Stimulus package

A UChicago feast for the senses.

This morning, like most Sundays, I sipped coffee to the harmonious reverberations of the Rockefeller Chapel carillon. On any given day in the neighborhood, UChicago Medicine helicopters chuff overhead, while on the ground an ever-growing flotilla of campus shuttles squeak to their stops and rev again. This time of year, birds sing and leaves rustle under the scampering of that alternate school mascot, Sciurus carolinensis (aka the eastern gray squirrel).

Two features in this issue got me thinking about signature sounds of UChicago, past and present. “Some Drum” recounts a tragicomic chapter in the century-plus-long life of the world’s largest drum, with its singular boom. And “Sounds Reborn” traces the continuing story of the UChicago Folk Festival, from opening bagpipes to closing applause, and a bit of the lore attached to it.

What sounds, sights, smells, textures, or tastes serve as your own Proustian reminders of the University? You may find some evoked in this very issue: delicate pages in an aging book, or the heft of a whole stack lugged to a Regenstein carrel. Period costumes at a University Theater performance, or the hairspray cloud hanging backstage. The buzz and toastiness of coffee being ground and brewed in a campus hangout, or buttery flakes of Medici pastry. A ska and soul band playing in a basement, or Bach emanating from a neighboring dorm room.

Look for those within, then reach out to let us know what sensory memory moves you at

Fitting tributes

As this issue went to press, the UChicago community came together to celebrate John W. Boyer, AM’69, PhD’75, who will take on a new role at the University after more than three decades leading—and transforming—the College. So profound is the native South Sider’s influence on the institution and its students that Mayor Lori Lightfoot, JD’89, declared Friday, April 21, 2023, to be John W. Boyer Day in Chicago.

Three days later, word came that the University’s new Paris center will be the John W. Boyer Center in Paris, named for its greatest champion. Boyer, a premier historian of the Habsburg Empire and of the University of Chicago, spoke to the Magazine for “Peerless.” Joining all who made the Chicago and Paris tributes possible, we thank him, for everything.