Stories by University of Chicago staff

2016 at the University of Chicago kicked off with the discovery of gravitational waves and the announcement of a landmark $100 million initiative that supports lower-income students. In the summer, student Naomy Grand'Pierre became the first female to swim for Haiti in the Olympics, while the fall brought the opening of the Studio Gang-designed Campus North Residential Commons. There was the expansion of the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and two students receiving Rhodes Scholarships.

To see and discuss more stories and videos from 2016, visit UChicago's Facebook page throughout the week.

Assoc. Prof. Daniel Holz explains the LIGO collaboration's historic discovery of gravitational waves. Video Link: Video by UChicago Creative

Gravitational waves discovered

Early on the morning of Sept. 14, 2015, two detectors made the first observation of ripples in the fabric of spacetime.

The discovery of gravitational waves by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory was announced on Feb. 11. UChicago physicists played an important role in determining that the LIGO detectors had detected gravitational waves from the merger of two black holes, which collided to form a more massive, spinning black hole. Read more here:

University announces a $100 million plan to enhance support for lower-income students with outstanding potential. Video Link: Video by UChicago Creative

$100 million initiative helps lower-income students

The University of Chicago is launching a $100 million enhancement of support for lower-income students with outstanding potential through a $50 million gift and challenge from writer Harriet Heyman, AM’72, and her husband, investor Sir Michael Moritz.

The new five-year commitment is part of a $350 million investment by the University in the Odyssey Scholarship Program—UChicago’s distinct and successful model of support for undergraduate students with the greatest economic need, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college. The Odyssey program currently eliminates loans and academic-year work requirements for lower-income students. Read more here:

UChicago varsity swimmer Naomy Grand’Pierre discusses training for the 2016 Olympic Games. Video Link: Video by UChicago Creative

Swimmer makes Olympic history

Second-year Naomy Grand’Pierre made history as the first female swimmer to compete at the Olympics for Haiti. Seemingly overnight, she became a sensation in the small Caribbean nation where her parents were born and grew up.

Swimming in the 50-meter free, she finished in 27.46 seconds, placing second in her heat. But the experience in Rio cemented an even bigger goal—Grand’Pierre says she is ready to dedicate herself to promoting swimming in Haiti. Read more here:

Architect Jeanne Gang and Dean John W. Boyer discuss the architecture of the Campus North Residential Commons. Video Link: Video by UChicago Creative

Campus North Residence Hall opens

The University of Chicago’s Campus North Residential Commons opened on Sept. 17, a project designed by Studio Gang Architects that created a new campus gateway that embraces its surroundings.

Located on the northeast corner of the UChicago campus, the 400,000-square-foot Residential Commons is home to 800 undergraduate students and includes the Baker Dining Commons, University classrooms, offices for Campus and Student Life, outdoor green spaces and 10,000 square feet of retail. Read more here:

Learn more about the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Video Link:

$50 million gift creates expanded Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

In May the University announced the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which created increased opportunities for entrepreneurship education, venture creation and research commercialization, bringing additional economic and social benefits for the Chicago region.

The center is supported by a $50 million commitment from University Trustee Michael Polsky, MBA’87. Read more here.

Originally published on December 20, 2016.