University leaders said the Institute’s important role on campus will continue, and they are committed to building upon the IOP’s great success.
“David was the ideal person to launch the Institute, given his boundless energy, his sharp intellect and his deep connection to the University as an alumnus of the College,” President Paul Alivisatos said. “David’s leadership of the IOP has driven its incredible growth and success over the past, and has been pivotal to cultivating interest in, and engagement with, local, national and global politics as a central tenet of student life at the University, particularly in the College.”
Under Axelrod’s leadership, the Institute has worked with the University community and local partners to develop programs and initiatives aimed at overcoming political, ideological, and geographical divides and inspiring an interest in civic engagement and public service. One example is a program that Axelrod developed following the 2016 election, called Bridging the Divide, which brings together students from UChicago and Illinois universities and colleges to break down barriers between rural and urban communities.
Axelrod will work with Alivisatos in the coming months in the search for the Institute’s next director.
“This is a bittersweet moment for me. I’m so very proud of what we’ve built over the last decade,” Axelrod wrote in a message to students and stakeholders. “I am thankful to the University for their faith and support and especially grateful for all the students who have passed through our doors eager to engage in the open exchange of ideas and explore the many ways they can serve. Whatever we have provided them, they have provided me with something even more—hope for the future. What an extraordinary gift!”