Excitement. Nervousness. Apprehension. Those are just a few of the emotions you may be experiencing as you leave UIC with your diploma in hand and embark on new adventures in your life. One word comes to my mind that may help you assuage those feelings: Prepared.
UIC faculty and staff work hard to provide you with the finest education so you can be successful in whatever career path you take. Our enrollment this year, 29,000, was an all-time high, and that speaks volumes to the quality of our undergraduate, graduate and research programs. You, our students, are the faces of the future of this country. We hope you learned as much from us and we did from you.
While UIC is a large campus, we strive to make it all inclusive. We know you achieved success in the classroom, and we hope you were able to take advantage of some of the many organizations and activities we provide, from our culturally diverse student groups, to events such as LOL@UIC, Spark in the Park or Taste of UIC. We also want our students to give back to the community, so we launched UIC ENGAGE, which sends UIC student volunteers to schools and community faith centers on Chicago’s West Side to provide tutoring and mentoring. We look forward to instituting new programs in the future.
I recently celebrated my one-year anniversary at UIC, but I felt welcomed the moment I arrived. We want our faculty and students to feel the same way. One new professor who came to UIC last August said he felt at home the minute he stepped on campus. The students, he said, want to be as active as possible, whether it be social or political activism, or through the many diverse courses and clubs. He commented that it is a real exciting time to be a UIC student. And I couldn’t agree more.
We have many new projects on the horizon which will continue to modernize our campus. We are going to build basic science labs in the college of medicine, modernize classrooms across campus, complete the Mile Square building, improve the hospital’s aging infrastructure and construct a modular-designed Engineering lab building. We also intend to move forward with public-private partnerships that will allow us to build a new classroom and residence hall building on Halsted Street, as well as a new soccer stadium on South Campus.
A few years ago you had a difficult decision of where to continue your academic pursuits. Many of you had several schools from which to choose, and we’re happy UIC was at the top of your list. We want you to look back on your time here and have fond memories, and even though you’ll be gone, we want you to stay involved with UIC, especially through the Alumni Association.
Congratulations on your graduation. I am proud to call you UIC alums.
UIC celebrated the Class of 2016 during its commencement ceremonies May 4-8. More than 6,600 degrees were awarded at 14 college ceremonies.
Sheryl Underwood, a 1987 UIC graduate, comedian and co-host of CBS’ “The Talk”; Jesús “Chuy” García, UIC alumnus and Cook County Commissioner; John J. Tracy, chief technology officer of The Boeing Company, and other civic and business leaders addressed graduates at various college ceremonies.