Matt Tirrell, Zeenat Rahman, Seth Green

(From left: Photography by Lloyd Degrane; UChicago Institute of Politics; UChicago News)

UChicago news highlights

A selection of the latest headlines from across campus.

Chair’s term extended

The University’s Board of Trustees voted to extend Joseph Neubauer’s (MBA’65) term as chair for an additional year, until May 2022. Neubauer agreed to continue his tenure as Paul Alivisatos, AB’81, transitions into his role as the University’s 14th president on September 1. Neubauer has served on the board since 1992 and as chair since 2015. Under his leadership, the University concluded the University of Chicago Campaign: Inquiry and Impact, the largest and most comprehensive campaign in its history.

Tirrell reappointed

Matthew Tirrell began his second term as dean of the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering on July 1. Tirrell, the Robert A. Millikan Distinguished Service Professor, is a pioneering researcher in the fields of biomolecular engineering and nanotechnology and has led the University’s program in molecular engineering since its inception in 2011. As the founding Pritzker Director of the Institute for Molecular Engineering, which became the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering in 2019, he helped establish the first formal engineering program at the University and launch the first school in the nation dedicated to molecular engineering.

Teaching honors

This year’s winners of the Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Awards for Undergraduate Teaching are Sally Horne-Badovinac, associate professor of molecular genetics and cell biology; Patrick Jagoda, professor of English and cinema and media studies; Jonathan Lyon and Ada Palmer, both associate professors of history; and Blase Ur, Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Computer Science. Faculty Awards for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring went to Daniel Arnold, PhD’02, associate professor in the Divinity School; Persis Berlekamp, associate professor of art history; Daniel Fabrycky, associate professor of astronomy and astrophysics; Daniel Morgan, PhD’07, professor and chair of cinema and media studies; and Monika Nalepa, associate professor of political science.

Graham’s new dean

Seth Green began his term as dean of the Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies on July 1. The founding director of the Baumhart Center for Social Enterprise and Responsibility at Loyola University Chicago, he previously taught in Loyola’s management department. Green has led multiple social ventures focused on addressing poverty and increasing opportunity. As executive director of the Chicagoland-based youth development organization Youth & Opportunity United, he oversaw a fourfold expansion of programs and a successful fundraising campaign to build a new youth center.

The sporting life

Angie Torain became director of athletics and recreation on July 1, overseeing 20 varsity sports, nearly 40 sports clubs, intramural sports, and the FitChicago program. She comes to UChicago from the University of Notre Dame, where she was senior associate athletics director of culture, diversity, and engagement and an adjunct professor of sports law. Torain previously held positions within the athletic departments at the University of the Incarnate Word and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. She received her bachelor’s degree in sociology from DePauw University, and her JD from the Maurer School of Law at Indiana University.

Political leader

Zeenat Rahman, AM’06, began her tenure as executive director of the University’s Institute of Politics on July 1. Most recently, Rahman directed the Inclusive America Project at the Aspen Institute, a program that promotes religious pluralism. Rahman previously served at the US Department of State as a special adviser on global youth issues to secretaries Hillary Clinton and John Kerry; as acting director at the Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives at the US Agency for International Development; and as director of policy at Interfaith Youth Core. A native of the Chicago area and graduate of the University of Illinois Chicago, Rahman earned a master’s degree in Middle Eastern studies in 2006.

Gold(water) stars

Julius Tabin and Claudia Yao, both Class of 2022, and Alexandra Masegian, Class of 2023, are among the 409 US undergraduates to receive Barry Goldwater Scholarships, a top honor for undergraduates in the natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering. Yao is majoring in mathematics; Tabin in biology and Near Eastern languages and civilizations; and Masegian in astrophysics, alongside a minor in English and creative writing.

Off to a good start-up

The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation made an investment of $1.6 million in the winners of the 2021 Edward L. Kaplan, MBA’71, New Venture Challenge—the largest sum in the program’s 25-year history. This year’s winners include Andes STR, a short-term rental property management company, which received the $660,000 Rattan L. Khosa, MBA’79, First Place Prize, and justice-tech nonprofit SAEF Legal Aid (Support, Advocacy, Education for Families), which triumphed in the John Edwardson, MBA’72, Social New Venture Challenge.

Class of 2021

This year 3,743 students received degrees at the 534th Convocation, a combination of virtual and in-person celebrations held June 9–13. Among the honorees was Chicago Booth’s Yiran Fan, SM’15, PhD’21, who was killed in January and awarded a posthumous PhD. Zhiguo He, the Fuji Bank and Heller Professor of Finance, and Lars Peter Hansen, the David Rockefeller Distinguished Service Professor in Economics and Statistics, studied their late student’s research and presented it on his behalf at a March 2 dissertation defense. “This is a very small thing we could do to recognize such a special person,” Hansen said.