Old-school ties

Solemnly dressed and grazing on grilled kebabs and bite-sized eggrolls, University faculty members gathered at the Reynolds Club Wednesday evening to bid farewell to outgoing President Don Randel and present him with a gift: a framed drawing from architect Bertrand Goldberg’s plans for a never-built ABC tower in New York. Goldberg’s son Geoff, AB'77—who recalled his father as a friend to the University and the parent of two graduates—unveiled the drawing before a grinning Randel. “Everybody knows I’m an architecture junkie.”

Sociology professor Andrew Abbott, AM’75, PhD’82, who helped organize the event, recounted a few Randel-era triumphs—an invigorated Graduate School of Business and Biological Sciences Division, a strong bid to retain Argonne National Laboratory, new community ties, and a journey through the “wilderness of an arduous development campaign ... now within full sight of the promised land”—but most of the talk was about Randel’s administrative aplomb. Jim Chandler, AM’72, PhD’78, English professor and Franke Institute director, recalled that in the “scores” of times he’d heard Randel speak, he’d never seen him refer to any notes. “And never have I seen him stumble or lapse into cliché—well, almost never,” he said. “Who but a jazz musician could cultivate” those improvisational talents? Philosophy professor Ted Cohen, AB’62, played clips of Randel’s performances in Quadrangle Club faculty and staff Revels skits. “It is a shame and a waste,” Cohen said, “now that he has mastered the Chicago song on the flugelhorn, that he will move to New York. … If you can’t get a gig in New York—or even if you can—you are always welcome to come back and play with us.”

Offering thanks, Randel reprised a few favorite lines, declaring Chicago “the greatest university in this or any neighboring galaxy,” and insisting he’d be in touch from time to time. “I have a professor emeritus ID card, and I have investigated thoroughly the benefits that accrue to such a person,” he said. “Thank you for your friendship.”


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Photos (left to right): Randel, University CFO and VP for Administration Donald Reaves, and Kenneth Warren, English professor and deputy provost for research and minority issues, laugh along with the speakers; self-professed “architecture junkie” with his new Bertrand Goldberg drawing; Randel and Andrew Abbott.

Photos by Dan Dry

May 26, 2006