Message from the President

This annual report describes the University of Chicago’s significant progress on a number of new initiatives over the last fiscal year, while providing an overview of our finances. These initiatives reflect a commitment to our enduring values of open and rigorous inquiry. At the same time they reflect the ambitions of the University community to see these values manifest in new and innovative ways.

This year we appointed the inaugural Pritzker Director of the new Institute for Molecular Engineering. The evolution of technology has blurred and in some cases eliminated the boundary between engineering and science. One such technological change is the ability to manipulate and design at the molecular scale. With its deep connections to fundamental research in physical, biological, and information sciences, we see molecular engineering as an area in which we can make a distinctive and important contribution.

The Joe and Rika Mansueto Library opened this year, reflecting our commitment to the importance of libraries having research materials readily available for faculty and students who need them. This building has already attracted worldwide attention for its programmatic commitment, technological advances, and architectural originality.

This year was also an important one for building on our distinguished programs in the arts in new ways. We celebrated the “topping off” of the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, a new facility designed to support an integrated view of the multiple arts disciplines involving performance and production. It opens to faculty, students, and community members in 2012. We also established the Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry. A central component of efforts to expand the role of the arts on campus, the Gray Center will enhance education, promote collaboration, and foster innovation at the intersection of academic inquiry and artistic practice.

We continue to increase our financial support for students. We increased our undergraduate financial aid budget by 13 percent to ensure that low- and middle-income students have access to the empowering education the University offers; completed the phased implementation of the Graduate Aid Initiative to support graduate students in the humanities, social sciences, and divinity; and established a program of David M. Rubenstein Fellows in the Law School that provides full funding for a number of outstanding students. And we continue to make progress on the first systematic expansion of our faculty in more than 40 years, which began last year and which will enrich our educational offerings as well as the scope and depth of our research.

We have devoted considerable effort to expanding our use of minority- and women-owned firms in the various professional services areas, and this year we continued to add to these partnerships.

This year also saw major progress in the redevelopment of the Harper Court area and 53rd Street more generally, which is essential to bringing a more vibrant urban center to Hyde Park.

These are just several examples of the many important efforts and achievements by our faculty, students, and staff, as well as of the support of our alumni and friends over the last fiscal year. I hope the contents of this report will encourage you to remain engaged with the University of Chicago as we continue to build on our tradition of inquiry in ways that make a positive impact on the world.

Robert J. Zimmer, President