The University of Chicago’s teaching and research initiatives in Europe will be centralised at the John W. Boyer Center in Paris.

A gift of $27 million from University of Chicago alumni and parents of Chicago students honours John W. Boyer leadership and will rename the university’s new center in Paris and create a new professorship in his name.

Boyer, AM’69, PhD’75, the Martin A. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor of History, revolutionised the college during his record-breaking 31-year tenure as dean and played a crucial role in the conception of the first Center in Paris. The University of Chicago’s teaching and research initiatives in Europe will be centralised at the John W. Boyer Center in Paris.

The University of Chicago’s position as the local centre for research and instruction in Europe was cemented by the opening of the original Paris Center in 2003. A new Center in Paris, created by renowned architect Jeanne Gang, is slated to open in 2024 to satisfy demand for programming.

The new structure will almost triple the physical capacity of the current Center, allowing 100 more undergraduates to study abroad each year.

It will also house the University’s brand-new International Institute for Research in Paris, enhancing facilities for academic staff, graduate students, and visitors from the Middle East, Europe, and Africa, as well as expanding opportunities for the general public to participate in the center’s programming.

As stated by University President Paul Alivisatos, “improving the physical capacity of the Center in Paris presents a great opportunity to deepen and enrich the University’s scholarly connections across France, Europe, and beyond.”

“Dean Boyer promoted the extension of the University’s global reach throughout his tenure. It is only fitting that this Boyer Center will now be named in his honour as a tribute to the significance of his efforts. The Shelby Cullom Davis Charitable Fund made a $10 million lead donation on behalf of the Davis Family and in honour of Boyer’s exceptional tenure as dean.”

Along with alumni, parents, and trustees from the university, the members of the college advisory council and the dean’s parent and family council contributed an additional $11.5 million to name the new centre in Paris.

The John W. Boyer Professorship in the College, made possible by an additional $3.5 million gift from alumni Imran (AB’96, AM’96) and Sorin (AB’96, JD’01) Siddiqui, will be awarded to a faculty member in the humanities or social sciences with a distinguished record of teaching in the Core Curriculum and a history of significant contributions to education and student support.

During Boyer’s tenure, donors also recognised his transformational vision by contributing $2 million to name the John and Barbara Boyer House in the Campus North Residential Commons.

More than 20 college study abroad programmes are now available in Paris, ranging from astronomy, neuroscience, global health, and human rights to European, African, and Russian civilizations. During their time at the college, nearly 60% of undergraduates travel abroad, with 40% choosing Paris as their destination.

For generations to come, faculty, students, alumni, and partners in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East will benefit from the Center’s expansion, according to Boyer, who will take on a new position as senior advisor to the president beginning with the academic year 2023–2024. ”

I feel incredibly honoured by this wonderful gift.” The new Center will serve as an example of what a significant American research university can do for Europe by amplifying the voices of academic achievement, public policy, and cultural innovation in Paris and beyond.