IMAGE:  October 2004
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Calling attention to Chicago
With two major University facilities—the Chicago GSB Hyde Park Center and Comer Children’s Hospital—opening this fall, the University has launched a publicity push to celebrate the buildings, the people who work in them, and the ideas they produce. “We’re calling attention to the important work being done at Chicago,” says Vice President for University Relations Michael Behnke, “in a number of ways,” including a series of ads, National Public Radio sponsorships, a video presentation featuring President Randel, and a November 4 faculty forum on the next generation of ideas.

Doniger named religion director
The Martin Marty Center, formerly the Institute for the Advanced Study of Religion, named Wendy Doniger its new director. Doniger, the Mircea Eliade distinguished service professor, plans to continue the center’s focus on U.S. religious and public life.

Lab Schools aid Iraqi children
Last spring University of Chicago Lab Schools students launched the nation’s second-largest “Operation Iraqi Children” program. Students, teachers, and parents collected enough donations to purchase 324 school-supplies kits and ten boxes of sports equipment, shipped July 15. Soldiers distributed the supplies to Iraqi children.

Down with disease
A new U of C bioinformatics center will create a computer database to help scientists identify and exploit deadly microorganisms’ weak spots. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases awarded $18 million for the center, to be run by the University’s and Argonne National Laboratory’s Computation Center as well as the nonprofit Fellowship for Interpretation of Genomes.

Masted wonder
Noted for its cable-held roofs and open, airy architecture, the Gerald Ratner Athletics Center was cited for excellence in engineering and design by the American Council of Engineering Companies, the American Institute of Steel Construction, and the Consulting Engineers Council of Illinois (CECI). The towering, concrete-filled masts have, CECI said, opened “a new classification of masted structures in the United States.”

Women’s Board names chair
Katharine Bensen, AB’80, has been elected to a three-year term to chair the University’s Women’s Board. Bensen, a lawyer, joined the board in 1995 and will preside over 18 projects and programs this academic year. Alumni Board of Governors president in 2000–02, she was a driving force behind the Alumni House that opened October 2003.

Becker retires economics column
After 218 columns, Chicago economics professor and 1992 Nobel laureate Gary S. Becker, AM’53, PhD’55, has written his last “Economic Viewpoint” for Business Week. The July 12 farewell, “A 19-Year Dialogue on The Power of Incentives,” echoed Becker’s central theme that market incentives, not government regulation, produce the best social and economic results.

New department, new chair
University professor Olaf Schneewind began his appointment as chair of the Department of Microbiology July 1. Microbiology previously fell under the Committee on Virology and the Department of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology. Schneewind, who in 2003 became principal investigator of the Great Lakes Regional Center of Excellence for Biodefense, heads a research program examining how pathogenic bacteria cause human diseases.

Can money cure depression?
Three University psychiatry assistant professors received a combined $180,000 from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression. Jackie K. Gollan, Chunyu Liu, and Benjamin W. Van Voorhees won the 2004 Young Investigator awards. Their projects research depression’s neuroendocrinology, genetics, and treatment.

The science of art appreciation
With the aid of two new grants, the University’s Cultural Policy Center will map the audience demographics of Chicago-area artistic events to determine participation barriers. The Joyce Foundation gave the center a $128,634 grant, while the Wallace Foundation granted $340,000, to continue researching cultural influences on the arts.

Landmarking Rockefeller
The Commission on Chicago Landmarks added its recommendation to the University’s proposed landmark designation of Rockefeller Memorial Chapel. Recognized by the commission’s report as an “outstanding ecclesiastical building designed in the late Gothic revival style, based on the cathedrals of medieval England,” Rockefeller celebrated its 75th anniversary last year.

Praise for Press editor
The Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction, an international social-science professional organization, selected Doug Mitchell, AB’65, for the George Herbert Mead Award for Lifetime Achievement. Mitchell, executive editor of the University of Chicago Press, is the first scholarly editor to receive the recognition, which usually goes to researchers.

Head bookworm passes title
After 24 years overseeing advancements such as the University Library’s digitization and Crerar’s construction, Library Director Martin Runkle, AM’73, stepped down October 1. Associate director Judith Nadler, who has secured notable endowments and special funds to build the Library’s Judaica Collection, succeeded Runkle.


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