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Year in Review ’23

Year in Review 2023

Over this past year, the UIC Alumni Association (UICAA) returned to in-person programming after two years of primarily virtual activities. The UIC Alumni Awards, Golden Graduates Celebration, Undergraduate Research Forum, and recent graduate events were among the programs delivered to our 337,000 alumni. We continue to work hard to provide connections, networking opportunities and resources to our alumni family.  Guided by our 68- person Alumni Board, we are proud that the UICAA is a thriving organization that continues to grow and engage alumni to positively impact students and UIC’s mission. Thank you to all who have served, mentored, volunteered or shared a bit of pride on this journey.

We are proud to have you as UIC alumni.

Scroll down for a summary of all we’ve accomplished together, and if you have ideas, feedback or would like to be involved, email us at

WHERE WE ARE Heading link

A map of the United States showing UIC over Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Phoenix areas

Top 5 Metro Regions:

  • Chicago, Naperville, Elgin: 244,026
  • Los Angeles, Long Beach, Anaheim: 4,860
  • India: 3,973*
  • New York, Newark, Jersey City: 3,784
  • China: 3,534*
  • Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale: 3,027
  • San Francisco, Oakland, Hayward: 2,818

* International locations not shown on map.


The outside of Lincoln Hall with students walking around.
  • Top 15 Public University by The Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education.
  • Top 25 Ethnically Diverse and Economically Diverse and No. 11 for Social Mobility by U.S. News and World Report 2021 Best Colleges.
  • Top 10 Best Value colleges in the nation by The Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education.

ALUMNI AT WORK Heading link

Students working at computers in a classroom.
  • 1 in 13 college degree holders in Cook County is a UIC graduate.
  • 1 in 3 Illinois doctors were trained at UIC.
  • 1 in 11 Chicago Public Schools principals were prepared for their position at UIC College of Education.


UICAA Alumni Honorees

Each year, the UIC Alumni Association honors alumni who demonstrate the highest level of professional and humanitarian achievement and dedication to the university.  On April 20, 2023, the UICAA honored six outstanding alumni during its Alumni Awards Celebration. Our honorees have in common a UIC education that laid the foundation for careers in their chosen field that have changed the world for the better.

Rising Star Leadership Award: acknowledges rising and future leaders among UIC’s recent alumni community.  Awardees represent the ideal of a committed, industrious, and ambitious individual who the UIC community may look as personifying the University’s mission.
Jenifer Nyhuis MSW ’12
Kaitrin Kramer PhD ’14

Humanitarian Award: presented to alumni who, through their outstanding involvement and dedication, have made a significant contribution of leadership or service which has improved or enriched the lives of others and the welfare of humanity.
Marie Jarrell BS ’87

Distinguished Service Award: presented to individuals or couples whose consistent, exceptional, and meritorious services to the university has made a significant impact on the institution’s overall welfare and the advancement of its mission.
Barry Booth BS ’82, MS ’84, DDS ’86

Alumni Achievement Award: the highest honor bestowed upon alumni by the UICAA.  The award is presented to alumni who have attained outstanding success and national or international distinction in their chosen profession or life’s work, and whose accomplishments reflect admirably on or bring honor to their alma mater.
James Gutmann Adv. Cert. ’72
Rodney Rothstein BS ’69

WAYS TO ENGAGE Heading link

Students walking through campus wearing red UIC t-shirts

Alumni Admissions Program

Our exceptional Alumni Admissions Volunteers contacted 9,703 admitted students between March and April 2023. Over 1,850 of the students contacted committed to attending UIC in Fall 2023, a 56% increase from 2022. We invite alumni to participate in this fun and impactful program – it will open again this winter – please go here to find out more.

Students at Credit Union 1 Arena for Convocation.

Convocation and New Student Welcome

The UICAA welcomed UIC’s newest students at Convocation 2023. In addition to videos with welcome messages recorded by UIC Alumni Board member Jocelyn Bravo, BA ’21, the UICAA facilitated the Lighting of the Flame ceremony to introduce new students to the long-standing tradition. The videos, one in English and the other in Spanish, provided messages of support, pride and excitement for UIC’s newest future alumni.

View of the 2023 Undergraduate Research Forum from above

Undergraduate Research Forum

Nearly 150 alumni volunteered their time to serve as judges at the 2023 Undergraduate Student Research Forum. The annual event allows undergraduate students to present their research and/or capstone projects to the public. Alumni were critical in identifying the top presentations. Join us on April 15 for the 2024 event.

Sparky Summer Kickoff

Recent Alumni Programs

In June 2023, the UICAA hosted its first recent alumni social, Sparky’s Summer Kickoff, since 2019 at Flight Club Chicago. New graduates and recent alumni came together to reminisce about their time at UIC and develop new and deeper connections to one another and to the university. And had a fun time with a friendly dart competition!

The UICAA joined in the Homecoming festivities in November 2023 by hosting a booth at the Homecoming Tailgate prior to the men’s basketball game. To help cheer on our Flames, alumni registrants received access to the tailgate, game ticket, commemorative UIC Alumni-branded item and food voucher as part of the experience.

Fall Commencement 2023

Celebrating Graduating Students

In 2023, the UICAA partnered with the UIC Bookstore to host two grad fair events for spring and winter graduates. The events offered a one-stop shop to gather information about graduation, as well as an opportunity for graduating students to learn about the alumni association. The UICAA also welcomed UIC’s over 6,000 graduates to the alumni association through a variety of print and digital marketing efforts, including a special UIC pin provided to each graduate at the commencement ceremonies.

Chancellor Alumni Event

UIC Connected

We continue to grow our online connections making it easier for alumni and students to connect on their time.  UIC Connected saw a 38 percent increase in student sign ups and 19 percent increase in alumni sign ups during calendar year 2023. UIC Connected is a virtual network exclusive to the UIC community and offers a place for mentorship, networking, and career growth. Log in or join now.

Golden Grads wearing golden colored caps and gowns

Golden Grads

In December 2023, UIC continued its tradition of honoring Golden Graduates, alumni celebrating 50 years since graduating. The Class of 1973 was invited to back to campus to participate in the December Commencement ceremony and celebrate together at the Golden Graduates reception. This special ceremony continues to be a highlight for UIC as we honored our 50-year graduates.

Alumni Association booth at Involvement Fair

Alumni Affinity Networks

Affinity networks bring alumni together in ways that are most meaningful to them through their strong connection while at UIC. Umoja: Black Legacy Alumni Coalition works to provide networking and community to UIC alumni, support student recruitment and retention, honor history and build traditions. Umoja supported UIC’s Black History Month programming by hosting a reception at a Men’s Basketball game in February 2023. The group also participated in the Black 2 School Barbeque picnic hosted by the African American Academic Network in August 2023.

We are working to expand our affinity networks – please contact Janette Guzman, Assistant Director, Alumni Affinity Programs if you are interested in learning more.

2023 State of The University Chancellor Marie Lynn Miranda speaking at 2023 State of The University

State of the University

Chancellor Marie Lynn Miranda delivered her first State of the University address in October to the entire university community. She spoke passionately about UIC’s commitment to our values of access, vitality, empowerment, and creativity. These shared values anchor our priorities: student success, research infrastructure, engagement with community, partnerships with businesses and nonprofits and recruiting and retaining the best faculty and staff. More than 100 alumni watched her presentation online and several even attended in-person.



The UIC Alumni Association (UICAA) Board was established in the fall 2020 to advise and support meaningful alumni engagement that connects UIC alumni to one another and the university. The board advises on, and helps to drive the work and programs of the UICAA.  Currently, sixty-eight alumni volunteer leaders on the board help support student success, encourage connections among alumni and promote advocacy that drives forward the mission of UIC. You can find out more about the alumni board here.



Alumni Board President – Edward (Ed) Cohen BS ’75

Ed Cohen assumed the role of Alumni Board President on July 1, 2022. In this role, he will continue to advance the mission of the UIC Alumni Association and work with the Alumni Board to increase alumni engagement and advance the mission of UIC. He is one of the founding members of the UIC Alumni Board. He’s been an active volunteer since graduating from UIC, participating in the UIC College of Pharmacy Alumni Board, Alumni Engagement Advisors, Campus Alumni Advisory Board, University of Illinois Alumni Association (UIAA) Board of Directors and the UIAA Board of Operations. In 2002, Dr. Cohen was named the Pharmacy Alumnus of the Year by the College of Pharmacy.

Dr. Cohen earned his BS in Pharmacy from UIC in 1975 and his PharmD from Midwestern University College of Pharmacy in 2000. Dr. Cohen has more than 40 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. He recently retired from his role as executive vice president, pharmacy advocacy, at Michael J. Hennessy Associates, Inc., where he worked with pharmacy academia and community pharmacies to improve patient care quality and service.

Prior to this role he worked at Walgreens for more than 10 years in varying roles including senior director, clinical solutions and senior manager of immunizations, clinical services and immunization research. Before joining the corporate sector, Dr. Cohen owned an independent pharmacy for many years.

Portrait of UICAA president-elect Kerl LaJeune at commencement.

Alumni Board President-Elect – Kerl LaJeune BA Architecture, Design ’92 and BA Architecture, Structure ’92

Kerl LaJeune assumed the role of Alumni Board President-Elect on July 1, 2022. He previously served as chair of the UIC Alumni Board Awards and Nominations committee. He is a founding member of the UIC Alumni Board. He has served in a variety of volunteer roles since his graduation from UIC including on the CADA A3 (Architecture) Alumni Board, UIC Alumni Engagement Advisors, Campus Alumni Advisory Board, University of Illinois (UIAA) Board of Directors, UIAA Awards and Recognition Committee and UIAA Board of Operations.

Mr. Kerl LaJeune earned two degrees from UIC in 1992: BA in Architecture, Design and BA in Architecture, Structure. Mr. LaJeune has more than 30 years of experience in project design, project management and creativity at leading architecture firms in Chicago. He serves as the director of planning and design at the Public Building Commission of Chicago. In this role, he oversees new and renovated projects as the Design/Construction Director of public facilities and infrastructure on behalf of the City of Chicago, Cook County and various sister agencies.

Architecture Magazine recognized Mr. LaJeune as an emerging architect for his project design excellence. He has experience in a broad spectrum of projects and industries, including higher education, institutional/commercial, clubhouses/arts and recreational, multi-family residential and custom housing, master planning, feasibility studies and corporate interiors. Many of his projects have won distinguished awards.

He has taught design and technology for a combined 13 years at the UIC School of Architecture, Illinois Institute of Technology and Archeworks.

Over the years, Mr. LaJeune’s active involvement and volunteerism has stretched from community-based organizations to not-for-profit groups, as well as student enrichment with mentoring and other activities linked to professional practice. His yearly participation as a head design juror and mentor for the Richard Newhouse Design Competition for high school students with the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) remains one of the endearing highlights of his professional career.


Alumni Advocacy Committee

The Alumni Advocacy committee attended several government relations programs including U of I Lobby Day,  and events throughout the year representing UIC and advocating for university priorities.

Alumni Career Services Committee

The Alumni Career Services committee works to enhance the UIC Connected platform for all students and alumni.  The committee hosted Alumni Career Month in June, which included an Alumni Exchange program “Move on and Move Up in Your Career” with UIC alumna Hallie Crawford MA ’00 on that can be viewed here,, as well as several thought leadership postings on UIC Connected and LinkedIn throughout the month.

Alumni Loyalty and Benefits Committee

During calendar year 2023, the Alumni Board’s newest committee established their goals, collected information on current benefits and resources offered to all UIC alumni and explored ways to engage former UI Alumni Association Life members who are UIC graduates.

Awards and Nominations Committee

In early spring, the Awards and Nominations Committee evaluated and selected the 13 new Alumni Board members who began their term on July 1 and reviewed and selected the 2024 Alumni Award recipients in the fall.

Outreach Committee

The Outreach Committee explored ways to further enhance the affinity network program and further developed the volunteer recruitment strategy and year-round engagement of volunteers in the Alumni Admissions Volunteer Program.

Student and Recent Alumni Engagement Committee

The Student and Recent Alumni Committee worked closely with the UIC Alumni Association to enhance Sparky’s Summer Kickoff and the UICAA’s involvement in Homecoming. The committee continues to work to understand the current student experience (on campus, commuting and remote) and develop relationships with the student body.

Throughout the year, committee members dedicated approximately 1200 volunteer hours advancing the mission of the UICAA.

Thank you to the UIC Alumni Board members for all that you do for the UIC Alumni Community throughout the year.

Special thanks to our outgoing board members whose terms ended June 30, 2023.

Mirjana Antonic BA ’15, MEd ’18
Robert Bodura BS ’15
Ebony Campbell BA ’00
Joseph Dusek JD ’20
Jessica Gallagher MUPP ’19
Annie Li BS ’15, MBA ’22
Kaveri Shah BS ’20, MBA ’22
Joanne Skourletos BA ’12
Gina Walton MD ’04
Kevin Young JD ’86

See the 2022 UICAA Year in Review