Miranda formally recognized as UIC’s 10th chancellor at investiture ceremony

Chancellor Investiture Ceremony, April 2024
UIC Chancellor Marie Lynn Miranda receives the Chain of Office from University of Illinois System President Tim Killeen (left) and University of Illinois Board of Trustees Chairman Don Edwards. (Photo: Jenny Fontaine/University of Illinois Chicago)

During her investiture ceremony April 4, UIC Chancellor Marie Lynn Miranda encapsulated the essence of UIC in two words: access and excellence.  

“UIC’s mission is to provide the broadest access to the highest levels of educational, research and clinical excellence,” Miranda said. “That equity-focused mission is shared widely and deeply at UIC and, I have argued many times, is our superpower. We are able to do big things at UIC because we share a belief that access and excellence can live side by side and an ability to make it so.”  

Elected officials, university trustees, faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of the university joined Miranda and her family at the Isadore and Sadie Dorin Forum as the University of Illinois System formally recognized her as UIC’s 10th chancellor.

“The investiture of Chancellor Marie Lynn Miranda serves as recognition of an outstanding leader and a celebration of her many achievements to come,” University of Illinois System President Tim Killeen said. 

In addition to Killeen, speakers at the ceremony included Illinois Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton; University of Illinois Board of Trustees Chairman Don Edwards; Phil Hanlon, president emeritus of Dartmouth College; Na’ilah Suad Nasir, president of the Spencer Foundation, which funds education research; Barbara Ransby, the John D. MacArthur University Chair and Distinguished Professor of Black studies, gender and women’s studies and history; Tol Foster, director of the Native American Support Program at UIC; and UIC student representatives Jonathan and Justin Banks, who were the event’s emcees.

The ceremony was part of three days of events celebrating Miranda’s investiture and UIC’s upward trajectory since Miranda officially began her role in July 2023. Miranda’s investiture ceremony was the first for a UIC chancellor.  

View photos from the investiture events.

During her speech, Miranda outlined her five priorities to guide UIC forward:   

  • Student success: focusing on recruitment, retention and graduation while fostering a sense of belonging and connection among all students.
  • Research infrastructure: positioning UIC at the forefront of knowledge and discovery.
  • Engagement with our community: improving access to educational opportunities and clinical care in underserved communities.   
  • Partnerships with businesses and nonprofits: enhancing faculty opportunities and strengthening student engagement and employment opportunities.
  • Recruiting and retaining the best faculty and staff: ensuring that those who make UIC excel feel seen, valued and motivated.

She showcased UIC’s strength in research funding — which exceeded half a billion dollars during the 2023 fiscal year — as well as its commitment to supporting access to higher education, with more than half of UIC undergraduates receiving Pell Grants.   

“We provide access, and our students are excellent,” Miranda said. “Some universities serve a lot of Pell grant recipients, and some universities have very large research portfolios. Only a handful can claim both. At UIC, we claim both proudly.”  

A self-proclaimed “quant nerd,” Miranda shared data highlighting recent students, faculty and staff achievements, UI Health’s commitment to access and world-class care, and UIC’s strong economic impact.   

Then she dug deeper into the data and shared the stories of the UIC community and its impact. For example, she emphasized the work of Thomas Searles, associate professor of electrical engineering, and faculty colleagues Zizwe Chase and Daniela Tuninetti, who received a $4.8 million grant to train the next generation of quantum engineers through a consortium of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions and institutions serving predominantly female students.   

“Excellence is not enough; at UIC, it must be coupled with access,” Miranda said.  

Another example of UIC’s impact, Miranda said, is a collaboration between the colleges of Nursing, Medicine and Dentistry that helped shorten wait times from 14 months to four to six weeks for pediatric patients with complex oral health care needs. 

“This sounds like a story that is all about access, but it is actually a story about both access and excellence because of the quality of care that patients receive from our providers,” Miranda said. “It’s just one of the ways we collaborate across areas of campus and bring not only our minds but also our hearts to the work we do.”  

In her remarks, Miranda also announced a $10 million gift to UIC from longtime College of Nursing supporter Christine Schwartz that will launch a nurse anesthetist program.   

“Ultimately, the program has the potential to provide relief to the one-third of Illinois counties, many of which are rural and underserved, that have no registered anesthesia providers,” Miranda said.   

During the ceremony, Killeen and Edwards presented Miranda with the Chain of Office, a gift from the University of Illinois System. Miranda’s name joins those of past chancellors on nameplates that make up the chain.   

“This is truly a new era at UIC,” Edwards said. “Chancellor Miranda’s vision will see UIC deepen its roots here in the city, broaden its already substantial reach and build on the foundation of excellence already in place. All of this in service to the state of Illinois and the city of Chicago.”  

Stratton echoed Edward’s sentiment.   

“The University of Illinois Chicago, along with the greater University of Illinois System, is an essential part of our state’s educational, cultural and professional success,” she said. “I can say with certainty that the University of Illinois Chicago is in good hands.”  

Stratton also pointed to Miranda’s career as a source of inspiration to others, especially women in STEM. A leader in geospatial health informatics, Miranda previously served as provost of the University of Notre Dame and was a faculty member in its applied and computational mathematics and statistics department. She also held leadership roles at Rice University, the University of Michigan and Duke University.  

“Chancellor Miranda is not just a leader — she is a powerful woman leader in STEM,” Stratton said. “She has spent decades working as a researcher, professor and advocate for evidence-based innovation. And along her journey, she has intentionally made space for underrepresented voices and lit the path for future minds to follow. 

“Dr. Miranda’s presence in the chancellor role will inevitably inspire countless other students, especially young women, to pursue research and innovation.” 

Justin Banks, a senior and member of the Honors College, said Miranda’s presence has already been felt on campus.  

“She’s demonstrated her honesty and transparency in her relatively short time on campus,” he said. “She’s been real, and her prioritization of our students has been there from the start.” 

“Each student has their own story to tell,” added Jonathan Banks, a student in the College of Dentistry’s DMD/PhD program. 

“And what I’ve appreciated most about Chancellor Miranda is her willingness to listen to others. Her open-minded approach to leadership has helped her understand and meet the needs of our students.”

Miranda shared her appreciation for the support of the UIC community.  

“Thank you for the gift of serving as your chancellor,” she said. “I often say it takes a village to raise a chancellor, and I’m grateful for all of you.” 

Other investiture events included a student dance party, the third installment of SparkTalks — lightning talks by UIC faculty members about their research — and a day of service at community sites in and around Chicago. 

Read more about investiture events:

Investiture SparkTalks highlight breadth of research at UIC

UIC students give back during volunteer day


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