2017 Silver Circle winner Abel Galvan

Abel Galvan

“Always aim high and learn from your failures,” says Abel Galvan. (Photo: Jenny Fontaine)

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Since 1966, the Silver Circle Award has been presented to some of UIC’s best teachers. Winners, who are honored at their college commencements, receive $500 and their names join a long list of distinguished colleagues. But what makes the award especially meaningful is its selection committee: the graduating seniors.

In 2003, Abel Galvan came to a conclusion. He was getting very little, if any, gratification from his current job.

After a more than 20-year career in telecommunications, he found himself thinking about what he really wanted to do with the rest of his working life.

“My thoughts kept bringing me to teaching,” said Galvan, a lecturer in accounting.  He then set his sights becoming a teacher.

He did some research and found out that he could teach at the university or junior college level with a master’s degree.

Galvan enrolled in UIC’s MBA program and finished in the fall of 1997.  He taught for the first time in his life at UIC during the summer of 1998 and was an adjunct until hired full-time beginning in fall 2003.

“In retrospect, I believe that this is one of the best decisions I have made — doing what I like for the rest of my working life,” Galvan said.

Today, he teaches “Financial Accounting for Accounting Majors” and two sections of “Auditing.”  In the past, he’s taught “Accounting for Government and Non-Profit Entities,” “Advanced Financial Accounting,” “Income Tax for Individuals” and “Financial Accounting” at the graduate level.

Galvan said accountants today are highly responsible for complying with changing standards as the economies globalize. They’re responsible for analyzing day-to-day transactions in regards to both financial and managerial purposes.

“Without their talent in recording, analyzing, reconciling and reviewing this information, our job as employees, business owners or decision makers would not be possible,” he said.

Galvan comes from a large Mexican family and was the first to attend and finish college. He draws on his own experiences to pass along life lessons to students as that they decide the direction of their lives.

When someone says you can’t or shouldn’t do something, they’re “challenging your motivation” and are actually “daring you to continue on,” Galvan says.

His advice: “Always aim high and learn from your failures.”

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