A $4.5 billion fundraising campaign will invest in building a model University. (Photography by Jason Smith)

Going public

The most ambitious fundraising campaign in UChicago’s history will focus on inquiry and impact.

This fall the University will formally launch the public phase of a comprehensive campaign to raise $4.5 billion. The priorities of the campaign, the most ambitious in the University’s history, include support for faculty and researchers, educational opportunities for students at all levels, and programs to enhance the University’s local and global reach.

The University of Chicago Campaign: Inquiry and Impact will begin its public phase in late October and is expected to conclude in 2019. University officials announced in May that the quiet phase of the campaign had already raised more than $2 billion, representing some 182,000 gifts.

“This campaign offers a singular opportunity to ensure the University continues to take its place among the world’s great centers of discovery, education, and impact,” said Board of Trustees chair Andrew M. Alper, AB’80, MBA’81. “Our faculty, deans, provost, and president have identified an ambitious intellectual agenda, and we want to respond with our full support.”

An important factor in the board’s unanimous vote to launch the campaign was President Robert J. Zimmer’s intention to stay in office at least until 2020, Alper said. “The University of Chicago is enjoying ever greater global eminence under Bob Zimmer’s leadership, and we are lucky to have him as our president.”

Alper noted that the board’s support for the University’s leadership and momentum is reflected in more than $750 million in campaign donations from trustees to date, more than a third of the total raised during the quiet phase.

Joseph Neubauer, MBA’65, a vice chair of the Board of Trustees, will serve as campaign chair. Neubauer and his wife, Jeanette Lerman-Neubauer, have been generous supporters of the University for many years. Their most recent gift, in 2012, was $26.5 million to create the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society.

“The University is an international leader in enabling scholars from across disciplines to develop and test great ideas,” said Neubauer, the chair of the board at Aramark. “Jeanette and I, as well as thousands of others, believe deeply in the importance of the critical nature of the University of Chicago’s work and are honored to support it.”

The Neubauer Collegium is one of many initiatives the campaign will support on campus, in the city of Chicago, and around the world. Among other campaign priorities is the Institute for Molecular Engineering, which is seeking solutions to challenges such as the need for clean water through new developments in nanoscale science. The University’s recent affiliation with the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, combines with the University’s operation of Argonne National Laboratory and Fermilab to put UChicago scientists at a nexus of institutions with international reach.

In the biological sciences and at the University of Chicago Medicine, the campaign will support exploration of basic biological phenomena, computational methods in biology and medicine, and new cancer treatments, while strengthening research in digestive diseases, diabetes, immunology, and transplantation.

Beyond campus the revitalization of 53rd Street in Hyde Park and the Urban Education Institute are just two examples of an ambitious effort to make the University of Chicago a model for the relationship of a great urban research university to its city. Meanwhile, the recently opened Center in Delhi and the planned Center in Hong Kong highlight the University’s growing global presence and mark its commitment to collaboration among scholars and students around the world.

Investments in the College will include enhanced support for the Core curriculum, expanded study-abroad opportunities, new career advancement tracks, the construction of the new Campus North Residence Hall and Dining Commons, and continued growth in financial aid. Support for graduate and professional students at every phase of their academic programs is also an important priority.

Across schools and divisions of the University, the campaign will provide resources for the recruitment and retention of outstanding faculty, expanded aid and programming for students, and an intellectual environment and facilities that allow them to produce their best work.

“We are stewards of a University that has accomplished extraordinary things in a little more than a century,” Zimmer said. “It is our job to ensure that it remains true to its values and that we leave it stronger still, by supporting a faculty whose work is of the greatest originality, depth and impact, and an outstanding student body who will leave the University enriched by their experience and go on to have impact on virtually every field of human endeavor in our nation and around the world.”

The University of Chicago Campaign: Inquiry and Impact is the University’s fifth major fundraising campaign, including its founding campaign in 1886–90 and most recently the Chicago Initiative, which ran from 2000 to 2008. The Chicago Initiative surpassed its $2 billion goal, raising $2.38 billion.