2013 commencement: college ceremonies

Judith Russi Kirshner, Mi Ja Kim, and Mark Kirk

Judith Russi Kirshner, Mi Ja Kim and Mark Kirk

Honors College

7 p.m. Wednesday, UIC Forum

Judith Russi Kirshner, deputy director for education and woman’s board endowed chair for the Art Institute of Chicago, is the convocation speaker.

Kirshner is former dean of UIC’s College of Architecture and the Arts and former director of its School of Art and Design.

Under her leadership, the college received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, Illinois Arts Council, Polk Brothers Foundation, the Chicago Community Trust and other foundations.

Before she joined UIC in 1990, she was curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.

She received the Warhol Foundation Award for Criticism.

Ana Petrovic, who graduated from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 2005, is the alumni speaker. She will receive the Alumni Loyalty Award.



1 p.m. Thursday, UIC Pavilion

Mi Ja Kim, professor and dean emerita of the College of Nursing, is the commencement speaker.

Kim joined the faculty in 1975 after completing a Ph.D. in physiology at UIC. She is executive director of the Global Health Leadership Office and director of the Academy of International Leadership Development. She is known internationally for her leadership in research, training of future leaders and scholars, administration and policy development. She has published hundreds of scientific papers and garnered millions of dollars in research grants.

Her UIC awards include University Scholar and two Golden Apple teaching awards.

She was named a Living Legend by the American Academy of Nursing.

Lynne Braun, professor of nursing at Rush University and a 1990 Ph.D. graduate from UIC, will be honored as distinguished nurse alumna.


Applied Health Sciences

2 p.m. Thursday, UIC Forum

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk will give the commencement speech via pre-recorded video message.

Kirk won a special election in November 2010 to serve the final weeks of President Barack Obama’s senate term, in addition to a regular six-year term. He served five terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing the 10th Congressional District.

Kirk had a stroke in January 2012 and returned to the Senate a year later. T. George Hornby, associate professor of physical therapy, aided Kirk in his recovery.


Barbara Eason-Watkins, John Plachetka, and Joel Rubin

Barbara Eason-Watkins, John Plachetka and Joel Rubin


6:30 p.m. Thursday, UIC Pavilion

Barbara Eason-Watkins, superintendent of Michigan City Area Schools in Michigan City, Ind., is the commencement speaker.

Since her appointment in 2010, she has overseen the launch of elementary magnet schools in STEM and the arts, a multi-age gifted and talented program, and three themed middle schools.

She was chief education officer and lead curriculum and instruction strategist for the Chicago Public Schools. Under her leadership, the district received a nearly $25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, increased the number of students taking Advanced Placement courses and expanded learning opportunities despite budget constraints.



7:30 p.m. Thursday, UIC Forum

John Plachetka, president, CEO and chairman of the pharmaceutical company POZEN Inc., is commencement speaker.

Plachetka, a 1976 UIC graduate in pharmacy, founded POZEN in 1996. The company, headquartered in Chapel Hill, N.C., gained FDA approval for two products in two years: Treximet, used to treat migraine, and Vimovo, currently used to treat arthritis.

During his nine years at Glaxo Inc. in the 1980s, he helped develop the drugs Zantac and Imitrex. He also worked as head of development at Texas Biotechnology.


Social Work

9 a.m. Friday, UIC Pavilion

Joel Rubin, executive director of the Illinois Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, will speak at commencement.

Rubin, leader of the association since 1999, has more than 25 years of experience in nonprofit management and fundraising. He received his bachelor’s degree in comparative politics from the Urbana-Champaign campus and a master’s in social work at UIC.

Rubin is the treasurer of the Jane Addams College of Social Work Alumni Board and an adjunct professor.


Patrick Fitzgerald, Jeremy Lazarus, and Marian Wright Edelman

Patrick Fitzgerald, Jeremy Lazarus and Marian Wright Edelman

Urban Planning and Public Affairs

10 a.m. Friday, UIC Forum

Patrick Fitzgerald, former federal prosecutor and current university trustee, is commencement speaker.

Fitzgerald, who led corruption cases against former Illinois governors George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich, began a six-year term on the university Board of Trustees in January.

He was U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois from 2001 until stepping down last year.

He led successful prosecutions for criminal fraud against former media baron Conrad Black; for public corruption and bribery against city employees involved in the Hired Truck Program and patronage scandals; and for perjury and obstruction of justice against former Chicago Police detective and alleged torturer Jon Burge.

As special counsel for the U.S. Department of Justice, he led the investigation into the leak of the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame, resulting in the conviction of Bush White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby.

Fitzgerald is a partner in the Chicago office of the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom.



2 p.m. Friday, UIC Pavilion

Jeremy Lazarus, president of the American Medical Association, is the commencement speaker. Lazarus, a board-certified psychiatrist, has a private practice in Denver. He is the past president of the Colorado Medical Society, Colorado Psychiatric Society and Arapahoe County Medical Society.

He is a distinguished fellow and past speaker of the assembly of the American Psychiatric Association. He received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Northwestern University and a medical degree with honors in psychiatry from UIC.


School of Public Health

3:30 p.m. Friday, UIC Forum

Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund, will receive an honorary degree and give the commencement address.

A graduate of Spelman College and Yale Law School, Edelman was the first black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar. She directed the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund office in Jackson, Miss.

She has received more than 100 honorary degrees and many awards, including the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Prize, MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship, Presidential Medal of Freedom and Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award.


African American Academic Network

7:30 p.m. Friday, UIC Forum

Charles McPherson III, clinical assistant professor of pharmacy, will speak at the convocation ceremony. McPherson, who completed his pharmacy practice residency at UIC in 1998, focuses his research on infectious disease and cardiology.


John E. Adams, Caswell Evans and William Unger

John E. Adams, Caswell Evans and William Unger

Business Administration

9 a.m. Saturday, UIC Pavilion

John E. Adams, co-founder and CEO of Cenegenics, will speak at commencement.

His company is a global leader in proactive, preventative medicine.

Adams is founder and chairman of the World Presidents’ Organization’s Las Vegas chapter.

A UIC graduate, Adams is a member of the UIC Dean’s Business Advisory Council and executive committee of the College of Business Administration.

Don Bielinski, managing partner of the business management firm SMB LLC and a 1971 UIC accounting alumnus, will receive the Alumni Loyalty Award.



10 a.m. Saturday, UIC Forum

Caswell Evans, associate dean for prevention and public health services in the College of Dentistry, is the commencement speaker.

Before joining the faculty in 2004, Evans was executive editor and project director of the U.S. Surgeon General’s landmark 2000 report on the state of the nation’s oral health. He popularized the term “silent epidemic” to describe the lack of oral health care for minorities and poor Americans.



2 p.m. Saturday, UIC Pavilion

William Unger, an independent consultant to startup technology companies, will be the alumni speaker.

Unger, a 1971 UIC graduate in education, began his career in teaching, then worked in community mental health services. He later opened his own recruiting business, which he sold in 1983 to join the Mayfield Fund, a venture capital firm. At Mayfield, he was general partner of five affiliated venture capital funds.

Unger is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board in the College of Engineering.

Since 2008, he has funded the Unger Scholars Program, which provides $5,000 scholarships to female engineering students at UIC. The fund has awarded 62 scholarships so far.


Jon Langford and Beth Richie

Jon Langford and Beth Richie

Architecture and the Arts

7 p.m. Saturday, UIC Pavilion

Musician and artist Jon Langford, guitarist and vocalist for The Mekons, is the commencement speaker.

Since the mid-1980s, he has been a leader in incorporating folk and country music into punk rock. He has also performed and recorded with other bands, including the Waco Brothers, which he co-founded after moving to Chicago in the early 1990s.

Langford is also a visual artist, known best for his portraits of music icons such as Hank Williams, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley.

Since 2005 he has co-hosted a weekly radio program, “The Eclectic Company,” on


Liberal Arts and Sciences

10 a.m. Sunday, UIC Pavilion

Beth Richie, director of the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy, will speak at commencement.

Richie, UIC professor of African American studies and criminology, law and justice, focuses her scholarly work on the ways that race, ethnicity and social position affect women’s experience of violence and incarceration.

She is the author of Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence and America’s Prison Nation.

Honors she has received include the Audre Lorde Legacy Award from the Union Institute, the Advocacy Award of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the  Visionary Award from the Violence  Intervention Project.

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