U. of C. happenings in 2012

Staff Writers

UChicago Promise

Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer at Kenwood Academy High School in October to announce the launch of UChicago Promise a program that will help Chicago high school graduates that attend the university graduate debt free.

Zimmer said UChicago Promise would allow Chicago residents who attend high school in Chicago and are admitted to the University of Chicago to attend the university without receiving any loans in their financial aid packages. The loans will be replaced by grants, which do not have to be repaid. The application fee will also be waived for residents in this category. The program will include an Admissions Academy that will support and train educators by providing professional development. The academy will also offer resources to guide students and families through college admissions and financial aid processes to any selective four-year college. Finally, the university will extend its Metcalf Internship Program to fund 12 internships to support the new Admissions Academy. The UChicago Promise Metcalf interns will work with the professional staff from the university’s admissions office to launch the academy and in a later stage of the program, be assigned to select high schools as guidance counselors to help coach students.

U. of C. Hospital Named

The University of Chicago Medicine unveiled the name of its new hospital on October 2.

The Center for Care and Discovery, which is located near the U. of C.’s Gordon Center for Integrative Science and the Knapp Center for Biomedical Discovery, will open in February 2013.

The $700 million, 10-story, 1.2 million-square-foot hospital was designed for patients and their families, nurses and physicians who deliver care and the physician-scientists who discover new treatments for complex medical conditions.

The 240 single-occupancy inpatient rooms will be spacious enough to accommodate families for overnight stays. It will also have 28 operating rooms with integrated diagnostic and interventional platforms for specialty care that will encourage true multidisciplinary treatment from medical professionals.

The university also hosted community meetings to seek space for an additional parking structure for the hospital.


Jewish U (jU) formed at the beginning of the fall semester as an alternative to the campus Hillel. JU director Dan Libensen had previously served for six years as the director of the University of Chicago Hillel.

The board of jU is comprised of the former members of the board at the university’s Newberger Hillel, which is managed by the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago (JUF). In April the board and staff separated from the JUF after demanding more autonomy from the organization that controls Hillels across the state.

On April 18 a group of 30 Jewish faculty members from the U. of C., signed a letter addressed to JUF chastising the organization for firing the staff and board. The letter reads, in part “Frankly, we see your actions as a total abdication of Jewish values as well. As such, we hereby request in the strongest possible terms that you agree to the board’s request for mediation with the ultimate aim of restoring University of Chicago’s Hillel’s independence.”

“We’re trying to take a more creative and experimental approach than may be typical of a traditional Jewish denomination,” Libensen said. Before the split the board and staff had been requesting more control over how programs were run and the Newberger Hillel building maintained.

Aaron Cohen, the vice president of communications at JUF, said that as a result of the split Jewish students at the university have a very diverse range of options for how they are served locally.

“The motivation of all (Jewish student) organizations is to provide opportunities that will be meaningful and engaging and fun and helpful and help students discover their identity,” Cohen said.

Between jU, the Newberger Hillel, Chabad Jewish Center and both the K.A.M. Isaiah Israel and Congregation Rodfei Zedek synagogues Jewish students in Hyde Park have plenty of options for services.

“Our mission isn’t to compete with Hillel, it is to carry on the work we were doing with Hillel,” Libensen said.

Jewish U, (jU) is operating out of Hyde Park Jewish organizations like K.A.M. Isaiah Israel, the library at University Church Chicago and services are being run weekly out of student apartments.