The faces behind the gifts

The Graduate School of Business Rothman Winter Garden looked more swank lounge than study/social area Friday. Bright red and orange tables, bar stools, curved sofas, and ottoman seats decorated the light-infused space during a late-afternoon reception at the fifth annual Chicago Convenes, a day to thank University friends and supporters who have contributed to the Chicago Initiative's progress. At the reception President Robert Zimmer and GSB Dean Ted Snyder, AM’78, PhD’84, made the second big announcement of the day: the business school's Hyde Park Center had been given a naming gift. Charles M. Harper, MBA’50, former head of ConAgra Foods and RJR Nabisco, had made one of the largest cash donations in the school's history, and the 2004, Rafael Viñoly-designed building would now be known as the Charles M. Harper Center.

As a Chicago student, Harper said, he "learned about the power of markets, the power of people, and the difference between responsibility and accountability." He thanked Zimmer, Snyder, and other GSB staff members he'd met in recent weeks for helping to make the naming gift happen—a gift whose amount Harper prefers not to disclose. As of Friday, noted Chicago Initiative chair Andy Alper, AB’80, MBA’81, the University’s capital campaign, officially launched in 2002, had raised $1.84 billion, with more than 95,000 friends and alumni contributing.

Earlier in the day Zimmer had announced more big news. At the opening ceremony in Max Palevsky Cinema he greeted guests with the announcement that a new campus arts center had also received a naming gift. Art enthusiasts and philanthropists David, AB’39, JD’41, and Reva, X’43, Logan and their sons and grandchildren had given $35 million for the Reva and David Logan Center for Performing Arts, expected to open in 2011.

During the afternoon Convenes participants chose faculty panels and classes to attend, including sessions on the Federalist Papers, computational science, and China, and a tour of Chicago’s Donoghue Charter School. That evening, continuing a Convenes tradition, more than 400 guests dined in a dramatic spot: in Rockefeller Chapel, at tables placed on a temporary platform covering the pews. Before dinner 21 individuals and organizations were inducted into the Founders Circle, recognized for cumulative gifts of $1 million or more to the University. The evening culminated with President Zimmer awarding the University of Chicago medal to Gwen and Jules F. Knapp.


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Photos (left to right): David Logan, AB’39, JD’41, chats with President Robert J. Zimmer; Charles M. "Mike" Harper stands in the GSB’s Hyde Park Center, which now bears his name; University of Chicago Medalists Gwen and Jules F. Knapp share a kiss.

Photos by Dan Dry.

May 6, 2007