For the record
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.