UChicago Board of Trustees’ gift launches new $200 million commitment to undergraduate financial aid and educational access

Largest gift in support of financial aid at University of Chicago honors President Robert J. Zimmer

The University of Chicago is launching a new $200 million commitment to educational access and financial aid for undergraduate students through a gift and challenge from the University’s Board of Trustees in honor of President Robert J. Zimmer.

Members of the Board have donated $105 million to the Odyssey Scholarship Program, the University’s flagship financial aid initiative that helps ensure need-blind, loan-free education for students regardless of their economic circumstances. Their gifts—the largest in support of financial aid in University history—also will serve as a challenge to raise a total of $200 million with the support of UChicago alumni, parents and friends.

The transformative effort, which will establish the Robert J. Zimmer Odyssey Scholarship Fund, honors Zimmer’s unwavering commitment during his 15-year presidency to expanding undergraduate financial aid and educational access to the University of Chicago. Zimmer launched the Odyssey program in 2007 with a $100 million challenge gift from an anonymous alumnus, whom the University dubbed “Homer.” In 2016, a $50 million gift and challenge from Harriet Heyman, AM’72, and her husband, Sir Michael Moritz, greatly expanded financial support for lower-income students. Numerous others also have generously supported the program since its inception. The new initiative is intended to help sustain the Odyssey program in perpetuity.