Michael Amiridis took office as the 6th chancellor of the University of Illinois Chicago in March 2015.
Since arriving at Chicago's public research university, Amiridis has focused on leveraging UIC's strengths to elevate, enhance and sustain the institution by focusing on student experience and success; engaging Chicago and its communities; enhancing UIC's national and international impact and visibility; and becoming a more entrepreneurial university.
Under his leadership, the development and implementation of strategies to boost student enrollment have produced a six-year pattern of record campus enrollment, which surpassed 33,500 students in fall 2020, while maintaining UIC's status as one of the nation's most diverse campuses. He has continued to advance UIC’s mission and commitment to public education, scholarship, research and community service with the 2019 acquisition of the John Marshall Law School, creating the UIC School of Law which is Chicago’s first and only public law school.
He also led the development and implementation of a 10-year capital plan to bolster UIC’s physical infrastructure. As a result, in 2019 the University opened a new Engineering Innovation Building and an Academic and Residential Complex, which is part of the first public-private partnership in the University of Illinois System. Currently, several other critical facilities are under construction, including an Outpatient Surgery Center, a Computer Engineering building and a significant expansion of UIC’s Innovation Center. Overall, since the development of the capital plan more than $500 million have been secured and invested in new facilities.
In 2020 UIC established a new historic record in research awards, exceeding for the first time in its history the $400 million mark. Amiridis’ strategic support for faculty research in all fields and the commitment of university funding to seed new programs and improve the research support infrastructure have played an important role in achieving this new record.
To further enhance UIC’s societal impact through its cutting-edge research, he established a new campus unit focused on the technology commercialization and entrepreneurship activities that are part of the innovation operations across campus. In April 2019, UIC announced a $65 million partnership with Deerfield Management to form West Loop Innovations, LLC, which will help accelerate the commercialization of therapeutics developed at UIC and is a key development for the new University of Illinois System-led Discovery Partners Institute.
UIC has been strongly committed to sustainability for decades and its standing as a leader of the sustainability movement in higher education was further enhanced when Amiridis announced in 2017 four climate commitments that address the challenges of climate change and sustainability on campus.
In October 2017, Amiridis launched the university's five-year fundraising campaign, "IGNITE: The Campaign for UIC," to raise $750 million for wide-ranging campus initiatives such as student scholarships, new endowed faculty positions, state-of-art technologies for teaching and research, and capital infrastructure projects. This campaign is expected to be successfully completed in 2022.
Amiridis has initiated ongoing engagement with community, civic, corporate and elected officials to discuss how UIC's strengths and resources are beneficial to Chicago, the state of Illinois and the nation. He serves on the boards of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and was recently invited to the Springer Nature US Research Advisory Council.
Prior to arriving at UIC, Amiridis established a proven record of building academic and research excellence as a professor, researcher and senior administrator at the University of South Carolina at Columbia. He served from 2009 to 2015 as the university's executive vice president for academic affairs and provost, where he oversaw all academic functions on the flagship campus and at four, two-year regional campuses. Before becoming the provost, Amiridis was the dean of South Carolina's College of Engineering and Computing from 2006 to 2009, and chair of the department of chemical engineering from 2002 to 2006. He joined the Columbia campus as an assistant professor of chemical engineering in 1994.
His research interests focused on environmental catalysis and the synthesis and characterization of bimetallic nanoparticles with controlled composition and architecture. His work has resulted in 110 peer-reviewed journal publications and he has received more than $15 million in research funding as a principal investigator and more than $9 million as a co-investigator.
He earned the National Science Foundation's award for early-career scientists and engineers in 1999, the University of South Carolina's research achievement award in 2005, and the university's Golden Key Award for Integration of Undergraduate Teaching and Research in 2000. Amiridis has also received awards for teaching excellence at South Carolina and as a graduate instructor at Wisconsin. He was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2012 and a fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers in 2015.
Earlier in his career, Amiridis was a research engineer for three years at W.R. Grace and Co., an international manufacturer of specialty chemicals and materials, and a lecturer at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
A native of Greece and a U.S. citizen, Amiridis earned his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki in Greece in 1985, and his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1991. He and his wife, Dr. Ero Aggelopoulou-Amiridis, have two children, Aspasia and Dimitri.