University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer has appointed Ann Marie Lipinski to the post of Vice President for Civic Engagement, calling on one of the nation's most respected journalists and civic leaders to help create a new model for a major urban university acting in partnership with its city.
Under Lipinski's stewardship as managing editor and editor, the Chicago Tribune became a leader in public service, with Pulitzer Prize-winning projects that freed innocent prisoners from death row, helped revitalize the South Side lakefront and uncovered product defects that endangered children.
A 30-year resident of the city, Lipinski will oversee a broad portfolio that includes the University's engagement in Chicago Public Schools, public safety and the city's bid for the 2016 Olympics. She will help maximize the University's efforts to work with its neighbors, while ensuring that the University takes advantage of its place in a vibrant city to contribute to the powerful educational experience offered to its students.
"The relationship of the University of Chicago to the City of Chicago has great potential to enrich the fundamental research and education mission of the University, while enhancing the quality of life in the city, its economic development, and its global reach," said Zimmer.
"With a strong track record leading one of Chicago's great institutions, Ann Marie is the right person to advance the University's mission as a neighbor, citizen and civic leader," he said.
Lipinski recalled the vision of the University's founding president, William Rainey Harper, who wanted to create a university that would help shape and be shaped by the city and world around it.
"The University of Chicago's standing as a leading citizen of Chicago and the world carries great privileges and great responsibilities," she said. "I am honored to join an institution that is committed to the transformative power of ideas and to connecting its work with its city and beyond. It is an opportunity and a challenge that goes to the heart of what I value."
Lipinski, who also is being appointed as a senior lecturer in the College, will begin work on Oct. 1 and report to Zimmer.
In the newly created role of Vice President for Civic Engagement, Lipinski is charged with providing leadership, coordination and voice in support of an ambitious array of initiatives across the University, in areas such as pre-K-12 education, urban health, social services and programs for children at risk.She also will work to support the numerous research connections between the University and the region, and to foster new ones.
In recent years, the University has launched major initiatives that deepen its involvement with Chicago, in particular Hyde Park and neighboring communities.The Urban Education Institute, announced in June, brings together the University-operated charter schools, teacher training programs and groundbreaking research in order to improve educational outcomes for students in Chicago and beyond.The University's Medical Center is working in partnership with South Side health clinics, hospitals and physicians to strengthen the health care resources available to community members.And faculty in the School of Social Service Administration are collaborating with city officials to better understand and reduce youth gun violence.
In January 2009 Lipinski will become chair of the board of the University of Chicago Charter School, which opened its new Carter G. Woodson campus in the Grand Boulevard neighborhood earlier this month.
Lipinski will directly guide the University's initiatives to create jobs, businesses and economic growth; to promote beneficial real estate development, such as the creation of retail opportunities in Hyde Park and surrounding communities; and to advance cooperation among University and City of Chicago police forces and supporting groups that enhance public safety throughout the area.Over the past 10 years, the University has spent more than $80 million on initiatives to improve the quality of life in the community.
She will be responsible for overseeing the University's multi-faceted relationships with South Side communities, elected officials and community leaders, and developing the University's relationship with the State of Illinois.Among her first duties will be to reach out to neighborhood, community and civic groups as well as local, city and state officials.
"I have spent most of my professional life listening to the residents of Chicago and its communities and I look forward to continuing that conversation on behalf of the University," Lipinski said.
In her new position, Lipinski will work to share the University's innovative models for civic engagement with peer institutions around the nation, and to learn from those universities' efforts. She also will develop the connection between the University's new international efforts and the city's emerging status as a global city.
Lipinski, who has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, began at the Tribune as a summer intern. She rose to become the paper's top news executive, guiding more than 700 employees at the Midwest's top media outlet.
She was one of three Tribune reporters awarded a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting in 1988. As editor, she sharpened the Tribune's public service mission and led the paper to Pulitzers in international reporting, feature writing, explanatory reporting, editorial writing and investigative reporting.
As part of the newspaper's efforts to promote literacy and literature, Lipinski oversaw a series of awards promoting fiction and non-fiction work that underscored Chicago's historic contributions to American letters. As editor, she created the Tribune's Young Adult Book Prize and the Tribune Literary Prize, bringing to Chicago such luminaries as Arthur Miller, August Wilson, Tom Wolfe, Margaret Atwood, Joyce Carol Oates and E.L. Doctorow.
Lipinski and her family have lived in the Kenwood neighborhood for five years. She serves on the boards of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools and the Chicago Children's Choir, along with the Pulitzer Prize Board and other national organizations.