What is certain about the presidency of Barack Obama–whether one term or two–is that there will be an Obama presidential library some place in the United States. Given that Chicago is Obama’s adopted home town, where First Lady Michelle was born and the city where he launched his political career, it is hard to imagine that the library won’t be in Chicago.
And it is also hard to imagine that the University of Chicago won’t be interested in being the major academic institution affiliated with the library or having the presidential library near the U of C campus in Hyde Park.
Both President Obama and First Lady Michelle–as well as many in their inner circle–have ties to the University of Chicago. Obama taught at the law school and Mrs. Obama was an executive at the Medical Center and at the university. Daughters Malia and Sasha attended the U of C Lab School before moving to Washington.
The U of C, however, even with all its connections in the Obama White House–Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett was on the U of C board–is nervous about any talk this early on about an Obama presidential library.
Here’s a U of C statement the school sent around last week:
“The University of Chicago was fortunate to have President Obama on its Law School faculty for 12 years and to benefit from Mrs. Obama’s leadership in several senior administrative roles. We are proud of that connection and look forward to a continuing relationship in the future.
“Decisions about a presidential library are made by the President, typically toward the end of his term in office. Right now, the appropriate course for the University is to better understand the history and structure of the federal government’s modern-era presidential libraries, and how they benefit scholarship, their communities and the nation. Until the President wishes to address this issue, more specific questions are premature.”
Bloomberg’s John McCormick’s Monday story about the prospects of an Obama library in Chicago is here.