December 4, 2018
The Center in Beijing followed the much-anticipated opening of the Hong Kong Jockey Club University of Chicago Academic Complex, Francis and Rose Yuen Campus with a smaller-but-still-exciting event of its own: the official book launch for the recently translated Chinese edition of Dean John Boyer’s University of Chicago: A History.
Many readers may recall a similar event held at the Center in autumn 2016, when Dean Boyer came to introduce the original English-language book. The interest that the book drew within China led a number of departments within the University, including the University of Chicago Center in Beijing, on a mission to translate the entire text into Chinese and publish this version for distribution. In November 2018, the project reached fruition, with 《反思与超越：芝加哥大学发展史》 available through SDX Joint Publishing Company (生活·读书·新知 三联书店).
To celebrate this effort, Dean Boyer himself traveled to the Center in Beijing on December 03, 2018, where he was met by an excited crowd of alumni and other fans. The 80+ attendees at Monday’s event enjoyed tours of the University of Chicago Center in Beijing, and many partook in the opportunity to purchase copies of the book on-site before Dean Boyer delivered his remarks.
Once the crowd settled into the Center’s largest event space, Dean Boyer gave an introduction to the process of writing the book, which is a compilation of many summers’ worth of historical research projects, wherein each summer’s project focused on one element of the University’s history. He then provided the audience with a brief narrative of the institutional development of the University of Chicago within the context of the development of its peer institutions. By highlighting many questions that have continually vexed the University’s leadership or allowed it to become and remain the unique institution that it is today, Dean Boyer provided the audience with a sense of how the University was shaped, what it has become, and what it may become in the future. The ensuing Q&A session dealt primarily with the final concern, as audience members considered what it will mean to be a “top university” years from now.
Following Dean Boyer’s presentation, three distinguished alums (Justin Yifu Lin, PhD ’86; Weidong “Paul” Wang, LLM ’94, JSD ’99; and Chen Yao, PhD ’12) provided their personal perspectives on how the University of Chicago and its particular institutional values shaped their development. The event organizers and attendees were grateful that these alums, along with the evening’s MC Dennis Zhu, MBA ’93, donated their time to the University of Chicago Beijing community in this way.