Chancellor Message to Community

It's my pleasure once again to bring you current news from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). As we begin our summer sessions, I'm very proud to start by congratulating our newest alumni.

Commencement 2012

2012 graduates celebrating commencement

This year we had another exceptional commencement season. UIC graduated over 7,500 students (7,537 total), and we welcomed nearly 29,000 (28,733 total) guests, friends, family and partners to help our students celebrate this milestone in their lives. We held over 13 college ceremonies and a variety of other special commencement events, such as the Honors College Convocation, the Lavender Graduation, an evening sponsored by the Latino Committee for University Affairs, and the African American Academic Network celebratory dinner.

Appointments and Searches

Bob Easter Appointed University of Illinois President Designate

Bob Easter and Paula Allen-Meares

Bob Easter, former Provost and Interim Chancellor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was appointed President Designate March 23 and will become President July 1. In his 36-year career with the University of Illinois, Bob Easter has been a graduate student, teacher, researcher, department head, dean, and top administrator. We have no doubt that as President, he will steer us on a steady course that will foster our worldwide strengths and our core mission.

Dr. Easter visited the UIC campus immediately after his appointment, and I had the pleasure of escorting him on a brief tour where he met with students, faculty and staff. Since then he has been a regular presence on campus, attending UIC Senate Executive Committee meetings and campus events, including the Nobel Peace Laureate Summit, and presiding over commencement ceremonies.

New President of the Illinois Medical District Commission (IMD)

Jennifer Woodard
Jennifer Woodard

Jennifer Woodard, Associate Vice Chancellor of External Affairs, was named President of the Illinois Medical District Commission by Governor Pat Quinn. The commission develops and manages the Illinois Medical District in Chicago, a 560-acre area that includes UIC's west campus, Stroger Hospital of Cook County, Rush University Medical Center, Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, plus a number of schools, youth and senior service agencies, public safety agencies and the Chicago Technology Park.

New Dean of Graduate College

Karen Colley
Karen Colley

Karen Colley, a researcher, educator and administrator in the College of Medicine, is the new Dean of the Graduate College. Colley is Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics and Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs in the College of Medicine. Since joining UIC in 1991, she has maintained an active NIH-funded research program.


The numbers are in and 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 is twice as much as UIC raised during the last University campaign.

UIC Buildings and Operations

Campus Security News

Chief Richardson
Chief Richardson

The UIC Police Department is the first university police force in Illinois to receive full accreditation from the Commission for the Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies, a national credentialing authority for municipal, county, and state agencies. The three-year accreditation came after years of preparation by the Department and a lengthy evaluation that included a site visit by inspectors last fall. Congratulations to Chief John Richardson and to the UIC Police Force.

Beautification and Improvement Efforts: Implementation of the Master Plan

Campus beautification

UIC moves forward this spring 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.

UIC was recently designated a 2011 USA Tree campus by the Arbor Day Foundation, and 40 new trees were planted by volunteers from the campus community on April 12.

Governor Quinn and the Green Governments Coordinating Council recognized the UIC campus as a Gold Level Compact School within the Illinois Campus Sustainability Compact program. This designates UIC as a leader in higher education sustainability.

Partnership Between Jesse Brown VA and UIC

Jesse Brown VA Medical Center

UIC and the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center near campus are developing an outreach program for students who are veterans, funded by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs as part of the Veterans Integration to Academic Leadership Initiative (VITAL) Program. The VITAL project will serve veterans on campuses across the nation and educate university staff about military culture and veterans' mental health needs.

Faculty Research Excellence

UIC Rises in Research Rankings

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 No. 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 No. 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.

Urban Infrastructure

Jakob Eriksson
Jakob Eriksson

Jakob Eriksson, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, received a five-year National Science Foundation Early Faculty Career Award to create a traffic model that provides a complete, bird's-eye view of real-time traffic, helping motorists bypass traffic jams.

A new study of the use of social media by big city governments reported that more than six times as many city governments reached citizens via Facebook in 2011 compared to 2009. The research by Karen Mossberger, Head of Public Administration, and Associate Professor Yonghong Wu, analyzed the online activities of the country's 75 largest cities.

Krishna Reddy
Krishna Reddy

Engineering researchers Krishna Reddy and Jean Bogner received a research grant from the National Science Foundation to test a new material that would contain dangerous leaks of methane in landfills.

Health and Wellbeing

A research group led by Chemistry Professor Wonhwa Cho discovered a new role for lipids in regulating cellular protein interactions, which have an important role in the cellular signaling pathways that cause cancer, diabetes and other inflammatory and metabolic diseases.

Researchers in the College of Pharmacy's Institute for Tuberculosis Research received three new federally funded grants to discover new treatments for tuberculosis, a still-common infectious disease that was once the leading cause of death in the U.S.

Benjamin Van Voorhees, Associate Professor of Pediatrics in the College of Medicine, received a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to test a "behavioral vaccine model" to prevent common mental disorders such as depression.


Timothy Shanahan, Director of the Center for Literacy in the College of Education, received a grant from the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services to teach low-income adults how to help their preschool children develop early language and literacy skills.

Faculty Honors

Suresh Aggarwal, Professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, was named a fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Jennifer Brier
Jennifer Brier

Jennifer Brier, Associate Professor of Gender and Women's Studies and History, is co-winner of the 2012 Allan Bérubé Prize from the American Historical Association's Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History.

Student Recruitment, Enrollment and Partnerships

Student Recruitment and Enrollment

UIC College Prep students and Paula Allen-Meares

UIC College Prep: This pipeline high school's first graduating class includes 153 seniors, all of whom have been admitted to 4-year universities, and 102 have been admitted to UIC for fall 2012. This is a great milestone for UIC College Prep.

Guaranteed Admissions Transfer: UIC is admitting its second cohort of students to the Guaranteed Admissions Transfer (GAT) program between UIC and the City Colleges of Chicago. The partnership fosters retention and four-year graduation and is consistent with the "Public Agenda," a vision of the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE).

President's Award Program: We are seeing positive results to our strategic outreach to Chicago-area high schools for the President's Award Program. Fifty students have already accepted admission to UIC and the program's financial awards.

African American Recruitment and Enrollment Initiative

This initiative, developed by Academic and Enrollment Services, will improve our outreach to African American students by building on our partnerships with high schools and community organizations.

Afternoon Break: Conversation With the Chancellor

Students at afternoon break with the Chancellor
Ken Thomas and Paula Allen-Meares
Chancellor and Ken Thomas

About 90 students attended an informal Q&A session with student trustee Ken Thomas, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Barbara Henley and myself at Student Center East.

Examples of Student Excellence

Mock trial team

UIC's mock trial team competed in the American Mock Trial Association's National Championship Tournament after winning the Super-Regional tournament. One member of the team, student Peter Korbakes, won the All-American Witness Award at the national tournament.

So far this year our students have earned:

  • 8 Fulbright Fellowships
  • 18 Gilman International Scholarships
  • 1 Goldwater Fellowship and a Goldwater Honorable mention
  • 4 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships
  • 8 Schweitzer Fellowships
  • 1 Critical Language Scholarship
  • and 1 DAAD Research Grant (German Academic Exchange Service)

We are very proud of our outstanding students and their accomplishments.

Chancellor's Undergraduate Research Award

The Chancellor's Undergraduate Research Experience gets students involved with faculty research and exploration in the sciences, the humanities and the arts. The award, available to students with Federal Work Study eligibility, pays them to participate in research with faculty mentors. This year we had 109 recipients of the award.

Recent Events

Nobel Peace Laureate Summit

Kerry Kennedy
Kerry Kennedy

The Nobel Laureate summit was a historic success, featuring nine individual Nobel laureates and representatives of 12 Nobel winning organizations. Including former heads of state, U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Frederik Willem de Klerk of South Africa, Mikhail Gorbachev of the Soviet Union, and Lech Walesa of Poland.

Nearly 3,300 students from Chicago high schools and universities were invited to hear a broad range of summit discussions. These conversations circled back to the same fundamental question: how to achieve peace in the world. Sean Penn was there to receive the 2012 Peace Summit Award for his work in Haitian relief after the 2010 earthquake.

Dia del Niño Family Festival

Dia del Nino family festival  Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Parents and children from over 35 Chicago Public schools throughout the city attended the 16th annual Dia del Niño Family Festival at the UIC Pavilion. LARES, the Hispanic Center of Excellence, UIC Athletics, and more than 25 cultural organizations offered hands-on activities to over 4,000 community members.

Enough Is Enough — Anti Bullying Rally

Anti-bullying rally
Carol Peterson

The About Face Youth Theatre performed and led a discussion against violence on college campuses at "Take a Stand Against Bullying." The event, sponsored by the Chancellor's Committee on the Status of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues and the Wellness Center, was part of the Wellness Center's weeklong "Enough Is Enough" program.

Dr. Rosemarie T. Nassif visited UIC

Rosemarie T. Nassif
Rosemarie Nassif

We welcomed Dr. Rosemarie T. Nassif, the special advisor to the Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education. She is a senior advisor working on reform, improvement, and innovation in higher education. During her visit she had the opportunity to meet and converse with a group of our students.

IGPA Pension Forum

A panel of experts from the State Universities Retirement System and the University's Institute of Government and Public Affairs and Governmental Relations Office spoke at a forum on campus that outlined pension changes under consideration in the Illinois General Assembly.

Our Alumni

Our alumni continue to bring recognition to our community — and I've selected these examples to show their wide array of influence.

Lucas Neff
Lucas Neff

Lucas Neff, a 2008 theater grad and star of the Fox-TV sitcom "Raising Hope" presented a workshop for acting students. "Acting isn't about pride and dignity. It's about being willing to be humiliated" he told the students.

Mari Gallagher
Mari Gallagher

Mari Gallagher, a UIC grad who heads the Mari Gallagher Research and Consulting Group, talked about the fight against urban food deserts at a lecture for the Hull-House Museum's Re-Thinking Soup lecture-lunch series.

Ertharin Cousin, a 1979 graduate in Criminal Justice, was just nominated by President Barack Obama to head the U.N. World Food Program.

John Laub, a 1975 Criminal Justice graduate who was appointed the Director of the National Institute of Justice by President Obama, returned to UIC last month to receive the Hans Mattick Award for exceptional contribution to science and practice.

Leaders, students and alumni, from all three campuses of the University of Illinois came to Springfield April 18 for University of Illinois Lobby Day. We met with state legislators to continue to draw their attention to the enormous economic and cultural impact the university has in Illinois


Jasmine Bailey and Shamiea Green
Jasmine Bailey
and Shamiea Green

In her first season as head coach of the women's basketball team, Regina Miller took the Flames to the semifinals of the Horizon League Tournament, where they faced the No. 1 team, Green Bay. Jasmine Bailey and Shamiea Green, teammates and friends since middle school, each broke the 1,000 career-points milestone this season.

For the second straight semester, UIC student athletes compiled a 3.0 grade point average. The collective 3.0 GPA for the fall semester is the second-best mark in school history.

Upcoming Events

UIF at UIC: UIF at UIC, scheduled for Friday, September 7, 2012, will raise awareness of the impact private giving has on our campus, including the "Access Illinois" fundraising initiative for student scholarships. Trustee Pamela Strobel will welcome our guests.

30TH Anniversary: The upcoming academic year marks the 30th anniversary of the University of Illinois at Chicago, created by the merger of the University of Illinois Medical Campus and the University of Illinois Chicago Circle on September 1, 1982. The commemoration begins with a convocation and picnic for first-year students and their families.

A symposium will be held on September 19th, 2012, to which former Presidents Ikenberry and James Stukel have been invited, along with former Chancellor Donald Langenberg. They will participate in a panel discussion about the events leading up to and realizing the merger and the importance of the creation of UIC.

Urban Forum: We are in the midst of planning the sixth Urban Forum to take place on December 6th, themed: "Metropolitan Resilience in a Time of Economic Stress." The 2012 UIC Urban Forum will examine the capacity of local governments to mobilize resources efficiently and effectively. Co-sponsors for the conference include Governor Pat Quinn, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

USU 2013 Summer Meeting: The Executive Committee of the Urban Serving Universities selected the UIC campus for the USU 2013 Summer meeting in Chicago. We look forward to hosting our colleagues from Urban Institutions of Higher Learning across the nation.

Thank you for allowing me to share some highlights. It's truly a pleasure to showcase some of the outstanding teaching, research and student accomplishments of our vibrant community.

Please accept my best wishes for a lovely summer.


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