Teesee’s Town: Jim Montgomery and pals host reception for UIC Chancellor

A passionate and committed Paula Allen-Meares, Ph.D, chancellor of the University of Illinois at Chicago only since mid-January, was the diminutive guest of honor at a lovely reception hosted in the expansive garden of James D. and Pauline Montgomery&rsqu

A passionate and committed Paula Allen-Meares, Ph.D, chancellor of the University of Illinois at Chicago only since mid-January, was the diminutive guest of honor at a lovely reception hosted in the expansive garden of James D. and Pauline Montgomery’s spacious and historic Kenwood area home, which by the way has the distinction as being a couple of doors from President and Mrs. Barack Obama’s long-time residence. The reception goal: to introduce the chancellor to the leadership in the African-American community.

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James Montgomery, Dr. Paula Allen-Meares and Lester McKeever

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Dr. Frances Carroll, Dr. Allen-Meares and Pauline Montgomery

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Jean Collins, Emil Jones Jr., and Cheribelle Byrd

“One of Chicago’s 30 toughest lawyers,” so named by Chicago Magazine, Montgomery, a University of Illinois trustee who earned a B.A. in Political Science from UIC in 1953 and a J.D. from the university’s law school in 1956, was joined in co-chairing the unique gathering of Chicago’s “who’s who” by two fellow U of I trustees – Dr. Frances G. Carroll, educator, and Lester H. McKeever Jr., a certified public accountant, principal of Washington, Pittman & McKeever and a U of I graduate; Dr. Gloria Jackson Bacon, who received M.D. and M.P.H. degrees from U of I College of Medicine in Chicago and a former U of I trustee who came in from her home in New Orleans for the affair; Lester N. Coney, vice president, Mesirow Financial; and Colette Holt, principal at Colette Holt Associates Law Firm.

Dr. Allen-Meares heads a UIC campus that ranks 47th nationally in federally funded research; enrolls 25,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students; employs 12,000 faculty and staff; and operates with a total annual budget of about $1.7 billion. She serves as the executive officer of the UIC campus and reports to the president of the University of Illinois in a system that, in addition to Chicago, includes campuses in Urbana-Champaign and Springfield and the University’s online Global Campus.

She was dean of the top-ranked School of Social Work at the University of Michigan since 1993 and was the Norma Radin Collegiate Professor of Social Work and professor of education at that university. Prior to joining the Univ. of Michigan, Dr. Allen-Meares was a professor and dean of the School of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she received her master’s and doctoral degrees. She earned her bachelor’s degree at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Deeply committed to the university and its students, she is quoted as saying: “My years in the academy have taught me one essential truth: There are no small challenges for our communities, our nation and our planet. This university–in the very heart of Chicago–has taken and will need to continue to take a leadership role in solving pressing societal needs. And we will need to join together with other institutions and individuals – in a highly collaborative manner, with unique university and community partnerships – if we are to make a real difference.”

Among just some of the guests we spotted delighting on exotic passed hors d’oeuvres and chilled champagne: Dr. Ann E. Smith, former U of I trustee, Jewell Montgomery, Nancy McKeever, Emil Jones Jr., James Hill, Jerome Butler, Ralph Moore, Robert Blackwell Sr., Robert Blackwell Jr., Andre Rice, Cheribelle Byrd, State Sen. Mattie Hunter, Ald. Toni Preckwinkle, Ald. Carrie Austin, Dr. Calvin and Linda Hall, Jetta Jones, Michael House, Dr. Grace Dawson, Rev. Jeanette Wilson, Abe Thompson, Julieanna Richardson, Dr. Niva Lubin-Johnson, Carol Bell, Mr. and Mrs. Martin King, Rev. Marrice Coverson, Wayne Watson, Phyllis P. Hayes, Dwain and Donna Kyles, Barbara Bowles, Clark and Lucille Burrus, Dr. Roosevelt and Jean Collins and Howard Medley.

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