University of Illinois at Chicago named finalist for Obama Presidential Library

Proposed site of Obama Presidential Library at UIC: Harrison and Halsted

UIC has proposed two sites on campus, close to downtown. A third site, with community partners, is in the West Side neighborhood of North Lawndale. Above: the site on Harrison Street.

The Barack Obama Foundation has informed the University of Illinois at Chicago that it is one of four finalists in the competition among sites in three states to become the home of the Obama Presidential Library and Museum.

UIC and the three other finalists – the University of Chicago, Columbia University and the University of Hawaii — are now invited to submit more detailed plans to host the library and museum, according to a communication received today from the foundation.

UIC Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares welcomed today’s communication.

Proposed site for Obama Presidential Library, Taylor and Ashland

Above: the site at Taylor Street and Ashland Avenue. (Select files to download)

“As Chicago’s only public research university and one of the most diverse campuses in the nation, UIC is the ideal institution to host the Obama Presidential Library and Museum, and we are honored to be selected to participate in the next phase of this process,” Allen-Meares said.

“UIC and President Obama share a common goal — a more open and inclusive world. As a land-grant institution, UIC makes it possible for aspiring students, regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic status, to obtain a high-quality education at an affordable cost,” Allen-Meares said. “Only a research university with a public mission can extend the president’s legacy to all who could benefit from it, locally and worldwide.”

The location of UIC’s campus, at the center of the region’s global transportation hub for public transportation and air, rail and interstate travel, makes the Obama Presidential Library accessible to the widest audience, Allen-Meares said.

UIC’s proposal includes three sites. Two locations are on campus, one on Harrison Field at Harrison and Halsted streets, and a second in the Illinois Medical District at Taylor Street and Ashland Avenue. The third site lies to the west in the North Lawndale neighborhood, where a community group is partnering with UIC on the bid.

UIC and the North Lawndale Presidential Library Committee proposed the 23-acre site between 5th Avenue to the north, Kildare Avenue to the east, Roosevelt Road to the south, and Kostner Avenue to the west. The parcel is just south of the Eisenhower Expressway (Interstate 290) and the CTA Blue Line.

The Obama Presidential Library will be part of the presidential library system, which includes 13 libraries in the National Archives and Records Administration. It will be a resource for researchers, students and other visitors from around the world.

Funded by the Obama Foundation, the newest library will preserve and make available to the public the papers, records and other historical materials that document the lives of the president, his family, associates and administration.

UIC submitted its initial bid to the foundation June 16 in response to a request for qualifications. Its three potential sites were among 13 initially under consideration.

The RFP, available on the foundation’s website,, now asks each potential partner to submit a formal proposal that includes the proposed management and organization of the project, site development plans, community partnerships, potential for academic collaboration, marketing strategy, and information about financial and other commitments from the host or other partners. The foundation has asked for responses by December 11.

In early 2015, the foundation’s board of directors expects to share recommendations with the president and first lady, who will then make the final decision.