Featuring John W. Boyer, AM’69, PhD’75, Dean of the College and Martin A. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor of History

Since the presidency of William Rainey Harper, the University of Chicago has cultivated a powerful and distinct identity marked by intellectual rigor, merit, and free debate. In this talk, based on his book published in autumn 2015, The University of Chicago: A History (University of Chicago Press), College Dean John W. Boyer, AM’69, PhD’75, shows that this identity is profoundly interwoven with the University’s history—a history that is unique in the annals of American higher education.

The University of Chicago: A History, highlighting the College and greater University through the ages, will be available for purchase at the event.

Contact harperlectures@uchicago.edu or 773.702.7788.

Event Details

6:00 p.m.  Registration and networking
6:30 p.m.  Presentation and discussion
7:30 p.m.  Reception

$10/recent graduate (College alumni of the past 10 years and graduate alumni of the past five years)
Free for current academic year graduates and current students
Two complimentary registrations for members of the Chicago, Harper, Phoenix, and Medical and Biological Sciences Alumni Association philanthropic societies

Parking Information

Parking costs $34 per car after 5 p.m.

Featured Faculty


John W. Boyer, the Martin A. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor of History, was reappointed to a sixth term as Dean of the College in 2017. His initial appointment was in 1992.

During his tenure as dean, Boyer has broadened the College curriculum to include many new Core courses and new programs of advanced study, as well as strengthening the College’s admissions program and establishing the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts. Boyer was also deeply involved in the founding of the University of Chicago Center in Paris. He has worked to create many new opportunities for College students involving foreign study, internships, and foreign language instruction; to broaden student research opportunities; to enhance the relationship of the College to the professional schools; to build three major on-campus facilities for residential life and to enhance faculty leadership of the College’s residential system; to strengthen programmatic and financial resources for student life; and to provide strong career advising programs for College students.

Boyer has served as an editor of the Journal of Modern History since 1980. A specialist in the history of the Habsburg Empire and of Central Europe in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Boyer received his PhD from the University of Chicago in 1975 and joined the faculty in the same year. Boyer has written three books on Central European history, including Political Radicalism in Late Imperial Vienna: Origins of the Christian Social Movement, 1848–1897 (for which he was awarded the John Gilmary Shea Prize) and Culture and Political Crisis in Vienna: Christian Socialism in Power, 1897–1918 (for which he was awarded the Ludwig Jedlicka Prize), both of which were published by the University of Chicago Press. The third book, Karl Lueger (1844–1910): Christlichsoziale Politik als Beruf, was published by Böhlau Verlag in Vienna in 2010. Boyer was also co-general editor of the nine-volume University of Chicago Readings in Western Civilization.

Boyer’s The University of Chicago: A History seeks to elucidate major themes in the institutional, curricular, and financial evolution of the University since its founding in 1890. His major work in progress is the Austria, 1867–1983 volume for the Oxford History of Modern Europe Series, which will provide a comprehensive interpretation of the political systems of imperial and republican Austria, set in the broader context of Central European history.

In 2004 Boyer was awarded the Cross of Honor for Science and Art, First Class, by the Republic of Austria. He also received the 2006 Austrian State Prize for Modern History. He is a corresponding member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Vienna in 2015 in recognition of his scholarly work on the Habsburg Empire.

Boyer regularly teaches History of European Civilization in the College, as well as courses on religion and politics in modern European history and on the history of the Habsburg Empire and modern Germany.

Buy The University of Chicago: A History.