Awards and Recognition
UIC and Chancellor Michael Amiridis honor alumni for the remarkable success they have achieved in their lives and work. To view photos from past Alumni Awards Celebrations, click here. Nominations for Alumni Awards are now open. Click here for more information.
Alumni Awards Heading link
Our 2022 Alumni Award honorees are a remarkable group of individuals. Read more about them below.
Alumni Achievement Award Honorees Heading link
Dr. David A. Ansell MPH ‘91
David A. Ansell MPH ‘91, senior vice president for community health equity and associate provost for community affairs at Rush University Medical Center and Rush University respectively, has made a career of helping to reduce inequalities in health care both professionally and as an author and international volunteer. During tenure at Rush University, Ansell helped establish the nonprofit Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Taskforce, West Side United and the Center for Community Health Equity. He has served as a member of the board of directors of the Cook County Health System since 2008 as chairperson of the Quality and Patient Safety Committee as well as providing volunteer services to the free Community Health Clinic in Chicago. Ansell participates annually in trips to the Dominican Republic to provide medical relief and served in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake. Ansell has written two books: County: Life, Death and Politics at Chicago’s Public Hospital and The Death Gap: How Inequality Kills. His first book was named one of the Wall Street Journal’s “Top Five Books on Healthcare” in 2011. Ansell has received many honors and awards for his contributions to the health care and remains active as a mentor to graduates of UIC’s School of Public Health.
Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun BA ‘69
Carol Moseley Braun BA ‘69 is the first African American woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate, the first woman elected to the Illinois Senate and served as ambassador to New Zealand. From 1973–77, she was a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago. In 1978, Moseley Braun secured her first elected office as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives and rose to the position of assistant majority leader, championing liberal social causes. In 1988, she was elected to serve as Cook County Recorder of Deeds and continued to set her sights higher. She became the first woman to defeat an incumbent U.S. Senator in 1993, making her mark as the first African American woman in the Senate , the first African American U.S. Senator for the Democratic Party and the first female Senator from Illinois. In 1999, President Bill Clinton tapped her to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand, where she became the first U.S. Ambassador to be named an honorary Māori as a member of the Te Atiawa tribe. Currently, Moseley Braun runs a private law firm in Chicago and serves as a visiting professor of political science at Northwestern University.
Dr. Sheila Dinotshe Tlou PhD ‘90
Sheila Dinotshe Tlou PhD ‘90 is the chancellor of Botswana Open University and was the first nurse to serve as a member of Botswana’s Parliament and as Botswana’s Minister of Health. She is a global health leader and advocate whose research and publications have focused on HIV prevention and women’s rights. As Botswana’s minister of health, she oversaw a great reduction mother-to-child HIV transmission. She has served as director of the UNAIDS Regional Support Team for Eastern and Southern Africa, which provided leadership and services for the AIDS response of 21 African countries. She has educated thousands of nurses across Africa and founded an organization to fund the education of daughters of nurses who have passed away. Tlou now serves as co-chair for the Nursing Now Global Campaign and the Global HIV Prevention Coalition, works with the World Health Organization and the International Council of Nurses and serves as a special ambassador for the African Leaders Malaria Alliance. She has received numerous awards and recognitions for her work.
Distinguished Service Award Honoree Heading link
John Ochoa BArch ‘78
John Ochoa BArch ’78 joined the Oak Brook-based firm FGM Architects in 1986, and has held the positions of project manager, designer, principal in charge, managing director and president and CEO of the firm. In his work at FGM, Ochoa emphasized design and service in four distinct markets: PK-12, higher education, municipal and federal. He has served as district architect of Cicero School District Number 99 since 1990, spearheading many projects including Unity Junior High, which received an AIA Excellence in Architecture Award and the Phoenix Community Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Ochoa also helped create the Meyer Science Center at Wheaton College, the first LEED Gold science facility in Illinois, as well as Building 27 at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, which received an AIA Excellence in Architecture Award for Historic Rehabilitation as well as a Naval Facilities Honor Award. Ochoa has been an active member of the UICAA and UIC Architecture Alumni Association, helping promote the school’s mission, including the development of the annual Architecture Career Fair and the creation of the FGM Architects/Susan Nealey Endowed Scholarship.
Humanitarian Award Honoree Heading link
Captain Todd Stankewicz MBA ’01, MPH ‘01
Captain Todd Stankewicz MPH ’01, MBA ’01 is a Commissioned Officer with the U.S. Public Health Service and serves as regional emergency coordinator for the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Secretary. Stankewicz provides support and federal emergency response across the United States, including deployments to Flint, Michigan, to assist with the water crisis, and to Puerto Rico, Texas and New Orleans after Hurricanes Maria, Harvey and Katrina. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he coordinated efforts to evacuate Americans from Wuhan, China, and passengers on the Grand Princess cruise ship while also securing personal protective equipment and ventilators for states as well as vaccines and vaccination sites. Stankewicz has served as vice president and president of the UIC School of Public Health Alumni Board and was a liaison to the Dean’s Advisory Board prior to welcoming Dean Wayne H. Giles. Additionally, he led the merger of the SPH Alumni Board with the Recent Graduate Board to form the SPH Alumni Council in 2018. Stankewicz is a Delta Omega Honorary Society Inductee and has received numerous awards from the Public Health Service.
Rising Star Award Honorees Heading link
Dr. Melissa Sioux Amundson DDS MPH FACS BS ’05, DDS ‘07
Melissa Amundson BS ’05, DDS ’07 is an oral and maxillofacial surgeon at Surgical Arts of Boca Raton, a clinical assistant professor at the Nova Southeastern University College of Allopathic Medicine and the first and only American oral and maxillofacial surgeon for the Doctors Without Borders team Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). Amundson’s colleagues note that her trauma management skills are far above that of the usual oral and maxillofacial surgeon, and has been a highly effective teacher, well received by patients and well respected by operating room nurses and techs. She volunteers as a faculty member at Hospital Escuela in Tegucigalpa, Honduras where her work has gained her national recognition from Honduran First Lady Ana Garcia de Hernandez. Amundson serves a consulting surgeon for Médecins Sans Frontières in Sokoto Nigeria, involved in both reconstruction and research for noma, a devastating oral-facial disease primarily affecting children under five years old who are living in poverty and can lead to severe facial disfigurements. Her research on noma has led to over 100 noma reconstructions and peer-reviewed publications on the disease. Additional publications address reconstruction following self-inflicted gunshot wounds and using technology to assist with surgery and its preparation.
Dr. Archana Reddy Shrestha BA ’98, MD ‘04
Archana Reddy Shrestha BA ’98, MD ’04 is an emergency medicine physician, co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Women in White Coats blog, founder and life coach at Mighty Mom MD and clinical director of Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science. During her time as a medical student, Reddy Shrestha was awarded the Fulbright Fellowship to study medical anthropology in Ecuador to observe traditional Ecuadorian healers and catalogue their medicinal plants. She also received her MS in Journalism, which led to jobs with the Boston ABC News Medical Unit, production on the independent documentary “Beyond Expectations: Exercise in Pregnancy” and as doctor on set for the James Bond movie “007: Quantum of Solace.” She regularly provides presentations, publishing and podcasts to empower and uplift working women in the medical field and beyond through her blog and helped create the White Coats Doctor’s Lounge, a virtual community for women doctors, as well as organizing conferences, wellness retreats and the Hero Awards. Reddy Shrestha also founded her personal life coaching and nutrition blog, Mighty Mom MD, to help other working mothers prioritize wellness and self-care in their work-life balance. Her writing has appeared in ABC News, the Chicago Sun-Times, KevinMD and Doximity. She has received multiple awards for her work.
Golden Grads Heading link
In December 2016, UIC invited graduates of the University of Illinois Medical Center and Circle Campus to commence alongside UIC’s newest alumni to honor and celebrate the 50th anniversary of their graduation, creating our Golden Graduates Celebration tradition. Members of the honored class don golden robes and caps at the Fall Commencement ceremony in December.
Congratulations to this year’s Golden Grads, the Class of 1971! You may view a recording of the virtual celebration here.
Lighting of the Flame Heading link
UIC Advancement partners with UIC Athletics to provide a special opportunity for distinguished members of the UIC community, who have exemplified extraordinary interest in and loyalty to UIC, to serve as torchbearers in the Lighting of the Flame.
First held in 1998, the Lighting of the Flame ceremony is typically held at either a large University gathering, such as Convocation, or before the start of a Flames men’s home basketball game. Torchbearers carry a symbolic torch onto the UIC Pavilion floor and light a cauldron while the school song is played.
Circle Campus & UIC History Heading link
Since the earliest days of our campus, we have created access to an outstanding education for talented students of all backgrounds. Our history is steeped in commitments to social justice and community engagement, as well as discovery and innovation.