Former Tribune editor Lipinski to lead civic engagementBy Steve Kloehn
The University is embarking on an effort to create a new model for an urban research institution acting in partnership with its city, and it has hired one of the nation’s most respected journalists to guide the endeavor.
Ann Marie Lipinski, longtime editor and managing editor of the Chicago Tribune, will begin work Wednesday, Oct. 1, in the newly created post of Vice President for Civic Engagement. President Zimmer announced her appointment earlier this month.
“The relationship of the University of Chicago to the City of Chicago has great potential to enrich the fundamental research and education mission of the University, while enhancing the quality of life in the city, its economic development and its global reach,” said Zimmer.
“With a strong track record leading one of Chicago’s great institutions, Ann Marie is the right person to advance the University’s mission as a neighbor, citizen and civic leader,” he said.
Under Lipinski’s editorial stewardship, the Chicago Tribune became a leader in public service, with Pulitzer Prize-winning projects that freed innocent prisoners from death row, helped revitalize the South Side lakefront and uncovered product defects that endangered children.
A 30-year resident of the city, Lipinski will oversee a broad portfolio that includes the University’s engagement in Chicago Public Schools, public safety and the city’s bid for the 2016 Olympics. She will help maximize the University’s efforts to work with its neighbors, while ensuring that the University takes advantage of its place in a vibrant city to contribute to the powerful educational experience offered to its students. Lipinski also will serve as a senior lecturer in the College.
Lipinski recalled the vision of the University’s founding president, William Rainey Harper, who wanted to create a university that would help shape and be shaped by the city and world around it.
“The University of Chicago’s standing as a leading citizen of Chicago and the world carries great privileges and great responsibilities,” she said. “I am honored to join an institution that is committed to the transformative power of ideas and to connecting its work with its city and beyond. It is an opportunity and a challenge that goes to the heart of what I value.”
Lipinski is charged with providing leadership, coordination and voice in support of an ambitious array of initiatives across the University, in areas such as pre-K-12 education, urban health, social services and programs for children at risk. She also will work to support the numerous research connections between the University and the region, as well as foster new ones.
In recent years, the University has launched major initiatives that deepen its involvement with Chicago, in particular Hyde Park and neighboring communities. The Urban Education Institute, announced in June, brings together the University-operated charter schools, teacher training programs and groundbreaking research in order to improve educational outcomes for students in Chicago and beyond. The University’s Medical Center is working in partnership with South Side health clinics, hospitals and physicians to strengthen the health care resources available to community members. And faculty members in the School of Social Service Administration are collaborating with city officials to better understand and reduce youth gun violence.
In January 2009, Lipinski will become chair of the board of the University Charter School, which opened its new Carter G. Woodson campus in the Grand Boulevard neighborhood earlier this month.
Lipinski will guide the University’s initiatives to create jobs, businesses and economic growth; to promote beneficial real estate development, such as the creation of retail opportunities in Hyde Park and surrounding communities; and to advance cooperation among University and City of Chicago police forces and supporting groups that enhance public safety throughout the area.
She will be responsible for overseeing the University’s multi-faceted relationships with South Side communities, elected officials and community leaders, and developing the University’s relationship with the State of Illinois. Among her first duties will be to reach out to neighborhood, community and civic groups as well as local, city and state officials.
“I have spent most of my professional life listening to the residents of Chicago and its communities, and I look forward to continuing that conversation on behalf of the University,” Lipinski said.
In her new position, Lipinski will work to share the University’s innovative models for civic engagement with peer institutions and to learn from those universities’ efforts. She also will develop the connection between the University’s new international efforts and the city’s emerging status as a global city.
Lipinski was one of three Tribune reporters awarded a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting in 1988. As part of the newspaper’s efforts to promote literacy and literature, she oversaw a series of awards promoting fiction and non-fiction work.
Lipinski earned her B.A. from the University of Michigan and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. She serves on the boards of the Laboratory Schools, the Chicago Children’s Choir and the Pulitzer Prize Board.