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Old Posted Dec 9, 2014, 8:00 PM
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U. of C. Obama library bid: Alliances with other schools

This undated file photo released by Obama for America shows Barack Obama teaching at the University of Chicago Law School in Chicago. (AP Photo/Obama for America, File)

Mon, 12/08/2014 - 7:43pm

Lynn Sweet

WASHINGTON — The University of Chicago’s bid for the Obama Presidential library and museum, due Thursday, will include proposals for a variety of collaborations with Chicago area universities and community groups as the school seeks to downplay its elitist image.

The U. of Chicago has been in talks with 17 Chicago area schools, including Northwestern University, DePaul University, Loyola University Chicago, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Illinois Institute of Technology, the City Colleges of Chicago and Chicago State University, an unsuccessful library bidder cut in the first round.

The list of potential academic alliances included in a statement the University of Chicago released on Monday does not include any pacts with the three other rival finalists: the University of Illinois at Chicago, Columbia University in New York and the University of Hawaii.


Putting together deals with academic and community partners is an explicit requirement for all four bidders from the Barack Obama Foundation, headquartered in Chicago.

Bidders must submit information about “any formal or community-based partnerships with the university that are relevant to the project.”


The UIC will publically release its bid. The University of Chicago and Columbia will not. The foundation will not be making the bids public.

Some of the concepts the U. of C. is advancing: Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism would run a “newsroom” out of the library; DePaul scholars would study youth violence; IIT would ponder digital policies; CSU would focus on African-American males; the Art Institute would explore urban agriculture, and Loyola would help prepare for environmental sustainability careers.

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