Rubenstein Forum to create vital space for collaboration

Susan Allen
News Officer for Arts and HumanitiesUniversity Communications

The University of Chicago will build an innovative facility designed to foster convening and collaboration and to serve as a physical hub for a broad array of University activities. In recognition of a significant new gift from alumnus and University Trustee David M. Rubenstein, JD’73, the facility will be named the David M. Rubenstein Forum.

This new building, slated for completion in 2018, will host academic conferences, workshops, lectures, meetings, ceremonies and other types of gatherings that entail formal and informal interaction and that benefit from a dynamic, technologically advanced environment. As a hub, it will bring together members of the University community along with visiting scholars, distinguished guests, alumni and others.

“The regular and rigorous exchange of ideas that is a hallmark of the University of Chicago will soon be aided by a much needed physical space in which people from all parts of campus, the broader University community and visitors from around the world may gather, collaborate and interact. By offering new physical capacity for convening and exchange, the David M. Rubenstein Forum will contribute significantly to the University’s character as an intellectual destination,” said President Robert J. Zimmer. “We are deeply grateful for David Rubenstein for his leadership and support.”

With the layout and design of this building, the University aspires to achieve a new standard of environment conducive to effective, creative and functional convening. A process for selecting the building’s architect will be launched by the University this autumn. The location of this new facility will overlook the Midway Plaisance, along 60th Street between Woodlawn and Kimbark avenues.

“Proposing, exchanging and testing ideas is at the heart of our work as scholars,” said Provost Eric D. Isaacs. “The Rubenstein Forum will reaffirm that value in the most practical way, satisfying a growing need and supporting the ambitions of our faculty.”

The naming of the David M. Rubenstein Forum honors not only his new gift, but the donor’s history of generosity and ongoing support to the University. In 2010, Rubenstein made a gift to the Law School to create 60 full-tuition scholarships for outstanding students. In 2013, he renewed the program with a second major gift to the Law School, ensuring that roughly 10 percent of each cohort through the Class of 2019 will benefit from the scholarships. Presently there are 62 Rubenstein Scholars at the Law School and 14 graduated this past June.

The gifts were personal to Rubenstein, who received a full-tuition scholarship to the Law School. Having grown up in a family of modest means, “My scholarship meant that I could tell my parents I wouldn't need any money from them for law school. That meant a lot to me,” Rubenstein said in 2010.

Rubenstein practiced law and served in the administration of President Jimmy Carter before co-founding the Carlyle Group, of which he is currently co-CEO. He joined the University’s Board of Trustees in 2007 and is active in numerous philanthropic causes.

“I am honored to provide support for this project that Bob Zimmer, whom I regard as an extraordinary leader for the University of Chicago, believes will enhance the University's ability to convene scholars and students,” Rubenstein said.

With the Rubenstein Forum, the University’s faculty, students and staff will be able to host on campus many of the conferences and other events presently being held in downtown Chicago. 

Construction is expected to begin in 2016.