UIC Alumni Association honors exemplary alumni
On Thursday, April 20, the UIC Alumni Association presented its annual Alumni Awards Ceremony honoring standout rising stars, humanitarians, distinguished service and exceptional achievement within UIC’s alumni community. Among the awards, the Alumni Achievement Award is the highest honor bestowed by UIC.
ALUMNI ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Advanced Certificate ’72, Endodontics
College of Dentistry
An internationally renowned endodontist, Dr. James Gutmann has dedicated his life to sharing his knowledge with others. At age 29, Gutmann was appointed chair at the University of Maryland. He rose through the ranks at Texas A&M’s Baylor College of Dentistry and presently serves as editor of the Journal of the History of Dentistry. He has presented more than 800 lectures in 55 countries on six continents; he has authored or co-authored more than 400 articles and three textbooks. His work has been recognized with an honorary professorship, fellowship and doctorate. He also served as president of the American Association of Endodontists and received its two highest honors.
BS ‘69, Biological Sciences
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Rodney Rothstein is an internationally recognized geneticist who studies yeast as a means to understand human diseases ranging from cancer to COVID-19. He graduated from UIC in 1969 with a major in biological sciences and obtained a PhD from the University of Chicago. He has been studying the molecular mechanisms by which naturally occurring breaks in DNA strands are mended using techniques that are fundamental to understanding how gene mutations cause disease. In 2009, Rothstein was awarded the Genetics Society of America’s Novitski Prize. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is currently a professor of genetics and development at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, where he has mentored the next generation of geneticists since 1984. Rothstein credits the faculty at UIC with providing the inspiration and confidence to pursue a career in genetics.
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD
BS ’82, Dentistry; MS ’84 Orthodontics; DDS ’86 Dentistry
College of Dentistry
Barry Booth has created thousands of smiles over the course of his 35-year dental career. He founded Smile for a Lifetime of Southwest Chicagoland, which provides orthodontic scholarships to underserved youth in need of braces or other dental care. Patients must be willing to complete 10 hours of community service. After graduating from the UIC College of Dentistry, Booth joined a surgical orthodontic team at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, treating accident and trauma victims as well as patients with congenital dental deformities. He also started his own private practice. Over the years, Booth has given back to UIC in countless ways. He helped fundraise for the complete renovation of the UIC Department of Orthodontics. His leadership has allowed residents in the department to treat more adolescent and adult patients in the Chicago area. Booth has also served as a mentor to many UIC orthodontic residents, providing advice and insight as they enter into their professional work.
BS ’87 Physical Therapy
College of Applied Health Sciences
Helping others is at the heart of everything Marie Jarrell does. Jarrell earned her bachelor’s degree in 1987, and for more than 30 years, she has worked as a physical therapist in just about every clinical setting, helping people through illness and severe medical trauma. She has raised more than $100,000 as a long-distance athlete and volunteer with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training, and she has trained hundreds of athletes for their first marathon, half-marathon or triathlon. She also founded the Sunbow Foundation, a grassroots effort to help others in need with small acts of kindness — from providing day care funds for a mother going through chemotherapy to paying taxes that kept a family from losing their home to buying a prom dress for a young woman who couldn’t afford one.
RISING STAR AWARD
MSW ’12, Social Work
Jane Addams College of Social Work
Jenifer Nyhuis became CEO of the behavioral health hospital Aurora Vista del Mar in Ventura, California, at the age of 34. Six months into the job, the Thomas Fire of 2017 blazed through the community. With no first responders available to help, she evacuated all 70 patients and 25 staff members. No one was injured, and the patients were safely placed in other hospitals. Nyhuis helped reopen the hospital within 10 months, an accomplishment that earned her a Distinguished Service Award from the California Hospital Association as well as Woman of the Year from the California Senate. Two years later, Nyhuis led the same hospital through the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, she is head of Havenwyck Hospital in Michigan and oversees three other behavioral health hospitals throughout the state.
PhD ’14, Oral Sciences
College of Dentistry
Kaitrin Kramer continually builds upon her scientific expertise and research with the understanding that real people and real lives exist within the numbers. During her six years at UIC studying for her PhD, she focused on breast cancer and its relationship with tumor suppressor genes (the genes that help prevent cancer). She also finished dental school at the University of Michigan, commuting back and forth between Chicago and Ann Arbor. Always up for the next challenge, she turned her attention to a post-doctorate at Michigan, where she focused on craniofacial development, and then an orthodontics residency at Ohio State University. She finished her academic training with a craniofacial orthodontic fellowship at the University of Michigan. Today, Kramer works at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, treating children with cleft lip, cleft palate and other craniofacial differences. Every day brings new challenges, and every day she calls on the lessons in patient care she learned at UIC.