Kerl LaJeune (University of Illinois Chciago)
Kerl LaJeune (he/him) is very proud to have graduated from UIC, a city public university with high honors and recognition amongst many institutions across the nation. Its diversity and continued growth of the student population ranks high in the much-needed service of impacting communities.
As an immigrant that was afforded the opportunity to attend a Chicago public high school, his family’s socioeconomic situation didn’t allow for too many choices for out-of-state or private institutions. As an obvious choice and as a commuting school, UIC provided the best circumstance for him and his siblings to be close to their parents and home life.
“Remaining in this city was by far the best decision for the opportunities ahead. For my chosen profession in architecture, Chicago is ranked amongst the best for both its history but also the accolades it has achieved for architects. The breadth of knowledge, building stock, and long term impact on the industry in Chicago’s downtown was just a few steps from campus. I couldn’t have been prouder to have completed my studies at UIC and have at my disposal, the best professional opportunities right in front of me. While I’ve explored international studies and traveled around the world, I still consider to this day that Chicago is an amazing city which continues to thrive, offer countless dreams, advance the wellbeing of our lives and is respected for its advancement and contributions to society.”
LaJeune cites the inclusive spirit, award-winning food scene, iconic attractions, jaw-dropping architecture, vibrant music scene and local cultural events and vibrant neighborhoods that Chicago offers as other key reasons that he is proud to call the city his home post-grad.
“Being in Chicago as an Architect has offered me a myriad of opportunities within the industry for project and engagement both private and public. The interface and prestige of facing solutions for design and planning to impact the communities of this city have brought me an amazing and valuable experience. After spending 25 years in the private sector, I went to the public realm and have been delivering projects on behalf of the Mayor for public agencies. An incredible opportunity to focus on planning, design, construction, as a steward of the public funds and strive solely of the impact to the end user. I now appreciate the parallels between UIC, as a public institution, and working professionally in the public sector on behalf of Chicago’s Mayor, to service an amazing community of deserving residents.”
“My advice to a younger generation: Exploration is a trait that is earned, push hard but with a purpose, strive for ways to be impactful, lean on those that support and see your growth, be gracious and mindful of others, enjoy student life and its endless set of opportunities, academics offer a path forward towards a wonderful future.”