David Nirenberg, Eve Ewing, Victoria Jueds, Edith Abbott

David Nirenberg; Eve Ewing, AB’08; Victoria Jueds; and Edith Abbott, PhD 1905. (From left: Photography by John Zich; photography by Mercedes Zapata; UChicago Photographic Archive, apf1-00005, University of Chicago Library; UChicago News)

UChicago news highlights

A selection of the latest headlines from across campus.

Divinity dean

David Nirenberg, the interim dean of the Divinity School since 2018, has been appointed dean, announced President Robert J. Zimmer and Provost Ka Yee C. Lee in March. Nirenberg, the Deborah R. and Edgar D. Jannotta Distinguished Service Professor of Medieval History and Social Thought, is a leading scholar of the ways in which Jewish, Christian, and Islamic societies have interacted with and thought about each other. He previously served as executive vice provost, dean of the Social Sciences Division, and Roman Family Director of the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society. Nirenberg, whose interim appointment ends June 30, will begin his term in July 2022, following a one-year sabbatical. James T. Robinson, the Caroline E. Haskell Professor of the History of Judaism, Islamic Studies, and the History of Religions, will serve as interim dean during the 2021–22 academic year.

Trio of alumni trustees

The Board of Trustees has elected three new members: Thomas F. Dunn, AB’81, MBA’86; Brett J. Hart, JD’94; and Hilarie Koplow-McAdams, AM’87. They began their five-year terms in spring 2020. Dunn, a founding partner and former CEO of New Holland Capital, is a member of the advisory councils of both the Urban Labs and the Harris School of Public Policy. Hart is the president of United Airlines and previously served on the Law School Advisory Council and Fermilab’s Board of Directors. Koplow-McAdams joined New Enterprise Associates as a venture partner in 2017 after serving as president at both New Relic and Salesforce. She chairs the advisory council of the Harris School of Public Policy.

OI transition

Christopher Woods, formerly the John A. Wilson Professor in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and director of the Oriental Institute (OI), left the University in April to head the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Theo van den Hout, the Arthur and Joann Rasmussen Professor of Hittite and Anatolian Languages, is leading the OI on an interim basis while the University undertakes a national search for a new director. Van den Hout is the executive editor of the Chicago Hittite Dictionary. He studies record management, literacy and writing, and visual culture in Hittite society.

Press prize

The University of Chicago Press awarded the 2020 Gordon J. Laing Award to Eve L. Ewing, AB’08, assistant professor in the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice, for Ghosts in the Schoolyard: Racism and School Closings on Chicago’s South Side. The Laing Award is given annually to the UChicago faculty author, editor, or translator of a book published in the previous three years that brings the press the greatest distinction. Ewing’s 2018 book draws on her experience in Chicago Public Schools as a student, teacher, and researcher, and situates Chicago’s wave of school closings in 2013 within a larger context: the ongoing struggle of Black people in America to build successful lives and achieve true self-determination.

Lab leadership

Victoria Jueds has been named director of the Laboratory Schools, effective August 16. Since 2017 Jueds has served as head of school at Westtown School in West Chester, Pennsylvania, a Quaker pre-K–12th grade college preparatory day and boarding school. A former civil rights lawyer, she previously served in a variety of student-focused roles at Princeton University. Jueds succeeds David Magill, who returned to Lab in May 2020 to serve as interim director. Magill was the director of the Laboratory Schools for 11 years before retiring in 2014.

Major addition

A new major will allow College students to pursue in-depth humanistic research with close faculty mentorship. Inquiry and Research in the Humanities (IRHUM) emphasizes applied research and is intended to introduce students to the techniques, tools, and practices of advanced humanistic inquiry. Each student will be paired with a faculty mentor during their course of study and for their research projects, including a BA thesis. The program will also feature undergraduate research seminars in which students learn from faculty members how to produce advanced scholarly research. The major is led by Benjamin Morgan, associate professor of English language and literature.

Honoring Edith Abbott

The Mies van der Rohe–designed building that is home to the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice has been dedicated in honor of Edith Abbott, PhD 1905, who played a historic role as the school’s founding dean. The first woman to lead a graduate school in the United States, Abbott shaped a model of social work inquiry and impact that continues to this day. The University celebrated the dedication of Edith Abbott Hall at a March 17 ceremony featuring UChicago leaders as well as Crown Family School faculty and alumni.

Celebrating grads

UChicago will again hold a virtual convocation ceremony this June and is planning limited in-person diploma ceremonies for the Class of 2021. The virtual convocation ceremony will confer degrees to this year’s graduates and celebrate their accomplishments. Smaller, in-person diploma ceremonies for each school and division will be limited to graduates and participating faculty and staff in order to maximize health and safety mitigations. The University will continue to evaluate public health conditions and explore ways to involve 2020 and 2021 graduates in future, in-person convocation ceremonies.