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“UIC is thriving and its best days are yet to come,” says UIC Chancellor

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Chancellor Michael Amiridis delivers his state of the university address on Tuesday, April 5, 2022. (Joshua Clark/University of Illinois Chicago)

In his final State of the University address on April 5, UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis celebrated UIC’s successes and momentum over the past two years, despite unprecedented challenges during the pandemic.

“We worked together. We put people first. We have placed our trust in science. And we led by example,” Amiridis said. “We met the challenges head on and we succeeded by continuing to do what we do best: listen, learn and teach; caring for patients; serve our community; and innovate for a better future.

Throughout the challenges of the pandemic over the past two years, UIC has continued to move forward and advance its mission as an urban public research institution, Amiridis said. He shared his appreciation for UIC’s frontline workers, who treated patients and helped develop new therapies and vaccines.

“They worked tirelessly under uncertain and stressful circumstances,” he said. “There are so many who have gone above and beyond in the past two years. We congratulate you all and are eternally grateful. »

To keep the campus community safe, UIC implemented comprehensive saliva testing and contact tracing programs on campus early in the pandemic.

“These measures, coupled with a 95% vaccination rate, which we should all be proud of, have made our campus one of the safest areas in the city and state,” he said. .

UIC has been at the forefront of COVID-19 research and efforts to find treatments and vaccines – receiving more than $88 million in funding for COVID-19 research, Amiridis said. Dr. Richard Novak, professor and head of infectious diseases at UI Health, launched the first vaccine clinical trial in Chicago for the Moderna vaccine and enrolled patients in the Johnson & Johnson trial.

“People ask me why UIC was selected for these trials, and there are two reasons: one is the excellence of our physicians/researchers, and the second is the diversity of the population we treat. And I’m very proud of both of them,” Amiridis said.

After the vaccines were made available to the public, UIC and UI Health opened the first mass vaccination center in Chicago at Credit Union 1 Arena. Nearly 180,000 people have been vaccinated at UIC and UI Health, and 5,700 COVID-19 patients have been treated in hospital. A partnership with Protect Chicago Plus and Mile Square Health Center provided community vaccination clinics to vulnerable populations in Chicago.

While helping to fight COVID-19, UIC has also supported its students throughout the pandemic while continuing to advance their education.

“Our faculty found creative and engaging ways to teach,” he said. “At the same time, our staff members made sure that support services were available for the students who needed them most.

When in-person instruction resumed last fall, UIC welcomed more than 34,200 students – its highest enrollment for the seventh consecutive year.

“I have never been so happy to see so many students on campus,” he said. “And I know I wasn’t alone.”

UIC faculty members continued to lead important research initiatives. Over the past three years, UIC research funding has grown from $350 million to $450 million, supporting more than 3,500 research projects.

“A very important reason students are drawn to UIC is the national recognition of our faculty and the opportunities to work alongside top researchers in all fields,” said Amiridis.

“The impact of our research extends around the world as we develop new treatments and vaccines, reshape equity and access to education, and create more sustainable environments and advance technology. and culture.

Other UIC achievements highlighted in the speech include:

  • Advance knowledge of the long-term complications of COVID-19 by working with the National Institutes of Health to better understand the disease.
  • Helping faculty transition to virtual learning with the creation of the Center for Advancing Teaching Excellence.
  • Supporting students with over $52 million in undergraduate scholarships, grants, fellowships and internships.
  • Launch of a new online MBA and an online Master of Engineering.
  • Launch of the Chancellor’s FirstGen Flames Abroad Scholarship, which offers first-generation students the opportunity to study abroad.
  • Celebrate strong national rankings, including being named one of the top 25 public universities and one of the top 10 best value universities for four consecutive years, according to The Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education.
  • Inauguration of the Center for Research and Learning in Computer Design, which will provide much-needed space to accommodate the rapid increase in undergraduate computer science enrollment at UIC.
  • Launched the DuSable Scholars Program, which identifies and supports talented Black and Latino students studying STEM-related fields.
  • Lead an alliance of 20 institutions serving Hispanics nationwide with R1 status.
  • Joining the Missouri Valley Conference, fulfilling the decades-long aspirations of student-athletes and UIC Flames fans.
  • Representing the United States at the Venice Architecture Biennale with the work “American Framing”, which was created and curated by UIC professors and architects Paul Andersen and Paul Preissner and their UIC-based team .
  • Recruit and retain promising scholars with the second cohort of the Bridge to the Faculty program, which aims to recruit, retain and promote tenure-track scholars from backgrounds historically underrepresented in academia.
  • Generate approximately $35 million in licensing revenue in FY21 from UIC innovations.
  • Exceed the IGNITE campaign fundraising goal ahead of schedule by raising $774 million in five years.

Future projects of note include a UIC Innovation Center expansion project; the development of the state-supported Drug Discovery and Cancer Research Pavilion; the development of two neighborhood centers, one in Auburn Gresham and the other in North Lawndale; and the opening of the UI Health specialty care building in late summer.

Amiridis thanked the university community for their support during his tenure as UIC Chancellor.

“I want to share with you the immense gratitude I have for the experience of leading UIC. Thanks to our collective action and resilient spirit, UIC is thriving and its best days are yet to come. to come,” Amiridis said.

Before the Chancellor spoke, the UIC Jazz Band welcomed the audience to UIC’s Isadore and Sadie Dorin Forum, and UIC junior Anandita Vidyarthi shared a spoken word performance. Donald Wink, UIC Senate Secretary and Chairman of the Senate Executive Committee, introduced Amiridis before his speech and thanked him for seven “memorable years” at the helm of UIC.

“I know I’m not alone in saying that Chancellor Amiridis’ achievements have left an indelible mark on UIC,” said Wink, Professor of Chemistry and Learning Sciences and Director of Undergraduate Studies. in chemistry. “We have been the beneficiaries of his vision to make UIC a world-class academic institution like no other. His unwavering determination to make UIC an example of social responsibility has made it a beacon of hope for people disenfranchised and pushed us all to levels we could only have dreamed of when he first took over in 2015.”

The UIC Pep Band closed the event with a performance.

Attendees received a UIC souvenir spinning top created by faculty and students from the College of Architecture, Design and the Arts, including Sung Jang, Associate Professor and Chair of Industrial Design; Sharon Oiga, Professor and Chair of Graphic Design; Kimberlee Wilkens, Assistant Professor of Industrial Design; Cristian Oiticica, Manufacturing Lab Specialist; Daniel Mellis, Print Lab Specialist; Annabelle Clarke, Associate Director of the School of Design; Itzel Lopez, Business Specialist; and Marcia Lausen, Director of the School of Design.

The bottom of the box containing the 3D printed keepsake reads: “Embedded in the symbolism of this little spinning top are the myriad of quiet revolutions that are continually and simultaneously taking place at UIC – quiet actions that impact collective on the city, the nation and the world.”

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