University of Chicago

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University of Chicago
City: Chicago, Illinois
Type: Private
Colors: maroon, white
Mascot: Phoenix
Degrees: Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral[1]
Endowment: $6.6 billion[2]

The University of Chicago was founded in 1890 by the American Baptist Education Society and oil magnate John D. Rockefeller, who later described the University of Chicago as “the best investment I ever made.” The land for the new university, in the recently annexed suburb of Hyde Park, was donated by Marshall Field, owner of the Chicago department store that bears his name.

Although the University was established by Baptists, it was non-denominational from the start. It also welcomed women and minority students at a time when many universities did not.

Since the 1950s the University is well known for hosting the Chicago School of Economics, led for many years by Milton Friedman and George Stigler. The economics department has dominated the Nobel Prizes in the past few decades.

On December 2, 1942, Enrico Fermi and Leo Szilard assembled a rudimentary nuclear reactor under the stands of the former football stadium. What followed was the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction, a discovery which lead to the development of the atomic bombs used later in the war. The site of this Manhattan Project milestone is now commemorated with a statue by Henry Moore titled "Nuclear Energy," it is adjacent to the Regenstein Library.

Liberal Robert Hutchins, a pioneer of the Essentialist school of education, was the president and chancellor of the university in the mid 20th century. He attempted to do away with fraternities and campus religious organizations, believing them to be unnecessary distractions.

In football the school produced the first Heisman Trophy winner, Jay Berwanger, in 1935. Chicago had been one of the founding members of the Big Ten athletic conference. In 1939, Hutchins disbanded the varsity football team, and left the conference (however it is still a member of the Big Ten's academic consortium). Decades later a small but modestly successful Division III football team was started.

See also


  1. College Search - University of Chicago - Chicago - At a Glance (English). College Board. Retrieved on May 28, 2010.
  2. 2011 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. Retrieved on November 20, 2012.

External links