Preparing Our Future Together

May 10, 2021

To: Members of the University Community
From: Paul Alivisatos, incoming UChicago president
Subject: Preparing Our Future Together
Date: May 10, 2021

I am looking forward to joining the University of Chicago this September as president and as I continue to prepare for my new role, I want to share with you some of what I have learned and heard as well as to ask for your continued input in the coming months.

After my appointment was announced, I received hundreds of messages of welcome, helping me renew acquaintances and build new ones. While I remain in full service as provost and executive vice chancellor at Berkeley, I have actively been learning more about the University of Chicago community.

In recent weeks, I have had more than 250 meetings with a variety of individuals and members of student, faculty, administrative, and governing groups. Through these conversations, I am reminded of the breadth and depth of the UChicago community of which I first became a part as a College student, and have been inspired by the energy and quality of the rigorous debate that is a hallmark of the University of Chicago.

My plan is to continue these meetings and make them a regular part of my approach as president.

Through these discussions I have heard repeatedly about the importance of a continued and renewed commitment to free expression and the Chicago Principles, to expanding student support and resources, to diversity and inclusion, to faculty-shared governance, to administrative transparency, to deepening our partnerships with South Side communities, and to the development of the local and regional entrepreneurship ecosystem. Many new ideas have surfaced in areas including biological discovery, computing and data science, foundational studies of democracy, community partnerships in the arts, education and child welfare, continued expansion of the arts, approaches to the crises in energy, environment, and climate, the emergence of quantum information science and technology, and more. There are many more conversations for me to have to further broaden my exposure to these many new ideas, to which I very much look forward.

The availability of vaccines signals the onset of our emergence from the long and difficult period of the pandemic. It is a good time to reflect on our recent experiences, to learn from them, and to prepare for a future that we will define together. If you would like to correspond with me, please email me at incomingpresident@uchicago.edu. While I may not be able to reply to every message, I will read each one with care, and it will help me prepare for our first Autumn Quarter together.

I look forward to September and our future together at the University of Chicago.