Christian Mitchell named University of Chicago’s vice president for civic engagement

Christian Mitchell, the deputy governor for public safety, energy and infrastructure under Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, has been named the next vice president for civic engagement at the University of Chicago, beginning April 1.

As deputy governor, Mitchell has managed multiple state agencies, including the departments of transportation, military affairs, and innovation and technology, and also was responsible for several complex statewide initiatives, including the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act focused on equity-based renewable energy.

In his new role, Mitchell will be responsible for fostering deep partnerships across the University with the South Side, as well as with the University’s many Chicago-based stakeholders.

President Paul Alivisatos announced Mitchell was named to the role in a Feb. 2 message to members of the University community, calling Mitchell “an uncommon leader who will bring to the role a potent combination of knowledge, experience and energy that will be an invaluable asset” to the University’s civic engagement efforts.

“I am confident that Christian will make important contributions to our collective efforts to strengthen our connections with our neighbors in the surrounding communities and across the broader Chicago region,” Alivisatos said.

Mitchell is a UChicago alum, having received his bachelor’s degree with honors in public policy in 2008 before beginning a career that has spanned community organizing, political advocacy work and public service.

In his message, Alivisatos added: “Under his leadership, the Office of Civic Engagement will deepen the engagement of faculty, students and staff to bring the intellectual, personnel and material resources of the University to bear on some of the most pressing issues facing our communities.”

As vice president for civic engagement, Mitchell will be charged with developing and implementing a new strategic plan for the Office of Civic Engagement that supports Alivisatos’ overarching vision of collaboration to elevate the broader education, healthcare, and economic landscape of the region.

“I am thrilled to return to the University of Chicago,” Mitchell said. “My time at the College was formative for me, and I look forward to working with faculty, students and staff to ensure that the University is a welcoming and inclusive partner on the South Side and is deeply engaged with the opportunities and challenges facing our neighbors and our city." 

A native of Chicago, Mitchell began his career as a community organizer for Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation, served as state representative for Illinois’ 26th district for six years and was interim executive director for the Democratic Party of Illinois. He earned a J.D. from the Loyola University Chicago School of Law in 2019.