Chancellor Message to Class of 2012

Dear UIC Class of 2012:

Commencement is a time to reflect on UIC and the people who make it an outstanding institution -- our faculty, staff, alumni and, most of all, our students. Each year, I have the pleasure of attending the Chancellor's Student Service and Leadership Awards ceremony. I am proud to acknowledge the 322 outstanding students who were honored this year for their contribution through campus and community volunteer service.

This year again brought a number of milestone events to our campus.

Bob Easter, former provost and interim chancellor at the university's Urbana-Champaign campus, will become the 19th president of the University of Illinois on July 1. In his 36-year career with the university, he has been a graduate student, teacher, researcher, department head, dean and top administrator. I have no doubt that as president, he will steer us on a steady course that fosters our worldwide strengths and our core mission.

Nobel Peace Prize winners from all over the world visited UIC last month to "Speak Up, Speak Out for Freedom and Rights" at the 12th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. The summit, the first to be held in North America, included former U.S. presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, and former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and actor Sean Penn, who received an award for his humanitarian work in Haiti.

UIC's national ranking for total research expenditures rose two places in the latest survey by the National Science Foundation. Based on fiscal year 2010 data, UIC is ranked 55 nationally, compared with all other universities, public and private, in total research expenditures. The NSF also ranks institutions by research expenditures that are federally funded. In that ranking, UIC also moved up two spots -- to 52 -- with more than $232 million in research funding from federal sources. When compared to other public universities, UIC was ranked 37 in 2009, the most recent published ranking.

UIC is moving forward with one of its strategic objectives: making the campus a more beautiful place. Several projects are underway as part of the 2010 UIC Master Plan, from enhancing green spaces and improving building cleanliness, to the renovation of buildings and classrooms. Volunteers from the campus community planted 40 trees April 12 in recognition of UIC's designation as a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation.

UIC College Prep, a high school affiliated with the university that has a special focus on the health sciences, graduates its first class of students June 9. Of the 155 graduating seniors, 102 were accepted to UIC.

We hosted a conference honoring pioneering civil rights leader Bayard Rustin March 30 and 31. The conference, organized by UIC's Gender and Sexuality Center, brought together artists, scholars and community organizers to examine Rustin's legacy and discuss issues of contemporary social justice.

The numbers are in and I recently sent out a formal announcement that UIC's Brilliant Futures Campaign was a resounding success, with a total of $676 million raised through private giving. Not only does this exceed our $650 million goal, it represents twice as much as UIC raised during the last university campaign.

September 1 marks the 30th anniversary of the day UIC was officially created by the consolidation of the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle and the University of Illinois at the Medical Center. We are planning a series of events to commemorate the birth of what is now a great urban research university.

To our students who are graduating, I send you all my good wishes for the future. We will always be proud to call you our alumni; you are truly our legacy. We look forward to your continuing participation in the life of UIC. Please return to campus often and share with us your accomplishments.


Paula Allen-Meares
John Corbally Presidential Professor