IIT Chicago-Kent Assistant Dean Francine Soliunas is a 2010 Sage Award recipient

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Francine Soliunas, assistant dean for strategy and student professional development and executive director of the Institute for Law and the Workplace at Chicago-Kent College of Law, has received a 2010 Sage Award from Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and the Chicago Commission on Human Relations Advisory Council on Women. Soliunas was recognized for more than 30 years of legal experience, as well as a lifetime of community and civic involvement.

Assistant Dean Francine Soliunas
Assistant Dean Francine Soliunas

The award was presented by Mayor Daley March 9 at the Chicago Cultural Center during the mayor's annual award reception celebrating Women's History Month. Soliunas was honored along with Illinois Appellate Court Justice Joy V. Cunningham and Cook County Circuit Court Judge Grace G. Dickler.

Soliunas serves as assistant dean for strategy and student professional development—a role in which she works with students of color in terms of counseling, assisting with group-sponsored activities, and facilitating their transition through law school and into the profession. She also serves as director of the PLUS (Pre-Law Undergraduate Scholars) Program, a four-week summer program designed to attract disadvantaged college students and those from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups to legal careers. As executive director of Chicago-Kent's Institute for Law and the Workplace, Soliunas runs the day-to-day activities of the institute and is part of a management team that determines the strategic direction of this national training center for labor lawyers and professionals. In addition, she teaches the law school's Labor and Employment Law externship course.

Soliunas earned both her undergraduate and law degrees from DePaul University. Prior to joining Chicago-Kent, she worked for Ameritech as an attorney in various roles, including senior director of labor relations and counsel responsible for employment and labor-related litigation and arbitration over a five-state area. Soliunas has been a supervisory trial attorney for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a state appellate defender for the state of Illinois' Prison Legal Services Project, and an assistant state's attorney for Cook County.

The City of Chicago Commission on Human Relations' Advisory Council on Women created the award in 2005 and defines a sage as "someone who is revered for their wisdom, judgment, and experience." The SAGE awards are presented annually to women from diverse backgrounds for leadership in mentoring, workplace and community advocacy, and local and global human rights initiatives.

Chicago-Kent College of Law is the law school of Illinois Institute of Technology, a private, Ph.D.-granting institution with programs in engineering, psychology, architecture, business, design and law.