Michigan dean named UIC's new chancellor
Social work leader 'a proven leader'
Paula Allen-Meares: UIC’s mission “reflects my strong beliefs: ‘to create knowledge that transforms our views of the world and, through sharing and application, transforms the world.’ For this reason, I am deeply honored to become the next chancellor.”
Photo: Kathryn Marchetti
“I’m home,” said Paula Allen-Meares, introduced to the campus community Tuesday as UIC’s new chancellor.
Allen-Meares, who earned her master’s and Ph.D. at Urbana-Champaign and served as dean of the school of social work there, is presently dean of social work at the University of Michigan.
Welcomed to UIC in a ceremony at Student Center East, she noted that she has spent more than 20 years at the two universities “developing research programs and centers and partnerships, and encouraging financial giving.”
Allen-Meares praised UIC’s “burgeoning research activities, relevance to today’s issues, leadership and training of health care professionals and wonderful commitment through the Great Cities program.”
She said, “It is with great enthusiasm and excitement that I accept your nomination.
“The mission of the University of Illinois at Chicago reflects my strong beliefs: ‘to create knowledge that transforms our views of the world and, through sharing and application, transforms the world.’ For this reason, I am deeply honored to become the next chancellor at UIC.”
Allen-Meares has a 41-page resume containing “no fluff whatsoever,” U of I President B. Joseph White told the crowd of faculty, staff and students that filled the atrium.
“When it comes to hard work, I have never met anyone who sets the pace achieved by Paula Allen-Meares,” he said.
For the past 15 years, she has maintained the top ranking of the University of Michigan School of Social Work, said U of I Board of Trustees Chair Lawrence Eppley.
“She will help UIC become the premier public urban research university,” he said.
“Paula Allen-Meares has exactly the right stuff that an ascendant UIC requires in a chancellor. She is a proven success as a builder and driver of a nationally acclaimed academic enterprise, with an intellectual energy and vigor to match her personal dynamism,” Eppley said.
The Board of Trustees will act on Allen-Meares’ nomination at its July 24 meeting. She would take office Jan. 16.
White said she was selected from a field of more than 100 candidates. A 20-member search committee cut the number to 17, then to five finalists who were interviewed by the board of trustees.
White thanked the search committee and its chair, Elliot Kaufman, professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics, for “a superb job in a very robust search.”
“The sense of UIC from the candidates was that this is the right university at the right place at the right time,” White said.
Allen-Meares spent 1970 to 1993 at Urbana-Champaign as a graduate student, professor, then dean. Her expertise focuses on social work as it relates to educational settings and adolescents.
She is a member of the prestigious Institute of Medicine of the National Academies and a trustee of the New York Academy of Medicine.
From now until January she will transition between the Michigan and UIC campuses, continuing work on major research projects, including four in which she is principal or co-principal investigator.
Allen-Meares is a native of Buffalo, N.Y., and received her bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Her husband, Henry Meares, is assistant dean for external relations in the school of education at Michigan. He and the couple’s three daughters are UIUC graduates.
The couple will live in the new UIC Chancellor’s Residence, a townhouse on historic Jackson Boulevard adjacent to campus that was bequeathed for that purpose by the late Olga Jonasson, a longtime UIC professor and surgeon.
Allen-Meares succeeds Sylvia Manning, who retired in December after eight years as chancellor.
Eric A. “Rick” Gislason, former vice chancellor for research, will remain as interim chancellor until January, when he plans to retire.
Below: Paula Allen-Meares wore a Flames-red suit and a UIC pin for her introduction to UIC, receiving greetings from trustee Frances Carroll, gifts from Sparky D. Dragon and other regalia.
Photos: Kathryn Marchetti