s “Unplug” campaign has a goal of reducing campus energy consumption by 2% this year by behavioral changes such as turning off lights and non-essential equipment. This initiative is good for the environment – and for our budget – so I urge everyone to join me in working to achieve our goal. For more information, please contact Cindy Klein-Banai, associate chancellor for sustainability or visit the website


Congratulations to Caryn Bills on her appointment as Director of Access and Equity. Caryn has done an excellent job as interim and I am pleased she has assumed this very important position on a permanent basis.

Board of Trustees and President Ikenberry

I look forward to working with our new Board of Trustees to advance UIC’s mission. The Governor appointed a very distinguished group. I was particularly pleased by the appointment of Carlos Tortolero, founder and president of the national Museum of Mexican Art – the first person to serve on the board who holds an undergraduate degree from UIC. In a recent communication I recognized the accomplishments of President White and extended our best wishes to him and his family. I take this opportunity to welcome Interim President Designate Ikenberry. I was fortunate to have worked with Dr. Ikenberry during my tenure at UIUC and know first-hand his articulate and passionate advocacy for higher education. I appreciate his willingness to lead the university once more.


This year marks the 30th anniversary of the UIC Urban Health Program. Almost 5,000 health professionals from underrepresented groups have been trained through the UHP program over the past three decades. 2009 also marks the 150th anniversary of our oldest academic unit, the College of Pharmacy. From training a third of Illinois pharmacists to its consistent NIH ranking as one of the top research colleges of pharmacy in the country, the College has a long and distinguished record of scholarship and service.

For these reasons and many more, I am filled with optimism for our future. Thanks to all for your excellent work.


Paula Allen-Meares