UIC Alumni Association celebrates excellence

Greg Cameron, MPA ’87; Garth Walker, MD ’14; Michael Barrows, DDS ’73, Advanced Certificate, Endodontics ’77, MS ’81; and Georges C. Benjamin MD ’78. Front: Erika Sánchez, BA ’06, and Eui Geum Oh, PhD ’99. (Photo courtesy of Michael Hausknost)

On Thursday, April 18, the University of Illinois Chicago Alumni Association hosted its annual Alumni Awards ceremony, where Chancellor Marie Lynn Miranda presented UIC’s top honors to alums who exemplify UIC’s mission in action.

Alumni Achievement Awards

The highest honor bestowed by the UIC Alumni Association, the Alumni Achievement Awards recognize individuals whose exceptional success and national or international recognition in their fields demonstrate the value of a UIC education across a lifetime.

Eui Geum Oh, College of Nursing PhD ’99: Eui Geum Oh, dean of Yonsei University’s College of Nursing, is an innovative leader in nursing education. Formerly chief of Korea’s National Research Foundation Nursing Division, she has published more than 160 papers, secured over $3 million in government grants and was named Best Nurse Scientist by the Korean Academy of Nursing Science. She also founded the Korean Center of JBI, advancing evidence-based research and professional health care training.

Georges C. Benjamin, College of Medicine MD ’78: Georges C. Benjamin is the executive director of the American Public Health Association. He previously served as a physician with the U.S. Army; chief of emergency medicine at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.; and secretary of health for the state of Maryland, where he oversaw a dramatic expansion and improvement of the state’s Medicaid program.

Distinguished Service Award

The Distinguished Service Awards recognize individuals or couples whose consistent and exceptional service to UIC has significantly contributed to the university’s well-being and the advancement of its mission.

Greg Cameron, College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs MPA ’87: Greg Cameron leads the Joffrey Ballet as president and CEO and has spent his entire career in the Chicago cultural community. Cameron served on the UIC Chancellor’s Leadership Board and the UIC Visiting Committee College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts, plus volunteer leadership roles with Enrich Chicago, Forefront, Chicago Community Trust LGBT Committee, School of the Art Institute of Chicago Fashion Committee and Facing History and Ourselves. 

Patricia Hausknost, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences BA ’74: Patricia Hausknost, a pioneer in banking and financial planning, cherished her ties to UIC, where she graduated from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in the early 1970s. She was passionate about women’s empowerment and ascended to leadership roles while mentoring others. Her legacy endures as her husband, Michael, continues with the Liberal Arts and Sciences Board of Visitors. He currently serves as the board’s vice chair to honor her lifelong commitment to expanding educational opportunities at UIC.

Humanitarian Service Award

The Humanitarian Service Award recognizes alums whose outstanding dedication and leadership significantly improve the lives of others and humanity’s well-being. They embody UIC’s commitment to eliminating disparities in health, education and economic opportunity.

Michael Barrows, College of Dentistry DDS ’73, Advanced Certificate, Endodontics ’77, MS ’81: Michael Barrows is a retired endodontist, UIC clinical assistant professor and undergraduate endodontic clinic director who began his career in the U.S. Army Dental Corps at the end of the Vietnam War. Over the past 10 years, he has volunteered at the Illinois Veterans Home; the First Division Museum in Wheaton, Illinois; the American Legion; and Honor Flight Chicago.

Rising Star Leadership Award

The Rising Star Leadership Awards recognize upcoming leaders who have shown outstanding leadership skills and have initiated meaningful changes within their profession or communities, whether local, regional, national or global.

Erika Sánchez, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Honors College BA ’06: Erika Sánchez is a Mexican American poet, novelist, essayist and National Book Award finalist. She has earned a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and Fulbright scholarship and reached the New York Times bestseller list with her young-adult novel, “I am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter.”

Dr. Garth Walker, College of Medicine MD ’14: Dr. Garth Walker is the chief medical officer at Rush Health and assistant professor in emergency medicine at Rush University System for Health. He has served as a White House fellow and senior adviser in the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Surgeon General, deputy director of the Illinois Department of Public Health and as a resident physician at the University of Chicago’s emergency medicine department.

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