Please join us November 16, 2016, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Student Center East (750 S. Halsted), East Terrace Room, for a celebration of GCI and the Great Cities Concept. We are very excited that former UIC Chancellor and University of Illinois President, James J. Stukel will be our featured guest.
In March 1993, then UIC Chancellor James J. Stukel convened a 28-member Great Cities Advisory Committee (GCAC) to develop and initiate his vision for a Great Cities Initiative at UIC. Over several months the committee and its 140 member subcommittees met to develop the details of the Great Cities Concept. In addition, the committee hosted a forum with over 400 attendees from UIC, government, corporate and community organizations. The forum, held in the fall of 1994, was entitled, “The Great Cities Initiative: UIC’s Metropolitan Commitment.” The report describes the entire process as the “largest interdepartmental planning process UIC has ever undertaken.”
Among the Great Cities Advisory Committee’s recommendations was the establishment of the Great Cities Institute (GCI) as a flagship interdisciplinary go-to research center. The Great Cities Institute was created in 1995 as the institutionalized expression of the University’s unique strategy to implement the vision of UIC as a university committed to active engagement with the various constituencies in the Chicago region. Support for Great Cities was widespread.
In late 1995, then State of Illinois Governor Jim Edgar declared December 1,1995 as Great Cities Day in Illinois, stating in the resolution,
WHEREAS, cities have been centers of creativity and influence, generating knowledge and wealth that made our nation an economic and political power; and
WHEREAS, cities also face major challenges such as unemployment, schooling, crime and inadequate health care; and
WHEREAS, improvement in the quality of life in urban areas requires a comprehensive approach that addresses interrelated problems at the same time; and
WHEREAS, this integrated approach is the philosophy behind the Great Cities initiative at the University of Illinois at Chicago; and
WHEREAS, Great Cities is an institutional commitment to address human needs in Chicago and in metropolitan areas worldwide by becoming a partner with government and public agencies, corporations, and philanthropic and civic organizations; and
WHEREAS, UIC, a leading public university in a major city, produces exciting breakthroughs in the physical and social sciences and the arts and this program extends UIC’s historic strengths in fields relevant to urban areas,
THEREFORE, I, Jim Edgar, Governor of the State of Illinois, proclaim December 1, 1995, as GREAT CITIES DAY in Illinois.
In 2000, then Chancellor Sylvia Manning converted the Great Cities initiative to UIC’s Great Cities Commitment, signaling the recognition of the importance in institutionalizing this effort.
Today, the Great Cities Institute works hard to maintain the legacy of the Great Cities concept. Please join us on November 16, from 4:30 – 7:30 to hear more about GCI’s history as well as its current activities.
Wim Wiewel, now President of Portland State University, was the chair of the original Great Cities Advisory Committee and may be able to join us in November. We will also present a Tribute to Rob Mier, a member of the original committee who was critical in setting the tone for UIC’s urban engagement and in the early formation of Great Cities at UIC. In addition, we will recognize our partners and the many Great Cities Scholars and Fellows.
We are a firm believer in the importance of legacy and we are honored to carry on the efforts of those visionaries that created Great Cities at UIC.