Dear Alumni and Friends,

As most of you already know, we are in the midst of the University of Chicago Campaign: Inquiry and Impact, an ambitious fundraising effort concluding in 2019.

Campaigns help us raise crucial funds that underwrite present and future initiatives. But they do more: they help focus our thinking. Campaigns urge faculty and leadership to articulate what is critical to our mission. They create a structure through which we can share that mission with alumni and friends. They help us review, enhance, and expand our idea of what makes the humanities at UChicago great. 

The Division has aimed high in the campaign. With a fundraising goal of $140 million, we are closing in on $120 million in gifts to date. Our progress toward this impressive target owes much to the hard work and dedicated support of donors, faculty, and students. Among other initiatives, their efforts help to support:

Faculty research. The outstanding scholarship of our faculty drives new knowledge through innovative interpretations and landmark discoveries. Our faculty members regularly crisscross six continents, hunting down documents held in elusive archives and immersing themselves in cities and villages around the globe.

Conferences, visiting professorships, and lecture series. Humanities scholarship is changing at a breathtaking pace. Digital resources and equipment make it possible for faculty to collaborate with scholars everywhere, to search and process data rapidly, and to better comprehend the very structure of learning. Support for our faculty and students allows them to meet face-to-face with collaborators through conferences, visiting professorships, and lecture series that contribute to a deeper understanding of the human condition.

Full funding for graduate student education and postdoctoral study. Our master’s and PhD students are the future of humanities scholarship, developing research that will one day transform philosophy, literature, music, languages, and other fields. We need to ensure that this new generation of young scholars will be able to pursue their studies and launch their careers without the burden of debt—whether they continue in academia or apply their talents in other sectors, such as government or nonprofit organizations.

Likewise, support for our postdoctoral Teaching Fellows in the Humanities allows recent graduates to emerge from the deep dive of their dissertations and gain experience articulating the importance of their research, both in the classroom and through scholarly publications.

In my role as dean, I’ve been privileged to interact with those of you who have given so generously to our division. Because of you, our faculty and students can ask bigger questions, aim to solve more complex problems, and work together to share the fruits of their scholarship. Your support of the University of Chicago Campaign helps realize the highest aims of the Humanities Division in a changing world.

Photo Creds: 
Photography by John Zich