History and traditions
A tradition of breaking with tradition
Since 1890, UChicago has followed a distinctively different path. Our founders defined what they believed would build an enduring legacy: a commitment to rigorous academics for people of all backgrounds.
Unbound by convention
Since its inception, the University has blurred the lines between traditional disciplines. Students, faculty, and scholars collaborate across fields to solve complex questions and uncover new knowledge.
Distinctive Core curriculum
The University of Chicago, from its very inception, has been driven by a singular focus on inquiry.
In a 1902 lecture, founding president William Rainey Harper reminded his audience that “complete freedom of speech on all subjects has from the beginning been regarded as fundamental.”
The 217-acre Hyde Park campus is a designated botanic garden.
Often described as an oasis in the city of Chicago, the original campus was designed as an interconnected academic village linked by quadrangles.
The core campus was modeled after the English Gothic architectural style used at Oxford, complete with towers, spires, cloisters, elaborate ironwork, and grotesques.
Physicist Albert A. Michelson became the first American and first UChicago scholar to win a Nobel Prize in the sciences in 1907.