On July 1, 2006, Robert J. Zimmer became the 13th President of the University of Chicago. Prior to his appointment as President, Zimmer was a University of Chicago faculty member and administrator for more than two decades specializing in the mathematical fields of geometry, particularly ergodic theory, Lie groups, and differential geometry. As a University of Chicago administrator, Zimmer served as Chairman of the Mathematics Department, Deputy Provost, and Vice President for Research and for Argonne National Laboratory. He also served as Provost at Brown University from 2002-2006, returning to Chicago in 2006 to become President of the University.
As President of the University, he serves as Chair of the Board of Governors of Argonne National Laboratory and Chair of the Board of Directors of Fermi Research Alliance LLC, the operator of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. He also serves on the President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science, and is on the executive committee of the Council on Competitiveness. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
President Zimmer is the author of two books, "Ergodic Theory and Semisimple Groups" (1984) and "Essential Results of Functional Analysis" (1990), and more than 80 mathematical research articles. The recipient of an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship, he served on the Board of Mathematical Sciences of the National Research Council from 1992 to 1995, and was on the executive committee from 1993 to 1995. Zimmer held the title of Max Mason Distinguished Service Professor of Mathematics at Chicago before leaving for Brown, where he was the Ford Foundation Professor of Mathematics in addition to being Provost.
President Zimmer earned his A.B., summa cum laude, from Brandeis University in 1968 and a Ph.D. in mathematics from Harvard University in 1975. He joined the Chicago faculty as an L.E. Dickson Instructor of Mathematics in 1977. He was also on the faculty of the U.S. Naval Academy from 1975 to 1977. He has held visiting positions at Harvard University and at institutions in Israel, France, Australia, Switzerland, and Italy.
President Zimmer and his wife Terese have three sons, David, Benjamin, and Alex.