University's 125th anniversary events to celebrate tradition of inquiry and impact

The University of Chicago will mark the 125th anniversary of its 1890 founding this year with a series of events planned for the fall that will highlight the University’s intellectual contributions and historical achievements across the UChicago community.

The anniversary theme, “125 Years of Inquiry and Impact,” reflects the University’s motto, “Let knowledge grow from more to more; and so be human life enriched.” It also touches upon the founding ideal that the University should be a source of original academic activity that creates a positive impact through rigorous scholarship, creative pursuit and outward engagement.

“Generations of University of Chicago faculty, students, and staff have fostered and sustained a culture of rigorous inquiry in research and education, and generations of alumni, parents, and friends have provided support that has enabled this culture to flourish,” said President Robert J. Zimmer. “The University community continues to ask fundamental questions and expand our collective understanding of the natural, social and human worlds, often in ways that have a measurable impact on the quality of human life.”

“This fall, as we mark our 125th anniversary, we celebrate this tradition of inquiry and impact, the history of intellectual achievement across the University, and the impact of our alumni on the world.”

Earlier today, Dean of the College John W. Boyer, chair of the 125th anniversary faculty advisory committee, sent a message to all University of Chicago faculty, students and staff, noting that the official celebration will begin with Opening Convocation for the College on Sept. 21 and continue on Sept. 22 with Opening Convocation for Graduate Students.

On the evening of Sept. 21, the University community is invited to a “Conversation with an Artist,” featuring maestro Riccardo Muti, music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra’s 125th season begins this fall.

Throughout Autumn Quarter, public events, exhibitions, lectures and other activities will take place around campus, providing a wide range of opportunities to reflect on the University’s intellectual history and evolution. Campus-wide events such as Homecoming and Family Weekend will highlight the anniversary, culminating with the 525th Convocation on Dec. 11.

A highlight of the anniversary year is the publication in September of The University of Chicago: A History, written by Boyer, the Martin A. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor in History.

Two additional books related to University history will be reprinted and released this fall: More than Lore: Reminiscences of Marion Talbot, by Marion Talbot (with foreword by Hanna Holborn Gray), the University’s dean of women from 1895-1925; and A Sister’s Memories: The Life and Work of Grace Abbott from the Writings of Her Sister, Edith Abbott, edited by John Sorenson.

Grace Abbott was a renowned child-welfare advocate and professor of public welfare at the University’s School of Social Service Administration during the 1930s. Edith Abbott, also an important Progressive Era reformer, became the school’s dean in 1924. The University of Chicago Press will publish all three books.

The 125th anniversary marks the University’s founding on July 9, 1890 — the day of the first meeting of the original Board of Trustees. That date is enshrined in the University’s official seal introduced in 1912. The term of inaugural President William Rainey Harper began in 1891, and on Oct. 1, 1892, the University opened its doors to students.

A developing list of planned activities and registration for ongoing email updates can be found on the 125th Anniversary website.