At UChicago, a deep commitment to diversity drives ideas, builds careers, enriches communities, and more.
For University of Chicago scholars, diversity has a direct effect on the creation of knowledge.
"Having the greatest number of representatives from the most diverse pool of thinkers represents the most likely opportunity to address a problem from all its perspectives," says William A. McDade, Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care and the University's Deputy Provost for Research and Minority Issues. "A diverse group of scholars really means that you have the opportunity to advance knowledge in a more robust fashion."
For nearly two decades, McDade has seen and supported the unique ways that diversity can improve higher education and scholarship. After earning an MD and PhD from UChicago, he dedicated his career to creating more opportunities for minorities to pursue medical careers at the University, founding the Bowman Society and serving as Associate Dean for Multicultural Affairs at the Pritzker School of Medicine.
For Myrtle Potter, AB'80, it was diversity of thought and opportunity that led her to a different type of medical career. Though she initially planned on becoming a lawyer, a student job in the University of Chicago Medical Center and a summer internship with IBM helped Potter discovere a love for both medicine and business — passions she pursued through top positions with Merck, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Genentech, and her own firms, Myrtle Potter & Company and Myrtle Potter Media, Inc.
“I fell in love with medicine, but I knew I didn't want to be a doctor or a nurse. UChicago gave me the freedom to form ideas and solve problems without the pressure of boundaries, which is what I think makes the University so great,” Potter said. “I credit the University of Chicago with giving me such a strong base for my career success.”
Now recognized as one of the most accomplished health care leaders in the industry, Potter is a University trustee and was named one of "15 at the Top in Corporate America" by Ebony, one of "50 Women to Watch" by the Wall Street Journal, and one of the "50 Most Powerful Women in Business" by Fortune. Her academic and professional careers represent a diversity of background, interest, experience, and thought that have become the pervasive UChicago standard, and which current scholars experience in continually expanding ways.
"Diversity vastly expands the kinds of questions we ask," says Deborah Nelson, Deputy Provost for Graduate Education and Associate Professor in English and the College, whose research topics include gender studies and American ethnic literature. "It makes us revisit questions that we thought were settled. The University has excellence across the board and in so many different kinds of fields, and diversity contributes to that excellence because it makes us more innovative."