Professors Ralph Weichselbaum (left) and Geoffrey Greene. (Courtesy of Ludwig Cancer Research)

University news

Gift to UEI helps low-income students prepare for college, diverse accomplishments recognized, UChicago Medicine’s cancer research receives an infusion of funds, India honors prolific scholars, Zimmer supports the South Side as the site for the Obama library, and the Center in Delhi names an executive director.

College funds

A $10 million gift from University trustee Steven Kersten, JD’80, and his wife, Priscilla Kersten, will support the Urban Education Institute’s efforts to better prepare low-income students for college. Highlighting UEI’s work at a January 16 White House event, President Barack Obama said “not enough low-income students are taking the steps required to prepare for college.” UEI’s initiative will “reach 10,000 high schools over the next five years,” Obama added. The Kerstens’ gift will also help UEI provide data to policy makers, elected officials, and education leaders to improve college preparation, access, and success.

Artistic gift

A $25 million gift from the George Lucas Family Foundation will support the Laboratory Schools’ new arts hall. At the request of the filmmaker George Lucas and his wife, financial executive Mellody Hobson, the hall will be named in honor of American artist Gordon Parks. The building, scheduled to open on the Lab Schools’ Hyde Park campus in 2015, will include three new performance halls, studios, rehearsal and practice spaces, and a digital media lab.

Diverse accomplishments

In January public health researcher Aida Giachello, AM’71, PhD’88, received the University’s 2014 Diversity Leadership Alumni Award, joining staff recipients Kathleen Forde and Theaster Gates. Giachello, professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University, has helped establish organizations such as the Hispanic Health Alliance, the Midwest Hispanic AIDS Coalition, and the National Latino Institute for Reproductive Health. Forde, assistant dean of students, created a mentoring program for LGBTQ students. Gates, director of arts and public life, led the development of the Washington Park Arts Incubator, which offers artist residencies, education, exhibitions, and performances.

Successful research

A $17 million gift from the Hymen Milgrom [AB’35] Supporting Organization has established a research initiative to study ways to help urban schoolchildren become more successful adults. Called Successful Pathways from School to Work, the program has so far awarded $1.2 million in grants to study how early-childhood intervention influences long-term outcomes and the impact of vocational training in the Chicago Public Schools. Another $2 million in grants are expected to be announced this year.

Altering cancer’s course

UChicago cancer researchers received a $90 million infusion from Ludwig Cancer Research. One of six institutions that shared equally in the $540 million Ludwig gift, UChicago’s research efforts will focus on targeting metastasis, which is the leading cause of cancer deaths, according to Ralph Weichselbaum, codirector of the Ludwig Center at the University of Chicago.

Gates to Cambridge

Tim Rudnicki, ’14, is one of 40 US students to receive a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. With plans to pursue an MPhil in economic and social history at Cambridge, Rudnicki will study how economic growth in Britain between the 14th and 19th centuries might apply today in the developing world.

Well appointed

David Fithian, vice president and secretary of the University, will become executive vice president on March 31. Fithian succeeds David Greene, who has been appointed president of Colby College. Darren Reisberg, executive director of the Institute of Politics, will replace Fithian as secretary of the University. Steve Edwards, the institute’s director of programming, will become executive director.

Scholars honored in India

Susanne Hoeber Rudolph, the William Benton distinguished service professor emerita, and Lloyd I. Rudolph, professor emeritus of political science, will each receive the Padma Bhushan Award, the third-highest civilian honor from the government of India. University faculty members since 1964, the Rudolphs have together coauthored eight books, including Postmodern Gandhi and Other Essays (University of Chicago Press, 2006). In 2008 Oxford University Press published Explaining Indian Democracy: A Fifty-Year Perspective.

Presidential endorsement

University president Robert J. Zimmer supported the South Side of Chicago as a site for the Obama Presidential Library after the January establishment of a foundation dedicated to its planning. “I strongly believe the Obama Presidential Library would be ideal for one of our neighboring communities,” Zimmer said in a statement. Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel called for a unified, citywide effort to attract the library and Zimmer pledged the University’s support for that process, “working in partnership with the City of Chicago, our neighbors, civic leaders, and cultural and educational institutions.”

Astronomical achievement

Joshua Frieman, PhD’89, has been named an honorary fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. A UChicago astronomy and astrophysics professor and a member of Fermilab’s theoretical astrophysics group, Frieman directs the Dark Energy Survey, a collaboration among 300 scientists from 25 institutions on three continents.

Executive decision in Delhi

Bharath Visweswariah, a management consultant in India, has been named executive director of the University’s new Center in Delhi. As managing director of CEB Asia since 2011, Visweswariah oversaw a research staff of 130. At the Center in Delhi, he will work with faculty director Gary Tubb to implement a strategic plan and oversee administrative and staffing functions.