April 11, 2002
Vol. 21 No. 13

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    University to kick off Chicago Initiative Friday

    The University will kick off the Chicago Initiative, its five-year capital campaign, Friday, April 12, at a daylong event for the Board of Trustees, visiting committee members, and more than 500 alumni and friends.

    The Board is expected to approve and announce at the event a campaign goal that will make the Chicago Initiative by far the largest fund-raising campaign in the University’s history and one of the largest ever by any university.

    During the past three years, members of the Board’s Chicago Initiative Steering Committee worked toward securing campaign leadership gifts. As of Monday, April 1, early supporters have committed $646 million to the University during the campaign’s quiet phase.

    During this new, public phase, the University will ask alumni, parents, friends and other donors to support critical priorities, including the ability to recruit and retain the finest scholars, teachers and researchers to maintain the University’s pre-eminence as one of the world’s great teaching and research institutions.

    A University-wide effort, the Chicago Initiative’s priorities were determined and set by the University’s Board of Trustees, officers and deans of the divisions and professional schools. The initiative’s success will significantly enhance the University’s ability to provide need-blind undergraduate and graduate financial aid; increase critical funding for faculty positions and research, including endowments for more than 35 full professorships and other essential faculty support; expand cornerstone programs in the humanities and social sciences; add new resources to programs in the natural sciences, medicine and computation; extend support for the professional programs in business, law, public policy and social service; and finance major facilities projects that are part of the University’s Campus Master Plan, with particular emphasis on the Interdivisional Research Building and the new Graduate School of Business campus, as well as facilities for the creative and performing arts.

    Though the University has increased its endowment three-fold during the past eight years, institutions with which Chicago competes academically have on average 250 percent more in annual endowment payout to provide faculty with necessary resources, including libraries, salaries, research support and competitive laboratories. The Chicago Initiative is designed to address that.

    The lead facility in the initiative is the Interdisciplinary Research Building, which will dramatically enhance collaboration among researchers in the biological and physical sciences to focus on complex, high-impact projects. The $200 million IRB will provide 425,000 square feet of research space and offices and laboratories for approximately 80 senior scientists and 700 investigators and students.

    The new Graduate School of Business campus is designed to encourage discussion, debate and creative collaboration. The $125 million, 400,000-square-foot complex will consolidate the GSB community and its activities, which now are scattered across the campus.

    New facilities for the creative and performing arts will promote exchange in artistic disciplines, including visual and performing arts, music and theater.

    The new Gerald Ratner Athletics Center will meet the University’s increasing demand for intramural, club and varsity sports, as well as personal fitness and recreational activities.