A Message from the Chancellor

Summary of Chancellor's Activities March - June 2014

June 30, 2014

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

It’s my pleasure to bring you up to date on what has been taking place on our campus and in our community during the past few months.

Advisory Task Group for VCHA Position
In early May 2014, I charged a task group with drafting the initial Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs (VCHA) position description, which will subsequently be finalized by me, President Easter, and the Board of Trustees.  The VCHA will collaborate closely with the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs/Provost and the Vice Chancellor for Research. The Advisory Task Group will set us on a path to ensure that the VCHA position has clearly defined duties and the necessary authority and resources to develop solutions for existing challenges and to focus on the integration and alignment of the hospital, clinics, and health sciences colleges.  The position must be structured to further all four missions of the health enterprise: to provide high-quality care at a world-class medical center; to teach the next generation of health providers and researchers; to conduct cutting-edge research; and to serve the community. 

The task group's members are: Karen Colley, Dean of the Graduate College and Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics (Co-Chair); George Kondos, Professor of Medicine (Co-Chair); Steve Everett, Dean of the College of Art, Design, and the Arts; Bo Fernhall, Dean of the College of Applied Health Sciences; Victoria Persky, Professor of Epidemiology; Mary Jo Smith, Senior HR Director for the Medical Center; and Robert Winn, Associate Vice President for Community Based Practice.

Hispanic Serving Institution Designation Task Force
The Hispanic Serving Institution Designation Task Force began meeting in February 2014 and have continued making progress toward our HSI designation. The co-chairs of the Task Force are Aixa Alfonso, Associate Professor and co-chair of the Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Latinos and Tyrone Forman, Vice Provost for Diversity and Senior Advisor to the Chancellor.

African American and Latino Community Advisory Council Meetings
The African American Community Advisory Council met in March 2014 and the Latino Community Advisory Council convened in April 2014.  These Councils provide invaluable input on how UIC can more effectively recruit underrepresented students and employees and inform the university of any community concerns.

Obama Presidential Library Committee
Last fall, I appointed an exploratory committee to facilitate UIC’s bid for the Obama Presidential Library. On June 16 we submitted a response to the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) from the Barack H. Obama Foundation. The Foundation expects to select a site in early 2015. Special thanks to everyone who contributed to this important process, including:  Steering Committee Co-Chairs Mary Case and Michael Redding; Academic Programming Committee Co-Chairs Michael Pagano and Alfred Tatum; Library/Museum Exhibits Committee Co-Chairs Mary Case and Lisa Lee; Architecture/Site Committee Co-Chairs Mark Donovan and Robert Somol; Proposal Committee Co-Chairs Marcia Lausen and Michael Redding; and Lead Writer Meghan Ferrill.  I had the pleasure of being interviewed about the UIC bid for the Obama Presidential Library by reporters from Crain’s Chicago Business and the New York Times.  I was also delighted to participate in a news conference with the North Lawndale Obama Presidential Library Committee announcing our partnership with the community on June 16.


Select Special Events and Visits

Commencement Ceremonies
I was honored to preside over many of the Commencement Ceremonies held this May.  UIC graduated 7,552 students in May, including nearly 4,000 undergraduates, 2,719 graduate students, and 772 professional students.

Emeritus Faculty Reception
On March 18 I had the pleasure of meeting with our emeritus faculty at a reception organized by Renee Taylor, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and her staff. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet and thank these outstanding faculty members who have given so much to UIC.

CASEL: Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning Reception
It was an honor to attend the CASEL reception on March 18 at the Jane Addams Hull House Museum.  CASEL is led by Roger Weissberg, CASEL Chief Knowledge Officer, and UIC NoVo Endowed Chair in Social-Emotional Learning, LAS Distinguished Professor of Psychology. Eileen Rockefeller Growald, Timothy Shriver, and Barbara Byrd-Bennett, attended the event and talked about the importance of getting SEL into more classrooms for the benefit of students in Chicago. 

An Evening with Legends and Legacies
This special event, held on April 4, was an impressive display of UIC’s mission and what makes us a premier urban research institution.  More importantly, it was a fitting way to honor, celebrate and recognize the many alumni and friends who support us. Special thanks to Jeff Nearhoof, Vice Chancellor for Development, and his staff for their hard work on this wonderful event.

Chancellor’s Student Leadership Awards Program
On April 10, I was delighted to honor 248 outstanding students who have made a difference in the University through campus and community service.  I would like to extend my appreciation to Barbara Henley, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, and her team for organizing this celebration.

Granderson Stadium Opening
We officially opened the gates to the new Curtis Granderson Baseball Stadium on April 17. As the newest facility on university grounds, the ballpark adds beauty and prestige to the UIC campus.  The stadium will also be home to a promising new youth initiative pioneered by UIC Alumnus Curtis Granderson, a project that exemplifies his profound values and those of UIC. Special thanks to Mark Donovan, Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services,  Jim Schmidt, Director of Athletics, and Mike Dee, Head Men’ Baseball Coach.   

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Visit
Suzanne Walsh, Deputy Director of the Gates Foundation, along with two Senior Officers from the Gates Foundation visited UIC to meet with senior administrators and student leaders on April 22. UIC representatives learned about the Gates Foundation’s Postsecondary Success Program that aims to dramatically increase the number of low-income young people who have affordable access to a postsecondary education that leads to timely completion of a degree or certificate.  The Gates Foundation representatives were impressed to learn about UIC’s initiatives promoting student success. Thank you to Jeff Nearhoof, Vice Chancellor for Development, and Astrida Orle Tantillo, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for helping plan this visit.

Innovator and Inventor of the Year Celebration
On April 30, I had the pleasure of attending a celebration honoring Dr. Alan Feinerman, 2013 UIC Innovator of the Year and Dr. Sudip Mazumder, 2013 UIC Inventor of the Year. The Innovator of the Year Award honors an outstanding innovator or team of innovators at UIC who through their efforts have contributed to significantly advancing their invention towards commercialization.  This award recognizes outstanding commitment either through participation in the licensing process or through entrepreneurial efforts in a startup company based on their invention.  The Inventor of the Year Award honors an outstanding inventor or team of inventors who have made a contribution to the development of intellectual property at UIC that has the potential to make a significant impact.  The award is given based on the criteria of creativity, novelty, and commercial potential or potential benefit to society. Special thanks to Nancy Sullivan, Executive Director, Office of Technology Management, and her team.

Face the Future Foundation gift to the UIC Craniofacial Center
On June 10, I had the honor of accepting a check from the Face the Future Foundation to support the activities of the UIC Craniofacial Center. The Face the Future Foundation works to establish a capital fund to ensure that The Craniofacial Center has a state of the art facility and equipment to maintain the highest level of care for its patients. They also secure funds exceeding $350K annually to support programs and professional team members who provide essential care but whose services are not always covered by insurance, assuring that all of their patients have full access to all of their services. The Foundation raises funds through capital campaigns, grants, gifts, and endowments from patient-oriented agencies, healthcare foundations, and private citizens as well as through fundraising events such as the annual gala.

Community Events

I have the pleasure of representing UIC at the following community events:

  • DuSable Museum-A Night of 100 Stars
  • National Museum of Mexican Art Gala
  • Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce: Trade and Investment Opportunities in Pakistan


Chancellor/Vice Chancellor Meetings

I regularly meet with the Chancellor/Vice Chancellor group to discuss important issues, provide updates, and strategically plan. Topics for the Spring meetings included budget planning; enrollment update; facilities and construction update; campus insights planning; commencement; human resources updates and discussion; compliance; university archives and records retention; federal priorities; development updates; IT security; and the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act (ANCRA).  

Arlene Norsym, Associate Chancellor of Alumni Relations and Vice President of the University of Illinois Alumni Association, has been working with two committees  -- one to actively explore establishing a Homecoming for students and alumni beginning this Fall and another to plan a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the opening of Circle campus.

National Activities

I have the pleasure of serving on many Boards, including:

  • Urban Serving Universities
  • Institute of Medicine Awards Committee
  • American Council on Education, Commission on Inclusion
  • New York Academy of Medicine Board of Trustees
  • The Chicago Network, Programming Committee
  • Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce
  • Civic Consulting Alliance, Membership Committee

Select Meetings Attended and/or Convened

  • Chancellor/Vice Chancellors Meetings
  • Budget Prep Meetings with Chancellor, Lon Kaufman, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost, Janet Parker, Vice Provost for Budget and Resource Planning and Caryn Bills, Associate Chancellor and Chief of Staff, bi-weekly
  • Select Deans’ Council, Monthly
  • Afternoon Student Break with the Chancellor, March 4, 2014
  • Board of Trustees Meeting (Urbana), March 5-6, 2014
  • Vice Chancellor Budget Meetings, various dates in March
  • All Chancellor’s Status Committees, various dates in April
  • Cook County Council of Economic Advisors, April 2, 2014
  • Underrepresented Faculty Reception, April 3, 2014
  • Appropriations Hearing, April 10, 2014
  • Full Senate meeting, April 24, 2014
  • Chicago Urban League SUMMIT Luncheon, April 30, 2014
  • National Academies Committee, Co-Chaired by Mitra Dutta, Vice Chancellor for Research, and Renee Taylor, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, April 29, 2014
  • Executive Staff Meetings of Direct Reports, various dates in May Hosted On the Table (Chicago Community Trust Initiative) lunch, May 12, 2014
  • Board of Trustees Meeting, May 13-14, 2014
  • Civic Consulting Alliance Committee Meetings, May 15, 2014 and June 5, 2014
  • Meetings and meals with donors, various dates March-June
  • NIH Grant team and/or Co-PI meetings, various dates March-June
  • UIF Board meeting, June 3-4, 2014 (presented on expanding research opportunities for students)
  • Meetings to discuss Enhancing the Excellence of the College of Engineering, various dates in June
  • Horizon League Board of Directors Meeting, June 12-13, 2014

Upcoming Events
Watch for more information coming soon as we plan for the Fall 2014-Spring 2015 Chancellor’s Lecture and Event Series!

Thank you once again for everything you do to support the excellence of UIC.

Paula Allen-Meares
Chancellor, University of Illinois at Chicago
Vice President, University of Illinois
John Corbally Presidential Professor