September 19, 2014

UChicago a finalist for Obama Presidential Library

The Barack Obama Foundation chose the University of Chicago as one of four finalists to potentially host the Obama presidential library earlier this week. The other three finalists are the University of Illinois at Chicago, Columbia University, and the University of Hawaii.

The four finalists are required to respond to the Foundation’s Request for Proposal (RFP) by December 11. The RFP asks for a more detailed description of the project and organization, divided into sections focusing on the organization itself, the proposed site, the surrounding community, academic collaboration between the university and the library, a marketing strategy, capital commitments the university will offer, and commitments the university can obtain from local governments.

Notably, the RFP asks for information on the organization’s diversity, information on public transit available nearby, and a plan for using the library to launch a revitalization of the surrounding area. This fits into the Foundation’s vision that the library serve as a catalyst for social change for a depressed community. The RFP also asks for a plan to create office space for the Obamas within the library, and suggests that the affiliated university create an institute in partnership with the library that would possibly offer a degree program.

In a release on the University’s website, President Zimmer said, “Today’s news affirms our strong belief that the library could be transformative for the heart of the South Side, bringing new economic and cultural opportunities to all of Chicago. We will move forward with a bid that honors the rich history and traditions of the South Side and the promising future of our city.”

Chicago State University, the Chicago Lakeside development project owned by McCaffery Interests, and a Bronzeville community group that proposed the former Michael Reese Hospital site as a location were all eliminated from consideration by the Obama Foundation.

For previous Maroon coverage of the Obama library, click here.