Reactions at the University of Chicago to the election of President Barack Obama
This is a historic moment for Chicagoans and the University of Chicago community. We are proud that a family with close ties to the University will occupy the White House. The Obamas have made lasting contributions to the University and to Chicago's South Side, and we are eager to offer our assistance as the President-Elect begins to craft his policy agenda. I also offer my congratulations to the many students, faculty, and staff who were involved in the electoral process by energetically supporting the Obama and McCain campaigns.
Robert J. Zimmer, President of the University of Chicago
Barack Obama will soon have one of the few titles more impressive than the one he had here. I have never seen so many happy students, and such excitement about Election Day. At the University of Chicago Law School, we pride ourselves on analytic coolness, but it is not often that one’s neighbor and colleague is elected to the Presidency of the United States. I think we can be forgiven our excesses this one time. That he is a thoughtful person, an excellent teacher, an inspiring role model, and—most recently—a brilliant political campaigner just adds to the warm glow. We, as a country, have a new opportunity to repair our economic strains, to provide leadership in an interdependent world, and to educate our children; I hope Barack Obama and the entire nation prove up to the task.
Saul Levmore, Dean of the Law School and William B. Graham Professor of Law
It's exciting to have a President from Chicago, with a connection to the school. And it's exciting to see what the next couple of years will be like with such a radically different president.
Sherrick Lewis, fourth-year student in the College
This is a potentially transformational moment in terms of how the world sees this nation. It’s also a symbol of immense importance to African Americans and to people of color more generally …
Michael Dawson, John D. MacArthur Distinguished Service Professor in Political Science
From the open and robust debates he generated in every class to the many more informal displays of his tenacious mind and incisive wit, it was a great privilege to have had Barack Obama with us for 12 years. We wish him well.
Douglas Baird, Harry A. Bigelow Distinguished Service Professor of Law and former Dean who recruited Barack Obama to the Law School
It’s the most dynamic and important election in my lifetime. I never thought we’d have a chance to see an African-American president. We desperately need Obama.
John Felkner, Lecturer in Economics, and Resident Head at Shoreland Hall
I feel great. It's exciting to be at the place that was part of his rise.
Susie Allen, fourth-year student in the College
Barack Obama is the product of many influences, one of which is undoubtedly the many years he spent at the University of Chicago. As a teacher and colleague, he was always curious, probing, open-minded, and rigorous. Those are good qualities for a President, and we are very proud that he honed and reinforced them here at the University of Chicago Law School.
Geoffrey R. Stone, Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor of Law
The Obama administration will be good for children. He and Michelle have been powerful advocates for early-childhood education, for improving the quality of teaching and leadership, and for increasing opportunities for all Americans to attend college. I expect more sensible, elegant education policy to emerge from Washington, at last.
Timothy Knowles, Lewis-Sebring Director of the Urban Education Institute
Even if he doesn’t bring about change, I think he has the right spirit. And he gives more hope that things might change.
Alex Zhao, first-year student in the College
America has made a very strong statement that it can see beyond color.
Rabbi Yossi Brackman, Chabad House
At the Law School we have known for a long time what the nation saw over the last several months—that Barack Obama is both amazingly gifted and a deeply human person. We are very fortunate to have him as our President at this time in our history.
David Strauss, Gerald Ratner Distinguished Service Professor of Law
Nobody gives me a hard time about my political views. We get along fine. If anything I welcome the discourse, and I welcome a little bit of the controversy … I respect the people’s vote. I promised [my roommate] I’d put up an Obama poster if he wins.
Joseph “Tex” Dozier, third-year student in the College and director of campus operations for College Republicans
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