Mansueto Donation Establishes Institute for Urban Innovation

The Institute will study cities from a multidisciplinary perspective.

By Ben Andrew

On March 9, the University of Chicago announced the establishment of the Mansueto Institute for Urban Education, a new institute that will promote research and education related to cities.

The Institute aims to study cities from a multidisciplinary perspective, incorporating work from the social, natural, and computational sciences, as well as from the humanities. To achieve this goal, the Institute will offer seed funding for urban research projects. The Institute also plans to establish an online library of urban data and to develop analytic tools to understand this data.

The new institute will be supported by a $35 million gift from Joe and Rika Mansueto, two UChicago alumni. Joe Mansueto, A.B. ’78, M.B.A. ’80, is the CEO of Morningstar Inc., an investment research and management firm in Chicago. The Mansuetos previously gave a $25 million gift to the University, which enabled the construction of the Mansueto Library.

The Institute will offer new classes and internship opportunities for undergraduates in addition to expanded support for graduate students and post-docs with urban interests.

According to executive director of UChicago Urban Anne Dodge, the specific initiatives of the Institute will be largely shaped by whoever is chosen to direct it.

“Because the new faculty director will have full discretion over the direction and programs of the Mansueto Institute, there isn’t much to say about the Institute until that person gets here to shape it,” wrote Dodge in a statement.

The search for this new director will be led by a committee of faculty members, and the process of finding and hiring a director could take up to 18 months. The Institute plans to open as soon as a director is chosen.

The idea for an organization like the Mansueto Institute originated before the gift from the Mansuetos. According to the University statement, “The idea of such a multidisciplinary institute, its potential programs, and its capacity to enhance and foster a distinctive perspective in urban research and education at the University of Chicago has been articulated in recent years in a number of reports by faculty and deans.”

The Institute will be part of a simultaneously launched umbrella organization called UChicago Urban, encompassing a number of other urban-related organizations at the University of Chicago, including the Urban Education Institute, the Urban Labs, and the Office of Civic Engagement.

According to a statement from executive director Anne Dodge, “UChicago Urban will be working to capture the University’s efforts and activities surrounding urban scholarship, practice, and engagement.”

The University has yet to announce where the institute will be located on campus.