Chicago convenes—and continues


Seconds after Edgar Jannotta, chair of the University’s Board of Trustees, announced that the $2 billion Chicago Initiative had passed the halfway point, maroon and white balloons showered the leadership supporters, alumni, and friends who had gathered Friday afternoon in the International House Assembly Hall to mark the accomplishment. At $1,017,097, 261 the two-year-old campaign has received gifts from 77,000 donors, including 43 percent of the University’s alumni body.

After the balloons, participants were showered with faculty-led panels, tours of new campus facilities, classes in the undergraduate College, and a reception at the Oriental Institute. Then came the grand finale: dinner for 500 in a transformed Rockefeller Chapel, where a floor built over the pews created a venue as magical as Harry Potter’s Hogwarts dining hall.

After 107 guests were inducted into the Harper Society Founders Circle, recognizing cumulative gifts of $1 million or more to the University, President Don Randel conferred the University of Chicago Medal on Life Trustee Marion Musser Lloyd, honoring her five decades of leadership and service.

By 9 o’clock Saturday morning, Rockefeller Chapel was taking off its party clothes. Balloons gone, the I-House Assembly Hall had a full house for the keynote address of a student-organized conference, Consolidating Democracy in Mexico. With simultaneous translation available and television cameras rolling, Mexico’s Secretary of the Interior Santiago Creel Miranda discussed election reform and then fielded insistent questions from migrant workers seeking the right to vote in Mexico’s elections from abroad.

It was business as usual at Chicago.


Photography by Dan Dry.

April 26, 2004