U. S. President Barack Obama, whose personal, family and professional ties to the University of Chicago include his 12 years as a Senior Lecturer at the Law School, will receive the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009, the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced Friday morning.
The unexpected news spread across campus as faculty, students and staff gathered to celebrate the University’s 500th Convocation. It capped a week in which alumnus George E. Smith, SM’56, PhD’59, won a Nobel Prize in Physics; and three scholars, including former visiting professor Ada Yonath, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for work done in part at Argonne National Laboratory, which is managed by the University.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee cited Obama’s multilateral approach to international relations in announcing the prize.
“For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world's leading spokesman,” the committee announced. “Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future.”