Wallman challenge gets first match from PSD donor

January 5, 2024

Long-time PSD Council member and chair Mihir Worah, PhD’95, and spouse Anupama Worah, first donors to meet the Wallman fundraising challenge, endowing the Worah Family Chair in the Physical Sciences Division

Anupama Worah (left) and Mihir Worah
Anupama Worah (left) and Mihir Worah, PhD’95

University of Chicago alumni Amy Wallman, MBA’75, and Trustee Richard Wallman, MBA’74, made a $75 million commitment to enhance UChicago’s capacity to advance high-potential scholarship through increased resources for faculty.

The Wallmans’ philanthropic commitment launched a fundraising challenge to inspire other potential supporters to join them in raising a total of $150 million. The goal is to create 30 new endowed professorships that support ambitious scholarship in divisions and schools across the University.

“This generous commitment from the Wallmans will greatly support our world-class faculty and will accelerate the impact the University can have on the world,” said President Paul Alivisatos. “These faculty will exemplify the best of how to unite academic scholarship with active work beyond the walls of the University to bring their ideas into impact in society to the benefit of humanity.”

Endowed professorships are instrumental in attracting eminent scholars deeply engaged in their fields, committed to making a positive impact on humanity. Growing UChicago’s cohort of endowed chairs is essential for maintaining competitiveness among peer institutions and attracting top talent in diverse fields.

“As a member of the Board of Trustees, I have gotten a clear view of the University—its mission and leadership,” said Richard Wallman. “President Alivisatos is an exceptional leader with a remarkable vision for the University of Chicago. Amy and I are excited to support that vision through our challenge.”

The Wallmans will match new commitments of $2.5 million or more with funds of $2.5 million. Each professorship will be named for the individual donors who join the Wallmans’ challenge. The resulting cohort of faculty will be uniquely honored as the Wallman Society of Fellows, who will further distinguish themselves through their research and teaching, driving UChicago’s distinctive contributions to society.

Mihir Worah, PhD’95 (Physics), and Anu Worah understood the need to recruit and retain the best faculty, and saw in Wallman’s challenge an opportunity to maintain the University’s eminence and leadership in defining new fields. The Worahs became the first donors to leverage matching funds offered through the fundraising endeavor, endowing the Worah Family Chair in the Physical Sciences Division (PSD).

“I’ve been looking for a way to provide enduring and impactful support to the Physical Sciences Division,” said Mihir. “I’ve consistently heard from Angela [Olinto, PSD dean] about the importance of retaining our rising faculty stars, so when I learned of the Wallman challenge, I knew this was my chance to help.”

Retired from a 19-year career at PIMCO, where he served as CIO of Asset Allocation and Real Return, Mihir has been a donor to the Physical Sciences Division for over 15 years, a member of the PSD Council for ten years, and Chair of the Council for five years. The Worah Family Chair will be dedicated to the Physical Sciences Division in perpetuity.

—Adapted from an article originally published by UChicago News.

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