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For the record

Economics centerpiece
To make Chicago a primary intellectual destination for economics, the University will establish the Milton Friedman Institute. Named for Friedman, AM’33, a longtime faculty member and 1976 Nobel Prize winner, the center will be a place for Chicago’s economics, business, and law faculty—and scholars from around the world—to share ideas. The institute, to open in 2012, will occupy the Chicago Theological Seminary’s current building. The University will build the seminary a new home, and the Seminary Co-op Bookstore’s owners are exploring options. Protesting the news, 101 faculty members sent President Robert J. Zimmer a letter arguing that a center named after the free-market economist would “reinforce among the public a perception that the university’s faculty lacks intellectual and ideological diversity.”

Lab Schools make major plans
Aided by a $10 million gift from the family of Earl Shapiro, U-High’56, (see “Deaths”) the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools will build a new early-childhood center and renovate existing buildings. The work is part of a master plan in which the 112-year-old school, founded by John Dewey, will increase both student enrollment and financial aid.

The future of medicine
The Board of Trustees has approved architect Rafael Viñoly’s modular design for the University of Chicago Medical Center’s new hospital pavilion, a plan meant to promote collaboration between physicians and researchers and provide flexibility for future renovations. When it opens in 2012, the $700 million, ten-story building will house clinical programs focusing on cancer, gastrointestinal disease, neuroscience, advanced surgery, and high-technology medical imaging. It will span a two-block area, just north of the Comer Children’s Hospital and the Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine.

Urban education expansion
With the help of $63 million in funds from corporations, foundations, and individuals, the Urban Education Institute launched July 1. The center integrates and expands work already being conducted at Chicago—such as studying education issues, preparing teachers, and opening new schools—to improve urban education at the pre-k–12 levels. Timothy Knowles, executive director of the University’s Center for Urban Schools, Communities, and Their Improvement, and a former Boston Public Schools deputy superintendent, heads the project.

New News Office head
Former Chicago Tribune deputy metro editor Steven Kloehn became the U of C News Office director in May. At the Tribune, Kloehn supervised local and state news for Sunday editions and shared daily responsibility for the metro desk. With a degree from Princeton and background as an education, urban affairs, and religion writer, he will serve as a primary University spokesman and provide communications advice to administrators, faculty, and students.

Science selections
The White House named President Robert J. Zimmer and Gary Becker, AM’53, PhD’55, professor in economics and the GSB, to the committee that recommends individuals to receive the National Medal of Science. Becker received the medal in 2000, as well as the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 2007. Zimmer is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Retail revitalization 
As part of a process to revitalize the 53rd Street retail environment, the U of C bought Harper Court from the Harper Court Arts Council for $6.5 million. The shopping center and adjacent parking lot will become a new commercial and retail development. Current Harper Court tenants can remain in place through this year.

Reading room face-lift
The Harper Memorial Library and Stuart Hall reading rooms will be updated to be open to students 24-hours-a-day. The renovations include new lighting, furniture, carpet, and technology. The remodeling will tailor Stuart, built in 1904, for group study and Harper, built in 1912, for individual study. A café and student art gallery, replacing Harper’s circulation desk, will adjoin the rooms. Completion of Harper is scheduled for fall 2009, to coincide with the opening of a new dorm south of the Midway, with Stuart to follow during the 2009–10 academic year.

Fermilab gets $5 million boost
An anonymous donor has given $5 million to the U of C to be used toward future particle-physics programs at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. The funds will help Fermilab scientists further their study of neutrinos and rare particle processes. It also means employees at the cash-strapped facility will no longer have to take unpaid leave.

Dean again
Robert Fefferman has been reappointed dean of the physical-sciences division, effective July 1. In his first five-year term, Fefferman—a research mathematician active in mathematics education outreach for more than 15 years—secured permanent funding for the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics. He also led the planning for the Center for Physical and Computational Sciences, planned to open in 2013, and which will house the astronomy and astrophysics, physics, and computer-science departments, as well as the Kavli, Computation, Enrico Fermi, and James Franck institutes.

NIH awards language research
The National Institutes of Health has awarded the University a $7.7 million, five-year grant to study children’s language development. The project, whose principal investigator is Susan Goldin-Meadow, the Beardsley Ruml distinguished service professor in psychology and the College, is designed to shed light on how early preschool development relates to early reading comprehension and oral-language skills.

Chicago connection
Chicago Studies will officially launch in the 2008–09 academic year. Designed to help undergraduates connect with the city of Chicago, the program, led by Chad Broughton, PhD’01, offers courses, community-service projects, internships, and summer programs. During fall course selection, students can choose from Chicago Studies offerings that span sociology, English, history, film, and anthropology. With support from the University Women’s Board, the College plans to publish an annual book containing AB theses involving Chicago-related research.

Astrophysics adds Fermi researcher
Former University of Washington astronomy and physics professor Craig Hogan has assumed dual roles as Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory’s director of its department of energy and a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Chicago. As part of the High-z Supernova Search Team, he codiscovered dark energy, the force that works against gravity to accelerate the expansion of the universe.

Medical Center goes downtown
The University of Chicago Medical Center plans to open a physicians’ practice just off N. Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Beginning in November, the office will offer specialty services such as preventive heart care and dermatology. The move gives the Medical Center a presence in the city’s Streeterville neighborhood, currently dominated by Northwestern University–affiliated medical care providers.

Latino scholar heads center
Ramón A. Gutiérrez, the Preston & Sterling Morton distinguished service professor in history and the College, begins a three-year term as director of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture. A specialist in Mexican American history, Indian-White relations in the Americas, colonial Latin America, and Mexican immigration, Gutiérrez succeeds Waldo Johnson, associate professor in the School of Social Service Administration.

Geneticist named HHMI investigator
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute named Jonathan Pritchard, professor of human genetics, one of its 56 new investigators. The investigator program employs more than 300 scientists who lead Hughes laboratories at 64 institutions. Since coming to Chicago in 2001, Pritchard has examined the links between genetic variation and human traits. In 2008, the institute received 1,070 applications for its investigator positions.