The iconic red brick building at 5757 South University Avenue, the future home for the Department of Economics and the Becker Friedman Institute for Research in Economics, has been named the Saieh Hall for Economics. (Photography by Tom Rossiter)

University news

A new director for the Seminary Co-op, UChicago literary scholar Robert Morrissey wins the French Legion of Honor, Chicago Harris and the Social Sciences Division appoint new deans, the University's Center for the Economics of Human Development opens, and more.

Economic support

In recognition of a gift from University trustee Álvaro Saieh, AM’76, PhD’80, the new home for the Department of Economics and the Becker Friedman Institute will be named in his honor. The 150,000-square-foot Saieh Hall for Economics opens this summer after the renovation and adaptive reuse of the former Chicago Theological Seminary at 5757 South University Avenue. Saieh, a trustee since 2012, is president and chair of the Chile-based CorpGroup Holding. He has previously served as adviser to Chile’s Ministry of Housing and Public Works and as head of research for the country’s central bank.

Social Sciences taps Nirenberg

David Nirenberg, the founding director of the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society, began his term as dean of the Social Sciences Division on July 1. The Deborah R. and Edgar D. Jannotta professor of medieval history and social thought, Nirenberg has focused his research on the interactions of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic societies. He succeeds Mario L . Small, the John Matthews Manly distinguished service professor of sociology and in the College, who stepped down after two years as dean to join the faculty at Harvard.

Check out Obama Library’s impact

A Barack Obama Presidential Library on Chicago’s South Side would have a $220 million annual economic impact on the city, according to a study by the Anderson Economic Group. The University-commissioned analysis projected that an Obama library would increase employment, earnings, and tax revenue with 1,900 permanent new jobs and 350,000 out-of-town visitors a year spending an additional $31 million on food and retail in the area. In June the University submitted a proposal to the Barack Obama Foundation in support of building the library in a neighboring South Side community.

Chicago Harris names new dean

Daniel Diermeier, a prolific scholar of political institutions and formal political theory, and an expert in crisis and reputation management, has been named dean of the Harris School of Public Policy, effective September 1. Currently the IBM professor of regulation and competitive practice at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, Diermeier will succeed Colm O’Muircheartaigh, who announced in January that he would return to teaching and research at the end of his five-year term.

New center flourishes

A May 30 event marked the opening of the Center for the Economics of Human Development, an initiative under the direction of Nobelist James J. Heckman focused on “identifying sources of disadvantage and promoting equality of opportunity.” Federal and private grants support the center, including a $1 million pledge from a group of Heckman’s former students. “We are interested in the economics of human flourishing,” says Heckman, the Henry Schultz distinguished service professor of economics, “or the circumstances under which people are able to develop the skills to thrive in our current economy.”

Legal leader

Kimberly P. Taylor, a partner of Hilton & Bishop PC in Falmouth, Massachusetts, becomes the University’s vice president and general counsel on August 1. A specialist in mergers and acquisitions, equity investments, financings, and partnerships, Taylor represented the Marine Biological Laboratory during negotiations that led to its 2013 affiliation with the University. She succeeds Beth A. Harris, AB’74, who will lead a new practice area in the Office of Legal Counsel related to institutional partnerships and affiliations.

New Co-op director booked

Jeff Deutsch, director of stores for the Stanford Bookstore Group since 2012, has been named director of the Seminary Co-op Bookstore. Deutsch, selected after a national search led by the firm Isaacson, Miller, has worked with books since taking a library job as a teenager. He married his wife, artist and fellow bookseller May Yen, in a book-themed wedding on Bloomsday (June 16) 2012. Deutsch succeeds Jack Cella, EX’73, who retired in October 2013 after 43 years at the helm.

Two new trustees elected

The University of Chicago Board of Trustees has elected two new members: Debra A. Cafaro, JD’82, chairman and CEO of Ventas Inc., and Kenneth C. Griffin, founder and CEO of Citadel LLC. Cafaro and Griffin both began their five-year terms at the June 2014 board meeting.

Quel honneur

Robert Morrissey, PhD’82, the Benjamin Franklin professor in Romance languages and literatures, received the French Legion of Honor, the country’s highest distinction. Laurent Fabius, the French minister of foreign affairs and international development, presented the award at a ceremony May 11 at the Quadrangle Club hosted by University president Robert J. Zimmer. Morrissey, whose books include The Economy of Glory: From Ancien Régime France to the Fall of Napoleon (University of Chicago Press, 2014), specializes in 18th- and 19th-century French literature, history, and culture.