Recognizing retirees’ dedication to UIC

Photos: Fan Wang

Andrea Nevels was studying graphic design at UIC when she discovered her passion for helping students, an experience that sparked her decades-long career in higher education.

“I was a student worker, working in the records office for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences,” Nevels remembered. “As a first-generation college student, I didn’t get a lot of assistance, and working in that office allowed me to guide other students through the university system.”

She graduated in 1982 and left UIC, but her plan was always to come back — and she did. Soon after, Nevels accepted on a job in the Office of Admissions. From there, she worked her way up, taking on leadership roles and helping underrepresented students along the way.

“I actually met my husband through one of my students,” said Nevels, who has been married for 25 years.

When she retired in June 2018 as chief of staff for the Office of the Vice Chancellor and Student Affairs, Nevels had dedicated more than 20 years to her alma mater. So, it was fitting that on March 7 she was among 43 people recognized for their contributions to the university at the 43rd Annual Retirement Recognition Luncheon and Ceremony.

There, retirees gathered and shared hugs with colleagues before dignitaries from their respective areas joined in: Chancellor Michael Amiridis, Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Robert Barish, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs J. Rex Tolliver, Executive Director of Research Administration and Operations Jennifer Rowan, Executive Associate Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services Michael Landek, and Chief Executive Officer of the University of Illinois Hospital and Clinics Michael Zenn.

A total of 277 employees retired between Aug. 16, 2017, and Aug. 15, 2018, said Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Michael Ginsburg. Many of them — for a variety of reasons — could not make it to the ceremony, but their pride in their workplace still glowed.

“Of the 277 retirees, 31 had between 1-9 years of service; 77, between 10-19 years of service; 118, between 20-29 years of service; 48, between 30-39 years of service; and 3, between 40-49 years of service,” Ginsburg said.

Chancellor Michael Amiridis also shared his gratitude.

“I want you to know that as you’re retiring from UIC, you can be very proud that you are leaving the university at a high point,” Amiridis said.

He talked about record enrollments, the merger with the John Marshall Law School, new and improved facilities and grounds, and more. “And so much of what UIC has accomplished, we owe to you.”