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Message to campus from University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer

By Robert J. Zimmer   ·  

To: Faculty, students and staff
From: Robert J. Zimmer
Subject: Presidential library
Date: January 31, 2014

Today the Barack H. Obama Foundation was established to oversee planning for President Obama’s future presidential library.

I strongly believe the Obama Presidential Library should be located in one of our neighboring communities on the South Side of Chicago. Such a location would reflect the personal and professional lives of the Obamas, as well as their commitments to society. A presidential library would mark a watershed moment for the area in which we live and work, bringing significant economic, cultural, and programmatic opportunities. It would serve as a strong catalyst, generating substantial, sustained economic opportunity and programs for the residents of the city in general and of the South Side in particular. It also has the potential to establish substantive community programming and provide access to materials that would be of significant interest and value to our faculty and students.

A faculty committee that examined presidential libraries concluded last year that it would be in the interest of the University to help bring such a project to the South Side. A partnership to this end with community leaders, cultural and educational institutions, and the City of Chicago would be a significant addition to the fabric of partnerships that the University has created in recent years. It would reflect our commitments to our city and to our neighboring communities. 

The University is therefore committed to a collaborative effort to bring the Obama Presidential Library to one of the neighborhoods of the South Side. We look forward to working in partnership with the City of Chicago, our neighbors, civic leaders, cultural institutions, and colleagues in higher education to develop a plan that benefits the city and the nation.

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