Looking back at 2023 at UChicago

Year included historic gifts and anniversaries, impactful partnerships, groundbreaking research and initiatives

2023 was a memorable year at the University of Chicago. The University announced new partnerships and initiatives in areas ranging from free expression to biomedical research; celebrated awards and recognition for faculty and alumni; achieved breakthroughs in multiple fields of scholarship; and thanked John Boyer for three decades of service as the dean of the College before welcomoing new Dean Melina Hale to the position. 

Take a look back chronologically at some of the notable stories from the past year:

Katherine Baicker appointed Provost

In January, Katherine Baicker was appointed the 15th provost of the University of Chicago. The Emmett Dedmon Professor and former dean of the Harris School of Public Policy, Baicker was hailed by President Paul Alivisatos “as a curator, champion and defender of academic excellence across the University.” Learn more about Provost Baicker.

UChicago to partner on CZI biomedical research hub

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative announced in March that it would launch a new biomedical research hub in Chicago that will bring together the University of Chicago, Northwestern University and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, with the goal of solving grand challenges in science. Read more about the Chan Zuckerberg partnership.

$100 million gift celebrates Chicago Booth’s 100th anniversary

The University of Chicago Booth School of Business announced in April that entrepreneur and philanthropist Ross Stevens, PhD’96, made a $100 million gift to the school in support of its Ph.D. program. In recognition, it was renamed the Stevens Doctoral Program. Learn more about the Stevens Doctoral Program.

Oriental Institute changes name to ISAC

In April, the world-renowned Oriental Institute changed its name to the Institute for the Study of Ancient Cultures, West Asia & North Africa (ISAC). Officials said the name change was the result of the institute’s work in recent years to better reflect the geographic focus of its research and scholarship. Read more about ISAC’s mission.

Global partnerships with IBM, Google advance quantum computing

During May’s G7 Summit in Japan, UChicago formalized two groundbreaking agreements to transform quantum computing. The first was a $100 million plan for UChicago, IBM and the University of Tokyo to develop a quantum-centric supercomputer; the second was a $50 million investment from Google to work with UChicago and the University of Tokyo on developing a fault-tolerant quantum computer and to train the quantum workforce. Learn more about UChicago’s groundbreaking quantum research.

Field-defining and Nobel Prize-winning economist dies

Robert E. Lucas Jr., a world-renowned economist whose revolutionary theories transformed the field of macroeconomics and our understanding of economic policy, died in May at age 85. Lucas, AB’59, PhD’64, won the Nobel Prize in 1995 for developing the hypothesis of rational expectations, which holds that people make economic choices based on their previous experiences and future expectations. Read more about the impact of Robert E. Lucas Jr..

Logan Center celebrates its 10th anniversary

In May, the Logan Center for the Arts celebrated a decade of “creative possibilities” at a daylong “birthday bash” with the community. Local partners, artists, staff and students explored the Logan Center building; saw and made art; and shared their memories and experiences of the Logan Center. Read more about the Logan Center’s “birthday bash.”

Remembering the historic impact of Robert J. Zimmer

Robert J. Zimmer, UChicago’s 13th president and chancellor emeritus, passed away in May at age 75. During his 15-year tenure as president, Zimmer made historic contributions to enhance UChicago’s eminence and was globally recognized as one of the nation’s leading figures in higher education—both for his leadership and his advocacy of free expression as a defining priority of universities. A UChicago memorial service in October remembered Zimmer’s legacy.

Honoring John W. Boyer’s three-decade tenure as College dean

John W. Boyer, who transformed the College and became a beloved figure during his 31-year tenure as dean, transitioned to a new role at UChicago in July. Under Boyer’s leadership, undergraduate enrollment doubled, a UChicago education became more accessible, the Core curriculum was strengthened and opportunities to study abroad were expanded. Read more about John W. Boyer’s impact on UChicago.

New dean of the College takes office

Melina Hale began her tenure as dean of the College in July. Hale, PhD’98, who was appointed to the role in April, previously served as the William Rainey Harper Professor in the Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy and the College and as a vice provost of the University. UChicago leaders said Hale would “steward the College’s distinctive legacy and champion its promising future.” Learn more about Dean Hale and her vision for the College.

New cancer center breaks ground

In September, the University of Chicago Medicine broke ground on its $815 million project to build the state’s first standalone structure dedicated to cancer care and research. The event was attended by city, state and University leaders, who recognized the new facility’s potential to build upon the UChicago’s decades of work and leadership in cancer research. Learn more about the new cancer center.

Researchers develop vaccine that could reverse autoimmune diseases

In a study published in September, researchers at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering developed a new type of “inverse vaccine” that was shown it could reverse autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes in lab tests—all without shutting down the rest of the immune system. Learn more about vaccine research from PME.

Forum for Free Inquiry and Expression launches

The University of Chicago launched its new Forum for Free Inquiry and Expression in October with a two-day event filled with discussions with experts and leading thinkers on wide-ranging topics. President Paul Alivisatos said the Chicago Forum would be “a site for the genuine, never-ending struggle” to seek truth and provoke thought and the sharing of ideas.

$150 million gift supports professorships at UChicago

Alumni Amy Wallman, MBA’75, and Trustee Richard Wallman, MBA’74, made a $75 million commitment in October to help support UChicago faculty and accelerate impactful scholarship across the University. The gift also launched a fundraising challenge aimed at raising another $75 million to create 30 new endowed professorships across the divisions and schools of the University. Learn more about the gift and fundraising challenge.

UChicago statistician awarded MacArthur Fellowship

Prof. Rina Foygel Barber, a statistician known for her work in quantifying uncertainty, was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in October. The Foundation recognized Barber for her innovative work, which they said was “critical to overcoming the challenges presented by use of high-dimensional datasets.” Learn more about Barber’s innovative research.

Two alumni honored with Nobels

In October, two UChicago alumni were honored with Nobel Prizes. Moungi Bawendi, PhD’98, shared the chemistry prize for his pioneering research on tiny particles known as quantum dots; and economist Claudia Goldin, AM’69, PhD’72, was honored for her groundbreaking research on examining the labor market, including the gender wage gap.

Anniversaries for Hong Kong campus, Chicago Booth

UChicago commemorated the five-year anniversary of The Hong Kong Jockey Club University of Chicago Academic Complex–The University of Chicago Francis and Rose Yuen Campus in Hong Kong during an event in October that highlighted academic scholarship and celebrated the 125th anniversary of the Booth School of Business. Read more about the anniversary events.

UChicago Library expands access for banned books

Amid controversial efforts nationwide to ban books, UChicago announced that it was expanding access to banned books for researchers and members of the public. At an October event at the UChicago Library, state and University officials discussed the effort to collect more than 1,500 books banned in the U.S., make them broadly available. Learn more about the Library’s efforts.

College student named Marshall Scholar

In December, it was announced that fourth-year College student Ethan Ostrow received the prestigious Marshall Scholarship. Ostrow will study next year at the University of Oxford, where he will advance his work on incarceration reform by pursuing a graduate degree in socio-legal studies. Learn more about Ethan Ostrow.