New chancellor’s goal: ‘learn as much as I can, as fast as I can’
Michael Amiridis is preparing today for his 13-hour drive from South Carolina to Chicago Saturday, to get settled in before he begins his new job as UIC chancellor Monday.
What’s he bringing on his journey?
“A few photos of my kids and my wife, my experience and memories from my current institution, my passport and other important documents, my laptop and my glasses,” says Amiridis, who comes to UIC from the University of South Carolina, where he was provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.
His family — his wife, Ero Aggelopoulou-Amiridis, and their two children, Aspasia, 17, and Dimitri, 15 — will join him in Chicago after the school year ends. In the meantime, he will live in the Jonasson House, a brownstone row house in the historic Jackson Boulevard district bequeathed to the campus by the late Olga Jonasson, a longtime professor and surgeon.
His schedule is packed full of campus and community events for his first day. At the top of his to-do list: “learn as much as I can, as fast as I can.”
“This means meeting and listening to many different groups on campus, preferably in small numbers so we can have meaningful exchanges, and asking a lot of questions,” he says via email.
Amiridis says he plans to take a personal approach to his leadership style.
“I would love for members of the community to stop me and introduce themselves when they see me around, tell me what they are doing and give me some ideas on how we can improve our university, not only in their specific area, but also in general,” he says.
While he will be busy getting to know the campus, Amiridis also plans to enjoy the city that he and his wife visited once a year when they were graduate students at the University of Wisconsin Madison.
“I’m looking forward to revisiting some of the museums, enjoying deep dish pizza and all the ethnic foods available (including, of course, the good food in Greektown!) and strolling through the parks,” he says.