Alicia G. McCareins, Ph.D., J.D. '72
2013 Distinguished Alumna Award for Community Service
Professionally, Dr. Alicia (Gittens) McCareins '72 has led a successful career as an educator teaching at the collegiate level for more than 30 years, and as a leading consultant in organizational behavior and development for private and public sector organizations. However, it is her community service work and passion to help others that has brought Alicia the deepest reward and meaning.
In 2008, Alicia was one of 35 NFL moms to Tackle Hunger with Campbell’s Chunky Soup and Feeding America. At that time, Alicia partnered with Northern Illinois Food Bank (NIFB) and as a result became one of the three NFL moms who generated the most donations nationwide. In 2010, when NIFB received Feeding America’s most prestigious award – Food Bank of the Year – Alicia was named Chair of the board of directors. Alicia was also an active leader in the Professional Football Players Mothers Association, an organization whose mission includes increasing the financial literacy of players and families and helping them preserve the wealth they achieve.
Currently, Alicia is on the Advisory Council and Steering Committee for Loaves and Fishes, a non-profit organization in Naperville, Illinois that provides food and hope to individuals in DuPage County, Illinois whose financial circumstances make it difficult to provide for themselves and their families. She also serves as a Senior Project Expert at North Lawndale College Prep School, mentoring students through the process of writing a compelling and convincing thesis as a graduation requirement and to gain entry to college.
Alicia was recruited to Carroll by the legendary Shirley Hilger '43. As salutatorian of Milwaukee’s Rufus King High School Class of 1968 and a National Merit semi-finalist, Alicia had numerous options to attend various colleges and universities. However, as a native of Trinidad, a Caribbean island in the West Indies, she had only been in the U.S. for two years at the time and was uncertain about making the right decision as to where to attend college. Alicia remarks it was a blessing to have Shirley intervene, persuading her family and her from seeing any value in going anywhere else. Alicia looks back and believes one of the most important decisions of her life was becoming a Pioneer.
Alicia graduated in 1972 with a B.A. in English, Psychology and Spanish. She went on to earn her Master's and Doctoral degrees in psychology at Northwestern University. She also holds a Juris Doctor degree from their School of Law. She has been an active volunteer for her alma mater as a member of the Alumni Council, a regional representative for the National Day of Service, and as the Chair of her 40th homecoming reunion committee. She was also the keynote speaker for Founder's Day at Carroll in 2011.
Alicia believes it is important to get involved in one’s community: “Regardless of how we develop our capabilities, wealth, or knowledge, each of us has an obligation to reach out to others who have not been similarly blessed. The rewards of supporting those in need will be evident in the growth and strength of our communities and the realization that the path to a better life for all lies in each of us and our willingness to serve.”
She credits Carroll for encouraging that spirit of volunteerism. Carroll remains a special place for Alicia as she states it was where she experienced strong personal growth, realized the importance of social responsibility and acquired the ability and opportunity to engage in leadership roles. It also was where she met her future husband, John. Alicia was a freshman and her husband-to-be, John McCareins '71, was a sophomore at Carroll when they first met and married shortly after Alicia’s graduation. They recently celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary with their three sons: John Jr., Justin and Jay, their wives, and their five grandchildren.