John W. Boyer, the Martin A. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor of History and the Dean of the College, presented a historical overview of the University of Chicago’s growth and development, including brilliant and often controversial decisions by its leaders over many decades. Today the University of Chicago is ranked fourth in the United States and in the top 10 worldwide by virtually every listing. Such a distinction is the result of a fortuitous combination of rigorous dedication to scholarship and teaching and strong commitment to the professional success of our students, both set in the extraordinary cultural milieu of the city of Chicago as a leading world metropolis.
John W. Boyer was appointed to an unprecedented fifth term as Dean of the College in 2012. He became Dean in 1992. During his tenure, Boyer has strengthened the College curriculum and the College’s admissions program, as well as creating the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts. Boyer was also deeply involved in the establishment of the University of Chicago Center in Paris. He has worked to create many new programs for College students involving foreign study, internships, and foreign language instruction; to broaden student research opportunities; to enhance the relationship of the College to the Professional Schools; to expand on-campus facilities for residential life; and to strengthen programmatic and financial resources for student life.
A specialist in the history of the Habsburg Empire and of Central Europe in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Boyer received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1975 and joined the faculty the same year. Boyer has written three books on Austrian history and has served as an Editor of the Journal of Modern Historysince 1980. Among Boyer’s current projects is a history of the University of Chicago. He has written a series of seventeen monographs on various aspects of the history of the College and the University, most recently an extended essay on the challenges facing three University presidents.