On October 14th, a number of Booth students and faculty gathered for dinner in honor of celebrating diversity inspired by Nobel Laureate Robert Fogel. The annual dinner, in its 33rd year, was started by Professor Robert Fogel and his wife, Enid, who wanted to bring students of color together in an intimate setting at their home in Hyde Park. As an interracial couple in the 50s and 60s, the Fogels faced discrimination and a feeling of isolation from the community due to the racist views of the time period. Due to this adversity, the Fogels wanted to preach acceptance and inclusion within the University of Chicago community, which they valued greatly. Although Robert Fogel and his wife both passed away a number of years ago, the dinner tradition and the communal experience continues to live on.
Booth alumni also attended this dinner and were excited about connecting and networking with current students. During this year's dinner, the Head of Diversity at Booth,Jessica Jaggers, spoke about the importance of keeping the spirit of the Fogel Dinner alive. She also reflected on how our country is still striving for acceptance and tolerance of all types of people. The Interim Dean,
Douglas J. Skinner, also attended the dinner, which was hosted on the 6th floor of the Gleacher center. Among stunning city views, Dean Skinner spoke to the dinner attendees about the importance of diversity in business and Booth’s efforts to improve diversity in both the student body and faculty. He mentioned that it only enriches the classroom experience when there is a diversity of backgrounds, cultures, and thinking. Fogel Dinner attendee and Booth 2nd year, Araba Nti, told ChiBus that the dinner was a great opportunity to catch up with fellow classmates and reflect on the memory of the Fogels, who were proponents of building relationships over good food and conversation.
Professor Robert Fogel, who passed away in 2013 at age of 86, used quantitative methods to explain economic and institutional change. His work often challenged conventional wisdom and was, at the time, controversial. His research showed that the economic impact of railroads in the 19th century was far less than generally assumed. Fogel was an active faculty member in Economics at Booth and joined the University of Chicago faculty in 1964, moved to Harvard in 1975, and returned in 1981 to the Chicago faculty, where he stayed for the rest of his career.