Spring Summer 09

The Core


Portrait of a Painter

Where the Squirrels Are Cuter than Dante

The Secret History of Butternut Playlot

Hallowed Hall


Editor's Note

Seen & Heard

Bizarre Bazaar

Top Ten: Course Adoptions

Suited Up

Strongly Disagree/Strongly Agree

Bring It On


Try Not to Bite Your Partner

Street Smarts

Roscoe Park 8 Takes Over

Go Ask Alumni

Go Ask Alumni

For this edition, we asked alumni to tell us about their favorite University of Chicago T-shirts.

My favorite University of Chicago T-shirt has a picture of a squirrel on the back of it with the caption, “Where the squirrels are cuter than the girls.” I’m female, so I remember the person I purchased it from being a little confused that I was buying that one, and not the one that said, “Where the squirrels are more aggressive than the boys.” What can I say? I’ve always had a rather self-deprecating sense of humor.

The reactions I get when I wear the shirt vary. If it’s a fellow U of C person, they immediately get the joke, and usually we’ll share a laugh about the shirt. Very little actually has to be said. If the person who notices the shirt is not from the University of Chicago, they usually get a little confused and ask me to explain my shirt. I tell them about the crazy yet adorable little squirrels on campus, and I tell them about our tradition of wearing shirts that lampoon our campus. Some people find the tradition endearing.
Nicolle Neulist, AB’04

When I was attending the GSB (oops, the Booth School of Business), I saw my all-time favorite Chicago T-shirt: “Chicago Dating—The odds are good, but the goods are odd.” Since I met my husband at the GSB, and we were married in Bond Chapel, we often joke about the truth in that Chicago dating slogan. Unfortunately, when I went back to purchase the T-shirt, the student group was no longer there, so I didn’t get to buy one.
Angela Seaworth, MBA’00

My favorite is the T-shirt (that I wore for years) that was maroon-colored and had the Harvard University seal on the front. It said: “Harvard: the University of Chicago of the East.”
Susan Kupper, AB’71

My favorite T-shirt slogan appeared while I was in the College, and I have seldom seen it since: “The University of Chicago is funnier than you think.” This was printed next to a laughing gargoyle in maroon on a white background. I would like to see this T-shirt available again. My son is a first-year student living in Tufts house, and they make a lot of money selling the T-shirt that says: “The University of Chicago—Where fun comes to die!” Oh well...they make so much money selling it that the house bought itself a giant TV for the student lounge. Go Maroons!
Eduardo Vidal, AB’78, JD’81

My favorite U of C T-shirt was always: “University of Chicago, The Level of Hell Dante Forgot.” Not only do I enjoy the reference to the Inferno, but also the conversations that always sprang up, criticizing the shirt for using the word “level” instead of the word “circle.” Now that’s shared Core knowledge.
Emily Saidel, AB’05

My favorite T-shirts were those I was directly or indirectly involved in making or inspiring. The Model United Nations of the University of Chicago (now an institution on campus and in high schools across the country) was then in its early years, but one tradition was firmly in place—the official T-shirt, with a clever slogan on the back in English and the rest of the six official languages of the United Nations, including Russian and Arabic. My favorite was, “World peace in four days or your money back.” (We were careful to ensure that the last line said—in Chinese—“Just kidding!”)

The others were those for Thompson House in Pierce Tower, where I lived for three years. You can probably get an idea of the vibe going at that point from one shirt that proclaimed, “We go where even fools fear to tread.” A later shirt quoted former vice president Jonathan Kleinbard, describing one of the funniest events of my years in Thompson House as “very much a mean-spirited thing to do.” (The statute of limitations has probably expired on that one, but I think the less I say about it, the better.)
Sendhil Revuluri, AB’94

In the early ’80s I remember seeing a T-shirt for sale that said (with the “Champions” line in huge type, and the years in tiny type): “The University of Chicago BIG TEN FOOTBALL CHAMPIONS: 1899, 1905, 1907, 1908, 1913, 1922, 1924.” I thought it was pretty funny.
Jeff Smith, PhD’06

When I was a prospie, I saw shirts that read, “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you may be in Plato’s republic.”
Sondra Feldstein, AB’86,AM’87

Back around 1985 or so, a group was selling T-shirts for Kuviasungnerk that were long-underwear- type thermal shirts, reading, “Hanna Say Nerk.” For the youngsters who may not get that reference, it’s to a band called Frankie Goes to Hollywood, who for a brief period popularized T-shirts saying, “Frankie Say Relax” (“Relax” being one of their few hits). I didn’t purchase one of the Hanna shirts but wish I had. Truly a snapshot of a moment in time and a joke only the U of C would get.
Louisa Williams Gacek, AB’87

When I was in charge of Green Campus initiative, we did the first Battle of the Bulbs inter-dormitory competition. Our T-shirt motto was “Do it in the dark.”
Katherine Eva Michonski, AB’07

I remember the various T-shirts fondly from my years at U of C, but what I think captured the spirit of the school even better was a song that came out as students and administration were debating scaling back the Core. Two (I think that’s the number) students wrote new lyrics to “It’s the End of the World as We Know it” by R.E.M. and changed “world” to “Core.” It was a great example of U of C spirit and intellectualism, and I’m sure I still have that CD tucked away in a box of souvenirs.
Samantha Anderson, AB’00