Reflecting on a historic 2022 at UChicago

Year included Nobel Prize winner, two NCAA championships, and honors for UChicago faculty, students and staff

It was a memorable year at the University of Chicago and for members of the UChicago community. In 2022, Prof. Douglas W. Diamond won a Nobel Prize for his groundbreaking economics research; two Maroons sports teams won historic NCAA championships—in tennis and soccer; and Court Theatre won a Tony Award. And this spring, UChicago gathered for the first in-person Convocation celebration in years.

In chronological order, below are some of the highlights from a year of groundbreaking research and initiatives and prestigious honors for students, faculty and staff—all of which made headlines in Chicago and around the globe.

UChicago Medicine to build city’s first freestanding cancer center 

University of Chicago Medicine announced plans in February to build a $633 million, 500,000-square-foot facility dedicated to cancer care on its medical campus—one of the largest investments by the academic health system for patients and the community. The plan for Chicago’s first freestanding clinical cancer center will provide support for residents of Chicago’s South Side, where cancer is the second-leading cause of death for residents and cancer death rates are almost twice the national average. Read more:

UChicago offers support for those affected by war in Ukraine

The University of Chicago announced in March that it would provide full-tuition scholarships and comprehensive support for undergraduate students and scholars affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The initiative included mentoring, a streamlined application process for students, in-person and remote programming at UChicago’s Center in Paris, and increased financial support and other services for current UChicago students and scholars. Read more: 

Remembering pioneering astrophysicist Eugene Parker

Prof. Emeritus Eugene N. Parker, a pioneering astrophysicist whose contributions to solar physics were so enormous that NASA named its Parker Solar Probe mission after him, died in March at age 94. Parker was internationally known for proposing the concept of the solar wind—an idea that was first met with skepticism and even outright ridicule. The theory was later proved to be correct, reshaping our picture of space and the solar system. Read more:

At UChicago event, President Obama talks about dangers of disinformation 

Speaking at a conference on campus in April, former President Barack Obama reminded his audience that we cannot be complacent about the endurance of our institutions and norms. A broad, fact-based consensus, he said, requires work to preserve. Returning to the campus where he once taught, the former president spoke during the keynote conversation at “Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy,” a three-day conference co-hosted by the University’s Institute of Politics and The AtlanticRead more:

Data Science Institute addresses digital disparities 

At UChicago’s inaugural Data Science Institute Summit in May, the Internet Equity Initiative unveiled a new data portal that combines public and private data from 20 cities across the nation. The website makes data accessible to governments, community groups, data scientists and other interested stakeholders seeking to improve internet connectivity to mitigate the “digital divide.” Read more:

Court Theatre wins regional Tony Award 

In May, the University of Chicago’s Court Theatre was announced as the recipient of the 2022 Regional Theatre Tony Award, given each year to one U.S. theater company in recognition of its artistic achievement. The award was presented to Court Theatre at the 75th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York. This year’s Tony Awards also included two UChicago alumni among its nominees: Mikhail Fiksel, for sound design in the play “Dana H.,” and Yi Zhao, for lighting design in the play “The Skin of Our Teeth.” Read more:

Men’s tennis team takes title, a first for the University 

The men’s tennis team made history in May, earning the school’s first NCAA Division III national championship. The Maroons capped their historic season on a 15-match winning streak, finishing with a 22-1 record. “Today’s championship is the culmination of many years of hard work by our current players and those that came before them,” said head coach Jay Tee. The UChicago women’s tennis team finished the season as NCAA runners-up. Read more:

After years apart, UChicago community celebrates Convocation

President Paul Alivisatos joined the Class of 2022 and the University community in his first year-end Convocation—a celebration that followed years of challenges through the pandemic. Alivisatos reflected on the unique characteristics of the University community—one that encourages a path of lifelong learning and discovery—and welcomed graduates as the newest UChicago alumni. “You’ll recognize each other instantly, even if you are generations apart,” said Alivisatos, AB’81. “There’s a way of thinking that will spark connections that will amaze and inspire you, just as it has done for me for more than 40 years.” Read more:

Expansion of quantum network announced 

Scientists with the Chicago Quantum Exchange at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering announced in June that for the first time they had connected the city of Chicago and suburban labs with a quantum network—nearly doubling the length of what was already one of the longest in the country. The Chicago network will become one of the nation’s first publicly available test beds for quantum security technology. Read more:

Inaugural South Side Science Festival draws crowds to campus 

South Side families and science fans of all ages flocked to campus in September for a chance to meet UChicago scientists and marvel at live demonstrations as the University hosted its inaugural South Side Science Festival. The daylong event—co-organized by UChicago’s Physical Sciences Division, Biological Sciences Division and the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering—brought more than 2,500 attendees to UChicago’s science quads. Read more:

Prof. Douglas W. Diamond wins Nobel Prize

Prof. Douglas W. Diamond was awarded the Nobel Prize in October for his pioneering economic research. One of the founders of modern banking theory, Diamond was honored with two others for their research on bank runs and liquidity crises. In December, Diamond gave his Nobel lecture in Stockholm and recounted his groundbreaking work, which changed the way people view banks and laid the path for how central bankers, regulators, policymakers and academics approach modern finance. Read more:

Assoc. Prof. Reuben Jonathan Miller wins MacArthur Fellowship 

Assoc. Prof. Reuben Jonathan Miller, a renowned sociologist who studies mass incarceration and how it shapes people’s lives, was awarded a 2022 MacArthur Fellowship in October. The prestigious fellowship recognizes those who “show exceptional creativity in their work.” Miller joins more than 50 people associated with UChicago to have won a MacArthur Fellowship. Also among the 2022 class was Amanda Williams, Lab’92, a Chicago-based artist and architect. Read more:

UChicago, France’s flagship science organization deepen ties 

The University of Chicago and the French National Center for Scientific Research signed an agreement in November to establish the International Research Center for Fundamental Scientific Discovery, which will bring together the world’s leading researchers to collaborate on answering the biggest questions of our time. The signing by President Paul Alivisatos and CNRS President and CEO Antoine Petit took place during French President Emmanuel Macron’s state visit to Washington, D.C. Read more:

Men’s soccer team, coach win historic championship

UChicago coach Julianne Sitch made history in December as the first woman to lead a men’s soccer team to a national championship. The Maroons’ win in the NCAA final capped an undefeated 22-0-1 season. “These guys have never had a female coach before, and they embraced me as one of their own,” Stitch said. “And for me, that will forever be a grateful moment.” The team doused their coach with Powerade as they ran onto the field to celebrate their victory. The Maroons had advanced to the NCAA Division III semifinals four times previously in its history, but never made it out of the Final Four. Read more:

College student wins Marshall Scholarship

Ricky Holder, a fourth-year student in the College, was named a winner of a prestigious Marshall Scholarship in December. He will attend Oxford University in fall 2023. Holder’s tough childhood spent in foster care and experience being separated from his family fueled his desire to work to reform the foster care system in the United States. “What most don’t understand about the foster care system,” he said, “is that neglect, which often functions as a proxy for poverty, is the primary driver of children into the system, not abuse.” Read more: