Chancellor chosen for University of Illinois at Chicago

Chancellor chosen for University of Illinois at Chicago

CHICAGO – Former Champaign-Urbana resident Paula Allen-Meares has been named chancellor of the University of Illinois' Chicago campus, pending approval by the UI Board of Trustees.

Allen-Meares, 60, has been dean of the University of Michigan's top-ranked School of Social Work since 1993. Before that, she was a professor and dean of the School of Social Work at the UI's Urbana-Champaign campus.

Her husband, Henry Meares, was principal of Urbana Middle School from 1983 to 1991 and of University High School in Urbana from 1991 to 1993. He is currently the assistant dean for external relations at Michigan's School of Education.

UI President B. Joseph White – who also came from the University of Michigan – called Allen-Meares "a high-aspiration, high-achieving leader who for 15 years has kept a professional school of a leading university at the very top of the national rankings."

He said she was chosen from a field of more than 100 candidates that was eventually whittled to 17 before being narrowed to five finalists.

Allen-Meares said she was "deeply honored" to become the next chancellor of the Chicago campus and hopes "to build on and strengthen bonds" with the UI campuses in Urbana-Champaign and Springfield.

She succeeds Sylvia Manning, who retired last December after eight years as Chicago chancellor. That campus has about 25,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students and a total annual budget of about $1.7 billion.

Since Manning's retirement, the campus has been overseen by interim chancellor Eric "Rick" Gislason, the vice chancellor for research in Chicago. Gislason plans to retire next January, when Allen-Meares is scheduled to take office.

The UI Board of Trustees is expected to act on her nomination July 24. Between July and January, Allen-Meares will make the transition from her Michigan deanship to the Illinois chancellorship. She is currently the principal or co-principal investigator on four major research projects. At the UI, she's expected to hold faculty appointments in social work and education at the Chicago and Urbana campuses. Her salary is expected to be $375,000, UI spokesman Tom Hardy said this morning.

A native of Buffalo, N.Y., Allen-Meares received her bachelor's degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She received her master's and doctoral degrees from the UI's Urbana-Champaign campus.

Larry Eppley, chair of the UI's Board of Trustees, called Allen-Meares "a proven success as a builder and driver of a nationally acclaimed academic enterprise, with an intellectual energy and vigor to match her personal dynamism."

"She understands the importance of fundraising at a public university and has succeeded in building the endowment of the School of Social Work at Michigan," Eppley said.

The UI's Chicago campus consists of 15 colleges, including the nation's largest college of medicine. With six health sciences colleges, the campus is the principal educator of physicians, dentists, pharmacists, nurses and other health professionals serving the state.

The campus ranks 47th nationally in federally funded research, and White predicted Allen-Meares will lead the campus "through its next level of development as a great urban research university."

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