Prof. Wendy Freedman named speaker for UChicago’s 2022 Convocation celebration

World-renowned cosmologist to deliver address during June 4 ceremony

Prof. Wendy Freedman, one of the world’s leading cosmologists, has been named the speaker for the University of Chicago’s Convocation ceremony, which will be held June 4 on the Main Quadrangles.

Among her scientific achievements, Freedman led the team that made a landmark measurement in 2001 of the Hubble constant—the rate at which the universe is expanding. She also led the initiative to build the Giant Magellan Telescope, which will be one of the world’s three largest optical telescopes, capable of exploring the cosmos with unprecedented clarity and sensitivity.

“It is an honor and a pleasure to address the members of this graduating class, who I know have persevered through extraordinary circumstances to attain their degrees,” said Freedman, the John and Marion Sullivan University Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics and the College. “I am looking forward to marking the achievements of the wonderfully bright, curious and talented scholars of this university, and to celebrate both the journey that lies behind them and the one that is just beginning.”

Freedman’s research is directed at measuring both the current expansion rate of the universe—one of the most hotly contested questions in astrophysics today—and her team recently announced two new measurements of the Hubble constant with different types of stars. She also works to understand the nature of dark energy, which is thought to cause the expansion rate to accelerate.

Freedman is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society, and a fellow of the American Physical Society. She also has been recognized for her contributions to observational cosmology as a recipient of the Magellanic Premium, the Gruber Cosmology Prize, and the Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics, among other awards.

This year’s main Convocation ceremony, the annual “calling together” of the University community, will be held in person on the Main Quadrangles. A weekend of Convocation activities will begin June 3, with the College’s Class Day event, featuring bestselling author Samira Ahmed, AB’93, MAT’93, as the invited speaker.