Graduation, racial justice & record scholarship donations
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May 2021


A Message from the Dean

 photo of Dean Hairston

Dear Alumni & Friends,

We’ve completed another academic year and are celebrating the graduation of the class of 2021. Although we were not able to celebrate with the usual commencement ceremonies, the significance of this milestone and our students' accomplishments are not diminished. We are very proud of our graduates and their perseverance and ability to excel academically, while managing the uncertainties of a pandemic, caring for families, working remotely and, in many cases, providing home schooling.

This year has been very different and challenging for all of us. We have, nevertheless, been able to continue many organizational routines while also moving forward with important initiatives. This issue of the newsletter provides examples not only of how this has been happening at the College but also in the work of College alumni. As indicated here, we can, and do, make a difference that matters.

I'm looking forward to the day when we can again meet and greet each other in person. Hopefully, that will be soon.

Creasie Finney Hairston, PhD
Dean and Professor


News from JACSW


Celebrating the Achievement of our 2021 Graduates

image of UIC campus with Congratulations, you are Jane Addams Strong!

On Saturday, May 8, UIC held its second Virtual Commencement Ceremony, allowing students, family, friends, and the entire UIC community to safely celebrate the achievement of the Class of 2021. We invite you to visit the virtual ceremony for JACSW graduates, to see video messages from:

  • University of Illinois System President Timothy L. Killeen, UIC Chancellor Michael D. Amiridis, and UIC Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Robert A. Barish,
  • JACSW Dean Creasie Finney Hairston,
  • Jane Addams Student Government President Lauren Topel, and
  • Message of congratulations and support from JACSW faculty.

You can also see 237 JACSW graduates, most with photos, who will go on to support, advocate for, and partner with marginalized communities.

Congratulations to all of our 2021 graduates for persevering through a difficult year. We know you will do great things in the world. You are Jane Addams Strong!

Visit the Virtual Commencement »



Promoting Justice and Equity with Online Events

photos of various panelists
 Photos of panelists from the events, including Illinois Lt. Governor Stratton and author and advocate Kemba Smith

The College continued its response to the pressing need for racial justice by hosting a number of online events focusing on key issues for communities of color.

Women, Mental Health & The Justice System: A Community Dialogue

Leveraging the expertise, knowledge and lived experiences of four panelists, this community dialogue brought together a wide variety of stakeholders to discuss best practices and social and policy changes needed to optimize women’s ability to remain safe, healthy, and productive in their communities. Special guest panelists were Illinois Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton and author and advocate Kemba Smith. The dialogue was a partnership between the Jane Addams Center for Social Policy and Research, the Office of Lieutenant Governor’s Justice, Equity, and Opportunity (JEO) Initiative, and the Chicago (IL) Chapter of The Links, Inc.

View Video and Panelists »

Strategies to Address Trauma, Anxiety and Violence Interruption Among Black Males

The 26th Karen J. Honig Memorial Lecture featured a panel of experts with experience in trauma-informed clinical practice with youth and families, community violence, and violence intervention and prevention. They explored issues that are crucial for the advancement of racial justice in marginalized communities.

View Video and Panelists »

Black Lives Matter, and Yes, You are Racist: The Parallelism of the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries

This powerful workshop was presented by Interim Associate Dean Henrika McCoy for JACSW field instructors, challenging social workers to confront white supremacy in social work practice, as well as in American society. The presentation received accolades from many who participated.

View Video and Panelists »

Participatory Action Research: Creating Change with Communities

The third in a series of webinars in partnership with the American Society of Criminology, Division on People of Color and Crime, this well-received panel discussion featured scholars whose research and activism converge in participatory action with communities.

View Video and Panelists »



Criminal Justice Matters at the Center for Social Policy and Research

 image of publication cover

For this new publication, seven staff and faculty affiliates of the Jane Addams Center for Social Policy and Research, including Center Director Creasie Finney Hairston, have composed self-reflections about what they do in matters of criminal justice, why the work is important to them, and the impact they want to have for persons most directly affected by the justice system.

Download the Publication »



Faculty Updates

Daysi Diaz-Strong 

Assistant Professor Daysi Diaz-Strong has received funding from the Russell Sage Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for her project on the Role of School Agents in Undocumented Student's Access to Financial Aid Resources. The study will examine how high school staff in the Chicagoland area learn about financial aid resources for undocumented students, how they provide information to students, and the challenges school staff face in supporting undocumented students. The study will also examine gaps in availability of scholarships and institutional aid for undocumented students.

Branden McLeod 

Assistant Professor Branden McLeod has been selected by the JACSW Executive Committee to receive the Jane Addams Excellence in Social Work Education Award for his demonstrated and consistent teaching of high quality and effectiveness, as determined by both peer and student evaluations.

Kathryn Bocanegra 

Assistant Professor Kathryn Bocanegra has been appointed to the newly formed Cook County Equity Fund Taskforce, which will serve in an advisory capacity and provide input on the Equity Fund and its strategic initiatives.

Osei Darkwa 

Visiting Clinical Associate Professor Osei Darkwa was honored as UIC Black History Maker, an award which recognizes individuals who are making history here at UIC because of their roles and responsibilities, as well as their contributions to our Black/African American campus community.


Other JACSW faculty members have also been active in advancing social and racial justice; click below to see their work.

Faculty Work in Social Justice »



Alumni News & Updates


JACSW Alumni & Friends IGNITE CommUNITY and Break a Record

images from Alumni & Friends Celebration
 Screens from the Celebration showing the evening's primary presenters, from top left: Jim Williams of CBS2 Chicago, the Honorable Danny K. Davis, Member of Congress, 7th District, Lissette Lucero, MSW '14, Maureen Rigney, MSW '94, and celebration co-hosts Karyn Aguirre, MSW '04 and Dr. Terry Solomon, MSW '77.

On April 30 the College held its first-ever Virtual Alumni & Friends Celebration, and with great success! Members of the JACSW community from the Chicago area and from far beyond joined together for an entertaining evening of reconnecting, trivia contests, and recognizing dedicated individuals who are making outstanding contributions to the advancement of social justice.

It was also a great evening for scholarships! Alumni and friends stepped up to the Decade Challenge and raised $10,915, the largest amount raised for the JACSW scholarship fund at an Alumni & Friends Celebration. Alumni who graduated in the 1980s and the 2000s really led the way! Here are the top three graduating decades by amount raised and by number of donors:

By Amount Raised:

  1. 1980s
  2. 2000s
  3. 1990s

By Number of Donors:

  1. Friends of the College
  2. 1980s
  3. 2000s

The event site is still accessible, where you can view video of the program, learn about our Social Justice Ally and Alumni Awardees, see our generous sponsors, and our fabulous celebration host committee who planned such an enjoyable event.

 Social Workers IGNITE Community logo

Most importantly, you can still IGNITE CommUNITY by supporting the JACSW scholarship fund, helping ensure that students who are dedicated to social justice can complete their MSW degree and join you as champions of social and racial justice.

View the Celebration and Give Today »



Alumni Updates

Anjanette Young 

Anjanette Young, MSW ’15 has been a tireless advocate for police accountability and reform of use-of-force policies following a wrong and botched police raid on her apartment in early 2019, during which police battered their way into her apartment and subjected her to humiliating treatment. Her case has received much news coverage and she has been interviewed numerous times, and has made many public appearances, calling for much-needed reforms to curb excessive use of force, which occurs disproportionately in Black communities. In February of this year she published #IAmHer: Anjanette Young Speaks Truth to Power in the journal Affilia, and also appeared on the Social Workers, Rise! podcast.

Marvin Lindsey 

Marvin Lindsey, MSW ‘06 has been serving as facilitator for the college's We Are Men (WAM) program, supporting young Black men in the attainment of an MSW degree. Graduates of the program are prepared to lead advocacy and service provision in their communities. Both Marvin and the WAM program have received media coverage for their roles in advancing racial justice here at UIC and in the community.

Quenette Walton 

Quenette Walton, PhD ’16 has been honored with induction as an Honorary Member of Phi Alpha Honor Society for providing "distinctive contributions to the field of social work".


Anne McNelis, BSW ’93, MSW ’94 is celebrating 20 years as Clinical Director at Transitions Mental Health Services in the Quad Cities. She is active as a board/steering member for the Quad City Trauma Informed Consortium and the SAU Institute for Person Centered Care, and in 2017 received an honorary achievement award from Dr. Jill Biden and the QC YWCA as one of “100 Influential Citizens in the Quad City Community”.


Other alumni with news and updates are:

  • Jacqueline Carmichael, MSW ’76
  • Juliana Bernier Carrasquillo, MSW ’19
  • Percy Cross, MSW ’92
  • Qiana Cryer-Coupet, PhD ’15
  • Linda Freedman, MSW ’78, PhD ’02
  • Elizabeth Linchangco, MSW ’96
  • Jane Palmer, MSW ’05
  • Camille R. Quinn, PhD ’14
  • Nancy Rolock, PhD ’13
  • Kelly Anne Smith, MSW ’08
  • Jessica Stolzer, MSW ’10
  • Tyreasa Washington, PhD ’10
See All Their Updates »



UIC Alumni Association

As an alumnus of UIC, you have access to a variety of exclusive benefits, which you can begin taking advantage of immediately upon graduation. These benefits can include access to health care, libraries, fitness facilities, events and more.

NEW: Announcing a Network for UIC Alumni!
UIC Connected is an exclusive virtual network where you can connect with fellow alumni and current students for mentorship, networking and career growth. When you join, you can decide how you want to share career advice, build networks and help one another grow and connect.

Visit the Alumni Association Website »



Make Your Impact

Ways to Support the College

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

Learn More »


Connect and 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 »


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