A Message from the Chancellor

Congratulations Graduates

May 11, 2014

Congratulations GraduatesDear Students and UIC Class of 2014:

As our academic year draws to a close, the moment is right to review what makes UIC such an outstanding institution — our faculty, staff, alumni, and you, our students.  

Commencement ceremonies will begin soon, and all of us are busy preparing for the end of the semester.  As you walk down the aisle in your cap and gown or start planning your next academic year at UIC, you can be enormously proud of your alma mater.  Over the past year, new achievements have continued to increase UIC’s prominence and have added to the vibrancy of our community.

Our Rankings Continue to Rise Along with Our Visibility
U.S. News & World Report's "Best Colleges" most recent rankings put UIC in a five-way tie at No. 128 among national universities, an improvement of 19 spots from the previous year. Among the publics, we jumped from 77 to 63. UIC's climb represents the largest improvement among Chicago-area schools in the past academic year, as noted in Crain's Chicago Business and the Chicago Sun-Times

We are also proud to be recognized among the schools whose graduates had the least amount of debt&mdashand to be ranked among the top 10 national universities for ethnic diversity, and among the top 30 for economic diversity.

New Facilities
This academic year we began the planning and construction of the first new buildings on campus since the completion of the UIC Forum, in 2008.  

Advanced Chemical Technology Building
The Advanced Chemical Technology Building (ACTB) is currently in the design phase, and construction is expected to begin in Spring 2015. The ACTB will house select faculty from chemistry, biology, and physics, to support cutting-edge interdisciplinary research focused on topics from environmental science to immunology.

Curtis Granderson Baseball Stadium
We broke ground last September on the Curtis Granderson Baseball Stadium, a new ballpark made possible by UIC alumnus and New York Mets player, Curtis Granderson. The goal for this stadium, in addition to providing a top-tier facility for the Flames, is to host youth baseball in Chicago, in the hope that playing baseball on the UIC campus will spark players’ interest in completing high school and seeking a college education.

Mile Square Health Center
UI Health’s newest Mile Square Health Center was officially opened in January.  The five-story, 122,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility is the first federally qualified health center in Chicago to offer both urgent care and a full array of specialty medical services.  It is expected to serve many newly insured patients under the Affordable Care Act.

Chancellor’s Lecture and Event Series
Concluding its 5th year, this series continued to feature cultural performances, lectures, and presentations on the pertinent issues of our times.

  • Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme and a UIC alumna, visited UIC to discuss, "Delivering Food Assistance in a Shrinking Humanitarian Space."
  • Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institution spoke about regional governance and development.
  • In partnership with the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance, we presented the Orchestra Filarmonica de Puerto Rico as part of the annual Cuatro Festival.
  • A concert in March featuring Marc Mellits, Assistant Professor in the Department of Music, showcased his composition celebrating the reorganized UIC School of Theatre & Music.
  • The Rev. Jesse Jackson reflected on his long and esteemed career and discussed the state of justice movements today.
  • Eleven-term Congressman Luis Gutierrez read from and discussed his memoir, Still Dreaming: My Journey from the Barrio to Capitol Hill.
  • Scott Dikkers, Founding Editor of The Onion and Current VP of Creative Development,  talked with students, faculty, and staff on the topic of “Leadership and Creative Risk.”

UIC New Home for National Latino Research Consortium
A national consortium of 25 university-based Latino research centers will make its new headquarters at the UIC.  The Inter-University Program for Latino Research (IUPLR) promotes policy-focused research that fosters greater understanding of U.S. Latinos in politics, economics, culture, art, history and immigration.  Maria de los Angeles Torres, professor of Latin American and Latino Studies, will serve as the group’s new executive director.

UIC Emerging as an Hispanic Serving Institution
UIC is currently moving toward becoming an Hispanic Serving Institution.  I have created a UIC Hispanic Serving Institution Task Force, co-chaired by Tyrone A. Forman, Vice Provost for Diversity and Senior Advisor to the Chancellor, and Aixa Alfonso, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences.  This is an exciting development and illustrates our ongoing commitment to a  diverse campus community that reflects the great city in which we reside.  

UIC Urban Forum
This past December UIC held its annual Urban Forum, this year titled “Technology and the Resilience of Metropolitan Regions.”  The forum explored how technology increasingly drives government and citizenship, health care, workforce development, and metropolitan growth.    We were honored to have Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle co-chair the event and provide the keynote.

Campus Insights
This January we were pleased to showcase UIC’s achievements to the University of Illinois Board of Trustees,  and to donors, elected officials, and friends of our campus.  In a fast-paced presentation by standout faculty, alumni, and students--called “UIC: Making a Transformative Impact”--five remarkable individuals told their stories through artful imagery and narration. 

Community Outreach
Last year, I appointed two advisory groups of community leaders who serve UIC’s diverse constituencies--the African American and Latino Advisory Councils.  Meetings of these councils have addressed crucial UIC issues, including admissions policies, the Undergraduate Success Program, and underrepresented faculty.

Richard J. Daley Collection Opens at UIC
Documents and artifacts from Richard J. Daley’s six terms as mayor of Chicago became available for review by the public and researchers with the opening last year of the Richard J. Daley Collection at the UIC Library.  The material and artifacts are now part of the Special Collections Department.

Obama Presidential Library
Last fall, I appointed an exploratory committee to facilitate UIC’s bid for the Obama Presidential Library.  We are currently preparing a response to the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) from the Barack H. Obama Foundation.  The Foundation expects to select a site in early 2015.

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, High Performance Computer Cluster
 It was my pleasure to attend the opening of the new High Performance Computing Cluster in February.  The $2.4 million facility, housed in the Roosevelt Road Building, has 3,000 processors, 22,000 gigabytes of RAM and 1 petabyte (a quadrillion bytes) of disk storage. This facility significantly expands UIC’s research computing capabilities in many areas, including informatics and “big data.”  These advancements will provide  student training in cluster- and cloud-based computing to make our graduates even more attractive in the job market.

Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation at UI Labs
UI Labs received a grant of $70 million dollars from the U.S. Department of Defense to create a Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute in Chicago.  UIC’s role focuses on its strengths in computer visualization and developing a technical workforce. The Institute will apply cutting-edge mobile, cloud, and high-performance computing technologies to solving manufacturing challenges,  from robotics to visualization.  

On a Personal Note
These developments and accomplishments have now become part of our shared experience at UIC and the history we’ve witnessed together.  I hope that you are as proud of UIC as I am.

To those of you who are graduating, I extend my very best wishes for the future. We look forward to your continuing participation in the life of UIC. Please return to campus often and share your achievements with us. We will always be honored to call you UIC alumni, and, as our ambassadors, you are UIC’s true legacy.


Paula Allen-Meares
John Corbally Presidential Professor