University of Chicago

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University of Chicago
motto Crescat scientia; vita excolatur
founding 1890
Sponsorship Private
place Chicago , USA
president Robert Jeffrey Zimmer
Students 16,445
Employee 15,949
including professors 2,859
Foundation assets $ 8.2 billion
University sports UAA
Networks Association of American Universities
University of Chicago
Joseph Regenstein Library
University of Chicago Gate
University of Chicago
Midway plaisance
Hall of the Graduate School of Business
Hall roof of the Graduate School of Business
Robie House in the style of Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie School

The University of Chicago was founded at the end of the 19th century and is considered to be one of the most important private university establishments in the USA during this period. It was laid out on the model of German universities with Humboldt style. The elite university is a founding member of the Association of American Universities , an association of leading research-intensive North American universities that has existed since 1900. Both the Shanghai ranking and the Times ranking - the two best-known international comparative studies - have included the university in the top ten of the world's best universities for years. The Faculty of Economics , the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Physics enjoy a special reputation .


Old University

Old University of Chicago with Douglas Hall

In 1856, Senator Stephen A. Douglas offered Chicago Baptist leaders a site to build a university. Ten acres (approx. 4 ha) for a campus directly across from "Oakenwald", the extensive property of Douglas. The community leaders accepted in anticipation of financial help from the senator and his wealthy friends. The south wing of the main building was completed in 1859 and lessons could begin. In addition to the college courses, a prep school was set up along with medicine and law. The newly formed Baptist Union Theological Seminary (BUTS) offered its first class at Douglas Hall in 1867.

For any observer, the location of the two institutions seemed ideal to benefit from the prosperity of the Baptist church and the steady growth of the city. In 1861, however, Senator Douglas, the first president of the Old University, died without leaving a gift. And so their situation worsened. Next, the devastating fire in 1871 destroyed the commercial center of Chicago, and in 1873 a financial panic set in that the university's wealthy supporters suddenly broke away. The American Civil War also destroyed the lives and property of potential donors. When Camp Douglas , one of the largest prisons in the Union for captured Confederates , was built directly north on the border with the Old University, the situation became threatening.

In view of the growing debts, the BUTS theological seminary accepted the offer of its trustee George C. Walker for a piece of land about 16 km south of the city and built a new domicile. In 1877 the faculty, students and library moved to the suburb of Morgan Park . The Old University, however, had no luck. She could no longer pay her mortgage interest on the Douglas Hall building and lost the mortgage to the creditors. In spring 1887 it had to close its doors.

Dearborn Observatory

In 1863, the Chicago Astronomical Society bought a reflector telescope with an 18-1 / 2-inch lens, the largest in the world at the time, originally made by the University of Mississippi in 1863, from lens manufacturer Alvin Clark of Cambridge, Massachusetts, for $ 18,187 Order had been given. The company promised the university that the telescope would be used when it built an observatory. Attorney JY Scammon donated the money for construction, which was ready for occupancy in 1864, and the observatory was named after his late wife, Mary Ann Haven "Dearborn". Sherburne Wesley Burnham worked here from 1877 to 1884.

The 18-1 / 2-inch refractor telescope at the Dearborn Observatory of the Chicago Astronomical Society was brought to Northwestern University in Evanston, where a new observatory was completed with a donation from JB Hobbs in 1889, which is still called Dearborn " wearing.

New university

Baptist leaders in Chicago and across the Midwest felt humiliated by this disaster. They were now without an academic base to compete against the successes of the Presbyterians with their Lake Forest College or the Methodists with their Northwestern University in Evanston.

The Baptist Union Theological Seminary (BUTS) survived the catastrophe in Morgan Park and a group of pastors and laypeople formed here with the aim of rebuilding a university in Chicago. This circle included: George C. Walker , Henry A. Rust , Frederick A. Smith , the President of the BUTS, Rev. George W. Northrup , the President of the Baptist Theological Union, E. Nelson Blake , and the Treasurer of the BUTS, Rev. Thomas W. Goodspeed . The latter was keen to win over two laypeople with close ties to Chicago for this purpose: William Rainey Harper, professor of Semitic languages ​​at Yale, who had left the faculty of the BUTS in 1886, and John D. Rockefeller , the oil magnate and Baptist, who served as vice president of the Board of BUTS sat. Both succeeded. When Marshall Field gave them a piece of land in the city for the new university, Rockefeller also provided $ 600,000, and church communities and citizens - as requested by Rockefeller - contributed $ 400,000 by June 1, 1890. Finally, Rockefeller and William Rainey Harper agreed that the Theological Seminary (BUTS) should also move from Morgan Park to the campus and Rockefeller pledged another million for this, so that Harper was elected president in September 1890 and was on May 1. July 1891 took office. By 1910, the General Education Board that approved the Rockefeller donations showed Chicago University $ 21,400,000 - plus $ 600,000 for the William R. Harper Library. 1912 Rockefeller received his last donation of $ 10 million, of which a chapel was also to be built. Now the university was finally on its own two feet. Although he didn't want it to have his name, it was known as "Rockefeller University".

The start-ups at that time, which also included Clark University ( Worcester , Massachusetts ) and Johns Hopkins University ( Baltimore , Maryland ), revolutionized the American higher education landscape: the primary goal of the new universities was research and teaching at the level of Graduate Studies. In contrast, the traditional Ivy-league colleges on the American east coast merely extended a high school or functioned as Protestant preaching schools. It was only in the 20th century that these prestigious schools managed to grow into full research universities.

In addition to the special features of the foundation, the geographical conditions are significant: Geographically, Chicago is largely isolated as a metropolis , while the traditional schools on the east coast ( Brown University , Columbia University , Cornell University , Dartmouth College , Harvard University , Princeton University , Yale University , Clarks and Johns Hopkins) are located in close proximity to each other and form an academic cluster .

At least in part, the geographical isolation of Chicago favored the emergence of clearly distinguishable schools in several disciplines: In philosophy , Chicago was a center of American pragmatism under the aegis of John Dewey . At the beginning of the 20th century, the theological faculty adopted a socio-historical approach. In the social sciences - the outstanding focus of Chicago - an empirically oriented sociology ( Chicago School of Sociology ) developed in the 1920s under Robert E. Park , in political science Charles Edward Merriam formed a school of its own and finally the famous one emerged in economics Chicago school of Economics ( Chicago school ).


Course offer


  • biology
  • Humanities
  • Physical sciences
  • Social sciences


Other facilities

The Henry Hinds Laboratory for Geophysics .

Academic institutions

  • Affiliated and cooperating institutions
  • University of Chicago Charter School

Scientific centers

  • International studies
  • Latin American Studies
  • Studies of the Middle East
  • East Asia Studies
  • Russian and Eastern European Studies
  • South Asia Studies


The University of Chicago Library includes the following university libraries: Crerar Library (natural sciences), D'Angelo Law Library (law), Eckhart Library (mathematics and computer science), Regenstein Library (humanistic studies, largest library on campus).


The University of Chicago sports teams are the Maroons . The university is a member of the University Athletic Association .

Sights on campus

There are buildings by over 70 different architects on the university campus:


Nobel Prize Winner

The University of Chicago has more Nobel Prize winners than MIT or Harvard . A total of 84 Nobel Prize winners and Alfred Nobel Memorial Prize for Economics teach, taught or learned at the University of Chicago. The university also has various Pulitzer Prize winners and other excellent scientists.





Nobel Peace Prize

Alfred Nobel Memorial Prize for Economics



Chicago University operates the largest university publisher in the United States, the University of Chicago Press , located on Midway Plaisance on campus.

The university is editor of The Chicago Manual of Style (2003, 15th ed.). Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-10403-6 . The work is regarded as a reference work in book and scientific magazine printing and publishing ( layout , editing, copyediting, etc. Also available as an online version: The Chicago Manual of Style Online . 2007. The first edition appeared in 1906. A new edition is currently being published , 2010.)

Web links

Commons : University of Chicago  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Students At a Glance
  2. Faculty and Staff At a Glance
  3. Newspaper clipping
  4. Map of the old university with Camp Douglas in the background
  5. ^ Telescope of the Astronomical Society of Chicago
  6. Sport ( Memento of the original from October 18, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /

Coordinates: 41 ° 47 ′ 22 "  N , 87 ° 35 ′ 58"  W.