Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Fancy Dinner and New Information

The dinner was, to say the least, eye-opening.

After travelling on BART and a quick walk to Prospect, the restaurant in San Francisco where our dinner was held, our Chicago cohort soon met and talked to University of Chicago alumni and sponsors who met us there.
Dinner at Prospect

William K. Holsman
The first person I had a conversation with was William K. Holsman, a lawyer and University of Chicago alumnus. He told me how he worked for the Navy before attending UChicago, how rigorous the University’s education system is, and how UChicago changes regular, ignorant students into intellectuals. He also told me that the University of Chicago supplies students with original manuscripts of people such as Thomas Hunt Morgan, allowing students to read life-changing breakthroughs firsthand, allowing students to independently formulate their own ideas about major discoveries.

When I asked what he majored in, he explained that when he attended UChicago, he (as well as Dr. Norman Lewak, a pediatrician) participated in a different undergraduate system put into effect by Robert Maynard Hutchins. In that program, Mr. Holsman took several general education classes and took exams to pass (I believe he said the requirement was 14) then specialized in law.

Before tonight, I had never heard of the Hutchins program. It was interesting to find out about the program and see the differences between the University of Chicago today and the University of Chicago about 60 years ago.

Elspeth Michaels
I talked to other alumni afterwards, two of which were Elspeth Michaels and Andrew Stevens. Elspeth told me her experience at UChicago—how she visited and just knew it was the place for her (which she assured me would be one of the ways I’d determine which college is right for me), how her Art History major helped her determine her art preferences, and how much she loved it at UChicago. She, as well as Andrew Stevens and Dr. Michael Lowenstein, elaborated on the dorm life they experienced. They were separated into houses, much like Hogwarts students are separated into houses in Harry Potter (in fact, many things in UChicago are Harry Potter-esque. Students have castle-like dorms [besides other modern dorms], are separated into houses, and have the phoenix as their mascot).

Soon everyone sat in their respective spot at the tables. I shared a table with Ms. Kronenberg, Reginald Terrell, who is a lawyer as well as a sponsor and panelist for the ILC, Dr. Michael Lowenstein, a psychiatrist who graduated from UChicago in 1981, Elspeth Michaels, who now works for UChicago and graduated in 2009, Jimmy, Mr. Guerra, and my dad.

Andrew Stevens
We talked about the University of Chicago’s exciting dorm life, the uniqueness and quirkiness of UChicago, places in Chicago to definitely visit (such as Shedd Aquarium and Millennium Park), and other topics.

Besides Chicago-related topics, we covered various others—the way certain college admission committees function, how much work ILC panelists have to do, the pros and cons of businesses requiring employees’ Facebook passwords, and more.

All in all, it was a great evening. Alexa, Simon Cohen, and Mr. Ramsey’s speeches were inspiring, as was the letter we received from Ms. Judith Blackwell. I learned about Chicago and the University of Chicago, what to expect there, and heard firsthand of the experiences of several alumni. As Ms. Kronenberg and Dr. Lowenstein pointed out, it was the first time alumni who graduated about 60 years ago attended the ILC dinner. That’s a new record—it shows how much people who have attended the University of Chicago love it there.

There are several other sponsors, alums, and special guests I had the privilege to meet that I haven’t mentioned (such as Sewellyn Kaplan, Tammy Spath, and others). Everyone I talked to tonight had a new piece of information or advice that I had yet to hear. The food was absolutely delicious, and paired with the people I was surrounded with, it made for a great evening.

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