Education: Ho, Ho, Ho at Chicago

For nearly a century, the University of Chicago has been known as a citadel of graduate education, a great research university, a "teacher of teachers." Its reputation has been as austere as its core curriculum. Undergraduates, traditionally a minority on campus, have earned a reputation as eggheads, grinds and worse. An edition of The Insider's Guide to the Colleges once observed that "studying is the U. of C. student's favorite pastime." Admits Chicago's president, Hanna Holborn Gray: "There was a perception that life here was—I won't say gray, that's hard for me—but beige."

No more. Gray and her colleagues have set about...

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