The University of Chicago News Office
Sept. 12, 2006 Press Contact: Julia Morse
(773) 702-8359

Civic dinner to welcome new University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer

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robert zimmer
Robert J. Zimmer

More than 800 government, business, community and higher education leaders will attend a dinner Thursday honoring the return of Robert J. Zimmer to Chicago, where in July he became the 13th President of the University of Chicago. The invitation-only evening in the Grand Ballroom on Navy Pier begins with cocktails at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and a speech by Zimmer.

Zimmer, 58, returns to Chicago from Brown University where he served as provost since 2002. Prior to his position at Brown, Zimmer was a University of Chicago faculty member and administrator for more than two decades, serving as Chair of the Department of Mathematics, Deputy Provost and Vice President for Research and for Argonne National Laboratory.

As provost at Brown, Zimmer was the chief academic officer and the institution's leading officer after the president. While there, he helped Brown to increase its investments and stature in faculty distinction and academic programs across the university. He played a key role in strengthening Brown's research programs, recruiting outstanding faculty, and enhancing its graduate school and medical school. He also led an effort to enhance substantially Brown's network of academic affiliations with such institutions as the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Mass.; the Rhode Island School of Design; the Trinity Repertory Theater Company; Oak Ridge National Laboratory; and the hospitals affiliated with the Brown Medical School.

A specialist in geometry, Zimmer is the author of two books and more than 80 mathematical research articles. He is a member of the Research Advisory Council of the Business Innovation Factory and the visiting committee to the MIT Department of Mathematics, and he has served on the Illinois Science Priority Committee, the Illinois Science and Technology Advisory Committee, the Rhode Island Economic Policy Council and the Board of Directors of the ARCH Development Corporation. Zimmer held the title of Max Mason Distinguished Service Professor in Mathematics at Chicago before leaving for Brown, where he has been the Ford Foundation Professor of Mathematics in addition to being provost.

He earned his A.B., summa cum laude, from Brandeis University in 1968 and a Ph.D. in mathematics in 1975 from Harvard University. He joined the Chicago faculty as an L.E. Dickson Instructor of Mathematics in 1977. He was also on the faculty at the U.S. Naval Academy from 1975 to 1977, and at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1981 to 1983. He has held visiting positions at Harvard University and at institutions in Israel, France, Australia, Switzerland and Italy.

Zimmer returns to Chicago with his wife Terese S. Zimmer, and their youngest son Alex. They have two other sons, David and Benjamin, who are both students at Harvard University.

The Board of Trustees of the University of Chicago officially elected Zimmer on Friday, March 10 and he officially assumed office on Saturday, July 1. He succeeds Don Michael Randel, who served as President of the University since 2000. Randel is now the President of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Last modified at 10:55 AM CST on Sunday, September 17, 2006.

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