April 17, 2003 – Vol. 22 No. 14

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    After a successful kick-off year, ‘Chicago Convenes’ to celebrate

    By Peter Schuler
    News Office

    [Randel, Photo by: Dan Dry]
    President Randel addresses guests at the Chicago Convenes celebration.
    At the one-year mark of the Chicago Initiative, the University’s $2 billion, five-year capital campaign, Ned Jannotta, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, and President Randel invited its most important volunteers, donors and friends to Chicago Convenes, a celebration of the University’s intellectual vitality.

    Held at Ida Noyes Hall Thursday, April 10, with Provost Richard Saller in the role of master of ceremonies, the gathering was a reprise of a concept first offered at the 2002 April launch of the Chicago Initiative.

    Scholars from across the campus shared their current research in a series of panel discussions presented to University Trustees, Visiting Committee members, major donors, and other alumni and friends. Chicago Convenes, which included tours of Special Collections exhibitions at the Joseph Regenstein Library, the Gerald Ratner Athletics Center (currently under construction), and the David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art, has been warmly received and will return annually.

    “It’s an opportunity to share with Trustees and others who care deeply about the University some of our most exciting current work and our plans for the future,” said Jack Cowan, Professor in Mathematics and Neurology and the College, who discussed his work in a presentation titled “Brain Waves: How We Interpret Sensory Data.”

    Other panel discussion topics included “The Multiple Nature of Creativity,” “The Politics of Difference,” “The Aims of Education: What, How, and Why We Teach,” and “Code Orange: Responding to Terrorism.” Faculty members from all four of the University’s divisions participated in the presentations.

    [Ratner, Photo by: Dan Dry]
    The Chicago Convenes celebration offered guests of the event a chance to hear University professors describe their research in a series of panels, such as the one being conducted by (left to right) Professor George Chauncey, Professor Cathy Cohen, Assistant Professor Cynthia Pickett and Professor Kenneth Warren. Tours also were part of the day’s events, and Gerald Ratner (A.B., ’35; J.D., ’37), enjoyed viewing the progress on the building that will carry his name, the Gerald Ratner Athletics Center.[Speakers]
    Another panel member, Philip Ulinski, Professor in Organismal Biology & Anatomy and Chairman of the Committee on Computational Neuroscience, noted that the range of expertise and subjects reflected the highly interdisciplinary spirit evident among scholars and researchers in every field that is pursued at the University. “The Committee on Computational Neuroscience is a perfect example,” he said. “We have 30 faculty members from 12 departments representing all four graduate divisions. And we are reaching out to other institutions with strengths that complement our own. The committee’s work will provide ongoing support to both graduate and undergraduate programs in numerous disciplines,” said Ulinski.

    Following the afternoon of panel discussions, President Randel addressed the Chicago Convenes guests at a reception and dinner in Hutchinson Commons.

    On Wednesday, April 9, Richard Saller, Provost, Randy Holgate, Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations, and Steve Klass, Vice President and Dean of Students in the University, informed undergraduates about the goals and progress of the Chicago Initiative.

    The event was marked by the unveiling of a photomural that features more than 150 images of students in the College and celebrates students’ impact on the University. Members of the Student Steering Committee of the Chicago Initiative and the Office of Development and Alumni Relations created the “Chicago Initiative: the Future of Ideas” photomural.

    The Chicago Initiative has reached $856 million toward its $2 billion goal. The undertaking has been strongly supported by the entire University community, including students in the College.