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OCTOBER 2003
Volume 96, Issue 1
 
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Affirmative action reminds me of a cheap magic act...

Get chip off Chicago’s shoulder
I am a graduate of the College, from a family of Chicago graduates. My sister, brother, and first cousin graduated from the College, and my brother-in-law from the College and the Business School.

Having said that, I am constantly annoyed by the attitude at Chicago that it is necessary, or at least acceptable, to put down other top universities, especially Ivy League schools, and especially Harvard. Several years ago I heard College Dean John Boyer speak at a gathering of my class in New York in which he talked about how much better Chicago is than Harvard. Now, in a letter from the University seeking money, he mentions a Chicago parent who believes that his child’s education at Chicago is better than the one the parent received at a prominent Ivy League institution (are there any Ivy League institutions that aren’t prominent?).

Boyer is not the only Chicago faculty member I’ve heard express such views. My point isn’t that, in some ways, Chicago is not better than other top universities. However, other universities are, in some ways, better than Chicago. Friends who went to Harvard and Williams and Stanford and Yale were hardly deprived in their educations, and one thing I can state with near certainty: they didn’t hear their faculty members put down Chicago.

Chicago, as great as it is, has a huge chip on its shoulder, and it is time to lose it. It doesn’t behoove the University to attempt to build itself up by making subtle or not-so-subtle digs at other top institutions.

We are fortunate in the United States to have so many top educational institutions, and Chicago should be content to know that it is firmly situated among them.

Mark Winston, AB’80
Bronxville, New York


The University of Chicago Magazine welcomes letters on its contents or on topics related to the University. Letters must be signed and may be edited for space and clarity. We ask readers to keep correspondence to 300 words or less. Write:

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