Message from the President

The University of Chicago comprises a distinctive intellectual community. Our work here is marked by a commitment to open and rigorous inquiry, intense and informed discourse, and an ambitious scholarly and educational agenda. Each member of the University community contributes to the research, education, engagement, and impact that define the University and have a meaningful influence on the world around us.

The fall of 2014 marked an important moment for the University of Chicago. At the end of October, we launched the public phase of a $4.5 billion fundraising campaign designed to support the intellectual and educational initiatives, and their significant impact, articulated by our faculty and academic leadership. The campaign supports priorities in the College, Divisions, Schools, Institutes, Medical Center, Library, and other important programs of the University. These priorities are designed to ensure the University’s continued and enhanced eminence, building on our extraordinary history and seeing the values that shaped that history manifest in new and exciting ways.

Philanthropy is essential to achieving these ambitions. The quiet phase of this campaign generated more than 200,000 gifts totaling more than $2 billion, and these investments have already had a transformative effect on our campus. These gifts have made possible innovative efforts such as the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society, the Institute for Molecular Engineering, the Bucksbaum Institute for Clinical Excellence, a growing portfolio of research and related applications concerning urban challenges, expanded arts programs and facilities, and our new centers in Beijing, Delhi, and Hong Kong, among many others. Philanthropic investments by our donors have deepened existing strengths, such as the Core curriculum in the College, scholarly contributions within the disciplines, and the expansion of our faculty.

Programmatic and financial support for students is a campaign priority across every segment of the University, ensuring that talented students from all backgrounds will be able to fully participate in educational opportunities. The Odyssey Scholars program, funded by a $100 million anonymous donation and matching gifts, has removed debt from the financial aid packages for College students from low- and moderate-income backgrounds. In fall 2014, with further support, we announced No Barriers, a significant and expanded effort to eliminate other obstacles that might deter such qualified students from applying to and attending the College, and to enhance the experience of all College students. The campaign will likewise prioritize graduate and professional student support to ensure that the University continues to attract promising students and educates the next generation of leaders in the academy, the professions, and a wide range of significant human endeavors.

The University’s distinctive culture of inquiry and analysis continues to draw to our Hyde Park campus, to affiliated laboratories, and to our global centers a diverse range of scholars, students, alumni, and leaders in policy and practice from around the world, all of whom add to the vitality of our community. The campaign supports this dynamic flow of visitors, enhancing the University’s role as an intellectual destination.

The campaign is a major undertaking with transformative potential, made possible both by the generosity of our alumni and friends and by the commitment of our faculty members, staff, and students.

Robert J. Zimmer

Adapted from President Zimmer’s fall 2014 welcome and update to faculty, students, and staff.