September 25, 2014

O-Issue 2014: UChicago alumni

One of the most school spirit–arousing events each year is the announcement of the Nobel Prize winners. With nearly 90 laureates calling UChicago home between our alumni and faculty members, sometimes the achievements of the other thousands of alumni can be overlooked. Here, the Maroon imagines what some of these former UChicagoans were up to during their time on campus, from the bookstacks to Bar Night.

Most likely to do weekly all-nighters in the Reg

Joe Mansueto (A.B. ’78, M.B.A. ’80), CEO of Morningstar. After seeing too many concrete walls and never-ending bookstacks, you would want to build a glass study space, too.

Most likely to have been a Cubs fan

Tom Ricketts (A.B. ’88, M.B.A. ’93), current chairman of the Chicago Cubs baseball team. Even though Hyde Park is technically in White Sox territory as a South Side neighborhood, perhaps this alumnus can pull the team out of its 100+ years of World Series drought.

Most likely to have worked at one of the student-run cafés

Joseph Neubauer (M.B.A. ’65), chairman and CEO of food supply giant Aramark. Maybe he was inspired to expand beyond coffee shops after serving students cappuccinos at Cobb Café or Hallowed Grounds.

Most likely to have loved the view from the top of Rockefeller Chapel

Jeannette Piccard (S.M. ’19), the first licensed female balloon pilot in the U.S. and the first woman to fly in the stratosphere. The stairs to get to the top of the chapel are more claustrophobia-inducing than the openness of the stratosphere, but both viewpoints are probably out of this world.

Most likely to have written for the Maroon

John Paul Stevens (A.B. ’41), former Supreme Court justice, former editor-in-chief of the Chicago Maroon. This is fact—the Maroon staff has a tradition of celebrating the end of the quarter in his style.

Most likely to have written for satirical publication The Chicago Shady Dealer

Hayden Schlossberg (A.B. ’00), writer of Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. This three star–rated film has the potential to be a satirical chronicle of a UChicagoan’s trip to the fast food restaurant, as none is within walking distance of campus.

Most likely to have been Doc Films’s most ardent critic

Roger Ebert (X ’70), Pulitzer Prize–winning film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times. Here’s hoping that most of the screenings were two thumbs up.

Most likely to make a Punnett Square pun

Janet Rowley (Ph.B. ’44, S.B. ’46, M.D. ’48), noted biologist who discovered the genetic roots of some cancers. She probably employed some humor while studying such a humorless disease.

Most likely to have been a fundamentals major

Bret Stephens (A.B. ’95), columnist and editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal. This creative thinker actually did study fundamentals, focusing on the intersection between democracy and technology as interpreted by Abraham Lincoln.

Most likely to have perfect attendance at Bar Night

Tucker Max (A.B. ’98), Internet celebrity and New York Times best-selling author, famous for publishing his inebriated and sexual escapades. Success is measured in all sorts of ways here at UChicago.

Most likely to have ventured south of 65th Street on a regular basis

Sudhir Venkatesh (A.M. ’92, Ph.D. ’97), author of Gang Leader for a Day and expert on urban sociology and poverty. While it’s not fair to assume that the surrounding neighborhoods are all dangerous gang strongholds, an in-depth study of that sort had to be conducted outside of Hyde Park’s boundaries.

Most likely to have lived at University Theater

Anna Chlumsky (A.B. ’02), actress from Veep and My Girl. Her inspiration for political characters probably stems from interactions with the econ and public policy majors on campus.

Most likely to have road-tripped during the heart of tornado season

Theodore Fujita (S.B. ’53), acclaimed meteorologist who developed the Fujita system for measuring tornadoes. He must have had eventful spring quarters, with the Midwest’s tornado season falling between March and June.

Most likely to have gone to a Maroon athletics event

Kim Ng (A.B. ’90), an executive in Major League Baseball who was seriously considered for G.M. for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres. The baseball team’s record during the late ’80s wasn’t exactly stellar, but perhaps Ng was inspired by the attendance at the games to incite more team spirit for other groups.

Most unlikely to have gone to a Maroon athletics event

Nate Silver (A.B. ’00), scarily accurate statistician and founder of, ESPN’s statistical analysis website. At first glance, you wouldn’t think that this math wonk was an avid baseball fan, but he actually wrote about sports for the Maroon and even got his start in statistical analysis with a baseball website.