Game Changer Chicago (GCC) Design Lab is an initiative of the Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Innovation in Sexual and Reproductive Health (Ci3) at the University of Chicago. (University of Chicago News Office)

University news

A search for the roots of knowledge, study abroad in Hong Kong, a survey of campus climate, a prestigious faculty (re)appointment, the University’s Board of Trustees names a new chair, and more.

International investment

College and economics graduate students from schools in Egypt will benefit from a new initiative to help fund their educations. The University’s Onsi Sawiris Scholars Program, established with a $20 million gift from University trustee Nassef Sawiris, AB’82, was announced March 14 at the Egypt Economic Development Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh. Nassef Sawiris, who named the program in his father’s honor, extends the long-standing connections between his native country and the University, which in 1894 became the first in the Western Hemisphere to have an Egyptology department.

Neubauer named trustees chair

Joseph Neubauer, MBA’65, will begin a three-year term as chair of the University’s Board of Trustees after its annual meeting on May 28. Neubauer, the retired chair of Aramark Corporation, has been a trustee since 1992. He succeeds Andrew M. Alper, AB’80, MBA’81, who has served as chair since 2009. Neubauer, also the chair of the University of Chicago Campaign: Inquiry and Impact, called it “a great honor for me to work closely with President Zimmer and my fellow board members during this ambitious period in the University’s distinguished history.”

Residential transition

After the 2015–16 academic year, Blackstone, Breckinridge, Broadview, and Maclean residence halls will no longer house undergraduates. Instead, the students will be among those living in the new Campus North Residence Hall and Dining Commons, which will be home to about 800 undergraduates in eight residential houses when it opens in fall 2016. Unlike the four buildings that will no longer be used, Campus North will accommodate resident masters—senior faculty members who live among students—a tradition dating to the early 1970s that is integral to the intellectual culture of the College.

A home in Hong Kong

Discussions on science, human capital and development, and Chinese cultural history introduced the University of Chicago Center in Hong Kong at an event on March 28. Already home to the Chicago Booth Executive MBA Program in Asia, the center will now host workshops and conferences across disciplines and offer the University’s first undergraduate study abroad program in Hong Kong. Joining centers in Delhi, Beijing, and Paris, the Center in Hong Kong will help students and faculty “build collaborations and institutional connections” during a time of political, social, and economic development in Asia, President Robert J. Zimmer said at the March ceremony.

Polonsky reappointed

Kenneth S. Polonsky has been appointed to a second five-year term as dean of the Biological Sciences Division and the Pritzker School of Medicine and as the University’s executive vice president for medical affairs. “Kenneth has not only been a leader in clinical affairs,” said Provost Eric D. Isaacs, “but also in the quality of our education programs.” Polonsky oversaw the 2013 opening of the Center for Care and Discovery and has recruited new faculty members including John Maunsell as the inaugural director of the Grossman Institute for Neuroscience, Quantitative Biology, and Human Behavior, and Douglas R. Dirschl to lead the newly created Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine.

Knowledge base

What are the historical, social, and intellectual circumstances that give rise to knowledge that shapes the modern world? The Stevanovich Institute on the Formation of Knowledge will address such questions. Named in recognition of a $10 million gift from University trustee Steve G. Stevanovich, AB’85, MBA’90, the institute will include College courses and graduate seminars, drawing on more than 20 faculty members from five academic divisions and schools. Inaugural faculty director Shadi Bartsch-Zimmer, the Helen A. Regenstein Distinguished Service Professor in Classics and the College, noted that UChicago is “a place where discipline-agnostic ‘thinking outside the box’ is encouraged, and the Stevanovich Institute is an expression of that approach to knowledge.”

Survey assesses campus climate

All College, graduate, and professional school students age 18 and over were asked to complete a survey in April to assess the campus climate with regard to sexual misconduct and sexual assault. A committee led by Ronald Thisted, professor in public health sciences, statistics, anesthesia and critical care, and the College, developed the survey, which was administered by NORC at the University of Chicago. A series of reports outlining the results, beginning by the end of the 2015 spring quarter, “will help us to assess awareness and effectiveness of resources already in place, to identify areas in which greater efforts will be most effective, and to understand where we can improve programs and resources that our students can draw on,” Thisted said.

Head of the class

A former Urban Education Institute intern has risen to its highest post. Sara Ray Stoelinga, AB’95, AM’01, PhD’04, has been named the institute’s Sara Liston Spurlark director. She succeeds Timothy Knowles, who was appointed Pritzker Director of the UChicago Urban Labs. Joining UEI’s predecessor in 1995 as an intern, Stoelinga has served in a variety of roles, becoming senior director in 2010. Also a researcher, teacher, and student adviser, she has published on subjects including teacher and principal leadership and teacher effectiveness.

Updated 05.27.2015