Presidential records of Hanna Holborn Gray open for research

Photo of Hanna Holborn Gray in 1981 standing in front of a window with Rockefeller tower in the distance. She is smiling and wearing a dark blazer and has her hands in her pockets.
Hanna Holborn Gray, photographed in 1981 during her term as President of the University of Chicago.
University of Chicago Photographic Archive, [apf1-06504], Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

Records of the University of Chicago Office of the President, covering the administration of President Hanna Holborn Gray, are now open to research. Gray served as President of the University of Chicago from 1978 to 1993, and she was the University’s first woman president.

Under her leadership, enrollment in both the undergraduate College and the graduate divisions increased. Gray's administration also reduced the time allowed for the completion of Ph.D. programs, introduced graduate student workshops and internships, strengthened the College's "Common Core," curriculum and enriched student life with improved programming and facilities. The Department of Computer Science, the Chicago Humanities Institute, and the Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies were all established during Gray’s presidency. Additionally, the hospitals were separated from the University and established as a corporation.

Several major development efforts took place under Gray's administration, including campaigns for the arts and sciences and the schools of law, business and medicine. The University's 1991 centennial brought a $500 million campaign. Fundraising also supported a major campus building and renovation program, resulting in new or upgraded facilities for the sciences, hospitals, Court Theatre and Law School.

The records of the Office of the President, Gray Administration, represent the activities of Hanna Holborn Gray as President, her immediate circle of Central Administration associates, and personnel in the University of Chicago's divisions, departments, committees, and other administrative units. The collection thus constitutes not only documentation of the Office of the President, but a varied record of the administrative workings of the University during this period.

The collection is available for consultation at the Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, which is open to all researchers. Learn more about the contents of the collection and request to see boxes through this online guide.