University of Chicago

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The University of Chicago
Image:UChicago color shield.gif
Motto Crescat scientia; vita excolatur (Latin)
(Let knowledge grow from more to more; and so be human life enriched)
Established 1890 by John D. Rockefeller
School type Private coeducational
President Don Michael Randel
Location Chicago, Illinois, USA
Campus Urban, 211 acres (850,000 m²)
Enrollment 4,638 undergraduate,
9,102 graduate
Faculty 2,160
Mascot Phoenix
Endowment $4.1 billion
Website www.uchicago.edu

The University of Chicago is a private co-educational university located in Chicago, Illinois. Over a century old, it is renowned for its contributions to teaching and research, and recognized as one of the world's foremost research institutions. Known as the "teacher of teachers", scholars and researchers affiliated with the University of Chicago have earned more Nobel Prizes than any institution except Cambridge University. The academic home of leading intellectuals like Allan Bloom, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, Ronald Coase, Milton Friedman, Richard Posner, and Leo Strauss, the University of Chicago is often considered to be among the most intellectual and rigorous of American universities.

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Location and campus

The University is located eight miles (13 km) south of the Loop in the Chicago neighborhoods of Hyde Park and Woodlawn. The campus is noted for its English Collegiate Gothic architecture (carried out entirely in limestone); the buildings and layout of the Main Quadrangle have been deliberately patterned after Oxford and Cambridge from the founding of the University. Buildings that are more contemporary have attempted to complement the style of the original buildings with mixed success. One of the most striking buildings is the brutalist Regenstein Library. The campus is home to several significant buildings, including Bertram Goodhue's Rockefeller Memorial Chapel (notable for its solid stone construction), the Oriental Institute, and Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House. The campus spans the Midway Plaisance, a large linear public park that was a part of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition and designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. The bulk of the campus, including the main quadrangle and the hospitals, are north of the Midway; several of the professional schools are located south of the Midway.

A recent $2 billion capital campaign has brought unprecedented expansion to the school. The last few years have featured much change on campus: the unveiling of Max Palevsky dormitory (primarily for first year students), the conversion of Bartlett Gym into a dining hall, the opening of the new Ratner Athletic Center (a César Pelli design) and matching parking/office structure, the construction of the new Comer Children's Hospital, the Graduate School of Business' new Hyde Park Center (a Rafael Viñoly building), and an Interdivisional Research Building for sciences. The University has also expanded outside of Hyde Park, opening a new the new Paris Center on the Left Bank (for collegiate study abroad). The University plans to direct the next stage of its “master plan” towards revamping and consolidating dormitories, many of which are far from campus and aging poorly. Plans are being prepared for the construction of a new undergraduate dormitory on land south of the Midway. The Graduate School of Business also maintains campuses in Singapore and London.

History

Image:Kentchi.jpg Image:UChicago gate.jpg Image:Robie House.jpg Image:UChicago Graduate School of Business skylight.jpg Image:UChicago Graduate School of Business interior.jpg The University was founded by John D. Rockefeller (of Standard Oil fame), at the end of a wave of university foundings stretching from the middle of the 19th century until the beginning of the 20th (Washington University in St. Louis, MIT, Vanderbilt, Johns Hopkins, University of Southern California, Stanford, Caltech, Northwestern, Rice University, and Carnegie Mellon also came into being during this time period). Incorporated in 1890, the University has always dated its founding as July 1, 1891, when William Rainey Harper became its first President. Westward migration, population growth, and the industrialization of America led to an increasing need for elite schools away from the East coast - schools whose focus would be on issues vital to national development. Rockefeller’s choice of Chicago – he was urged to build in the New England or the Mid-Atlantic States – demonstrated his outspoken desire to see Thomas Jefferson’s dream of a "natural aristocracy," determined by talent rather than familial heritage, rise to national prominence (he having pulled himself up by the figurative bootstraps). His early fiscal emphasis on the Physics department showed his pragmatic, yet nevertheless intellectually rigorous, desires for the school. Founded under Baptist auspices, the University today lacks a sectarian affiliation. The school's traditions of rigorous scholarship were established by Presidents William Rainey Harper and Robert Maynard Hutchins. Allowing women and minorities to matriculate from its inception, when their access to other leading Universities was an extreme rarity, the University counts among its alumni many prominent pioneers from both groups.

Different from many other universities, the school was first set up around a number of graduate research institutions, following Germanic precedent. The College remained quite small (numerically and in intra-institutional importance) compared to its East coast peers until the middle of the twentieth century. As a result, graduate research and professional programs at the University continue to dwarf undergraduate education by a two-to-one student ratio (its undergraduate student body remains the third smallest amongst top 15 universities, behind historically small Dartmouth and Caltech). Nevertheless, most faculty members have dual appointments to their respective Schools, Divisions or Institutes, as well as to the undergraduate College.

An important event in the development of nuclear energy took place at the university. On December 12, 1942 the world's first self-sustaining nuclear reaction was achieved at Stagg Field on the campus of the university under the direction of Enrico Fermi. A sculpture by Henry Moore marks the location where this reaction took place; the stadium has since been demolished to make way for the Regenstein Library.

Divisions and schools

The University currently maintains twelve units, grouped into divisions for graduate research, professional schools, the undergraduate College, the Library, the Press, the Lab Schools, and the Hospitals.

The Divisions: Biological Sciences, Social Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Humanities,

The Professional Schools: the Divinity School, the University of Chicago Law School, the Graduate School of Business, the Pritzker School of Medicine, the Harris School of Public Policy Studies and the School of Social Service Administration.

The Graham School of General Studies is administrative rather than a formal school within the University, and administers a variety of degree and non-degree extension work for high school students through postgraduates.

The University furthermore features the Laboratory Schools (day care through high school, founded by John Dewey and considered one of the leading preparatory schools in the United States), the Hyde Park Day Schools (ages 6-15, for the learning disabled of otherwise exceptional ability) and the Orthogenic School (a residential treatment program for ages 5-20 with behavioral and emotional problems). The University also administers two public charter schools on the South Side of Chicago, although these schools are not considered a true part of the University community (see also Argonne National Laboratory).

The Princeton Review in 2004 rated the University as having the "Best Overall Educational Experience" for undergraduates among all American universities and colleges (the student-to-faculty ratio of 4:1, ranked the second lowest amongst top 50 American Universities, allows for small class sizes and exceptional faculty interaction).

The University's professional schools also rank highly. The Graduate School of Business is consistently ranked by numerous publications [1] as part of the leading cohort of business schools. Likewise, the Law School ranks 6th (US News) and 2nd (Leiter), having received special accolades for its teaching quality (a distinction not given to other top ranked faculties), while the School of Social Service Administration School ranks 3rd (US News)and 1st (Gourman Report). Moreover, the Divinity School ranks 2nd (National Research Council), with the Pritzker School of Medicine ranking 19th (US News). The Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies ranks 17th (US News).

The University of Chicago Press is the largest university press in the country and publishes The Chicago Manual of Style, the definitive guide to American English usage. The University also operates a number of off-campus scientific research institutions, including membership in the Universities Research Association that opperates Fermilab, or the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, as well as Argonne National Laboratory, part of U.S. Department of Energy's national laboratory system. The University also owns and operates Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wisconsin, the Oriental Institute, and has a stake in Apache Point Observatory in Sunspot, New Mexico. The University is also a founding member of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation.

The economics department is particularly well-known, so much so that an entire school of economics thought ("The Chicago School") bears its name. Characterized by conservative thinkers and Nobel Prize winners like Milton Friedman, George Stigler, Gary Becker and Robert Lucas, the department has played an important part in shaping thought on the efficacy of the free market. Rather infamously, Chicago economists, the "Chicago Boys", assisted Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in planning out his country's finances.

The school is also known for the creation of the first Department of Sociology in the United States, which founded its own Chicago school of sociology. Scholars affiliated with this first school are considered widely important to the field and include Albion Small, George Herbert Mead, Robert E. Park, W. I. Thomas, and Ernest Burgess. The school's sociology program remains among the nation's highest ranked.

Sports and traditions

Image:Anatomy.jpg The school's sports teams are called the Maroons and their athletic colors are maroon and white. [2] They participate in the NCAA's Division III and in the University Athletic Association. At one time the University of Chicago's football teams, the original Monsters of the Midway, were among the best in the country, winning seven Big Ten titles from 1895 to 1939, including a national championship in 1905 while playing at Stagg Field. The University is also the only school ever to be undefeated in football against Notre Dame. In 1935, Chicago's Jay Berwanger was the winner of the first-ever Heisman Trophy. However, the school, a founding member of the Big Ten Conference, de-emphasized varsity athletics in 1939 when it dropped football and withdrew from the league in 1946. It is erroneously claimed that Robert Maynard Hutchins, president at the time, said, "Whenever I feel like exercising, I lie down until the feeling passes." [3] Chicago maintains an affiliation with the Big Ten schools in the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, which is a consortium of the twelve [4] Midwestern research universities.[5]

The school's mascot is the Phoenix, so chosen for two reasons: in honor of Chicago's rebirth after the great fire and also in honor of the previous University of Chicago (whose origins were unrelated to the current), which folded due to financial reasons (thus making this a second and far more glorious incarnation of the University).

One notorious tradition is the annual Scavenger Hunt, a multi-day event in which large teams compete to obtain all the items on a very long list. A resident of the Snell-Hitchcock dormitory created the event in 1987 and Snell-Hitchcock's team has been consistently competitive. So far, each year has also involved a lengthy road trip to find many of these items in obscure parts of the United States, involving treks as far as New Jersey, or as mind-bogglingly obtuse as Zion, Illinois (where students had to "flip the switch at the last city of man," a reference to the city of Zion in The Matrix). While items such as Michael Jordan have not appeared, in 1999 two students actually did build a working nuclear reactor, a device that irradiated thorium with thermal neutrons, thereby producing trace amounts of both uranium and plutonium. A recurring joke in early Hunts was an item signed by "Mike Royko of the Chicago Tribune". Rumor has it that Royko always arranged to be on vacation during the Scavenger Hunt weekend.

A famous former campus tradition was Sleepout, which took place each spring on the weekend before the opening of registration for the next year's classes. The tradition began when students wishing to get into the most popular courses would sleep out on the quads in order to be first in line. Eventually, the queueing was organized with a lottery for places in line taking place 24 hours in advance of registration. Under the presidency of Hugo Sonnenschein, Sleepout was ended in 1993. In 1997 course registration was changed to use an Internet-based system.

The campus paper is the Chicago Maroon, founded in 1892, the same year as the university. It is published every Tuesday and Friday. Notable extracurricular groups include: The University of Chicago College Bowl Team, which has garnered 118 tournament wins and 15 national championships - leading both categories internationally, Model United Nations, which is an often a favorite at national conferences and hosts a large simulation annually, and the Chess Club, who likewise is a national powerhouse and whose ranks have included Masters of varying degrees. The Mock Trial and Parliamentary Debate teams have also fared well at the national level in recent years. WHPK is the student-run community radio station of the university.

Popular among students are University of Chicago t-shirts with various self-deprecatory sayings on them, including: "U of C: Where fun comes to die"; "U of C: Where the end of the world began! (with appropriate mushroom cloud picture)"; "U of C: The level of hell that Dante forgot"; "U of C: Where the squirrels are more aggressive than the guys"; "U of C: Where the squirrels are cuter than the girls"; "U of C: If it were easy, it'd be your mom"; and "U of C: Where the only thing that goes down on you is your GPA"; "U of C: Our Ivory Tower is bigger than yours."

Students, alumni and faculty

Main article: list of University of Chicago alumni

Called the "teacher of teachers", academia is the most popular career choice for its graduates, with one in seven taking an academic appointment (a rate matched by no other University). By its own standard of affiliation (that includes faculty, students, workers at Argonne National Lab, former visiting faculty, any deceased members of the above groups), scholars and researchers affiliated with Chicago have obtained a total of: 79 Nobel Prizes (more than any other university except Cambridge), 26 MacArthur Fellowships, 220 Guggenheim Fellowships, 17 John Bates Clark Medals, 12 Pulitzer Prizes, 3 National Medals of the Arts, 11 National Humanities Medals / Charles Frankel Prizes, 13 National Medals of Science, 6 Fields Medals and an Abel Prize. Chicago undergraduates in the past five years have won: eight Rhodes, five Marshall, three Truman, three Churchill, and two Gates Cambridge Scholarships. Moreover, in 2004, for the 18th consecutive year, University students won more Fulbright-Hays fellowships than any U.S. educational institution, with 23 students (68 percent of applicants) receiving awards. Chicago is also home to the Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, the nation’s oldest prize for undergraduate teaching (founded in 1938), which is highly coveted amongst the faculty. Additionally, Chicago students and faculty have gone on to head several other major academic institutions (i.e. Presidencies, Chancellorships), namely: Stanford University, The University of Oxford, Northwestern University, Yale University, and the University of California.

Among its most widely known current faculty are Gary Becker (economics and sociology), David Bevington (English literature and drama), Ronald Coase (economics), James Cronin (physics), Vladimir Drinfeld (mathematics), Robert Fogel (economics and history), James Heckman (economics), Leon Kass (bioethics and biology), William Landes (law),Steven Levitt (economics), Robert Lucas (economics), Kevin Murphy (economics), Martha Nussbaum (philosophy and law), Barack Obama (law), Richard Posner (law), Cass Sunstein (law), and Michael Turner (astrophysics).

See also

University of Chicago is sometimes confused with the University of Illinois at Chicago, a public university.

External links


University Athletic Association
"The Nerdy Nine"
Brandeis | Carnegie Mellon | Case | Emory
NYU | Chicago | Rochester | Wash. U.
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