The University of Chicago News Office
April 12, 2002 Press Contact: Larry Arbeiter
(773) 702-8360 (w)

The University of Chicago launches five-year “Chicago Initiative”

The University of Chicago’s Board of Trustees today announced the launch of one of the largest fundraising campaigns ever undertaken by any university. Named “The Chicago Initiative,” the five-year $2 billion capital campaign is the largest fund-raising effort in Chicago’s history.

Over the past two years, during the Initiative’s “quiet” phase, early supporters have committed $702 million to the University. During this new, public phase of the Initiative, the University will ask alumni, parents, friends and other donors to support critical University priorities, including the ability to recruit and retain top students, teachers and researchers.

The Initiative’s success will significantly enhance the University’s ability to provide need-blind undergraduate admissions and graduate student aid; increase funding for faculty positions and research, including endowments for more than 35 full professorships and other essential faculty support; expand cornerstone programs in the humanities and social sciences; and extend support for the professional programs in business, law, public policy and social service. The campaign will particularly strengthen research efforts in the natural sciences, medicine and computation.

The Initiative will also finance major facilities projects that are part of the University’s Campus Master Plan. The Interdivisional Research Building (IRB), the largest science building in the history of the University of Chicago, will dramatically enhance collaboration among researchers in the biological and physical sciences, while the Comer Children’s Hospital will be a center for state-of-the-art pediatric care. The new Graduate School of Business (GSB) complex will consolidate activities now scattered throughout the campus and strengthen ties with the social sciences, especially the University’s renowned economics department.

New facilities for the creative and performing arts will promote exchange in artistic disciplines, including music, theater, and the visual and performing arts, while the new Gerald Ratner Athletics Center and Max Palevsky Residential Commons will improve campus life.

Though the University has increased its endowment three-fold over the past eight years, its peer institutions have endowments two to five times the current size of Chicago’s. With larger endowments, these peer institutions can offer more financial aid to attract top students, and can more easily provide faculty with necessary resources, including competitive laboratories, libraries, salaries and research support.

The Chicago Initiative is the result of a three-year, University-wide planning process. Edgar D. Jannotta, Chairman of Board of the University of Chicago, serves as Chairman of the Chicago Initiative, assisted by James S. Crown and Paula Wolff, Vice Chairmen of the Board of Trustees. The other members of the Trustee Campaign Steering Committee are Andrew M. Alper (New York), James S. Frank, Robert M. Halperin (San Francisco), Dennis J. Keller, Peter W. May (New York), Harvey B. Plotnick and Andrew M. Rosenfield.

The University of Chicago, established in 1890, is one of the world’s great centers of learning. Six Nobel laureates are currently on the faculty, and 73 laureates have been students, faculty or researchers at Chicago. Twenty of the University’s academic departments rank nationally in the top ten, according to National Research Council ratings, and five of those hold the number one ranking: anthropology, ecology and evolution, economics, religion and sociology.

For more information, visit the Chicago Initiative website at
Last modified at 11:19 AM CST on Friday, May 03, 2002.

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