Awards and Recognition
UIC and the Chancellor honor alumni for the remarkable success they have achieved in their lives and work. To view photos from past Alumni Awards Celebrations, click here. For more information on the alumni awards and nomination process, click here.
Alumni Awards Heading link
Our Alumni Award honorees are a remarkable group of individuals.
The 2023 Alumni Awards honorees will be recognized this year at the Alumni Awards Celebration in April.
2023 Alumni Achievement Award Honorees
The highest honor bestowed upon alumni by the University of Illinois Chicago Alumni Association. The award is presented to those 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.
- Dr. James Gutmann ’72
College of Dentistry
- Dr. Rodney Rothstein BS ’69
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
2023 Distinguished Service Award Honoree
Bestowed upon alumni, faculty, staff and friends by the University of Illinois at Chicago Alumni Association. The award is presented to individuals or couples whose consistent, exceptional and meritorious service to the University has made a significant impact on the institution’s overall welfare and the advancement of its mission.
- Dr. Barry Booth BS ’82, MS ’84, DDS ’86
College of Dentistry
2023 Humanitarian Award Honoree
This award is presented to those 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, and whose accomplishments reflect admirably on, or bring honor to, their alma mater.
- Ms. Marie Jarrell BS ’87
College of Applied Health Sciences
2023 Rising Star Leadership Award Honorees
The Rising Star Leadership Award is designed to acknowledge rising and future leaders among UIC’s recent alumni community. Those individuals who are qualified for this award have demonstrated exemplary leadership capabilities and orchestrated meaningful change as influential in their profession or in their communities (local, regional, national, global). The recipient of the Rising Star Leadership Award represents the ideal of a committed, industrious, and ambitious individual to whom the UIC community may look as personifying the University’s mission.
- Ms. Jenifer Nyhuis MSW ’12
Jane Addams College of Social Work
- Dr. Kaitrin Kramer PhD ’14
College of Dentistry
Read more about the 2022 Alumni Awards honorees 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 Leadership 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.
UICAA Alumni Awards Nominations Heading link
We are honored to award the highest alumni awards to UIC alumni. Nominations are currently closed. For more information, please click here.
Golden Grads Heading link
In December 2022, UIC continued its tradition of honoring Golden Graduates, alumni celebrating 50 years since graduating. The Classes of 1970, 1971 and 1972 were invited back to campus to participate in the December Commencement ceremony and celebrate together at the Golden Graduates reception. The Class of 1972 was honored through a virtual gathering featuring a walk down memory lane and a special performance by UIC’s student acapella group, Downtown Voices. See photos from the event.
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.