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Past Events

Past events celebrating 125 Years of Inquiry and Impact. 

525th Convocation

2:00 pm
Rockefeller Memorial Chapel

Fri. Dec. 11

The University Ceremony of the 525th Convocation of the University of Chicago was held on December 11, 2015, in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel. Graduating candidates participated in this ceremony, during which President Robert J. Zimmer conferred degrees and presented each graduate with their diploma individually. Convocation speakers included President Emerita Hanna Holborn Gray, Harry Pratt Judson Distinguished Service Professor Emerita of History, and Judith B. Farquhar, Max Palevsky Professor of Anthropology Emerita and of Social Sciences in the College. The program also included an original composition by Assistant Professor of Music, Anthony Cheung.

View the webcast and read about the event

Research and Teaching in the University Archives

4:00 pm
Regenstein Library, Room 122

Tue. Dec. 8

3:30 p.m. Doors Open | 4:00 p.m. Program Begins | 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. Reception

The University of Chicago Library hosted a panel discussion highlighting the role of its Special Collections Research Center in developing content for College Dean John W. Boyer’s book, The University of Chicago: A History, published by the University of Chicago Press. The discussion also focused on the collection’s scholarly resources and how these inform development of course material. Panelists included John Boyer, Kathleen Conzen (Thomas E. Donnelley Professor Emerita of American History), Dan Meyer (Director, Special Collections, and University Archivist), and James Sparrow (Master of the Social Sciences Collegiate Division and Associate Dean of the College). A reception followed.  

Civic Orchestra of Chicago Bach Marathon

11:30 am–10:00 pm
Downtown and at various locations on the South Side

Thu. Dec. 3

As part of a day-long musical marathon led by Chicago Symphony Orchestra Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant Yo-Yo Ma, small ensembles from the Civic Orchestra of Chicago–the CSO’s training orchestra–performed each of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos in various South Side venues. Informal performances in the afternoon were followed by a reception with the musicians. In the evening, all six concertos and other works were presented as a formal concert. These free performances are presented as part of the 125th anniversary celebrations of the CSO and the University of Chicago. Presented jointly by the Negaunee Music Institute at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; the University of Chicago's Arts + Public Life, Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, and Office of the President; with additional support from partnerships with local organizations.

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69th Annual Latke Hamantash Debate

7:30 pm
Mandel Hall, The Reynolds Club

Tue. Nov. 24

For the Latke Hamantash Debate, which has been a University tradition since 1946, UChicago faculty members applied the knowledge and tools of their disciplines to resolve this age-old culinary conundrum in an evening of fun and frivolity. Past participants have included Nobel Prize winners and University Presidents.

Watch the webcast

Sat. Nov. 21

Centennial: A History of the Renaissance Society, 1915–2015 considers the Renaissance Society’s first century from a variety of historical, cultural, and theoretical vantage points. This event celebrated its publication.

Tue. Nov. 17

In celebration of the University of Chicago's 125th anniversary, this event featured Professor and Director of the Center for Human Potential and Public Policy Ariel Kalil and Professor and former Harris Dean Susan Mayer. Kalil and Mayer co-direct the Behavioral Insights and Parenting (BIP) Lab at Chicago Harris, which applies behavioral science tools to support parental engagement in low-income families. They spoke about their innovative research at the BIP Lab and their efforts to advance knowledge for improving the lives of children around the world.

Daniel Diermeier, Dean, Chicago Harris, Joan Harris, president and past chair, Irving Harris Foundation, and Diana Rauner, president, Ounce of Prevention Fund, participated in an enlightening fireside chat about the important work happening at the Harris School of Public Policy.


All day
Through November 18, 2015
William Eckhardt Research Center

Begins Nov. 17

The Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics celebrated its 123rd anniversary together with the 125th anniversary of the founding of the University of Chicago. The Department also celebrated its new home, the William Eckhardt Research Center, a state-of-the-art research building that now houses all members of the Department after more than 50 years of being located in several sites. On November 17 and 18, faculty, researchers, students, staff, alumni, and friends of the Department gathered in the William Eckhardt Research Center for an event that showcased the Department’s history, latest scientific achievements, and vision for the future of Astronomy and Astrophysics.The two-day event featured talks, panels, and a film that celebrated and explored our rich heritage and our bold aspirations for future research in Astronomy and Astrophysics, including: the origin and evolution of the Universe; the search for Earth twins; the most extreme phenomena in the Universe; state-of-the art computing and observing tools; future technologies needed to advance our knowledge; and advances in graduate and undergraduate teaching and public outreach of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Chicago Symphony Orchestra: 125 Concerts in the Community

3:45–4:30 pm
Burke Elementary School

Mon. Nov. 16

Sponsored by the Negaunee Music Institute at the CSO, in partnership with UChicago Arts and the Office of Civic Engagement, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the University of Chicago jointly celebrated their 125th anniversaries with a special educational performance of chamber music by an ensemble of CSO musicians playing Mozart's Divertimento in D, K. 251.

This concert was hosted by Burke Elementary School, 5356 S. Martin Luther King Dr. (Parking is available in the rear of the building and on the street.)

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The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' Clock Symposium

12:00–4:00 pm
William Eckhardt Research Center

Mon. Nov. 16

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and its partners are delighted to present the Clock Symposium. The symposium was open to the public and designed to bring together the world's leading science and security experts to discuss the pressing issues of our time with a special focus on nuclear security and disarmament, climate change, changing energy landscape, and emerging technologies. Recent events such as the Iran nuclear deal and December's international climate negotiations in Paris framed this year's discussions.

UChicago and Affiliated Laboratories: Powerful Partners in Transformative Science

7:30 am–12:15 pm
William Eckhardt Research Center Auditorium

Fri. Nov. 13

The University of Chicago helps lead the country in scientific and technological innovation in part through its management of two US Department of Energy laboratories, Argonne National Laboratory and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, and its affiliation with the world renowned Marine Biological Laboratory. In honor of the University’s 125th anniversary, the University and Affiliated Laboratories hosted a program featuring panel discussions relating to the history and future of these collaborations, including current scientific partnerships and discoveries on the horizon.

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A Backward Glance: 125 Years of Student Arts

7:00 pm
Logan Center for the Arts

Thu. Nov. 12

Exhibition from Oct 29, 2015 - Jan 1, 2016
Reception: 7 p.m. | Show: 8 p.m. 

In Autumn 2015, The University of Chicago celebrated its 125th Anniversary. In the spirit of commemorating the student-driven arts community on campus, the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts hosted an exhibition of old archives and memorabilia from defining arts events and student organizations across the university's history.

125 Years of Big Ideas in the Social Sciences

5:00–8:00 pm
Program: Social Science Research Building, Room 122. Exhibit and Reception: SSRB Lobby and Tea Room (201)

Thu. Nov. 12

An afternoon of programming explored the formation of the Chicago Schools in the social sciences, critical moments that have shaped the division, and what current directions fields are taking to influence the future of the social sciences. The program culminated in the opening reception for an exhibit further exploring the critical moments, people, and ideas that have shaped 125 years of social sciences at UChicago.

Program: 5:00-6:30 p.m.
ROOTS OF INQUIRY & GROWTH OF IDEAS: A Faculty Panel on Discovery in the Social Sciences
Panelists included: James Evans, Associate Professor, Dept. of Sociology; Director, Knowledge Lab; Faculty Director, Masters in Computational Social Sciences; Susan Goldin-Meadow, Bearsdley Ruml Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Psychology and Committee on Human Development; James Heckman, Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, Recipient of the 2000 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics; Tara Zahra, Professor, Department of History, recipient of the 2014 MacArthur Fellowship
Moderator: David Nirenberg, Dean of the Division of the Social Science

Exhibit Opening Reception: 6:30-8:00 p.m.

Veterans Day Recognition

12:00–2:00 pm
International House, Assembly Hall

Wed. Nov. 11

As the University celebrated its 125th Anniversary, we gathered to honor UChicago veterans past and present with an address by University of Chicago Professor John T. Cacioppo. The program was followed by a reception.

Read more about the event

View a slideshow commemorating UChicago veterans over the past 125 years.

Symposium: 4:00 - 6:00 p.m., Regenstein Library, JRL room 122
Reception:  6:00 - 7:00 p.m., The Franke Institute for the Humanities, JRL room 118

What should we understand by the phrase ‘Humanities research'? It names a concept both difficult and crucial for the research university. Humanities research has historically been recognized as “scientific” in some understandings of the term—for example in being defined by an original contribution to knowledge—but not in the narrower sense that applies to, say, physics or biology. Problems of norms and definition have, accordingly, always figured importantly in how we think about this central idea in higher education. Lately, however, new challenges and opportunities seem to call for renewed attention to what we mean when we speak of humanities research. This brief symposium celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Franke Institute for the Humanities by addressing three of them: the integration of the practicing arts into academic disciplines (Bill Brown and Christine Mehring), the new trends toward making the humanities more publicly oriented (Patrick Jagoda and Jacqueline Stewart), and the transformations of scholarship made possible by new technologies (Steven Rings and David Schloen). We will also revisit the question of the relation of humanities scholarship and scientific research as itself a subject of ongoing change in the coming years (Dipesh Chakrabarty and Alison Winter). 

Graham School: 125 Years of Lifelong Learning

4:30–7:00 pm
Gleacher Center

Fri. Nov. 6

The Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies hosted this celebratory event to commemorate UChicago’s dedication to lifelong learning since its founding in 1890. While recognizing that the Graham School’s roots stem back to the establishment of University Extension 125 years ago, this event was also be forward-looking in focus, imagining the role of lifelong learning in the evolution of the 21st century university. Some discussion centered on Graham’s vision for extending the University’s reach, bridging the educational experience for broader audiences, and continuing to support the tradition of rigorous academic inquiry.

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Fri. Nov. 6

Chicago—both the city and the university—is arguably the “Great Books Capital of the World,” having developed and disseminated a concept (“The Great Conversation”) and a technique (“The Socratic Method”) that briefly took America by storm in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and even now continues as a flourishing sub-culture. As part of the celebration of the 125th anniversary of the University of Chicago's founding, this lecture by Adam Rose surveyed Chicago’s Great Books history and placed it within the larger context of the University’s enduring adult liberal education mission.

Hanna Holborn Gray discusses the reissue of More than Lore: Reminiscences of Marion Talbot

4:30–6:00 pm
Centers for Gender/Race Studies, Community Room (105)

Thu. Nov. 5

In celebration of the 125th anniversary of the University and the 20th anniversary of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality (CSGS) in 2016, the CSGS, the Office of the President, and the University of Chicago Press hosted Hanna Holborn Gray, former University president and professor of history emeritus. Professor Gray discussed the reissue of More than Lore: Reminiscences of Marion Talbot, originally published in 1936, for which she has written a new foreword.

Greetings from the Midway: A Postcard History of the University of Chicago

Through January 3, 2016
Logan Center for the Arts

Begins Nov. 3

Exhibition: Nov 3, 2015 - Jan 3, 2016
Lecture, Opening Reception, and Exhibition Tour: Nov 10, 2015, 6:00 p.m.

Featuring over two hundred postcards in a variety of formats from the 1890s to now, Greetings from the Midway: A Postcard History of the University of Chicago traces the past 125 years of campus architecture, programming, and culture. Neil Harris, Preston and Sterling Morton Professor Emeritus in History and Art History, will deliver a lecture entitled "Visualizing, Recalling, and Marketing the University of Chicago: The Early Years” at the opening reception, followed by an exhibition tour.

Artennial: A Year of Anniversaries in the Arts

All day
Through December 31, 2015
Various locations

Begins Nov. 1

Leading up to and continuing during the celebration of the University’s 125th anniversary, the Artennial celebration honors landmark anniversaries for five innovative arts organizations and programs at UChicago: Contempo, Court Theatre, the Renaissance Society, Rockefeller Chapel’s Bells of Summer, and the Smart Museum of Art. Together, these organizations and programs have contributed over 300 years of groundbreaking work to the city of Chicago and the wider arts community.

The Next 125 Years of Civic Engagement at the University of Chicago

6:00–8:00 pm
Gordon Parks Arts Hall, University of Chicago Laboratory Schools

Tue. Oct. 27

Civic engagement is critical to the work and mission of the University of Chicago, which has a rich and evolving history on Chicago’s South Side. University faculty, staff, and local community leaders explored how the University’s work with communities has changed over time in four areas of engagement and impact -- education, innovation, research, and anchor -- and what the opportunities are for the future. The panel discussion was followed by small group discussions on what civic engagement can look like moving forward. 

Watch the webcast

Chicago Humanities Festival: Citizens

12:00–8:00 pm
Logan Center for the Arts

Sun. Oct. 25

The Chicago Humanities Festival returned to the University of Chicago campus for a daylong exploration of inquiry and impact featuring an exciting lineup of thought-provoking scholars, writers, and performers.

Wikipedia Edit-a-thon: Campus Housing

1:00–5:00 pm
University of Chicago Special Collections Research Center

Fri. Oct. 23

SCRC's second Wikipedia Edit-a-thon focused on documenting campus housing. Community members joined us to add to existing articles and create new articles. 

Family Weekend

All day
Through October 25, 2015
Event locations vary and registration is required.

Begins Oct. 23

The College presented Family Weekend 2015, a campus-wide celebration in honor of parents, grandparents, and all extended family that took place from October 23–25, 2015. This unique weekend experience provided families the opportunity to explore the College and everything it has to offer. 

Collecting for Chicago

7:00 pm
Oriental Institute, Breasted Hall

Thu. Oct. 22

Emily Teeter, Oriental Institute Research Associate and Special Exhibitions Coordinator, presented a lecture on the history of James Henry Breasted, founder of the Oriental Institute, and the role he played in establishing Chicago’s three great collections of Egyptian antiquities. A reception followed at 8 p.m.

Divinity @ 125/150

4:00–9:00 pm
Swift Hall, 3rd Floor Lecture Hall

Thu. Oct. 22

This celebration of the University’s 125th anniversary and the Divinity School’s 150th anniversary began with the John Nuveen lecture at 4:00 p.m., featuring a panel discussion on the history of the Divinity School, followed by a reception with exhibits at 6:00 p.m., dinner at 6:45 p.m., and further reflections about the Divinity School at 8:00 p.m. Speakers included Larry Greenfield (Executive Minister for American Baptist Churches of Metro Chicago, Chair of the Baptist Theological Union, and former Dean of Students at the Divinity School), Martin Marty (Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of the History of Modern Christianity), and Daniel Meyer (University Archivist and Director of the Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library), Wendy Doniger (Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions), and Richard A. Rosengarten (Dean of the Divinity School).

As part of its 2015 reunion, the School of Social Service Administration (SSA) hosted a discussion, readings, and film clips about the Abbott sisters: Grace and Edith Abbott, two of the most important figures in American social welfare practice and education. A panel of scholars and practitioners, joined by John Sorensen, editor of A Sister’s Memories: The Life and Work of Grace Abbott from the Writings of Her Sister, Edith Abbott (University of Chicago Press), focused on the sisters' historic, current, and future impact on immigrant families and children and on women in leadership in the social service professions, as well as SSA’s uniquely foremost role. 

A Lecture by Trustee Emeritus Chairman Lien Chan, AM 1961, PhD 1965

4:30–6:00 pm
Saieh Hall for Economics - Room 203

Wed. Oct. 21

In celebration of the University’s 125th anniversary, Chairman Lien presented a lecture centered on the University’s global reach. He shared his perspective on the University’s presence and influence in the world in years past, today, and in the future. Chairman Lien also remarked on his graduate education at the University, and its influence on his career and later life. Chairman Lien’s extensive political career includes, among other positions, Premier of the Republic of China (Taiwan) from 1993-1997, Vice President of the Republic of China from 1996-2000, and Chairman of the Kuomintang (KMT) from 2000 to 2005. He now holds the positon of Honorary Chairman of the KMT. A reception followed at 5:30pm. 

Homecoming Week

All day
Through October 24, 2015
Various locations

Begins Oct. 19

Homecoming festivities and programming offered many ways to engage with the University’s history and celebrate the 125th, including opportunities to participate in 125th-themed activities and sport UChicago anniversary gear.

Humanities Day

9:00 am–5:00 pm
Stuart Hall

Sat. Oct. 17

Selected presentations at the annual Humanities Day event highlighted aspects of historical significance within the division while commemorating departmental anniversaries.

Thu. Oct. 8

The Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society hosted a Director’s Lecture with Robert Alter, emeritus professor of Hebrew and comparative literature, and founding director of the Center for Jewish Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Opening remarks were given by Jonathan Lear, Roman Family Director of the Neubauer Collegium.

Watch the webcast

Living the Legacy: Chicago Economics Through the Years

4:30–6:30 pm
Logan Center for the Arts

Mon. Oct. 5

A panel of eminent UChicago economists and Nobel laureates—each a part of Chicago economic history himself—shared insiders' perspectives on the unique approach and environment that gave rise to Chicago economics and its lasting impact. Speakers included Eugene Fama, Arnold Harberger, James Heckman, Robert Lucas, Lester Telser, and Lars Peter Hansen moderated.

Watch the webcast

The Law School's Interdisciplinary Legacy

12:15–1:20 pm
The University of Chicago Law School, Room II

Fri. Oct. 2

This lunchtime panel explored the Law School’s rich history of interdisciplinary study. A panel of renowned professors from the Law faculty–law and economics scholar Omri Ben-Shahar, legal historian Alison LaCroix, and philosopher Martha Nussbaum–discussed how the Law School has pioneered research and teaching that link law with the allied fields of economics, history, and philosophy.

Listen to a recording

Over a Century at the Forefront of Science and Medicine

Through December 24, 2015
Located at the bridge between Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine and Center for Care and Discovery, Center for Care and Discovery East Lobby, and Mitchell Hospital Lobby.

Begins Oct. 1

The Division of the Biological Sciences will offer a visual arts display highlighting the milestones in basic science and medical research that have led the advancement of science and medicine at the University of Chicago. As you take in the display, we encourage you to reflect on our history and to look with us towards the future as we imagine the potential impact of another century of inquiry.

Tue. Sep. 29

Lecture Dates: Sep. 29, Sep. 30, Oct. 6, and Oct. 7
The Division of the Humanities welcomed award-winning author Amitav Ghosh to campus for the annual Randy L. and Melvin R. Berlin Family Lectures. Over the course of these four consecutive lectures that will be published by the University of Chicago Press, Ghosh investigated global warming through the lens of fiction, history, and politics. 

A Historic Architecture Tour of the University of Chicago Campus

All day
Through October 10, 2015
University Bookstore, 970 East 58th Street

Begins Sep. 26

Saturdays beginning September 26 and ending October 10, tours explored the early Collegiate Gothic roots of the University of Chicago campus in the original quadrangles, the “march of mid-century modernism” along the Midway Plaisance and the recent, breathtaking architectural additions such as the Mansueto Library and the Midway Crossings. The University of Chicago—or "Grey City"—was emerging simultaneously with and in close proximity to the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition—the White City—on the South Side of Chicago in the late 19th century. Sometimes considered Chicago's "twin progeny," these two "cities" were instrumental in changing the perception of Chicago from a city of barbarous materialism to one of refinement and culture. The tours were led by docents from the Chicago Architecture Foundation. They left from the University of Chicago Bookstore at 58th Street and Ellis Avenue, and ended at 58th Street and Woodlawn Avenue. Presented by the University of Chicago’s Office of Civic Engagement. 

A Lecture by Economist and Nobel Laureate Dr. Muhammad Yunus

11:45 am
Charles M. Harper Center, Room 104

Fri. Sep. 25

Beginning with opening remarks by Provost Eric Isaacs and Marian Bertrand, Chris P. Dialynas Distinguished Service Professor of Economics, Dr. Yunus presented a lecture centered on eradicating global poverty, particularly in an urban context. Presented by Chicago Booth's Social Enterprise Initiative, the Chicago Innovation Exchange, the Institute of Politics, and the Urban Poverty Lab, this program highlighted the University of Chicago’s historical commitment to social enterprise and urban development.

Watch the webcast

Graduate Student Orientation

12:00–5:00 pm
Rockefeller Memorial Chapel

Tue. Sep. 22

The launch of the 125th anniversary celebration continued with the Welcome Convocation for incoming graduate students. President Robert J. Zimmer and Sian Beilock, Vice Provost of Academic Initiatives, provided remarks and welcomed incoming students. Panel discussions, information sessions, and a luncheon and social reception on the Midway Plaisance followed.

Begins Sep. 21

Public Hours: Monday–Saturday, 9:00 am to 4:30 pm
In celebration of the 125th anniversary of the University of Chicago’s founding, Crerar Library looks back at the establishment of the natural sciences at the University. The early University built programs in the physical and biological sciences from the ground up. They recruited eminent scientists and designed innovative laboratories and facilities for their groundbreaking work. These achievements in discovery and teaching have had lasting impact on the sciences.