UIC selected as finalist for Obama library, museum


Senior Kris Cortes Fuentes (right) presents UIC’s bid to staff in the Washington, D.C., office of Rep. Danny Davis June 16. — Photo: Michael Bonfigli


UIC is one step closer to becoming the future home of the Obama Presidential Library and Museum.

The Barack Obama Foundation selected UIC as one of four finalists to host the library and museum, in addition to University of Chicago, Columbia University and the University of Hawaii. Finalists are invited to submit more detailed proposals for their sites.

“As Chicago’s only public research university and one of the most diverse campuses in the nation, UIC is the ideal institution to host the Obama Presidential Library and Museum, and we are honored to be selected to participate in the next phase of this process,” said Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares.

“UIC and President Obama share a common goal — a more open and inclusive world.”


Aerial view with proposed Obama Library location highlighted

The Harrison Field site.

Aerial view with proposed Obama Library location highlighted

The site at Taylor Street and Ashland Avenue.

Aerial view with proposed Obama Library location highlighted

The North Lawndale site.

UIC has proposed three sites: Harrison Field at Harrison and Halsted streets; a location in the Illinois Medical District at Taylor Street and Ashland Avenue; and a North Lawndale site in partnership with the North Lawndale Presidential Library Committee.

The 23-acre North Lawndale site is between 5th Avenue to the north, Kildare Avenue to the east, Roosevelt Road to the south, and Kostner Avenue to the west. The land is just south of the Eisenhower Expressway and the CTA Blue Line.

The Obama Presidential Library will be part of the presidential library system, which includes 13 libraries in the National Archives and Records Administration. It will be a resource for researchers, students and other visitors from around the world. Funded by the Obama Foundation, the newest library will preserve and make available to the public the papers, records and other historical materials that document the lives of the president, his family, associates and administration.

UIC submitted its initial bid June 16. A delegation of UIC students and administrators went to Washington, D.C., to put a personal touch on the proposal.

UIC student trustee Danielle Leibowitz was among students who met with congressional staffers to present UIC’s bid.

“Moving on to the second and final phase of the Obama Presidential Library bid process is a huge win for UIC,” said Leibowitz, a senior in the teaching of mathematics. “A goal of ours throughout this process has been to showcase the wonderful work that UIC does, and the outstanding people that are a part of our community, and gaining this level of recognition says to me that we have accomplished that goal.”

Kris Fuentes Cortes, another member of the delegation, said she felt honored when she heard the news.

“I continue to believe that UIC would be a great host for the library, and I hope President Obama and the Obama Foundation see that when they make their final decision,” said Cortes, a senior in communication. “I feel proud to be a UIC Flame and to have been part of the delegation that went to Washington, D.C.”

UIC must submit its next proposal for the library and museum by Dec. 11. The Barack Obama Foundation board will share its recommendations with the president and first lady, who will make the final decision in early 2015.

“We are very thrilled and looking forward to digging in and looking at the request for proposal to see what’s next,” said University Librarian Mary Case. “It would be an enormous boost for us in terms of having the recognition that our mission is so in line with President Obama’s. We would be honored, thrilled and excited and it would help increase our visibility.”

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