Richard M. Daley appointed distinguished senior fellow at University of Chicago Harris School

Former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, one of the nation’s most prominent urban leaders, will bring his extensive policymaking experience to the University of Chicago as a distinguished senior fellow at the Harris School of Public Policy Studies.

The five-year appointment, Daley’s first commitment since leaving public office on May 16, will take effect July 1.

Daley will coordinate a guest lecture series that will include a variety of perspectives and approaches concerning the major issues facing cities in the 21st century. The 10 annual guest lectures, beginning with the 2011-12 academic year, will bring policymakers from around the globe to debate critical urban policy challenges, and to help train future policy leaders at Chicago Harris. As Chicago’s longest-serving mayor, Daley will add an important voice to the University’s ongoing conversations about the future of cities.

“The students and faculty at the University of Chicago benefit from a culture of open debate, in which a diverse range of scholarship and practical experiences comes together in the search for knowledge and solutions,” said University President Robert J. Zimmer. “By bringing in urban policy leaders of many perspectives, Mayor Daley will help foster illuminating discussions about how our cities can flourish, and will provide University of Chicago students with valuable educational experience.”

Citing the University of Chicago’s history of vital contributions to Chicago, Daley said he looks forward to engaging with researchers and young leaders who are committed to forming a vision for the future of cities.

“The University of Chicago has been a leader in developing new approaches to address the evolving needs of cities,” Daley said. “I am honored to add my voice and experience to that important work. As I’ve always said, cities that continue to rely on old methods and common practices will almost certainly lose their footing in our growing global economy.”

Daley’s new role will provide students and faculty at the Harris School and across the University with insights on subjects such as urban education, law enforcement, civic planning and economic development, said Harris School Dean Colm O’Muircheartaigh. "There isn’t a policy practitioner out there with more strategic vision and hands-on experience with the ins and outs of running a city today than Richard M. Daley,” O’Muircheartaigh said. “Bringing the country’s most experienced mayor into Chicago Harris enriches our policy school and complements our rigorous scholarship. I am delighted that, as a university embedded in a great city, we are able to benefit from this unique resource.”

First elected mayor of Chicago in 1989, Daley announced last fall that he would not seek re-election after more than 22 years as mayor and nearly 40 years in elected office. As mayor, he has been widely recognized for efforts to help improve Chicago’s public spaces, urban design, educational system, public safety, public libraries and business development. Daley’s tenure in office has influenced scholars and other leaders in defining the role that mayors can play in addressing the problems confronting America’s largest cities. 

Daley’s affiliation with the University of Chicago comes as the University continues broad-based efforts to expand its programs on a range of challenges confronting modern cities.

As part of this effort, the Harris School founded its Urban Policy Initiative in 2009 to foster new research relevant to Chicago and other urban environments around the world, and to train the professionals who will lead these cities. In addition to Daley’s visiting scholar position, the Harris School currently is in the process of hiring five new faculty members to conduct urban-related research.

The Urban Policy Initiative also partners with a number of efforts within disciplines across the campus, such as the Urban Health Initiative, the Crime Lab, the Urban Education Institute, Chicago Booth’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and a new University of Chicago Urban Network dedicated togenerating collaborative social science research. 

“The University of Chicago is committed to engaging with its urban environment, and the participation of the former mayor will greatly enhance its capacity to do so,” said O’Muircheartaigh. “The future of cities will determine the future of civilization; students and faculty across the whole University will have a keen interest in participating in these conversations.”

Following Tuesday's announcement, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel released a statement on Daley's new appointment.

"On behalf of the entire city of Chicago, I congratulate Mayor Daley on his appointment at the University of Chicago's Harris School of Public Policy Studies. I am confident that Mayor Daley will bring to his new role the wisdom, insight and experience of his more than two decades in office. I am thankful that he will be participating in the ongoing dialogue as we all work to make Chicago a safer, stronger city."