Dear faculty, staff, students, and friends of UIC,
Regrettably, we have now heard officially that UIC was not chosen to host the Obama Presidential Library. The Barack Obama Foundation chose the University of Chicago from among the four finalist-institutions. We congratulate U of C and we are excited that the Library and Museum will be in Chicago. We hope there will be opportunities for UIC students and scholars to engage in academic collaborations with the library and museum. We thank the Foundation for considering UIC and for visiting our campus.
I want to acknowledge the leadership and commitment of Chancellor Emeritus Paula Allen Meares. Without her vision, UIC would not have been a finalist for the presidential library.
Numerous people across campus and in the North Lawndale community were involved in preparing and submitting our proposals over the past 17 months. The campus is grateful for the time and skill they devoted to this project. In particular, we thank Mary Case, University Librarian, and Michael Redding, Executive Associate Chancellor for Public and Government Affairs, who co-chaired the steering committee; Marcia Lausen, Director of the School of Design, Bob Somol, Director of the School of Architecture, Michael Pagano, Dean of the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, Alfred Tatum, Dean of the College of Education, Mark Donovan, Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services, and Lisa Lee, Director of the School of Art and Art History, who oversaw the Presidential Library committees; the members of our Presidential Library committees; our North Lawndale community partners, particularly Marcus Betts, Co-Chair of the North Lawndale Community Development Coalition; and the six students who flew to Washington to present our proposal. We thank Mayor Emanuel, our local elected officials, the Illinois congressional delegation, and the Steans Family Foundation for their support of our bid.
While our bid to host the library was not successful, we have much to show for our effort. We took stock of the academic and physical assets of our campus. We conceived of new scholarly programs and civic, cultural, and neighborhood developments that are truly visionary and inspiring — we hope that some of this vision can yet be realized. We forged a stronger relationship with our community partners in North Lawndale. And we showed the city, nation, and indeed the world that ours is a unique institution — woven into the cultural fabric of Chicago and profoundly committed to educating underrepresented populations and eliminating disparities in underserved communities.
In fact, our proposal was in large part a fresh, creative retelling of the hard work, inspired scholarship, and good deeds you all do every day. We hope you take as much pride as we do in that story and all the people behind it. It foretells the great things we will accomplish going forward.
Michael D. Amiridis
Mayor Rahm Emanuel (center) views the UIC/North Lawndale site with Ald. Jason Ervin, 28th Ward; Ald. Walter Burnett, 27th Ward; Marcus Betts and Wallace E. (Mickey) Johnson of the North Lawndale Presidential Library Committee; and Ald. Emma Mitts, 37th Ward.