Six provosts return on Sept. 21 to celebrate legacy of University’s first provost, Edward H. Levi

The University of Chicago will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the appointment of its first provost, Edward Hirsch Levi, with a day of public lectures and discussion exploring his influence on the University. Six University provosts—Kenneth W. Dam, Norman M. Bradburn, Edward O. Laumann, Geoffrey R. Stone, Richard P. Saller, and Thomas F. Rosenbaum—will take part in the event on Friday Sept. 21 at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts.

Levi, whose historic career later included service as President of the University and as U.S. Attorney General, began his appointment as the first Provost of the University of Chicago in June 1962.

He is remembered for enhancing the fundamental capabilities of the University. As provost, he oversaw the expansion of both the scientific research facilities on campus and the capacity of the library system. In addition to his service as Dean of the Law School, Levi also served for a year as acting Dean of the College. In that role he led a reorganization of the College faculty into five Collegiate Divisions and helped establish the Common Core, which remains a hallmark of American liberal arts education.

Speaking of the University of Chicago, Levi said, “[I]ts greatest service is in its commitment to reason, in its search for basic knowledge, in its mission to preserve and to give continuity to the values of mankind's many cultures.”

The celebration will begin at 9:30 a.m. with a discussion of Levi’s life and work. The morning session will include the following speakers:

  • Dennis J. Hutchinson, Senior Lecturer in Law and the William Rainey Harper Professor in the College, will speak on Levi’s legal scholarship.
  • Larry Kramer, President of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, will trace Levi’s legacy as a teacher and mentor.
  • John W. Boyer, the Martin A. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor in History and the College and Dean of the College, will give a presentation on Levi as a University leader.
  • University Trustee Jack W. Fuller will recount Levi’s years as attorney general. 
  • Geoffrey R. Stone, the Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor in Law, will moderate a discussion following the morning session.

For the afternoon session beginning at 2 p.m., University President Emeritus Hanna H. Gray will lead a panel discussion with all six provosts, focusing on the changing University from 1962 to 2012.

The event is free and open to the public. The Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts is located at 915 E. 60th Street. Guests are encouraged to RSVP by Monday, Sept. 17 at