2015 – Albert Schorsch, PPA ’89
Associate Dean, UIC College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs
Since 2004, the CUPPA Alumni Association Board of Directors has presented the Jim Marek Alumni Appreciation Award recognizing individuals or groups for their dedication to the fields of urban planning and public administration and their contributions to the development of the college's students and alumni. The recipient of the 2015 award is Albert J. Schorsch, III, UPP PPA PHD ’93, CUPPA Associate Dean.
Al’s service to CUPPA is beyond dispute. Besides possessing an encyclopedic mind on the rules and regulations of the university, including HR, accounting, IT, Buildings and Grounds, and governance, Al also knows many, if not most, of the alumni of CUPPA. The breadth of knowledge and his familiarity with the entire university made him indispensable to the college, and indeed to the university.
Al treats everyone with respect and dignity; he listens to their concerns and challenges; and he tries to fashion a fair, effective, and sound solution to the problems that are brought to him whether from students, faculty, or even alums. A patient and gregarious man, Al holds all persons in the highest regard and treats them as professional equals.
Al is also the most dedicated person to the college and passionate in his belief in the “good work” performed by the faculty, staff, students, and alumni of CUPPA. He rarely leaves the building before 7 or 8 p.m., checking the building for security purposes and taking time to talk with the faculty and students who are in the building, extending a hand if they are in need and learning about their studies and interests along the way. Even though he leaves the building by 7 or 8, he rarely leaves the job. Much of his weekend and night-time work is devoted to exploring possible solutions to the vexing problems and controversies of the college, ranging from financial challenges and opportunities that are systemic to the campus to the human challenges of motivation, professional development, and recognition of a job well done.
Former Dean Michael Pagano said this regarding Al’s decision to retire from UIC as of June 30, 2015:
Al will always hold a very special and, without a doubt, unique place in CUPPA’s history. While on the one hand, I have a hard time imagining CUPPA or UIC without him and his ubiquitous presence around campus, I couldn’t be happier for someone who so richly deserves the time to focus on his health, his family, his writing, and his calling to serve others.
I want to share a story I was told about a Chicago Cubs Baseball game Al attended in 2003. A group of colleagues who attended the game with Al decided to leave Wrigley Field after the 7th inning as the Cubs were showing a lackluster performance and were down several runs. Al warned them not to leave –- not to miss what was ahead. He saw the potential, he willed a better game, he dreamed of the glory that should befall the Cubs. As a life-long Cubs fan, an incorrigible optimist, he knew great things were in store. And true to form, with only two of his colleagues remaining with him, Al watched the Cubs pull it out in the bottom of the 9th and a “W” flew over Wrigley that day.
Al has carried that same faith, patience, and conviction with him during his tenure at UIC. He has so generously shared his advice, analytical lens, historical perspective and forward thinking with all of CUPPA.
The CUPPA Alumni Association has presented the CUPPA Alumni Appreciation Award recognizing individuals or groups for their dedication to the fields of urban planning and public administration and their contributions to the development of the college's students and alumni. In November 2010, the Board of Directors of the CUPPA-AA voted unanimously to rename the award to the Jim Marek Alumni Appreciation Award honoring the former CUPPA assistant dean for student services, Jim Marek. Marek retired from his post in CUPPA on February 6, 2007 after over twenty-nine years of service to the university, its students and alumni. He unexpectedly died on August 13, 2010.