Rockefeller Chapel at twilight

Rockefeller Chapel at twilight. (Photography by John Zich)

From a distance

While a pandemic separates us, the Magazine wants to help bridge the miles.

From the kitchen in my home, which now doubles as my office and my everywhere else, I can look west at the peaks of the south end of campus—Rockefeller Chapel’s bell tower rising above the rooftops, the light towers illuminating the bridges that cross the Midway by night, the blocky silo of the Logan Center beyond. It’s a lovely vista, especially when the sun is setting. But I’m sure I’ve never stared at it like I have this spring—not for as long, nor the same way.

The sight is freighted with melancholy now, with everything emptied out while the life of the campus is on pause. But there’s reassurance in the view as well. As a colleague put it to me after he’d visited the quads one evening before the stay-at-home order, even with campus at its quietest, the lights of UChicago are being kept on for us.

A few words about this issue, which we finished in early May from several locations around Chicago, with understanding of COVID-19 changing daily. It reaches you right around the time that, under normal circumstances, we’d see many of you on the quads for Alumni Weekend. That event is now being planned as a virtual one, Alumni Weekend at Home. Until you and your classmates can come together in person again, I hope you’ll look to the Magazine to stay in touch. Let your fellow Maroons know how you are by writing to your class correspondent or to us directly at At the moment we’re getting our snail mail irregularly, so email is the best bet for reaching us with your news or letter to the editor.

In the meantime we’ll plan future issues to bring you the usual stories about faculty, alumni, and more, alongside news of how the University community is responding to the pandemic. In the COVID-19 section in this issue, “Together in Spirit,” we offer a bird’s-eye view of some aspects of that response: the most critical institutional decisions; how the University is helping its neighbors on the South Side; what’s happening at UChicago Medicine; how faculty and students are adapting to remote education; and a glance at some of the earliest ideas and research of faculty who have shifted their thinking to the pandemic and its consequences. In the Summer/20 issue and beyond we’ll cover many of these subjects in greater depth.

Every one of us at the Magazine wishes every one of you safety and good health in the months before we next show up in your mailbox.