UIC builds on momentum with 16th college, new residential, teaching and research spaces

UIC is not the same campus students left at the end of spring semester.

As a new semester begins, UIC is re-energized and celebrating the momentum it continued to build over the summer with the addition of its 16th college; new residential, teaching and research spaces; Master Plan projects activating campus spaces, and more.

JMLS signage
UIC John Marshall Law School. Photo: Jenny Fontaine

UIC John Marshall Law School

On Aug. 16, UIC officially welcomed its 16th college, the UIC John Marshall Law School — Chicago’s first and only public law school.

“The law school will further UIC’s mission and commitment to public education, scholarship, research and community service,” UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis and Provost Susan Poser wrote in an email to the UIC community. “It also advances UIC as a world-class university and creates an opportunity to increase the diversity in the legal profession in Chicago and beyond.”

The law school continues to operate at its current downtown Loop location at the corners of State Street, Jackson Boulevard and South Plymouth Court — expanding UIC’s footprint into the city.

John Marshall has a history of providing access to students from underserved communities. The acquisition provides current and prospective law students with more affordable education, as well as enhanced student services, such as access to health care, recreational facilities, residence halls and college athletics. It also creates opportunities for interdisciplinary courses and new joint and dual-degree programs aligned with UIC strengths in the health sciences, engineering and technology, urban planning and public administration, the social sciences and business.

The new UIC law degree can be completed full time or part time and during the day or evenings. Students with undergraduate degrees in any discipline may apply.

Darby Dickerson, dean of the UIC John Marshall Law School, and faculty, staff and students from John Marshall and UIC served on 12 transition teams guiding the process of acquiring the law school.

“We began this journey more than three years ago,” Amiridis and Poser wrote. “These colleagues have worked tirelessly to make this ambitious project a reality, and we are deeply grateful.”

Academic and Residential Complex. Photo: Jenny Fontaine

Academic and Residential Complex

The first group of students to live in UIC’s new Academic and Residential Complex moved into the state-of-the-art facility Aug. 21.

For the past five years, UIC has seen record enrollment each fall, and projections show that the number of new students will climb by as many as 10,000 over the next decade.

“This new complex serves as a beacon that illuminates UIC’s growth and burgeoning role as Chicago’s leader in higher education, workforce development and intellectual thought,” Amiridis said.

The innovative living-learning community, located at 940 W. Harrison St., combines a 10-story residence hall — which houses nearly 550 students — with a two-story academic building. It’s the only campus residence hall where classes also are offered.

The building houses seven interactive classrooms — the largest seats nearly 300 students — as well as small study rooms, a tutoring center, computer spaces and collaboration spaces where students can work on projects together. The residence hall also features study and social lounges on each floor, a fitness center, laundry facility and a 10th-floor sky lounge.

A Starbucks on the first level is run and managed by students.

The $100 million facility was part of a public-private partnership with American Campus Communities, an Austin, Texas-based company and the nation’s largest developer of high-quality student housing communities.

“By thinking creatively and utilizing a public-private partnership, we are able to provide a much-needed complex for our students with state-of-the-art amenities to enhance their learning experience in the heart of a world-class city,” Amiridis said.

The Academic and Residential Complex is key to addressing UIC’s exponential enrollment growth, said Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs J. Rex Tolliver.

“Today, we say to students and families that if you choose UIC for your educational journey, you will find state-of-the-art classrooms and living/learning environments that have been intentionally planned to foster student success,” Tolliver said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony July 18. “We are committed to ensuring that the fastest-growing university in the state will have the needed facilities to meet the demand and expectations today, tomorrow and well into the future.”

UIC Engineering Innovation Building. Photo: Jenny Fontaine

UIC Engineering Innovation Building

UIC’s newest academic building meets the demand for the College of Engineering’s explosive enrollment growth while providing exceptional facilities for faculty research — including the Chicago area’s only high-bay structural laboratory.

The 57,500-square-foot building, located at 945 W. Taylor St., houses chemical and civil and materials engineering students, as well as engineers investigating nano- to mega-scale phenomena.

“This new building represents another important milestone in the transformation of UIC’s potential from what it is to what it will be. The same can be said for its impact on our city,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony July 22. “Now, thanks to this new building, innovation and excellence can really be taken to another level. Absolutely amazing things that, not that long ago, we would have thought were subject of science fiction are actually real and happening today, here on this campus. Burnishing our status as a world-class hub for groundbreaking – and even mind-bending– work.”

The high-bay structural laboratory will allow engineers and industry professionals to design and test large and heavy infrastructural components. Within the new building, engineers will work on the latest advancements — from developing artificial leaves that use carbon dioxide to make synthetic gas to using microfluidics devices to develop cancer detection technology.

The new facility also highlights UIC’s investment in its engineering programs. UIC’s College of Engineering has nearly doubled to more than 5,000 students over the past decade.

“The College of Engineering has experienced explosive growth in enrollment in the last few years, outpacing growth in demand for engineering programs nationally,” Amiridis said. “The new building supports our unprecedented growth, provides unique learning opportunities for students, attracts top academic talent and strengthens our ties with local business, industry and other partners to drive innovation in engineering in the Chicagoland area.”

Lightfoot noted that one-fifth of the UIC College of Engineering’s freshman class last fall graduated from Chicago Public Schools, and 71 students last year were transfers from City Colleges of Chicago.

“UIC as an institution has become a model of citywide engagement and community partnership,” Lightfoot said. “Our shared mission is not only to create success, but to ensure that success is shared and that full participation is possible.

“By touching the lives of our city’s students and our communities that are brimming with raw talent, we are inspiring Chicago’s young people to build the skills they need for the jobs they deserve — regardless of background.”

Adirondack chairs were added to the east and west sides of campus. Photo: Jenny Fontaine

Master Plan projects

Two projects from the 2018 UIC Master Plan Update provide vibrant new seating options and a UIC sculpture perfect for Instagram.

A 5-foot-diameter replica of UIC’s button logo was installed recently at the Grove, at the northeast corner of Morgan and Taylor streets. The sculpture helps identify one of UIC’s entry points, said Jonathan Fair, assistant director of campus architecture.

Photo: Jenny Fontaine

“The button logo is the core of the UIC brand,” Fair said. “It’s the first of hopefully many that we will be putting on campus. It’s a nice way for UIC to establish its perimeter and be a point of pride to have that Instagram moment or that graduation moment.

Forty Adirondack chairs were added to the east and west sides of campus recently to provide new seating options. The chairs, which are located near University Hall, are vibrant red, mirroring the color used in campus branding efforts. Chairs in the College of Medicine Courtyard are a shade of blue that reflects UI Health branding.

“It’s our effort to activate some campus spaces through human activity and promote a vibrant, successful campus,” Fair said.

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