The University of Chicago was founded in 1890 as an institution devoted to rigorous inquiry, a deep research culture, and an education rooted in an environment of open inquiry, questioning, and analysis. It was through this focus that the University intended to have a major impact on the city of Chicago, nation, and world.
The leaders of the city saw the University’s founding as an important development for Chicago, and the University in turn saw both its responsibility to the city and its potential positive impact on the city as key aspects of its founding. In the ensuing years, the University’s relationship to the city of Chicago and its citizens has been of critical importance.
Over the last dozen years, we have made major efforts to enhance our level of civic engagement in the city through an expanding set of meaningful partnerships. Our faculty, students, and staff work in partnership with citizens, community organizations, local businesses, and City agencies. Our mutual goals are to see that all citizens of Chicago have access to education, health care, economic opportunity, and essential services in a safe and healthful environment, and to see the city flourish as an energetic environment for creativity and innovation. We bring our capacities to these partnerships to help develop thoughtful, evidence-based programs and policies that have the potential to address vital challenges and provide meaningful opportunities in Chicago and cities around the globe.
We have accomplished much together but much more remains to be done. This requires more dialogue, collaboration, and ongoing exchanges so that through these partnerships we can help enrich the lives of citizens of Chicago.
Robert J. Zimmer
The University of Chicago