051823 (Graduation Issue 2023)

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Dear Class of 2023,

The College will remember you for what you studied, when you graduated, and where you went next, but we will remember you as our mentors, classmates, and friends. You led us in RSOs and teams, you brought us to your favorite spots on and off campus, and most importantly, you showed us how to be students at the University of Chicago. And you did all of this amid and in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic—a unique challenge that made the beginning of our three years together tough and the ending of it even tougher.

This year, as we bid farewell to more

Editor’s Note

than 1,700 brilliant mentors, classmates, and friends and congratulate each of you on achieving a remarkable personal milestone, we also close a defining chapter of campus history. The Class of 2023 is the last class to have experienced the College before COVID-19; the last class to have a significant share of its members born in the 20th century; and the last class to have experienced the 10-week quarter, four full years under Dean John Boyer, a oneyear residency requirement, and countless more elements of what will soon be called the old UChicago.

While navigating these watershed moments in campus history, you also had to

grapple with major global history. Just as you began to settle into college life, the pandemic struck, and you were expected to face the unexpected. As that crisis unfolded, the country was confronted with a broad reckoning with racism—one that deeply touched the South Side, a place that many of you eventually grew to call home. Born of these circumstances, you revitalized dormant RSOs, created new ones, drove students to vote at the polls and on Poll Party, and shared your wisdom with us as campus reopened one building at a time.

To graduating members of The Maroon, thank you for being our editors, photographers, designers, and confidants,

and thank you for excelling at each one of these tasks. And to everyone else beyond The Maroon with whom we crossed paths—peer mentors, lab partners, hometown friends, new neighbors, roommates, baristas, TAs, acquaintances we got to know at parties, strangers in the library we never got to know—thank you for animating our UChicago experiences in the way that you each did. We know you’ll do the same wherever you go next.

The Maroon’s Biggest Stories of the 2022–23 Academic Year

The 2022–23 academic year was one marked by significant changes for the University and the surrounding communities. From the successful graduate student unionization effort to the appointment of a new provost, here are The Maroon’s biggest stories of the year.

October 11, 2022

Booth Professor Douglas Diamond Wins Nobel Prize in Economics for Seminal Work in Finance Research

Booth School of Business professor Douglas Diamond was awarded the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, increasing UChicago’s Nobel count to 97. Diamond was recognized for research he conducted in the 1980s with Professor Philip Dybvig of Washington University

MARCH 2020

of St. Louis on the role of banks in financial crises. The Maroon covered a press conference with Diamond, University president Alivisatos, and Booth dean Madhav Rajan shortly following the announcement.

December 1, 2022

New Pritzker Dean Mark Anderson Wants Med School Without Tuition or Student Debt

The Pritzker School of Medicine welcomed Mark Anderson as its new dean in October. In an interview with The Maroon soon after starting in the role, Anderson emphasized his desire to improve Pritzker’s diversity by increasing tuition support for students. Then, in April, Pritzker announced that up to half of its incoming medical students for fall 2023

would receive full-tuition scholarships.

December 3, 2022

UChicago Men’s Soccer Wins First-Ever National Title

The UChicago men’s soccer team claimed the first national championship in the program’s 75-year history. The team beat Williams College 2–0 in the finals at the NCAA Division III national tournament, capping off an undefeated season that featured 16 wins and one draw. Head coach Julianne Sitch became the first-ever female head coach to win a men’s collegiate soccer championship in her first year leading the team.

December 10, 2022

Ka Yee C. Lee to Step Down From Role as Provost

After nearly three years in the job, Provost Ka Yee C. Lee announced she

Students return to campus for the 2020–21 academic year for mostly remote learning. Dorms are restricted to single occupancy and dining halls are takeout-only.


JUNE 2020

would step down and transition to the role of executive vice president for strategic initiatives. Then, in January, the University named Katherine Baicker, then dean of the Harris School of Public Policy, as the next provost. Baicker assumed the role of provost in March. Lee’s departure was one of several notable administration departures this year. In April, the University announced that Vice Provost Melina E. Hale would replace John Boyer as the dean of the college at the end of the 2022–23 academic year.

January 26, 2023

University Planning Center for Freedom of Expression

On January 26, The Maroon reported on a job posting for an executive director position at the then unannounced Center for Freedom of Expression at


A surge in COVID-19 cases prompts the University to issue a seven-day stay-at-home order.

APRIL 2021


The University announces that students planning to leave campus for Thanksgiving Break will be required to remain away from campus until winter break.

The Maroon breaks the news that the University will transition to distance learning. The University reveals a plan for a possible return to campus in fall quarter.

“Lee’s departure was one of several notable administration departures this year.”


the University of Chicago. At the time, a University spokesperson said the posting was part of “discussions to develop ambitious ways to support and advance the longstanding institutional priority of free expression.” In March, the University officially confirmed the launch of the initiative, now called the Forum of Free Inquiry and Expression, and announced the appointment of inaugural leadership positions. The forum is slated to open in fall 2023.

March 16, 2023

University of Chicago Graduate Student Unionization Vote Passes with

92% Support

After 15 years of organizing, the UChicago Graduate Students United–United Electrical (GSU-UE) finally won its push to unionize graduate student workers. Election results finalized by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Chicago on March 16 found that 1,696 voters supported unionization while 155 opposed. Following the vote, the University announced that it would “bargain in good faith” and congratulated GSU-UE on its victory. In 2017, the University challenged a unionization vote where just under 70 percent of voters supported the effort. GSU withdrew its bid after this challenge over fears that the then-conservative

NLRB would overturn the results.

April 4, 2023 Oriental Institute Renamed Institute for the Study of Ancient Cultures

The University announced the renaming of the Oriental Institute to the Institute for the Study of Ancient Cultures, West Africa & North Africa (ISAC). The institute cited confusion over the geographic area of study and the pejorative connotations of the previous name as reasons for the change. A new logo was also unveiled that features the lotus flower, which has decorated the ISAC Museum’s walls since its construction in 1930.

April 5, 2023

Johnson Defeats Vallas for Mayor; Yancy Wins Fifth Ward After Hone Concedes

The 2023 Chicago municipal elections featured a hotly contested race for mayor and a rare open seat in the Fifth Ward of City Council, which includes the University. With incumbent mayor Lori Lightfoot failing to finish in the top two in the February preliminary elections, Brandon Johnson prevailed over Paul Vallas with just above 52 percent of the vote in the April runoff. In the Fifth Ward, Desmon Yancy defeated Tina Hone by around 400 votes.

Timeline: How COVID-19 Affected the Class of 2023’s College Years

From the initial shutdown of campus in their first year to the suspension of testing programs in their fourth, students in the Class of 2023 are the first to have experienced the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in each of their four years in the College. The Maroon spoke to members of the Class of 2023 about how the pandemic has impacted their time at the University.

First Year: 2019–20

On March 11, 2020, the day before the Class of 2023’s second-ever reading period and exams were set to begin, The Maroon broke the news that the University would transition to “distance learning”—as it was then called—and that most students living in dorms had until March 22 to leave campus. Spring quarter’s start was delayed by a

Most classes return to in-person formats. Dorms return to full occupancy.


week and subsequently shortened from 10 to nine weeks long, a change that would later become permanent for future quarters.

“It became very chaotic very quickly,” fourth-year Sophia Cariño told The Maroon in an interview. “As a first-year, I was taking a lot of premed STEM requirements, and all of those finals were up in the air. [There] was [a] kind of hysteria, this end of the world–type energy from my housemates and my friends.”

“I was able to road-trip home with everything I didn’t want to store in the cages in North. Driving seemed the safest option [that] minimized virus exposure,” fourthyear Josephine Dawson said.

After the end of spring quarter 2020, the University released a plan to return to in-person instruction for the 2020–21


The University delays the start of winter quarter and switches to two weeks of remote learning following a nationwide spike in cas-

school year. The plan included social distancing regulations, such as limits on the number of students allowed in various spaces, as well as remote options for students not wishing to rejoin others in the classroom.

Second Year: 2020–21

As students returned to campus for the 2020–21 academic year, dorm rooms were restricted to single occupancy, dining halls were takeout-only, and students experienced mainly remote classes (with a few hybrid or in-person options).

“House culture was completely turned on its head,” fourth-year Melia Allan said. “The people who had friend groups established in the first two quarters of their first year tended to spend time with those people, and I think for people who didn’t necessarily have the most tight-knit friend

Masks become optional in all campus spaces except classrooms.

MARCH 2022

The University lifts the testing requirement for unvaccinated students.


group, being taken out of the housing system so early was a significant difference in terms of social circles and finding friends.”

In November 2020, the University announced that students planning to leave campus for Thanksgiving break would be required to remain away from campus until winter break, meaning that they would have to complete their ninth week of classes and their finals remotely.

“I really was trying to stay on campus for Thanksgiving break, but I ended up just going home and taking my finals remotely,” Allan said. “I knew a lot of people who were really frustrated with that situation because they didn’t necessarily want to be at home for such a long period of time with their parents and they were still trying to build that sense of independence while being away in college.”


The University suspends surveillance testing and contact tracing.

APRIL 2023


COVID-19 isolation housing in Stony Island is discontinued.

es due to Omicron.


In March 2021, the University similarly recommended that students not travel during spring break.

“I stayed in town for spring break,” Dawson said. “Chicago was starting to open back up, masked and outdoors, so I took the week to explore the city that had been inaccessible for so long. I suppose these decisions [to restrict travel] were influenced by University policy, but like any decision we were making at the time, it felt more like a personal risk-reward assessment.”

The University experienced rising case numbers in early April 2021 and responded by issuing a seven-day stay-at-home order.

Third Year: 2021–22

For the 2021–22 academic year, dorms were back to full occupancy. and classes largely returned to in-person instruction.

Following a nationwide spike in cases

due to the omicron subvariant of COVID-19 in December 2021, the University delayed the start of winter quarter for the College and moved to remote learning for the first two weeks of the quarter. The College returned to in-person instruction for the third week of winter quarter.

As the number of cases declined, the University began relaxing masking and visitation restrictions. On March 4, 2022, masks became optional in all campus spaces except for classrooms and instructional laboratory spaces. The mask mandate for classrooms was dropped four weeks later.

“It was a little bit abrupt,” Allan said about the mask mandate’s removal. “I think it would have made a little more sense, looking back, to continue having masks for one academic year and then lift the hat and make it optional. It was a little strange that the same people I was seeing in the library had to be masked in class.”

Fourth Year: 2022–23

The University lifted the bulk of its pandemic-related restrictions during the 2022–23 academic year. On September 30, 2022, the University lifted the testing requirement for unvaccinated students. Students who tested positive still had to mask indoors until they received two negative tests. COVID-19 isolation housing was discontinued in January 2023, at the beginning of winter quarter.

On April 3, 2023, the University suspended its surveillance testing and contact tracing programs, signifying the final step toward a return to normalcy on campus.

“Sources of community at UChicago were very much gone because of COVID,” Cariño said. “When I reflect on my own experiences across the four years, that really did affect me negatively in a social sense. I think there’s a growth period at UChicago where you make friends from first and

second year that are in your house and in your classes, and I had a large delay in that experience.”

Dawson said the rollover effects of COVID-19 on hiring continue to impact graduating fourth-years.

“Even if places are hiring, admitting grad students again, all applicants who delayed their plans or made temporary detours—voluntarily or not—due to the pandemic are now vying for the same slots, and hiring is no longer as robust as it used to be,” Dawson said.

“Academically, it definitely altered some things,” Allan said. “Some things were made easier, as requirements were relaxed to allow students to cope. The way that professors adapted, especially in 2020, I think it was actually a healthy reset. I feel like I still learned a lot, without the stress of having to study for tests.”

The Class of 2023’s Gems of Hyde Park

Which Hyde Park restaurants have the most scrumptious eats? Which coffee shops craft the best espressos? The Maroon surveyed the Class of 2023 about their favorite businesses in Hyde Park.


Ascione Bistro

1500 East 55th Street, Chicago, IL 60615

Located in Hyde Park Shopping Center, Ascione Bistro is a neighborhood restaurant serving traditional and updated Italian fare. When fourth-year Maroon News Editor Tess Chang was asked what her favorite restaurant is, she immediately brought up Ascione.

“Ascione has become a go-to for me and my friends,” Chang said. “There’s a lot of great restaurants in Hyde Park, but I’m always in the mood for Italian food, and Ascione is one of my favorite places for good pasta.”

In fact, Ascione has been a hit among UChicago students for years. In our reporting last year, Elly Choi (A.B. ’22) also cited

Ascione as her favorite spot to catch up with friends and have brunch with her parents when they visit.


1526 East 53rd Street, Chicago, IL 60615

Known for its convenience and affordability, Roti is a no-frills Mediterranean fast-food eatery serving build-your-own salads, bowls, and pita sandwiches.

Fourth-year Antony Awad credited Roti as his favorite restaurant in the Hyde Park area. He stated that it had the “best healthy CPD,” or calories per dollar.

“Roti is my favorite restaurant because I love its cheap, healthy Mediterranean food. It always has a good vibe, often hosting some Hyde Park community chess games. I think per dollar, it’s the best deal in Hyde Park. Definitely going to miss that,” Awad said. “Be sure to pay a visit to Roti to indulge in the best Mediterranean food in Hyde Park whilst nourishing your body with fresh, minimally processed ingredients.”


1518 East 53rd Street, Chicago, IL 60615

Located on East 53rd Street, Valois is a homely, muraled diner serving up American comfort food for cash only. The restaurant opens its doors at 6 a.m., so be sure to stop by and grab a steak omelet or hash brown accompanied with Valois’s signature orange juice for a breakfast of champions.

Fourth-year Russell Struve also mentioned how one can “occasionally spot famous Chicagoans” dining there. During his tenure as a senior law lecturer from 1998–2004, former president Barack Obama was also frequented Valois. Order Obama’s favorite steak and eggs while you’re in line and snag a seat at the now-famous “President’s Table.”

Valley of Jordan

1009 East 53rd Street, Chicago, IL 60615

East 53rd Street is also home to a small grocery store selling halal meats, Middle Eastern specialties, and a variety of sandwiches ranging from salami sandwiches to falafel shawarmas. Fourth-year James Kenniff considers this Middle Eastern

restaurant a true Hyde Park hidden gem given its relatively low prices. “They have $5 sandwiches, and they’re really good sandwiches,” Kenniff said.

This restaurant is ideal for those who are on a budget or just looking for a cheap treat. If you’re lucky enough, the amiable owners might give you some advice for cooking authentic Jordanian dishes for your next expedition in the kitchen.

Coffee Shops

Café 53

1369 East 53rd Street, Chicago, IL 60615

When you’re frustrated by the Reg’s poor Wi-Fi during midterms and finals season, stop by Café 53 for free Internet connection in a cozy, de-stressing atmosphere. It’s a small, laid-back coffeehouse with delicious ice cream and sandwiches: the ideal place for a filling snack during a study session or for chatting with friends over coffee.

Struve recommends Café 53’s hot chicken sandwiches alongside their wide selection of ice cream flavors. “They have the

PG. 5
“[There] was [a] kind of hysteria, this end of the world–type energy from my housemates and my friends.”


best sandwiches in Hyde Park, especially their hot chicken sandwiches,” Struve said. “Great espresso drinks and a huge selection of hot teas make it a great place to chill and work or catch up with friends.”

Cobb Café

Cobb Lecture Hall, 5811 South Ellis Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637

Known for its hipster vibe and wide food selection, UChicago’s student-run coffee shop Cobb Café was opened in the 1980s by students who wanted to transform the basement of a lecture hall into a “gas station–chic” coffee shop. When Cobb Café first opened, it served only coffee and pizza from Medici on 57th. However, the café has since increased its food selection, and you can find entrées from other Hyde Park businesses such as Rajun Cajun, Cedars, and Bergstein’s Deli. Whatever you are in

the mood for, Cobb has it all.

Awad said, “I love Cobb because many of my closest friends work as baristas there. At most times throughout any given school day, I can go there and know I will find some friends and nice coffee.… I’m going to miss being able to just show up at any time and be in good company.”


5500A South University Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637

Located right below Campus North, Fairgrounds is a go-to study spot for many, serving a wide menu from sandwiches to salads and local pastries. In addition to creating some of the best craft coffee on campus, they also serve tea and matcha for those who prefer alternatives to coffee.

Some UChicago fourth-years, including Addison Lee, appreciate Fairgrounds for its refined interior design. “The coffee shop I

will miss the most around the Hyde Park area is Fairgrounds,” Lee said. “The art decor is amazing.”

Plein Air Cafe

5751 South Woodlawn Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637

A bright coffeehouse and café serving pastries with French specialties, Plein Air is situated next to the Seminary Co-op Bookstore and has a full-service patio. Plein Air, as Chang suggests, is “a refreshing spot offering brilliant ambience to get work done whilst catching a breath of fresh air.”

Other Businesses

Kimbark Beverage Shoppe

1214 East 53rd Street, Chicago, IL 60615

Founded in 1963, Kimbark Beverage Shoppe is known for its wide liquor collection including beer, wine, and spirits. This liquor outpost is ideal for last-minute party

requirements, and in the words of fourthyear Max Samengo, “You’re not getting a warmer welcome anywhere else.” Struve also credits Kimbark for having “friendly staff and a wide selection of beverages.”

University Hair Stylist

5700 South Harper Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637

Located on Harper Avenue, this barber shop is the go-to place for your grooming needs. They offer great, reasonably priced services to fit into a college student’s budget.

Awad spoke fondly of the University Hair Stylist, saying that in addition to its “good-priced haircut,” he would miss his quarterly expeditions to the Hyde Park business.

Class of 2023 Divided on Shift From Ten-Week to Nine-Week Quarters

In autumn 2020, the University shortened quarters from 10 to nine weeks of class following a committee review of the academic calendar. As such, the Class of 2023 is the last cohort of students to have experienced a full academic year under the 10-week quarter system. Fourth-years Stephanie Yu, Andrew Seto, and Nari Ok spoke with The Maroon about their experiences taking classes and doing internships under the 10-week quarter system.

Currently, the nine-week quarter consists of a three-day reading period and a lengthened Thanksgiving break, replacing the four-day reading period and three-day Thanksgiving break under the 10-week system. All coursework and exams now conclude by June 1, a week earlier than before.

The 2019 Academic Calendar Report, released by the Committee to Review the Academic Calendar and sometimes colloquially referred to as the “Roth Report,” stated that the change to a nine-week quarter would better align the academ-

ic calendar with internships and other summer opportunities. Yu believes that the new schedule better accommodates internships but acknowledges the heightened stress imposed on some students.

“We were really glad that our jobs could start, theoretically, earlier than they would have started,” Yu said. “But I think it does place some undue stress on people who have a huge time crunch at the end of their quarter for finals and stuff as opposed to people who don’t really care about those internships.”

Seto echoed Yu’s sentiment that the nine-week quarter places additional stress on students who do not pursue internships with earlier start dates.

“From my experience as an econ major, I think it helps,” he said. “But for some people who might not have the need for an internship to start so early, there’s no point for them to go through the shortened quarter.”

Ok also described her experience interning under the nine-week quarter sys-

tem, sharing that the new academic calendar reduced but did not eliminate conflict with her summer internship.

“My first week of training overlapped with my last week of school, so I had just finished finals, and I had to do training,” she said.

In April 2021, College Council (CC) issued a report to University administration that recommended an immediate return to a 10-week quarter. The report found that of more than 800 surveyed students, only 38 percent expressed satisfaction with the shortened quarters. As for why, only 11 percent of respondents indicated that increased internship access was worth the trade-off for shorter quarters.

Ok does not necessarily believe, however, that the shortened quarter increases stress.

“I was already so busy with stuff that it never really hit me that this was a ‘10-week quarter,’” she said. “When it got shortened to nine weeks, it still felt really fast. It honestly feels the same. The only difference I can feel is that when we switched to nine weeks, people started talking about it


Seto added that the nine-week quarter “feels the same in terms of academic rigor. If you compare relative to the semester system, it’s already compressed by a third. If you take a week off of that, the ramifications from the student perspective aren’t that much because it’s already so compressed.”

Yu, however, noted that the shortened reading period, a result of the shift to nine weeks, elevates stress during finals week specifically.

“There is almost no time to do anything, but throughout the quarter, the stress is sort of the same,” she said. “Ninth week and reading period are the most stressful times for me, and that has been heightened by the nine-week quarter.”

Whether students felt that the nineweek quarter change was beneficial or not, many share the opinion that the University’s communication around the change was confusing.

“I didn’t really know all of the reasons why we changed to the nine-week quar-

Rachel Wan contributed reporting.
“I’m going to miss being able to just show up at any time and be in good company.”


ter,” Yu said. “I don’t know how they made the decision to move into that system. If you don’t really communicate the reasoning to your student body behind why you’re making these decisions and a lot of us don’t understand even after having done it for three years, then I think there’s some disconnect between the admin and

the student body.”

Seto also shared some of the confusion over the change. In particular, he believed that the University was just temporarily experimenting with the nine-week quarter and was planning to change it back to 10 weeks.

“I honestly don’t know why they didn’t change it back.... As it stands now, as it’s

the ‘norm,’ changing it back might help a little bit, but it won’t be that much of a noticeable difference in terms of student quality of life.”

The Maroon reached out to the University for comment on whether it is collecting feedback about the nine-week quarter and whether there is the possibility for change. University spokesper-

son Gerald McSwiggan did not confirm whether the University intends to return to the 10-week quarter but reiterated that the process to change the quarter system “involved feedback from units across the University,” including “faculty, academic staff, and undergraduate and graduate students.”

Uncommon Interview: Outgoing USG President Summer Long

Per tradition, The Maroon interviewed outgoing Undergraduate Student Government (USG) president Summer Long to discuss her time in USG, the initiatives she is most proud of, and her advice for incoming cabinet members.

Long is a fourth-year majoring in public policy with a specialization in statistics. She is currently jointly enrolled in the Master of Science in Computational Analysis and Public Policy program, which she will complete in spring 2024. She has been involved with student government for all four years of her time at the College, serving in a variety of roles including as a College Council representative, a member

on her high school’s student council. She hoped to apply those experiences toward making an even larger impact in college.

“While it was an honor to have the opportunity to be involved in things like selecting the theme of our Senior Prom, it just didn’t have the scale of what I envisioned student councils to have,” Long said in an email statement. “With the ability to make decisions like the allocation of nearly two million dollars alone, [USG] felt meaningful to me and like something I wanted to be a part of.”

During her time as USG president, Long said she was particularly proud of her work in reforming the Coalition of Academic Teams and the Program Coordinating Council funding mechanisms to align more with the Student Government Finance Committee’s tenets of impartiality in its voting and membership. She also highlighted the pilot program she spearheaded to provide menstrual products in vending machines around campus.

However, Long also wrote, “It is hard to say what I even feel is my ‘greatest success’ because what one student may experience as a big success may not have touched another student in the same way.”

year, she is looking forward to the future of USG. “I hope that the next slate focuses on balancing continuity with introducing new initiatives,” Long wrote. She specifically mentioned how the success of the menstrual product accessibility initiative will depend on continuity in both USG and administrative support.

As for other advice she has for the future slate, Long wrote, “My advice to the incoming Cabinet would be to honor what interests and passions led you into the respective roles you are in and incorporate them into your work—you are uniquely positioned to make [an] impact.”

Solana Adedokun & Nikhil Jaiswal, Co-Editors-in-Chief

Michael McClure, Managing Editor

Allison Ho, Chief Production Officer

Astrid Weinberg & Dylan Zhang, Chief Financial Officers

The Maroon Editorial Board consists of the editors-in-chief and select staff of The Maroon


Tess Chang, editor Anushka Harve, editor Rachel Wan, editor Kayla Rubenstein, editor Anu Vashist, editor Eric Fang, editor

GREY CITY Milutin Gjaja, editor Rachel Liu, editor Elena Eisenstadt, editor Eli Wizevich, editor

VIEWPOINTS Irene Qi, head editor Ketan Sengupta, associate editor Eva McCord, associate editor


Angélique Alexos, head editor Natalie Manley, head editor Noah Glasgow, deputy editor Dawn Heatherly, deputy editor Zachary Leiter, deputy editor

of the Student Government Finance Committee and the Committee on Recognized Student Organizations, and vice president of student organizations.

Long joined USG in her first year to continue previous leadership experiences

Long also addressed USG’s relationship with the University. She wrote, “I think the University genuinely wants to listen to USG and I’d say we have a good relationship, but at the end of the day there are some decisions that the University will not bend to USG or students at large…regardless of what we say.”

Though Long will be graduating this

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“Ninth week and reading period are the most stressful times for me, and that has been heightened by the nine-week quarter.”
Summer Long. courtesy of summer long

Cheers to the new graduatesbest wishes for your future!

THE CHICAGO MAROON — MAY 18, 2023 7 Congratulations to the Class of 2023!

The Life and Legacy of Dean John W. Boyer

In January of 2022, Dean of the College John W. Boyer announced his plans to transition to a new role at the end of the 2022–23 academic year. In his new role as senior advisor to University president Paul Alivisatos, Boyer will focus on international development, global education, and providing support for programs involving public discourse, academic freedom, and the history of higher education.

Boyer will be replaced by Melina E. Hale, the William Rainey Harper Professor in the Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy and the College and a vice provost of the University. Hale has been a member of the University of Chicago faculty since 2002.

In a long, meandering conversation, Boyer and I discussed his upbringing, education, career, and vision for the College. Many of Boyer’s colleagues, friends, and former administrators also shared their perspectives on his legacy.

Boyer’s Beginnings

John Boyer was born on October 17, 1946, in Woodlawn, Chicago. His father was a truck driver, electrician, and repairman, and his mother worked as a secretary in a steel mill. Boyer has described his upbringing as “blue-collar” and “working-class liberal,” and that background continues to inform his philosophy of education.

In 1960, Boyer enrolled at Mendel Catholic College Preparatory High School, an all-boys school in Roseland, IL, founded in 1951 by priests of the Augustinian Order.

In his freshman yearbook photo, a fifteen-year-old Boyer stands among Mendel’s Section Three boys in the top row, a tentative boyish ( Boyer -ish) grin on his face. He wears a checkered suit coat adorned with a small white pocket square. In his freshman year at Mendel, the young Boyer was a tenor in the school chorus, an active (though unsuccessful) participant

in intramural athletics, and a member of the Library Club. One has to imagine that he was intrigued by the Library Club’s advertisement in the student newspaper, The Mendelian, which proclaimed that new books were constantly arriving. In his Library Club portrait, John sports curls, large circular glasses, and a shy smile.

Boyer stayed involved in extracurricular activities throughout his time at his Catholic high school. In his third year, Boyer participated in a 400-student musical produced by Mendel and nearby girls’ high schools. In his senior year, he joined the Mission Club and the newly formed Math Club. He remained involved in intramurals all four years.

Boyer was an exemplary student at Mendel: a frequent honor roll member, an Illinois State Scholarship Commission semifinalist, a 97th percentile National Merit Finalist, and one of the top students in his 430-person senior class. He was a two-year member of the National Honor Society, one of 14 students referred to by the Monarch—Mendel’s yearbook—as the “Old Guard” of Mendelian scholars. Boyer and his classmate Daniel O’Grady received a physics first prize at the senior science fair. And on May 30 of 1964, Boyer was one of three Mendel students who competed against Tolleston High School on the TV game show It’s Academic. Though Mendel lost, Boyer and his companions were awarded “a set of reference books” as a consolation prize.

Boyer grew up, he told me, “just on the cusp of the collapse of the steel mills on the South Side. Many of the people I went to high school with hoped to have those jobs, but sadly, those jobs went away, and the steel mills went away.” He was one of two members of the Mendel class of 1964 to receive four-year, full-tuition scholarships to Loyola University Chicago. His scholarship totaled $4,160 (worth around $41,000 as of 2023). John Boyer considers himself lucky to have received that schol-

arship, and he committed then to providing as many other underprivileged young adults as possible with the same possibility for social mobility that his education provided him.

Boyer still remembers the day he received the letter informing him of the scholarship. He was the first in his family to attend college. Receiving the scholarship gave Boyer a “very powerful and palpable sense of the need for financial support for people regardless of their class [and] socioeconomic background.”

Boyer’s commitment to promoting broad access to the benefits of a college education continues to this day. “The decline of the college-going population in the United States,” he remarked, “affords us the opportunity to think about…the issue of equity.”

In 2007, the University launched its flagship Odyssey Scholarship Program, undoubtedly a key piece of Boyer’s legacy. The Odyssey program provides needblind, debt-free financial grants to students in the College, many of whom are first-generation college students like Boyer once was. Odyssey scholarships cover tuition, room and board, optional health insurance, study abroad, work-study, and internships the summer after first year. Currently, 20 percent of students in the College are Odyssey Scholars, and more than 5,300 undergraduates have benefited from the program.

Boyer believes that one of UChicago’s fundamental roles is to enable social mobility for individuals and their families, even if it comes incrementally. In 2019, he told WTTW News, a local news television channel, that he didn’t think that there was “any other institution in modern American society that has that capability more so than the universities.”

Speaking on his personal commitment to the Odyssey program, Boyer noted that “as the first of my family to attend college, I faced some of the challenges that first-generation students encounter. It is far more complicated today. Odyssey

tackles the complex social and economic obstacles to achievement through a coordinated system of support, integrating college readiness, admissions, financial aid, and career development initiatives.”

Associate professor in the Biological Sciences Division Jocelyn Malamy told me that she thinks one of Boyer’s guiding principles is that “for people for whom the University of Chicago education is the right place, there should not be any financial barriers to them coming here and getting that education.”

As a fierce defender of equal access, Boyer also believes that deliberate inclusivity and the cultivation of “a wide range of perspectives and viewpoints” allow college students “to propose, test, and debate the most innovative ideas.” During his tenure at UChicago, he has made good on that belief. When Boyer took the helm of the College in 1992, the undergraduate student body was 67 percent white. In 2021, that number had fallen to just 33.5 percent—though still a sizable plurality, nowhere near a majority. In particular, the share of Hispanic/Latino students rose by more than 11 percentage points over Boyer’s three decades in leadership, and the percentage of international students did by almost 13. And whereas the gender breakdown of the student body was 1.3 male to female students in 1992, that ratio is now 1.1 to 1.

Boyer once said he has “a significant personal commitment to helping people from modest circumstances gain access to and succeed at the University—not just to get in, but to flourish and to succeed.”

Boyer’s Philosophy of Inclusivity

Boyer’s commitment to inclusivity is informed by his own experiences as a student. Before Boyer attended Loyola University, he’d only occasionally left the state of Illinois to go apple-picking in nearby Indiana. Attending Loyola, which is in the Rogers Park and Edgewater neighborhoods of Chicago’s North Side, was




the first time Boyer had ever been north of the South Side. At Loyola, he met “a cross section of American life that you would never meet just living on the South Side of Chicago.” College, he reflected, was “a way of understanding by firsthand experience the power of diversity and the importance of equity and equality in American life.”

Boyer’s staunch belief in the community-building power of the college experience fuels his goal of most students living on campus. The drive for that desire comes from personal experience: Boyer was a commuter student at Loyola Chicago and thinks his experience is not what college life should be. Boyer compared the ideal college experience to Alistair Cooke’s Letter From America radio program; one’s college years, Boyer believes, offer constant exposure to a microcosm of society’s melting pot.

As he puts it, “When I started as Dean, we had some very bad situations—the Shoreland, these other off-campus prop-

erties we had to bus people to—and they were dilapidated. They were charming, but it was like we were trying to run a college on the basis of commuter students, busing people around the neighborhood in these ugly yellow-orange buses.”

Boyer was a key player in convincing the Board of Trustees of the University to finance the construction of three new, modern residence halls. Max Palevsky Residential Commons opened in 2001 (perhaps surprisingly, given the semi-tropical, heavily geometric architecture). Renee Granville-Grossman Residential Commons opened in 2009, Campus North Residential Commons opened in 2016, and Woodlawn Residential Commons opened in 2020. Nearly 60 percent of UChicago undergraduate students live on campus, predominantly in dorms that opened in the last 20 years.

When Campus North opened, 60 current and former members of UChicago’s advisory panels made a collective gift to Odyssey and the College’s Metcalf Intern-

ship program to name one of North’s eight houses Boyer House in honor of the dean and his wife, Barbara Boyer. “The College,” Boyer remarked on the occasion of North’s opening, “is stronger when students can live and learn in communities that foster curiosity and intellectual conversations and serve as foundations for lifelong friendships.”

Boyer is very proud of the College’s current residential life system. “I think we have one of the very best [collegiate] residential systems now in the United States. I think over time, that’s going to pay big dividends for the University.”

Boyer’s Expansion of the College

In 1992, when then University president Hanna Holborn Gray appointed Boyer as dean, the College was home to only 3,425 students—below a pre–World War II high of 4,707. By 2021, the College’s population had more than doubled to 7,559 students.

Chicago Magazine wrote in 2011 that

under Boyer’s leadership, the College “set out to create a more alluring and sympathetic environment on campus.” Boyer may not be single-handedly responsible for the current allure of the College, but by all measures, the allure is real: in 1998, around 5,500 prospective students applied to the College. In 2022, 37,977 people applied. The College’s acceptance rate has fallen accordingly, from 77 percent in 1993 to just 5.4 percent for the Class of 2026, who enrolled this past fall. UChicago’s 1993 graduation rate of 83 percent was well below that of other top universities; by 2019 it had risen to 91 percent—the third-highest in the nation. And UChicago’s yield rate—the percentage of admitted students who enroll—is fourth in the nation at 81 percent, above other elite schools like MIT, Princeton, and Yale.

Expanding the College was to some degree part of a bigger purpose: to grow the University’s endowment and increase funding for infrastructure development.


“[Boyer] was the first in his family to attend college.”
Boyer (right) with University President Hugo Sonnenschein in 1997. courtesy of the hanna holborn gray special collections research center


In 2003, UChicago opened the $51 million, 150,000-square-foot Gerald Ratner Athletics Center, designed by famed architect César Pelli. Ratner was the first new athletics facility built on campus since 1935. But, as Chicago Magazine wrote in its 2011 piece, “professors, alumni, and others have fretted about the school watering down its famous academic toughness and eroding its longtime strength.”

Chicago quotes longtime UChicago professor of anthropology Marshall Sahlins as saying the University is “degenerating into merely a very good university.” If such a claim was true, this effect was likely driven in part by a general institutional resistance to change. When, shortly after Ratner was completed, a University alum asked Boyer whether the new facility meant the school’s priorities had changed, Boyer said that he “believed we could have both a swimming pool and academic rigor.”

Fundamentally, Boyer believes not only in educating a diverse body of students, but in educating those students in a diverse body of intellectual material. And, for Boyer, the opportunity UChicago holds is in bringing together students who will swim, then study, then paint or dance or sing or write, then study some more.

This was just the renaissance-man fervor with which Boyer had approached his time at Mendel, but at Loyola, Boyer found his specific calling. A member of the Loyola class of 1968, Boyer majored in history. He worked his way up the ranks of the school’s Historical Society, working as the society’s awards committee chairman before becoming treasurer his junior year and president his senior year. The Society aimed to “provide a framework for student intellectual activity [on history] for anyone interested,” and hosted various faculty lectures on topics such as “Political Parties in the Union and the Confederacy during the Civil War” and “The Role of History in University Curriculum.” The latter of those lectures certainly seems to have inspired John Boyer.

As treasurer of the Loyola Historical Society, Boyer “vigorously [encouraged club members] to save bottle caps, empty

bottles, old clothes, old rubber tires, and various articles of scrap iron.” “A penny saved is a penny earned,” he wrote in the Historical Society’s November 1966 newsletter. He was a product of his lean times, certainly, but perhaps this sentiment also foreshadows a future as one of the University of Chicago’s chief fundraisers. He signs off on the newsletter with “that

little-old penny-pincher, John W. Boyer, Treasurer.”

Boyer graduated from Loyola in 1968 as a member of both Phi Sigma Tau, the international honor society for philosophy, and Alpha Sigma Nu, the honor society for Jesuit universities. Loyola Chicago’s website lists Boyer as one of the History Department’s most distinguished alumni.

Loyola is, as Mendel was, a deeply religious institution. Founded by the Chicago Jesuits in 1870 to continue the social and educational work of 19th century humanitarian and Jesuit Arnold Damen, Loyola follows a Jesuit Catholic philosophy of education. The Jesuit motto “Ad majorem Dei gloriam,” meaning “For the greater glory of God,” represents a tradition of social service and commitment that Boyer called “highly admirable.”

“I greatly admire the Jesuits,” he informed me. “I’m not sure I totally agree with everything they believed at that point or believe now, but I always say that one good thing about the Jesuits is [that] at least they had a philosophy of education.”

There are distinct similarities between the Jesuit educational philosophy and Boyer’s priorities for the University of Chicago. Loyola’s five characteristics of a Jesuit education are commitment to excellence, faith in God and the religious experience, service that promotes justice, values-based leadership, and global awareness. With the exception of the spiritual aspect, it’s hard not to see echoes of Boyer’s Loyola experience in the ways he has reshaped the College. Even with regard to higher purpose, Boyer once advised readers of the UChicago College newsletter to “find something more significant than worldly success to care about— social change, religion, friendship—to give your life meaning.”

Among Boyer’s most central philosophies of education is that there should be a philosophy of education. “Both the secularists at UChicago and the Jesuits,” he explained to me, “believe in what would be called a structured system of education. You don’t just say, ‘you’re admitted to the University of Chicago, here’s a catalog of courses, just do whatever you want.’ There is a planned way to go about it: You begin with the general and you move toward the more specific. We don’t require mandatory theology or philosophy courses; we require mandatory calculus courses and the [social sciences] Core.”

Boyer’s colleagues couldn’t readily describe the dean’s big picture view of the University of Chicago’s character—it


“Boyer’s staunch belief in the community-building power of the college experience fuels his goal of most students living on campus.”
Boyer’s official portrait from 1987. courtesy of the hanna holborn gray special collections research center

would be difficult for even John Boyer himself to distill the College or his vision for the College to a singular motto, as the Jesuits could with Ad majorem Dei gloriam

That’s not to say Boyer lacks a robust, unified vision for the school, but rather to say that his vision is not easily reduced to a single phrase. After 30 years, it has become difficult to separate the conception of John Boyer’s desired College from the College’s current form under John Boyer. Throughout his deanship, Boyer “has become more confident that his vision is correct for the College, and he’s convinced more people that his vision is correct,” former dean of physical sciences Rocky Kolb told The Maroon. Such is the mark of a successful leader.

Boyer’s Core Curriculum

Dominant in both vision and reality is the Core Curriculum, which for Boyer is the heart and soul of the College. The Core, according to Boyer, is a democratic device “in the sense that we take students from all different kinds of high schools, all different regions of the country and the world, all different socioeconomic, ethnic, racial, and gender backgrounds, and we bring them together.” What is really remarkable, he emphasized, is that students “have had all these different experiences, but then they’re all in the same [humanities] class reading the same poem or the same history class reading the Declaration of Independence or Karl Marx’s Manifesto.” Indeed, many of them are together in the social sciences core studying R.R. Palmer and Alexis de Toqueville’s definitions of democracy and democratic society.

To Boyer, the Core is not only a democratic device but also one that “develops very important skills in reading, thinking, argumentation and debate, and clear and cogent writing” and “offers you a very powerful kind of literacy across fields.”

“I taught [European] Civ, and there was a very famous book on the Middle Ages by prominent British economist R. W. Southern called The Making of the


“Among Boyer’s most central philosophies of education is that there should be a philosophy of education.”
Dean Boyer at Dean Boyer Appreciation Day in 2013. courtesy of the student alumni committee


Middle Ages. And I was once in a conversation with some medieval historians, and I mentioned this book, and they looked at me like ‘Excuse me, you do modern German and Austrian history, how did you read that book?’ And I said, ‘Well, I just happened to be teaching in our Western Civ course.’ And they said, ‘Really? I mean, have you really read that book?’ I said, ‘Yikes, did you guys not read any modern history?’”

Over Zoom with me, Boyer became quite spirited in recounting this conversation: “How narrow should we become? How narrow have we become?”

“Dean Boyer takes the promise of a liberal arts education very seriously, understanding that for college students, the [Core’s] broad knowledge base is unique and uniquely important,” commented Dean of the Division of the Social Sciences Amanda Woodward.

To Boyer, the Core is at the forefront of the College’s role in American society, not merely to prepare students to succeed but also to carry with them “the vast panorama of human knowledge and human scientific accomplishments across all the disciplines,” to be a vessel for the reshaping of American culture.

“Curricula,” Boyer explained, “says a lot about the Geist of a University because the curricula are what the faculty believes to be important in giving young people a systematic education.” In the end, the Core “helps create a deeper culture—the kind of culture we want to give to the next generations.”

The Core has undergone changes over the last half century. Most notably, it now lasts roughly a year and a quarter rather than two years so that students have more time to learn a second language or study abroad. In 1998, the New York Times quoted Boyer as saying, “We used to have the notion that there was no greater educational experience than to be on the Chicago campus…Now, we are hoping to get one-third to one-half of those graduating to be fluent in a foreign language by urging them to spend time abroad.’’ Such changes, led by Boyer and then University president Hugo Sonnenschein, came under fire

in the 1990s from professors and alumni who believed the school was diluting its academic rigor and sacrificing one of its premier calling cards: the Core.

So, has John Boyer sacrificed the Core? “John likes to say the Core is a little bit like the Federal Highway system,” professor Christopher Wild said. “If you had to build it now, it would be almost impossible, so you tend it very carefully and try to update it in a careful and thoughtful way.” Like the University itself, “the Core can only remain relevant by continually being updated.”

Boyer, for his part, believes that the Core still functions broadly the same way it was intended to function in 1931—continuity he admires as a historian. Boyer continued, “I’m a great believer in the Core and I’ve devoted 30 years of my deanship to trying to defend it and protect it, and I hope the University will continue to do that long into the future.”

Richard Saller, dean of social sciences at UChicago from 1994 to 2001, emphasized another angle of Boyer’s desire to preserve the Core’s strengths: the Core, to Dean Boyer, is a device for the integration of the College within the broader University. Saller told me in a comment that Boyer “was instrumental in guiding the College to be more integrated with the divisions by insisting that faculty appointments be joint between the divisions and the College and that all faculty contribute to teaching in the Core.”

Over 30 years, Boyer has been nothing if not a constant advocate for the College and its place within the broader University system. “The University,” the dean explained to me, “has always had a problem of the [tension] between graduate education and undergraduate education. This was a very productive tension, but a tension [nonetheless].”

Boyer explained that the University of Chicago’s first president, William Rainey Harper, envisioned the University as a large graduate school. In the 1890s, Harper believed the University needed to have a college for only two reasons: as a source of income and as a source of prospective graduate students. “Harper changed his mind on the College,” Boyer said. “He had

two children who went to the College, [and] all of a sudden he became interested in the College for the College’s sake.”

Nevertheless, the College remained relatively small for its first 50 years, and after World War II, UChicago “ended up with a graduate school much bigger than

the College—very unusual for the time and not, I think, good for the University.” By the late 1960s, the University had almost three times as many graduate students as undergraduates. Boyer said that over the last 30 years, he has “begun to try to


“Dominant in both vision and reality is the Core Curriculum, which for Boyer is the heart and soul of the College.”
John Boyer in his senior yearbook portrait at Loyola Chicago. courtesy of the loyola chicago archives


rebalance and re-equilibrize the relationship between graduate and undergraduate programs.” The College, to Boyer, is “the one place where all of the disciplines and all of the faculty can come together.”

Boyer believes faculty of the College “can all come together and share our knowledge in teaching young people—who are not specialists but who are generalists—because we’re all, I think, generalists at heart, and the University, at its best, is a place of generalists working with general knowledge for the good of all.”

Centering the College more fully within the University, Boyer said, is his proudest accomplishment as dean. “I think that over the last 30 years, we’ve reimagined the College as not just a small marginal unit on the margins of the University but…a larger unit at the center of the University, encompassing faculty from all different research areas.

“John understood,” Woodward explained, “that you need to have a robust undergraduate college to have an excellent university.”

Boyer also understood that in order to center the College within the University, he had to make the College a more appealing place for students and faculty alike. Boyer has tried especially to make the College more enjoyable, more accessible, and more diverse for students: “We’ve changed the student culture to make this a more positive, supportive place for students.”

Acknowledging that part of his role as dean of the College is to sell UChicago to prospective students, parents, and faculty, Boyer emphasized that “[UChicago is] an attractive place [with] a compelling story to tell: We’re a place that still believes in academic freedom; we have a strong educational philosophy; we’re in a great city.”

“It feels sometimes,” Wild said with regards to the story Boyer has developed about the College during his time as dean, “almost like he knew he was going to have 30 years of time to bring the College from the place where it was in ’92 to the place where it is now.”

Boyer’s Career

Even after graduating Loyola with a bachelor’s in history, Boyer didn’t see himself becoming a lifelong academic, though others might have suggested he was destined for such a life.

An Army reserve officer, Boyer would have deployed to Vietnam but for a deferral so he could attend graduate school. He would go on to receive a Master of Arts in history in 1969 at the University of Chicago and a doctorate in the social sciences six years later, on March 21, 1975. As part of the research for his Ph.D. dissertation “Church, Economy, and Society in Fin de Siècle Austria: The Origins of the Christian Social Movement, 1875–1897,” Boyer spent parts of two years researching in Austria. Boyer explained that “to go to Europe as a young person, to live there, and to encounter linguistic and cultural differences and a totally different way of life was a very powerful experience.”

At Boyer’s first UChicago convocation, the recessional was Johann Sebastian Bach’s Fantasy in G Major; at his second UChicago graduation, Bach’s Fantasy in G Minor. How fitting for a German composer to have continually beckoned Boyer into further research, and how fitting for another historian of 19th century European Christianity, then UChicago professor Karl F. Morrison, to have handed Boyer his diploma on that spring day in 1975. Boyer’s convocation programs are on a pair of little bookshelves at the back of the Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, sandwiched between copies of Cap & Gown (the University’s yearbook) and historical University directories. Again, fitting: Boyer’s favorite spots on campus are Special Collections and the Regenstein Library bookstacks.

After graduation, Boyer wanted to become an academic because he had always enjoyed “history, writing about history, and investigating” and saw academia as “the best place to become employed as a historian.” Frankly put, John Boyer was young, married, and needed relatively well-paying and reliable employment. Boyer decided to accept a job teaching at the University of Chicago over other offers, in large part because of a desire to maintain his lifelong connection with the

city of Chicago. Neither the man nor his employers would have known how long Boyer’s connection with the University would last—his last year as dean of the College marks his 54th consecutive year at the University of Chicago.

From 1975 to 1992, when he was appointed Dean of the College, John Boyer taught history, researched, wrote, and made his way continually further into UChicago’s administration. In those 17 years, Boyer served at times as associate chair of the history department, as a member of the University Senate, as an elected member of the Standing Committee of the College Council, as chair of the Committee on European Studies, as chair of the Council on Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences, and most notably, starting in 1987, as both master of the Social Sciences Collegiate Division and deputy dean of the Social Sciences Division. Serving as acting dean of the social sciences after then dean Edward Laumann was appointed University provost in April of 1992, Boyer would have been, in Laumann’s mind, a prime candidate for social sciences dean had he not gone on to become dean of the College that fall.

Boyer served briefly as associate dean of the College before then University president Hanna Holborn Gray appointed him dean for the 1992–93 school year, succeeding Dean Ralph W. Nicholas.

Gray, UChicago Magazine wrote, “expressed confidence in Boyer’s ability to [build] on the fine foundation that Ralph Nicholas [had] provided.” Boyer told The Chicago Maroon in 1992 that he was “extremely honored” to take on such an important role.

Boyer’s academic background fit perfectly with his new position. As a historian, the dean administrates with what Wild called “a sense of the ‘longue durée,’” referring to the French historian Fernand Braudel’s Annales school’s perspective on history that gives precedence to understanding very-long-term historical structures over an event-based knowledge of history.

Former president of the University of California Clark Kerr, Boyer explains, “once said roughly that if you look at all

of the institutions in Europe and America that existed in the 1500s and still exist today, it’s the British Parliament, the Vatican, and a couple dozen universities.” What Kerr meant “is that universities are in it for the long run. They’re not for-profit companies. They don’t sell widgets, and then two years from now nobody wants to buy widgets, so they go out of business.”

Boyer administrates with an implicit understanding of the conservative nature of large organizations. “One of the challenges…that any administrator has in any great university,” he told me, “is how to evoke or achieve change against the preponderant nature of universities, which is that all universities resist change.” The challenge, however, “is that if you don’t constantly poke and prod universities and prompt renewal, they’re not going to survive, because the places that do survive will change.”

“One of the remarkable things about John Boyer is that he has been—to use it as a verb—he has been deaning as a historian,” Wild remarked. “He’s the first and foremost historian of this University, but that’s not just a hobby. He governs as a historian and thereby has a deep appreciation and understanding of the intellectual and academic culture of this place.… He goes into the University archives, and he has read the minutes of University meetings from 40 years ago, and I doubt anyone else has that kind of knowledge.”

“John has read the minutes of hundreds, if not thousands, of faculty meetings and of committee meetings,” reports Dean of the Humanities Division Anne Robertson. “He has a sense of the real warp and [weft] of this institution and the ways departments and divisions interact and interweave with one another. His knowledge is both encyclopedic and hugely strong with precedent.”

“He, himself, is, I think, quite fond of upper-level administration and quite knowledgeable about it,” Malamy said. “Often we’ll be at meetings discussing things many people would find quite dry, and I’ll look over at him and see that he’s quite enlivened.”

Wild shared a similar anecdote: “Of-


“Neither the man nor his employers would have known how long Boyer’s connection with the University would last.”


tentimes we’ll have a meeting, and we’ll talk about something, and John’s analogy is to how administrative processes in the Habsburg empire worked. [He] makes decisions as an academic leader, having studied the history of political and administrative institutions, and then also knowing the history of the University of Chicago.”

Wild and others called Boyer’s historical understanding “remarkable,” but the dean himself is more modest. He points

out that one of the main strengths of big administrative states—like the Austrian Empire or the University of Chicago—“is that they have a cadre of civil servants which hold them together.” The Austrian Empire’s civil servants, Boyer explained, held the Empire together with a large degree of effectiveness and dispassion.

“It’s very important that we [not] only value deans and department chairs that come and go—and I came and stayed for a while rather than going away quickly—

but also [value] the staff of the University,” Boyer explained. “Behind the faculty and next to the students, you have thousands of career people who, when I leave the deanship next July, will stay on.… They don’t win Nobel Prizes and they don’t win Rhodes Scholarships, but professional staff are vital for the success of a university.”

Boyer, whose research specialty is the Habsburg Imperial bureaucracy, said he now understands firsthand how bureau-

cracies and other complex organizations work. “Bureaucracy nowadays has a kind of bad tone to it,” he said. “But to run any complex organization…you need a cadre of people who know what they’re doing, who are professionally trained, who are literate, who are honest, who have integrity, who know the organization, and who know how [similar] organizations conduct themselves.”

Indeed, not only has Boyer’s work as a historian helped him as an administrator, but the reverse also holds true. “I’m a better historian for having been dean,” Boyer remarked. “When I read Thucydides [now], I see things there I probably wouldn’t have seen had I not been dean.” During the COVID-19 pandemic, Boyer wrote that Thucydides was the his constant reminder of “the resilience of common institutions and sustaining values.”

Even as he navigated the responsibilities of the deanship, Boyer has taken great care not to give up his work as a historian and as a professor. “When people are appointed to deanships here or elsewhere, they often call me for advice,” he admitted. “The first things I say [are]: don’t stop teaching, don’t stop writing, don’t stop being a researcher.”

In an administrative position, Boyer believes, it’s very easy to lose touch with what he termed “the body social.” “One of the things teaching does is [that] it renews your contact with students and gives you a very palpable sense of how effective you are as a communicator and how effective your curricular thinking is.”

Boyer also continues to teach regularly in the College, and every two years he goes to Vienna to teach the Civ Core course Vienna in Western Civilization to study abroad students. The University’s study abroad system as a whole owes its nature in large part to Boyer’s deanship. Around half of UChicago students now study abroad during their time as undergraduates, and many of them in the Center in Paris that Boyer has continually fought to expand. The University’s new Center in Paris, scheduled to open in 2024, will be named after Boyer.

So too will a professorship, starting in


“Even as he navigated the responsibilities of the deanship, Boyer has taken great care not to give up his work as a historian and as a professor.”
zachary leiter


the 2023–24 academic year, to be awarded to “a faculty member in the humanities or social sciences with a distinguished record of teaching in the Core curriculum.” This honor recognizes how Boyer remains, as the dean believes all successful administrators must, first and foremost an academic—and a prominent one at that.

Boyer served three terms as chair of the Western Civilization core and was one of two general editors of the nine-volume The University of Chicago Readings in Western Civilization, published in 1986 and still taught as part of the College’s Core Curriculum. As a faculty member in the 1980s, Boyer was a prolific author, publishing an expanded formal history of the origins of the Christian Social Movement, his dissertation topic, in 1981, along with a series of essays on Viennese Liberalism, Austrian Jewry, and German-Austrian relations.

Boyer, the Martin A. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor of History and the College since 1996, has also published more than 20 essays on UChicago and American higher education on educational practices, student housing, fundraising and philanthropy, the College’s role within the University, academic freedom, and a number of other topics. These essays are, of course, also accompanied by Boyer’s 700-page principal chronicle of the University, The University of Chicago: A History, published in 2015. The dean wrote A History because, as a historian with access to the UChicago archives, it was too tempting for him not to write a narrative of the University.

Boyer’s Sense of Possibility

In pursuit of a more colorful picture of John Boyer, I asked his colleagues what adjectives they’d use to describe him. “Dedicated” came up frequently (“He hasn’t rested on his laurels—he keeps fighting,” Kolb elaborated), as did “wise” and “well-read.” Above all, however, those who know Boyer admire his rigorous, precise approach. He’s “a man of great savoir faire,” Robertson observed. “He’s concise and precise in what he says. He draws you to him with everything that he says.”

Wild raised a historical concept to relate to Boyer, one coined, coincidentally, by Austrian novelists: möglichkeit, or the sense of possibility. “Every day, you’ll say something,” Wild said, and “you’ll see his mind working, and he’ll come back a few days later and say, ‘maybe we can try doing it this way,’ but that way is still couched in a sense of who we are as an institution.”

John Boyer, perhaps above all else, seems to be filled with this hopeful sense of possibility. He told me that his favorite non-Regenstein place on campus is Rockefeller Chapel. “If you look at Rockefeller, especially in the evening, when it’s lit up, you think that 100 years ago this was just prairie land. There was nothing here. There were people that had not only the money and the ambition but also the good taste and the managerial skills to actually build a place like Rockefeller, or all the other places on campus. Rockefeller is a sacred place, but it’s also an evocative place—of the power of the University and the power of the imagination of the founders of the University.”

In such hope, Malamy sees a similarity between Boyer and the students he administers. “There are,” she said, “a lot of administrators that run colleges like businesses, but to run a college well, you need to really like young people.… Young people can be uniquely wonderful, and college campuses are powerful, powerful places. You have to love the frustrating idealism that college students have and respect it and nurture it. And Dean Boyer likes young people deeply.”

What is Dean Boyer’s favorite UChicago tradition? “My favorite day of the year is Opening Convocation,” he answers, “where the students assemble and the dean and the president give addresses. You look out into the audience and you see this sea of faces: parents apprehensive about their children leaving the nest, students happy to have left the nest even if they’re a little [confused]. The sea of faces conveys a world of new promise and new opportunities. It’s really a wonderful moment where the University is renewing its promise to better young people.”

Boyer really speaks like this—academically, in little quotes and theses. And

while some part of that is likely the result of a lifetime spent in history, academia, and administration, you get the sense he may have spoken similarly at age ten.

For not only a higher-level administrator, but also a man of such scholarly ways— “the consummate University of Chicago professor: very cerebral, he appears absentminded, but he knows everything that’s going on,” as Wild described him— it would be easy for Boyer to seem out of touch. Part of the dean’s defense against that outcome is intentional: his continued teaching, his “fireside” quarterly messages to the student body. Another part is just who John Boyer is: the kind of 76-yearold historian who rides his Schwinn bike across the quad, no matter the weather, and held a fake paper-and-popsicle-stick mustache over his own very real mustache at 2013’s student-organized Dean Boyer Appreciation Day as he posed for photos with undergraduate students on the quad. As Malamy pointed out, Boyer maintains a real affection for young people and a real commitment to their education.

Woodward emphasized the importance of viewing deans, and Boyer in particular, less as paper-pushers and more as intellectual leaders. Malamy called Boyer an “elder statesman,” and current Dean of the Physical Sciences Division Angela V. Olinto called him “a role model for deans over [the] decades.”

Kolb was more blunt. “I was a dean for five years,” Kolb said. “Anyone who’s been a dean for more than five years, I’d say, ‘God bless ’em.’ Dean is a tough job— there’s the higher administration wheels turning and the faculty and student wheels turning, and you’re in the middle getting ground up as the gears turn.”

With that view of the future and his longue durée perspective, where, then, does John Boyer think the College goes from here? When the historian steps down this July, he will have not only served 20 years longer than any previous University of Chicago College dean but also served under five different University presidents: Gray, Sonnenschein, Randel, Zimmer, and Alivisatos.

Universities, Boyer believes, have a long and strong tradition of self-gover-

nance—that is to say, of faculty moving into administrative rules and then moving back out. Nevertheless, Boyer once wrote that “you don’t have to think of your career as a bricolage of little way stations. If you like your job and you’re good at it, why not stick around for a while?” He cited the emperor Franz Joseph of Austria, who served from the age of eighteen until his death at the age of 86 in 1916. Joseph, notes Boyer, gained experience with time, and lent stability to his empire.

Boyer has certainly stabilized the College of the University of Chicago, but, after 30 years of administrative continuity, a change in leadership can be daunting. “When you’ve had a good leader for a very, very long time, there’s always a sense of nervousness as to what will come next,” Malamy admitted.

“I think after all this time, he’s kind of become the personification of the College,” said Sebastian Greppo, administrative director of UChicago’s Center in Paris. “It’s going to be difficult for the next dean, because for a while they’ll have to face the challenge of ‘What would John Boyer have done under these circumstances?’”

I asked John Boyer whether he is worried about the future of the University of Chicago and its college. He is not: “We have good bones, as it were, and we’re going to endure many, many centuries into the future.”

“As a historian,” Boyer replied when I asked what he thinks his legacy will be, “I know that 50 or 100 years from now, what everybody remembers about any one of us could easily be put in one or two lines, because life goes on, as it should.”

He continued, “I’m hopeful that when people look back at this era—and not just at me personally, but at the whole era— they’ll see that the University got a second chance with its college. Universities and people don’t often get true second chances in life.… I’m hopeful that folk will look back [from] however far in the future and say, ‘You know, all of these folks—including Boyer, but an awful lot of other people—worked very hard to recreate this vibrant, successful college.’”

He paused for a moment to think.

We have good bones, as it were, and we’re going to endure many, many centuries into the future.”

Since second or third year, I’ve been thinking about how I would start this column: my farewell column to my time at not only this university but also this newspaper, without which the former would not be complete. While I could write about how it all started—the conversation I had with a former editor that made it into my speech running for managing editor—or what I learned from the nonstop breaking news cycle or countless production nights, I constantly think back to where it all ended. The day I logged out of The Maroon’s Slack, I also abruptly ended my time in student journalism, a journey so long that I barely knew where to start the recounting.

For four years, I have called myself a student journalist— that’s student first, then a journalist. I stop by Harper in between my classes every other day, stay on campus for RSO events, and occasionally take a Lyft home when it’s too cold. I cram for exams and essays in the Reg during finals week and sometimes spend an indeterminate amount of time at Grounds of Being. But between some variations of this routine, I also cover all of those things as a journalist. While navigating UChicago’s infamous grind culture and a novel, adventurous social life, I also learned to sometimes distance myself from them to report and write about the College experience critically.

In this way, being a student

VIEWPOINTS Why Student Journalism Matters

journalist seems like a violation of the first principle of journalistic ethics: Avoid conflicts of interest. This is not the type of obvious conflict that The Maroon has outlined in its bylaws, such as interviewing a friend or covering an RSO you are in, but the kind that—if you go way, way macro—makes you question a journalist’s relationship with a community that they are so deeply immersed in, where their everyday life is affected by the people and policy they write about in the same way that those quoted in the story are affected too. What does that mean for the job that student journalists do?

For the most part, it is a blessing to cover what we truly love and care about simply by being part of it. Holding the power accountable is a form of that love. We take a pause before writing about a University policy to ask: What does this really mean for the student body? In the same way, we question the administration, local officials, corporations, student leaders in RSOs, and the student government. Regardless of how large these figures are, we know that what they say and what they do will affect the public in some way, hence the readers’ right to know.

During the pandemic, for example, The Maroon broke the news of the University’s decision to switch to remote teaching in March 2020 and continued to cover the University’s COVID-19 policies and track the case updates painstakingly even after the University stopped sending those emails. The Editorial

Board kept pushing for transparent and fair policies from the administration during a crisis. Similarly in colleges across the country, student newspapers are often the only source of information for faculty, students, parents, and even community members from the surrounding neighborhood when they are unable to get an answer from the administration. But we don’t do these to expose or criticize: We cover them because we love our community and want to see it become better. And if we didn’t cover them or talk to the affected individuals—students who couldn’t get testing, tenants who were forced to leave their homes, residents who were worried about their families—who else will?

But we also do more than simply making information accessible. In The Maroon ’s revised constitution, former editor-in-chief Gage Gramlick and I wrote that “truth is easy to assert but hard to capture.” Being transplanted into a place like UChicago, an undeniably huge presence in Hyde Park and the South Side, we all carry a multitude of perspectives and hear the ones that challenge ours. As journalists, we don’t choose to cover the “safe” topics—the ones that our readers like or that drive traffic to our site. We cover uncomfortable debates. We cover controversial topics. We cover, above all, marginalized communities who have traditionally not been given access to the press. That to me is one of the most beautiful assets

of student journalism, precisely because student journalists are from the community. And in a college newsroom, we have the freedom to experiment, disagree, and honestly reflect on our past injustices in order to guide future work.

Yet the difficult truth is that

student journalists often face inadequate recognition, which means a lack of protection. Journalists, particularly female and BIPOC journalists, have faced increased risks associated with their work, from hate speech to cyberbullying to death threats,

College newspapers provide an essential platform for students to engage with their own community and hold power accountable. A free, safe press is necessary to sustain that.


industry groups reported. To student journalists, the safety risks are more complicated. As of 2022, only 17 states, including Illinois, have laws protecting student journalists’ First Amendment rights. The law prohibits censorship or self-censorship in the student press. But it does not prevent harassment and threats from reaching the journalists’ inboxes. Unlike professional newsrooms where the

institution would step in when its staffers face threats, student newsrooms do not have the capacity to intervene in every single case through means such as blocking hate emails. Seldom do the universities release a statement in cases of an online harassment campaign either.

As student journalists, we have all been told at times that the online mobs will go away when given time. Narratives like these are dangerous because the

Internet’s short memory does not undo the harm it has done. When free speech becomes a trade-off with safety, fewer student journalists will be willing to write stories that they deem would lead to repercussions or backlashes, from protests to public safety and even to profiles of online celebrities. Eventually, college newspapers would be forced to choose between writing about the news and protecting their staffers. The result

would be detrimental to an equitable community.

Over the past year, I have had many at The Maroon to thank for navigating a hard news cycle amidst the pressure of being a student and a journalist at the same time, in particular the entire executive slate, editorial crew, and the business and production teams. I am especially thankful to the current slate for assuming leadership of the paper from us and achieving re-

Worth Walking For

I was in the parking lot of a Barnes & Noble when housing placements came out the summer before our first year. I remember the details of the moment for the shock that accompanied it—not because of where I was placed, but because of the reactions I found among my prospective dormmates upon opening Facebook.

“Will trade a single in I house for pretty much anything else pls”; “Anyone at other residence halls interested in a SINGLE room at I House?”; “Will trade away Language and The Mind T,Th from 11:00-12:20 if you promise to switch for my I-House Single third week. PM if interested.” One person even posted a meme of “The 5 Stages of Being Placed in I-House”: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally, acceptance. The post garnered 126 reacts.

I had ranked I-House on my

housing sheet based on a recommendation from my prospie host the prior April. I had stayed with her overnight in Snell—a strange night wherein I watched a man race to de-layer several sweaters, made banana chocolate chip pancakes with strangers, and screamed what I believe were sea shanties in the Hitchcock house lounge.

I appreciated my night in Snell but wasn’t sure if the experience was entirely for me. My host recommended I try I-House for its perhaps more tame but still present house culture, cool people, and impressive Gothic architecture.

I ranked it third. Based on the reactions that a placement in I-House had produced on Facebook, I sat in front of Barnes & Noble afraid I shouldn’t have ranked it all.

When I arrived on campus for O-Week, the only tenuous point of connection between my newfound dormmates was

a shared complaint about being placed in I-House despite “not ranking it.” The fact that I did rank it quickly became a secret of mine. It almost seemed embarrassing and naive to willingly choose to live in a dorm so far from campus. I recently confessed my secret to my roommate, whom I had met in I-House our first year. “Oh, cool.” He shrugged. “I ranked it first.”

Now, my embarrassment about ranking I-House stems purely from having been previously embarrassed to admit having done so.

I lived on the eighth floor of I-House in a north-facing single, with a view of what I once thought was downtown Chicago but was really of Regents Park and the apartments above Whole Foods. To the right of my room was a girl who brought me to my first frat party and collected Blue Moons on her desk like glass vases. To my left was a

bespectacled girl who was pursuing premed but was a poet at heart. Not roommates, but “room neighbors,” these were my first friends at the College. I remain close with them, and others from I-House, to this day.

When it came time to eat lunch or dinner, we would coordinate times and make the trek to Cathey Dining Commons. The walk over took about 20 minutes but—just as my prospie host had predicted—it was a bonding experience. People from I-House had grit, we had stamina, and we had more reason to protest the mandatory unlimited meal plan than anyone else on campus. I didn’t have a true breakfast at the dining hall until my second quarter at the school.

Breakfast was invariably at Tiffin Café, the white-tiled addendum to the carpeted Tiffin lounge in I-House. I found their overnight oats quite good

markable achievements thus far. Now, from one reader to another, I encourage you to continue your support for student journalism, as it remains a vital component in the success of those journalists, despite the challenging circumstances they may face.

Yiwen Lu is a fourth-year in the College and former managing editor of The Chicago Maroon

and found myself disappointed if there weren’t any left by the time I got there. The timing of things in the morning was crucial. In order to get to class, one needed to be conscious not only of the time it took to get to campus but also of the time it took to get down to the first floor from their room and wait in line at Tiffin’s.

The TransLoc app was a mainstay on my phone’s home screen. One really got to know the shuttles that worked in one’s favor and which didn’t. The Central to get to Cathey, the South to get home. The Friend Center/Metra to get to campus, but everything else was on your own (unless you were a savvy first-year and got the hang of the CTA). A friend and I felt such tenderness toward the Friend Center/Metra shuttle we took daily that we began to refer to it simply as “Friend.” “Where is Friend?”

International House is the dorm farthest from UChicago’s campus, and the distance is easy to complain about—but it’s also something to cherish.
For the most part, it is a blessing to cover what we truly love and care about simply by being part of it.
ON PG. 18

The timing of things in the morning was crucial.


“Friend is early today.” “Run! Friend is outside!”

Life in I-House required such an intense level of time management that I once mentioned living there in a job interview—granted, for an on-campus position. (The interview was at the Reg, and I sprinted to it, without shame, having left I-House 15 minutes before the appointment instead of a healthy 20 with cushion.)

The distance of I-House was hard to navigate, but I began to think of the subsequent routines it demanded as at least somewhat fun. During the winter quarter of our first year, two friends and I would get a Mexi-

can hot chocolate from Medici on our walk back to the dorm at least once a week, as a treat. Once we got back to I-House, we’d finish sipping our drinks in between games of ping pong and pool in the Tiffin Lounge.

Nowadays, it takes me 25 minutes to walk to campus from my apartment—almost double the time we complained about our first year. If the distance from I-House to campus was the only negative thing people saw about it, then I venture to say that it was all positive. I wouldn’t bargain, swap, or trade my time there for the world.

Chicago Architecture Tour Guide of Four Years

In my humble opinion, Chicago is the greatest city in the world. For the past two years, I’ve welcomed international visitors to our incredible city by working as a tour guide on the Chicago River architecture boat tours with Shoreline Sightseeing. I can tell you the name, style, height, and history of almost every skyscraper along the river downtown. On my tour, I brag about Chicago’s amazing restaurants, over 600 beautiful parks, vibrant arts and music scene, world-class museums, theaters, seven professional sports teams, exciting nightlife, and diverse neighborhoods. Yet, on my tour, I also try to convey to visitors that the City of Chicago is so much more than just Navy Pier, the Mag Mile, and

the Bean—we have over 200 neighborhoods that comprise the 77 community areas in the city, each with its own distinct food, architecture, history, people, and culture.

In my four years at UChicago, I’ve noticed that most students rarely leave Hyde Park, except to go downtown a few times per quarter. We’re fortunate to go to school in a dynamic and exciting metropolis—yet many students seem to stay close to campus, and they’re missing out on all the fun! As I look back on my time here, I want to encourage current and future undergrads to make a concerted effort to leave campus as often as you can and explore neighborhoods across the city to broaden your worldview and truly take in everything Chicago has to offer.

In many ways, the University has a vested interest in making it more convenient for students to spend most of their time on campus. I get it— why leave Hyde Park when the neighborhood has everything you could ever need? There are great restaurants, organic grocery stores, museums, and parks within walking distance. Hyde Park is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Chicago, and it’s easy to navigate on foot or by bike. College students are now required to live in on-campus dormitories for two years, and unlimited meal plans at the conveniently located campus dining halls give students little incentive to venture out to off-campus restaurants. While Hyde Park certainly has lots to enjoy, the city of Chicago has so much more to offer.

The biggest reason students should get out and explore is that our campus is not representative of all of Chicago. Campus is gloomy, stodgy, stoic, and gray. Hyde Park is one of the safest neighborhoods in the city, but fear of crime and the intense security apparatus of the UChicago Police Department makes many students anxious. Though Chicago is beautiful in the summertime, we experience cold, harsh weather for most of the academic year, and many students (including me) experience seasonal affective disorder—the winter blues. There is little nightlife near campus, because most of the bars, dance halls, and jazz clubs along 53rd, 55th, and 63rd streets were demolished during UChicago’s urban renewal campaign in the ’60s. Even our main

library, the Reg, is a blocky, brutalist, miserable mound of boring gray concrete.

I believe staying on campus for four years creates a false impression among students that all of Chicago is gloomy and gray—it’s not! There are so many interesting neighborhoods in our city, and here are some of my favorites:

Beginning on the North Side, Andersonville is a charming neighborhood located seven miles north of downtown. Known for its artisanal flair, beautiful architecture, and bustling shopping and dining district along Clark Street, Time Out magazine recently ranked Andersonville as the “coolest neighborhood in the United States.” Andersonville was the historic center of Chi-


To fully take advantage of your four years here, get off campus and explore everything Chicago has to offer.

I believe staying on campus for four years creates a false impression among students that

Ida B. Wells, poet Gwendolyn Brooks, and musicians Sam Cooke and Louis Armstrong. Today, Bronzeville is known for its historic churches and beautiful homes along Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, great restaurants like Yassa (3511 South King Drive) and Peach’s (4652 South King Drive), and the Light of Truth Ida B. Wells National Monument. Students over 21 can visit Bronzeville Winery (4420 South Cottage Grove Avenue), the restaurant, winery, and gathering space owned by Eric Williams, proprietor of Hyde Park’s Silverroom. Nearby, check out a Chicago White Sox baseball game at Guaranteed Rate Field (333 West 35th Street), though real Chicagoans still call it Comiskey Park.

er John Daley (no relation to former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley), and they’ve been serving breakfast and lunch to South Siders and visitors for over 130 years. Also check out Robust Coffee Lounge (6300 South Woodlawn Avenue) and go to the Oak Woods Cemetery (1035 East 67th Street) to see the gravesites of Olympic track star Jesse Owens, UChicago Economist Gary Becker, and Chicago’s first Black Mayor Harold Washington.

cago’s Swedish community, so check out the Swedish American Museum (5211 North Clark Street) or Svea (5236 North Clark Street), a delicious Swedish diner.

Northwest of the Loop is Wicker Park, known for its vibrant arts scene and funky vibes. Along Milwaukee Avenue, you’ll find Chicago’s best selection of thrift and vintage clothing stores, along with famous music venues like Subterranean (2011 West North Avenue). If you’re into fitness, go for a walk, jog, or bike ride on The 606, a 2.7-mile-long path built on an elevated rail line similar to New York’s High Line.

East of Wicker Park is Lakeview, one of Chicago’s best neighborhoods for twenty somethings and one of the most popular neighborhoods in the U.S. on Zillow. Lakeview has great bars and restaurants

along Broadway, Halsted, and Clark streets. Visit Laugh Factory comedy club (3175 North Broadway Street) for hilarious standup seven nights a week.

Moving over to the West Side, Ukrainian Village is the historic center of Chicago’s Ukrainian community and offers great restaurants, cafés, and culture. Visit the Ukrainian National Museum, then go next door to the Saints

Volodymyr & Olha Ukrainian Catholic Church (739 North Oakley Boulevard) to view the beautiful golden domes and intricate mosaic on the exterior.

Tryzub, a Ukrainian restaurant at 2201 West Chicago Avenue, is one of my all-time favorite restaurants. Chicago is sister cities with Kyiv, and many local shops and restaurants are collecting donations to support the Ukrainian resistance to Russia’s invasion.

A few miles south of

Ukrainian Village is Pilsen, a historically Latino neighborhood that Forbes named one of “the 12 coolest neighborhoods around the world.” Along Pilsen’s main drag on 18th Street, you’ll find Quesabirria Jalisco (1314 West 18th Street), one of Chicago’s best spots for birria tacos, and Cantón Regio (1510 West 18th Street), one of my favorite places for juicy grilled steak. Thalia Hall (1807 South Allport Street) is a historic music venue hosting upand-coming acts. Pilsen is also famous for its colorful street art, and for the acclaimed (and free) National Museum of Mexican Art (1852 West 19th Street).

Heading down to the South Side, I’d recommend Bronzeville, northwest of Hyde Park. Bronzeville is known as Chicago’s Black Metropolis, and numerous Black visionaries have lived there, including civil rights activist

I challenge the widespread notion—one built on racial stereotypes—that UChicago students shouldn’t venture far south of the Midway. Daytime visits to neighborhoods south and west of Hyde Park are totally safe and can be really fun if you open your mind to the fact that every neighborhood in Chicago has something to offer. I advise students to be conscious of your presence in South and West side neighborhoods; be aware of your surroundings and try to be perceptive about Chicago’s long and fraught history of redlining, systemic racism, and unequal economic opportunity. And be sure to shop at local businesses.

In Woodlawn, just a short walking distance from campus, you’ll find Daley’s Restaurant (6257 South Cottage Grove Avenue) a delicious and affordable American diner. It’s the oldest continuously operating restaurant in Chicago, founded in 1892 by construction work-

About a mile west of Woodlawn is Englewood, where you’ll find coffee shops like Kusanya Café (825 West 69th Street) and Momentum Coffee (1122 West 63rd Street) which has a cool barbershop and coworking space attached. To learn more about pertinent social issues facing the neighborhood, talk to shoppers at the soon-to-open Save-a-Lot grocery store (832 West 63rd Street) and, shameless self-promo, read my article in The Gate entitled “Mixed feelings remain after Whole Foods exits Englewood.”

Heading southeast from Englewood, visit the historic South Shore Cultural Center (7059 South South Shore Drive), a beautiful ballroom where the Obamas had their wedding reception, and the adjacent South Shore Nature Sanctuary, for a tranquil respite from the bustling city. Then go a few more miles south to Birrieria Ocotlan (8726 South Commercial Avenue) for mouth-watering birria tacos, and also check out Calumet Fisheries (3259 East 95th Street), a famous smoked fish spot where Vice President Kamala Harris dined when she visited Chicago in January.

There’s so much to see and do in neighborhoods outside of


all of Chicago is gloomy and gray–it’s not!


downtown—and I believe it’s essential for UChicago students to explore the entire city—North, South, and West Sides—during our four years here.

Yet, I understand why it’s hard to leave Hyde Park. The relentless pace of the quarter system and UChicago’s interminable academic grind make it difficult to carve out time to explore. We’re constantly studying for the next midterm, applying for internships, and doing tomorrow’s Sosc reading. Students should, however, make time in their schedule to explore Chicago, just like they make time for IM sports, RSOs,

video games, or scrolling on Instagram. Visiting neighborhoods besides Hyde Park and downtown will open your eyes to the beautiful complexity of this city, and the experience will be more valuable for your personal growth and development than reading Sidechat or playing Fortnite.

Navigating the city by train or bus can be difficult, and the lack of transportation options is one of the main reasons my friends say they don’t leave Hyde Park more often. There are legitimate concerns about safety on the CTA, and many students (myself included) are wary about riding the El trains

after Max Lewis, a second-year student, was fatally struck by a stray bullet on the Green Line in July 2021. However, crime on the CTA is exceedingly rare—I’ve taken CTA trains and buses many times in the past four years, and I’ve never experienced violent crime. However, Metra, Divvy Bikes, and ridesharing apps like Uber are also good alternatives to the CTA. Metra tickets from Hyde Park to downtown are just two dollars, and though it runs less frequently, I’ve found Metra to be safer and more reliable than the CTA. Most students don’t realize that we are eligible for Divvy’s Divvy for Ev-


eryone program, which offers a $5 annual membership to local college students. Splitting an Uber to the North Side with a few friends typically costs less than $5 per person depending on the time of day.

The University has done a lot to help students get out of Hyde Park using public transit, from the U-Pass Ventra cards to the new downtown campus connector shuttle to a once-yearly ten-ride pass on the Metra. The Chicago Studies program helps students connect to the city, and they post a weekly events digest on their Instagram. However, there’s much more that UChicago could do to help

Jhung Came Out the Blue

For fourth-year Jhung Kim, making music has always been about the unexpected. From the release of his 2022 debut Always the End, meant to both open and close the book on his pursuit of music, to his upcoming farewell show and new EP, the musician and UChicago student has built his burgeoning career through circumstances as surprising and delightful as his arrangements.

“Very few people at UChicago knew about the EP,” Jhung said about the making of Always the End. The project started as a personal one for Jhung, a classically trained pianist and oboist who had the talent for music but was losing his curiosity for it. Isolated by the pandemic, Jhung began working on the EP to fill the empty hours, but the project took on a new urgency when he returned to campus.

In order to marshal the sticky hooks and genre-bending production of Always the End, Jhung drew inspiration from both his favorite artists and material created by his peers at UChicago. Influenced by acts like Black Party, Brockhampton, and Tyler, the Creator, Jhung’s sound draws on genres ranging from gospel to bossa nova. To actually assemble these sounds, he reached out to the musical community on campus for help.

Recording in his dorm room and on his phone, Jhung corralled the instrumentation he needed for the EP. With fellow student musicians, like violinist Grace Kim, featured in the opening of the EP’s title track Always the End, Jhung assembled the songs that would fulfill the project’s goal: to make music that would show a new side of the up-and-coming artist.

“I started feeling the need to be seen,” he said, though on the cover of Always the End, Jhung appears with his face entirely blocked by a white square. Rooted in his desire for visibility was a need to change his image, to move beyond the expectations of close friends and classmates.

The five-track EP is built neatly around this problem; from the first moment of its opening track we learn that “JHUNG IS DEAD!”, which sets up the titular track, and the remainder of the record, to serve as the artist’s “last words.” This setup mirrors the project’s themes of loss and loneliness and its staging as the death of his former persona.

“The EP was meant to be my last stab at music, the metaphorical death of my music[al] ambitions,” Jhung said. Instead, in the making and release of the project, he took those ambitions to new heights. Within a month of its release,

students get to neighborhoods outside of downtown: creating a new shuttle route that takes people to neighborhoods north and west of the Loop or giving students 10 Metra rides each quarter instead of each calendar year.

Give Chicago a chance! We have a short time here, and it’s a mistake to spend your entire College experience on a dreary campus that doesn’t give the full picture of everything Chicago has to offer. Get out there and explore!

Adam Sachs is a fourth-year in the College.

the project racked up more than 150,000 streams on Spotify and was featured on several of the streaming platform’s editorial playlists. For Jhung, this increased exposure brought a new perspective.

“You can’t expect to know how people will relate to your art,” he said.

The overwhelming positive reaction caused Jhung to reevaluate a record that had blossomed into something much larger. Fans messaged him on Instagram to tell him how his music had carried them through difficult times, and he began to understand that the individual struggles he had faced while making the EP connected him to a sympathetic audience, one that turned to him for support in communicating their own experiences.

The success of Always the End also propelled Jhung into uncharted territory when he was invited to open for R&B


We’re fortunate to go to school in a dynamic and exciting metropolis—yet many students seem to stay close to campus, and they’re missing out on all the fun!

Cheers to the new graduatesbest wishes for your future!

THE CHICAGO MAROON — MAY 18, 2023 21 Congratulations to the Class of 2023!


singer Ravyn Lenae at Major Activities Board’s 2022 Autumn Breeze Show. Before a packed crowd, Jhung performed his songs—which he says “were originally intended to be listened to alone,” mixed for headphones and recorded during quarantine.

But instead of shying away from this

unforeseen result, Jhung embraced it and once again found support among his peer group. In addition to his solo music, he began performing with a band of fellow fourth-year students he got to know while producing the EP.

Former classmate Elliott Ducree Jr., who now works at the Creative Arts Agency in L.A., connected Jhung with sec -

ond-year student Kevin Michuki, whom Ducree met at Hallowed Grounds’s event series Back 2 Back.

Working together, Ducree and Michuki put together Jhung’s farewell show, scheduled for May 19. The event, a Tiny Desk–inspired concert also hosted by Hallowed Grounds, comes ahead of the release of his sophomore EP this summer.


Speaking on that upcoming project, Jhung says he wants to be more intentional about his public-facing persona. If Always the End was designed for headphones, this upcoming project is intended for “speaker setting.” As he leaves UChicago, Jhung faces a world of new opportunities for his musical career. He’s certain to sound right at home.

Softball Catcher Bids Farewell After Tremendous Senior Season

When Julia Folkl stepped into the batter’s box on May 13, she put an exclamation point on a prolific two-year run as the Maroons’ starting catcher. Folkl is one of two fourth-years on the softball roster and has had an immeasurable impact on a roster packed with first and second-year players. On the year, Folkl is slashing .375/.432/.446. That .375 batting average is by far the highest on the team, and her .446 slugging percentage is second behind outfielder Laila Sims. While her numbers have been impressive, it is perhaps her locker room presence that will leave the biggest mark on the program going forward.

Look no further than the sophomore student-athletes who have shared the field with Folkl. The Maroons’ lineup is littered with talented underclassmen who make impacts on both sides of the ball. Folkl made sure to point out that, while the younger players are great on offense, being able to “always count on infield” is what has made the experience truly incredible. As she gets ready to step away from the diamond, Folkl is particularly excited to see what the future holds for her younger teammates. “I can’t wait to see what crazy records they will break in both team and individual stats.”

Folkl leaves behind a giant pair of shoes to fill, but there are plenty of inhouse replacements ready to fill them.

Third-year Alina Yazek looks to be the next in line to take over at catcher. Though she has primarily played third base this season, Yazek has experience as a backstop and, as a rising fourth-year, will already have lots of younger players looking up to her for advice on how to navigate the balancing act of a student athlete. Another option is Tory Piuze, who is the only player besides Folkl to have caught an inning this season. Though she is only a sophomore this year, Piuze has done a great job of commanding the pitching staff in her limited time behind the plate. Both players will be expected to assume some of the leadership duties that come with being a catcher. When asked what advice Folkl would give to the next group of fourth-years who are expected to step into leadership roles in the locker room, she said her best advice would be “to stay confident and true to yourself. When others look to you as an example, it is most important to keep your composure.”

Folkl considers herself to be a “quiet leader.” Of course, this form of leadership is most effective when a player is able to put in the work and have that work translate into results. In that regard, Folkl credits her athletic trainer Bobby Smith as someone who she can attribute much of her success to. His assistance, Folkl says, allowed her to improve in all

facets of the game. Her hitting numbers, though already tremendous last season, saw an uptick, in part thanks to Smith’s coaching. Her batting average improved by 62 points, and her slugging percentage increased by 55 points. Her work as a catcher is hard to quantify with numbers, but the Maroons’ pitching staff, led by second-year Paige Heffke, was unhittable for much of the year. While the pitchers deserve plenty of credit for putting up such dominant numbers, Folkl’s work behind the plate has undoubtedly contributed to their success. Folkl also credits Smith with helping her remain

healthy throughout the season. She has played in more games this season than in the previous season and has been able to build a strong rapport with her pitching staff as a result.

There is no doubt the Maroons will miss Folkl both on and off the field. On offense, defense, and in the locker room, Folkl has been the engine behind her team’s success. While the Maroons will greatly miss Folkl, Folkl will miss her teammates just as much. “I’m so lucky to have such an incredible group of teammates,” she told The Maroon. “I’ll miss them dearly.”

“But instead of shying away from this unforeseen result, Jhung embraced it and once again found support among his peer group.”
finn hartnett

CROSSWORD 61. Bonfires at the Point


1 Start to celebrate?

10 It helps you keep track of classes, for short

15 henryj@uchicago.edu, to name one

16 One with lots of 38-Across (hopefully good ones!)

18 Said that one ran an RSO, when one actually went to a meeting or two each quarter

20 Arboreal amphibians

21 MLB team implicated in a 2017-19 sign-stealing scandal

22 Went to Cathey, perhaps

23 Operation Warp Speed org.

24 Half of none?

25 Iran’s official language

29 A deer, a female deer

30 Census figures

38 Bonfires at the point, the first night you spent in your dorm during O-Week, and long nights in the Reg doing problem sets, to name a few

39 “Help! I’m stuck on a desert island!”, stereotypically

40 A looooooooong time

41 Gather

42 Communication system pioneered by Thomas Gallaudet, for short

45 Org. in the 2017 film “Dunkirk”

46 Camera type, for short

48 “I can’t come to the party, I have to write ___ for Sosc”

50 Hard to figure out

56 Impeach

58 Special event for 16-Acrosses (Congratulations!)

59 Dizzy

60 American Pharoah, for example

61 Filming locations

62 Alphabetizes


1 Start of Autumn Quarter month: Abbr.

2 “Rubaiyat” poet

3 Tapered hairstyle

4 Ocean motion

5 Treble and bass, to name two

6 “The game is ___!” -Sherlock Holmes

7 Intro to Egyptian?

8 Takes to court

9 Disjunctive conjunctions

10 Lead-in to “Rainbow,”

“Beauty,” or “A Bad Mama Jama,” in song titles

11 Dermatologist’s concern

12 Hour in France

13 Edmond : English :: ___ : Irish

14 Word with sun or evening

17 The United States has had one against Cuba since the 1960s


Sewer measure

26 Locker room users, for short

27 Jacob who wrote “How the Other Half Lives”

28 Dance music genre from Trinidad and Tobago

29 2017 Grammy-winning album from 44-Down

30 Two, but not to or too: Abbr.

31 Words before reason or consent

32 Meat cut that might be “tender”

33 Study or lecture hall

34 “Romeo, the hate I bear thee can afford/No better term than this–thou ___ a villain.”

35 Skedaddles

36 They can be electric

37 Dir. from Grounds of Being to Harper Cafe

42 “I’m so frustrated!”

43 “Dum spiro, ___” (Latin for “While I breathe, I hope”)

44 Kendrick who created 29Down

45 Variety show

46 Stuck-up sort

47 Sketches

49 Groups of whales

50 The E in HOMES

51 Degrees whose capstone projects are exhibited in the Smart Museum or the Logan Center

52 Natural hairstyle

53 Level

54 “Rhyme Pays” rapper

55 Cartoon frames

57 Video calls with an iPhone, for short

23 Part of the eye where vision is sharpest 25 Turn towards




Congratulations Peter Bound on your many wonderful achievements on and off the field!
Mum, Dad, Harry, Jack, Alex, Louisa, Greg, and NIKO!
THE CHICAGO MAROON — MAY 18, 2023 25 THE CHICAGO MAROON — APRIL 20, 2023 1 We love you and are so proud of you! Mom (and Dad) Way to Go, Nat!! You Did It!! Class of 2023 1 AVERY BECKETT KIRSCHBAUM Congratulations 2023 Graduate! “You have bra i n s in your head . Youhavefeet i n yo u r s h o .se uoY nac flesruoyreets yna id r e c noit uoy ”!esoohc D—Srssue
Love, Mom, Dad, Hayden, and Nonnie (and Goose, Clancy, and Goldie)

Class of 2023

We are so proud of you! Love, Mom, Dad & Daniel

We are so proud of all your accomplishments Sam… We love you, we will be there to follow your path to encourage you and support you… always… The Varas Family

The Chicago Maroon

Thank you so much to all of the fourth-years who have contributed to The Maroon. We appreciate all you have done for us, big or small. You are always welcome in The Maroon office.

THE CHICAGO MAROON — MAY 18, 2023 27 Congratulations


We are so proud of you and are amazed at all of your accomplishments. Continue to follow your passions and fi ll your life with love and laughter.


Bright future ahead!

Reach your potential Sofia!

Sofia on behalf of: Your parents, Liliana y Ramon. Your brother Ivan.
Love, Mom, Dad and Emily
Your family

Mission Accomplished!!!

Congratulations Zander d’Anconia Arnao!

BA in Public Policy Studies

Love Your Family & Friends

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming ‘Wow! What a Ride!’”

Hunter S. Thompson

THE CHICAGO MAROON — MAY 18, 2023 29 1

Mazel Tov to Michael Weisberg on Graduation from the University of Chicago

–The Weisberg Family


Mathematics is the language with which G-d has written the universe.

—Galileo Galilei

Congratulations Jake Zweifl er!!

You amaze us with your hard work, dedication and, most of all, passion for everything you do. You have a clear vision of your goals and we have no doubt that you will achieve them. You are a remarkable and wonderful person – keep being you!!

We love you so much, Mom, Dad and Jessie

Mathematics is the most beautiful and most powerful creation of the human spirit.



BA, Economics Class of 2023

Congratulations on your graduation, Papi! We celebrate the man you have become and we love you so much and are so incredibly proud of you! This is truly an amazing accomplishment, and is just one step on your journey to success. As you prepare to embark on this new chapter of your life, remember you have a family that supports you in every way possible, in the pursuit of your dreams, and wish nothing but the best for you.

We are confident all of the hard work, dedication, and perseverance you put forth these last four years will continue in everything you do moving forward. Embrace your life, and live it with passion!

Dream big!

Lots of love, Mom, Dad, Athena, Sophia and Joy

My name is Nobody MAZ conquer Maximillian
— SEPTEMBER 21, 2018 VOL. 130, ISSUE 1
Go Conquer XEN

Congratulations, Shannon!

You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, more intelligent than you think, and loved more than you’ll ever know. Be confident in who you are! Don’t be afraid to take your time with trial and error. We are always here for you to support you as a peaceful place to rest and a soft place to fall.

With love, Mom, Dad and Sophia

And they said fun comes here to die…

Congratulations James Ford Kenniff, Jr. and the entire Class of 2023

Love, Dylan (Mom and Dad are pretty proud also, I think)



We couldn’t be prouder of you and feel lucky that we get to have a front seat to your future accomplishments.

Lots of love, Mom, Dad, Abby, Will, & Ryder

THE CHICAGO MAROON — MAY 18, 2023 34 Anke Hao 郝安珂
过往皆为序章 未来无限可期。
Elizabeth Spencer Class of 2023

We know if has not always been easy, but we could not be more proud of your hard work and all that you have accomplished. Best wishes for continued success as you pursue a “Chi” PhD at Northwestern. We love you!

Mom, Dad & Josie

Sullivan Fitz

You took a leap of faith four years ago moving to a new city miles from home. We love that through all seasons, you have made that city your own--the perfect backdrop for this incredible journey.

May your beautiful light always shine ever so brightly wherever life leads you ~ You are LOVED so much by so many!

We are so proud of you. Keep climbing!

- Love, Tony, Dad, Mom, Jane, Caroline, Alice, Anna, and Clara (and Ernest)

THE CHICAGO MAROON — MAY 18, 2023 36 Congratulations
Julia Brooks!

Lillie Rose

We are so proud of you. You bring us so much joy and we can’t wait for the next chapter of your life. We love you, Mom, Dad and Lee

THE CHICAGO MAROON — MAY 18, 2023 39 THE CHICAGO MAROON — APRIL 20, 2023 1 Congratulations, Kimberly! Kimberly Sta ord Class of 2023 THE CHICAGO MAROON — APRIL 20, 2023 1 Congratulations to the Class of 2023!! Onto the next chapter Charlie! We are so proud of you! Love, Mom, Dad & Grant


Congratulations, Sydney! We couldn’t be more proud of you and excited for what comes next! We love you so much!

Grandmama, Granny, Richie, Amy, Dad, Mom and Parker

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