Looking back at 2018

Year included historic NASA mission, new homes for impact

In 2018, the University of Chicago celebrated field-defining research and hosted global leaders, launched a new program for emerging leaders and opened new homes for collaboration on the South Side and in Hong Kong. Below are some of the highlights from a year of pioneering scholarship, distinct educational experiences, and impact at home and around the globe.

Students engage with world leaders

This past year UChicago students with an interest in public service had unique opportunities to interact with global leaders—from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in February to former President Bill Clinton in October—through events hosted by UChicago’s Institute of Politics and the Clinton Global Initiative University meeting held at the University. Students also led a voter engagement initiative called UChiVotes, which boosted on-campus registration of students to 80 percent.

Two UChicago mathematicians awarded one of field’s top prizes

In February, Profs. Alexander Beilinson and Vladimir Drinfeld were awarded the prestigious Wolf Prize for Mathematics “for their groundbreaking work in algebraic geometry, representation theory and mathematical physics.” Several mathematical techniques and conjectures bear their names, including the Beilinson Conjectures, cited as a guiding influence in number theory and algebraic geometry; and the Drinfeld module, which Drinfeld used in 1974 to prove parts of the Langlands program.

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UChicago, Obama Foundation announce program for emerging leaders

The Obama Foundation and the University of Chicago on Feb. 28 announced the Obama Foundation Scholars Program, a new program at the Harris School of Public Policy to support the next generation of leaders making an impact on issues in their communities and around the world. In August, UChicago welcomed the first class of 25 scholars, who come from Asia, Africa, Latin America, South Asia, the Middle East and Europe, for the yearlong immersive program. Scholars pursue a master’s degree with an emphasis on international development and policy, and they engage with the local community in a range of leadership activities outside the classroom.

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UChicago launches test-optional admissions process

The University of Chicago on June 14 launched the UChicago Empower Initiative, a test-optional admissions process to enhance the accessibility of its undergraduate College for first-generation and low-income students. The first top-ranked college to institute a test-optional policy, along with increased financial aid and programmatic resources, UChicago will enable more students to pursue higher education, regardless of background, geographic location or ability to pay.

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Ninety-year-old receives bachelor’s degree—74 years after leaving College

When June Gordon Marks Patinkin received her bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Chicago in June, she was the only student to have five grandchildren there to celebrate. Patinkin, who turned 90 last year, arrived at UChicago as a 16-year-old student, taking college classes with some of the era’s most illustrious scholars. But before graduating, she left school to work for the Marshall Plan, the ambitious American effort to rebuild postwar Europe. When she received her diploma on June 9, she became the oldest graduate of the College on record.

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NASA mission named after pioneering UChicago scientist lifts off

On Aug. 12, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe blasted off on its mission to explore the sun. The mission was named after University of Chicago Prof. Emeritus Eugene Parker, who radically changed scientists’ understanding of the solar system with his 1958 proposal of the “solar wind.” It is the fifth NASA mission named after a UChicago scientist and the first named for a living person. Parker was on hand to watch the probe take off.

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Economist Paul Romer, SB’77, PhD’83, wins share of Nobel Prize

Paul Romer, a University of Chicago alumnus and former faculty member, was on Oct. 8 awarded the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2018 “for integrating technological innovation into long-run macroeconomic analysis.” Romer, SB’77, PhD’83, is among the 91 scholars associated with the University of Chicago to receive Nobel Prizes, and among the 30 who have been honored for work in economics.

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$1 million prize honors Martha Nussbaum’s field-defining work

Prof. Martha C. Nussbaum on Oct. 30 was named the winner of the 2018 Berggruen Prize for Philosophy & Culture, a $1 million award given annually to thinkers whose ideas have profoundly shaped human self-understanding and advancement in a rapidly changing world. One of the world’s leading public philosophers, Nussbaum was selected from more than 500 nominees, which included some of the world’s most renowned thinkers in fields including sociology, global justice, animal rights and bioethics.

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Field-defining research in quantum technology

Scientists at UChicago this year continued to shape the vast new field of quantum technology—from plans to build the first practical quantum computer to an unhackable communications network. On Oct 30, the University announced that the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was joining the Chicago Quantum Exchange, a collaboration that includes UChicago and Argonne National Laboratory and Fermilab. UChicago then hosted a national quantum summit that included research leaders from government and industry, including IBM and Google.

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Artists celebrate new home at Green Line Arts Center

The University of Chicago on Nov. 10 celebrated the opening of the Green Line Performing Arts Center, a vital new theater venue and rehearsal space to support the arts across Chicago’s South Side. The center establishes a new professional theater space on the South Side, providing support to performing artists and theater ensembles, along with programming to train residents with interests in theater design and production.

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University of Chicago opens Hong Kong campus

The University of Chicago on Nov. 30 officially opened The Hong Kong Jockey Club University of Chicago Academic Complex | The University of Chicago Francis and Rose Yuen Campus in Hong Kong. A regional hub for ambitious research, education and collaboration, the new location is an important addition to the University’s international presence and engagement, expanding its intellectual contributions and academic collaborations in Hong Kong, China and Asia while bringing new opportunities for community partnerships and social impact.

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Rhodes, Marshall scholarships spark opportunities for students

Three UChicago students have earned prestigious Marshall and Rhodes scholarships to pursue graduate studies in the United Kingdom next fall. Fourth-year in the College Sarah Nakasone and Law School student Christopher Crum received Marshall Scholarships to pursue graduate studies in the United Kingdom, while Law School student Yali Peng, LLM’17, won a Rhodes Scholarship to study at the University of Oxford.

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