Success at the End of a Challenging Year
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May 2020
A Message from the Dean
Dean Creasie Finney Hairston 

Dear Alumni & Friends,

Life as we know it has changed considerably since the Alumni & Friends Newsletter was distributed in February. Sheltering in place and social distancing are the new norm, and face masks and gloves are a standard part of our attire when we venture out in public. Health and safety are the focus of regular debriefings by our elected officials and are at the center of campus discussions as well.

In the midst of these major changes and ways of operating, we have maintained major college activities and found new ways to carry out honored academic traditions. We completed the academic year by providing all classes online and brought closure to the semester with a virtual faculty and staff gathering. We also acknowledged the accomplishments of this year's one doctoral graduate and 250 MSW graduates with a virtual graduation celebration. 

This newsletter highlights our first online issue of Affirmations, recent work and research from our faculty, and some of the important work being done by our alumni. We enjoy hearing the accomplishments of our alumni, so please do keep us informed, and thank you for the many ways in which you continue to support JACSW and its mission of advancing social, racial and economic justice.

Creasie Finney Hairston, PhD
Dean and Professor

News from JACSW
A Virtual Celebration for our 2020 Graduates
UIC grad celebration 

May commencement ceremonies were postponed because of COVID-19, but UIC is still celebrating its graduating class of 2020. On Saturday, May 16, JACSW was pleased to participate in UIC’s Virtual Graduation Celebration, to honor the hard work and dedication of our new graduates not only in completing their graduate degrees, but for doing so under such extraordinary circumstances.

Please visit the Virtual Celebration site for video messages of affirmation and congratulations from UI System President Timothy Killeen, UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis, JACSW Dean Hairston, JACSW faculty, JACSW Student Government President Keila Mexicano, and a video keynote address from alumnus Paul Makarewicz, MSW ’00. There is also a downloadable program with a full list of 2020 graduates and messages of support from many JACSW alumni.

Enjoy the Virtual Celebration >

Spring ’20 Affirmations is Available Online
Spring '20 Affirmations 

Among the operations impacted by the pandemic was production and printing of the Spring issue of Affirmations. Knowing that many people look forward to reading Affirmations, we produced our first-ever online version, with articles covering some timely and important issues:

  • The disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color and other vulnerable populations,
  • The importance of community engagement in social work, research and policy reform, and
  • The Jane Addams Center for Social Policy and Research is partnering with the Illinois Department of Human Services to ensure an accurate count for the 2020 Census and to foster civid engagement.


Read Affirmations Online >

Faculty Updates
James Swartz 

Professor James Swartz is a member of the COVID-19 Pandemic Task Force of UI System's Institute of Government and Public Affairs. The task force has assembled faculty experts from across UI System to bring an interdisciplinary approach to assessing the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on Illinois. To date, the group has published four reports on various aspects of the pandemic and its impact.

Henrika McCoy 

Associate Professor Henrika McCoy has been selected as an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow, and is one of 38 individuals selected in this national competition. The two-year fellowship program uses an intensive cohort-based mentorship model to prepare faculty, staff and administrators for leadership positions at colleges and universities.

Jennifer Geiger 

Assistant Professor Jennifer Geiger has received funding for a study of the roles of child welfare policy and programs in postsecondary education and employment among youth formerly in foster care. Her study will draw on national data, with the long-term goal of informing state and federal policy related to education and employment for youth with foster care experience.

Charles Hounmenou 

Assistant Professor Charles Hounmenou was selected by Dr. Joanna Groden and the UIC Campus Research Board to receive a Researcher of the Year Award, specifically the 2019 Rising Star Award in Social Sciences, for his work examining the causes of human trafficking and exploitation in the U.S. and internationally.

Other JACSW faculty have continued their research and dissemination of information on important aspects of social justice; click below to see their work.

Faculty Publications, Presentations & More >

What Have Our PhD Students Been Up To?
PhD student at community event 

Our doctoral students are busy not only with their studies, but also with community service and engagement, and publishing and presenting their scholarship. The Spring '20 issue of the Doctoral Dispatch, written and edited by PhD student Lauren Cox, covers all that and more.


Read the Spring '20 Doctoral Dispatch >

JACSW Hiring Lecturers for Fall 2020

The college is seeking full-time lecturers for the Fall 2020 semester. Candidates for these non-tenure track positions must possess a master’s degree in social work and at least two years of post-MSW practice experience.

Learn More & Apply >

Alumni News & Updates
Alumni & Friends Celebration 2020: Festivities Cancelled, but Alumni Generosity Ensures a Student Scholarship will be Awarded
ignite passion banner 

With the news that the 2020 Alumni & Friends Celebration was cancelled due to COVID-19, the Celebration’s Host Committee, sponsors, and ticket buyers rallied to support student success by earmarking their Celebration donations for a JACSW student scholarship to be awarded in fall 2020.

Although unable to join together in person, these generous alumni were joined together by their commitment to the college and their understanding of our students’ need for financial support to complete their education with less of a financial burden.

Appreciation goes to Alumni & Friends Celebration Co-Chairs Jim Gleeson, PhD ’84 and Dr. Terry Solomon, MSW ’77, and their outstanding committee. Their efforts, combined with the generosity of the donors, turned a disappointing circumstance into a positive opportunity to assist a deserving JACSW student. Thank you!

Mark your calendars for the 2021 Alumni & Friends Celebration on Friday, April 30, 2021. Award recipients from 2020 will be honored at next year’s event.

Click below to see who made the 2020 Alumni & Friends Celebration scholarship possible.

Donors Who Made a Difference >

Alumni Updates
Jenifer Nyhuis 

We have a special spotlight on Jenifer Nyhuis, MSW ’12. As CEO of a behavioral healthcare hospital in Ventura, CA, she took decisive action amidst two separate crises, saving lives and preserving the delivery of needed services. Jenifer talks about the importance of her time at Jane Addams, as well as her perspective on leadership. Learn more about Jenifer »

Daysi Diaz-Strong 

For the Spring ’20 Affirmations we interviewed Marc D. Smith, MSW ’97. As Acting Director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, he spoke of his prioritization of child safety and staff training, and how his education from Jane Addams helped prepare him for this work. Read the Interview with Marc »

Tyreasa Washington 

Tyreasa Washington, PhD ’10 has been honored by UNC Greensboro with the Thomas Undergraduate Research Mentor Award, post-tenure category, for outstanding teaching, instruction, mentorship, service learning and research excellence.

Roberto Aspholm 

Roberto Aspholm, PhD ’14 has authored “Views from the Streets: The Transformation of Gangs and Violence on Chicago’s South Side,” which draws on years of community work and in-depth interviews with gang members. More recently he co-authored an op-ed in the Chicago Sun-Times entitled “How the coronavirus and Chicago’s gun violence are related.”

We'd love to hear about your good news and achievements! Please share your updates at the link below.

Share Your Good News >

Make Your Impact
Connect & Engage

We are proud of our alumni and the important work they are doing!
Let us know what you've been up to, update your information and explore volunteering opportunities to engage with current JACSW students!


Stay Connected >

Learn How You Can Support the College
 IGNITE logo

There are many ways you can support the college and its mission of social justice.

Learn More >

Services for UIC Alumni

Need a job? Got a job to post?
Alumni are welcome to use

Need a gym membership?
UIC graduates are eligible for a discounted UIC fitness membership.

Need a good read?
Alumni are welcome to visit and check out materials from any of UIC’s five libraries.

Need an official transcript?
The Office of the Registrar can issue your complete academic record.


Contact Us

If you have general questions, concerns or feedback, please contact our director of advancement:

Jacquelyn M. Bonavia, MA, CFRE
Director of Advancement
Jane Addams College of Social Work, MC 309
1040 West Harrison Street, Room 4018
Chicago, IL 60607-7134
Telephone: (312) 413-2305
Fax: (312) 996-1802