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Home > Research > Publications > Annual Reports > 1998-99 Annual Report

The Development Office


Tim Cashion


Fiscal 1999 saw the Oriental Institute reach new highs in funds raised for both projects and membership revenues. Private non-federal gifts and grants totaled $3,742,118, a 29% increase over the previous year. Membership revenues of $147,767 represented a 15% gain over fiscal 1998. On behalf of the faculty and staff, I would like to thank our generous members and donors for their continued support of the Institute. A complete honor roll of members and donors follows this report.

Legacy Campaign

The completion of the campaign for facilities improvements - the most ambitious fund-raising effort in the Institute's history - was celebrated on 22 May 1999 at Egypt Unveiled, a black-tie affair held in the Joseph and Mary Grimshaw Egyptian Gallery and the Elizabeth Morse Genius Reading Room. Former Director William M. Sumner and Deputy Director of the National Endowment for the Humanities Juan E. Mestas came to Chicago for the evening, as did Barbara Breasted Whitesides, the granddaughter of Institute founder James Henry Breasted.

The Legacy Campaign, in its last year, benefited from significant gifts from Mrs. Elizabeth Baum, Robert and Linda Braidwood, Mrs. Joseph N. Grimshaw, and Crennan and David Ray among our individual supporters, and new gifts from A. T. Kearney, Ernst & Young LLP, The John Nuveen Company, and KPMG LLP from the corporate community.

The campaign booked over $10.4 million for facilities improvements. The Institute thanks the many donors who supported the campaign and is especially grateful for the efforts of the Legacy Campaign Executive Committee, chaired by Jill Carlotta Maher, O. J. Sopranos, and Raymond D. Tindel.

Year-End Appeal

The highlight of the annual appeal, which raised over $162,299.09 for Institute projects other than the building campaign, was the Morse Genius Challenge Grant. The challenge, set by the Elizabeth Morse and Elizabeth Morse Genius Charitable Trusts, presented the Institute with an opportunity to both modernize and restore the Reading Room. As a result of support from our members, as well as a significant effort from alumni of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, the Institute successfully reached the challenge goal. In late 1999, new task wiring and internet connections will be installed at each study table. In spring 2000, light fixtures replicating those originally installed will be mounted, recapturing the beauty of the 1930s-vintage room.

Visiting Committee

In 1998/99, the Visiting Committee to the Oriental Institute welcomed a new chair, B. F. Goodrich Chairman Emeritus John D. Ong, and new members Mrs. Deborah Aliber, Howard Haas, and Roger Nelson. Debbie is a resident of Hyde Park and a long-serving docent at the Institute. Mr. Haas, after a successful career in business, now teaches at the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business. Mr. Nelson is the Deputy Chairman of Ernst & Young LLP. We thank all of them for joining the Committee, as well as our returning members for their loyal advocacy on behalf of the Institute.

The Visiting Committee met twice this past year, on 17 September 1998 at the Institute and on 11 March 1999 at the University Club. In September, Museum Director Karen L. Wilson briefed the Committee on the design of the Egyptian Gallery, while in March Professor McGuire Gibson updated members on archaeology in Yemen, particularly recent Institute work in the area.

In a small private ceremony on 6 January 1999, Hugo F. Sonnenschein, President of the University of Chicago, presented the James Henry Breasted Medallion to Elizabeth B. (Mrs. Theodore D.) Tieken. The Breasted Medallion is the highest honor bestowed by the Oriental Institute. Mrs. Tieken is a charter member of the Visiting Committee and has been the Institute's loyal friend and volunteer for more than four decades.

Breasted Society

The James Henry Breasted Society, our highest level of membership and a vital source of unrestricted support for the Institute's most pressing needs, enjoyed the finest year in its short history. Fiscal year 1999 Breasted Society revenues totaled $59,309, a 19% increase over the previous year. Breasted Society funds supported, among other projects, the Research Archives, the Conservation Laboratory, faculty travel, and computer upgrades. The Breasted Society met on 17 September 1998 to dine with Barbara Mertz, a University of Chicago alumna and author, as Elizabeth Peters, of the Amelia Peabody mystery series. Many members also attended Egypt Unveiled on 22 May 1999.


There were 1,422 Basic and Associate Membership gifts in fiscal 1999, totaling $88,548.12. Compared to the previous year, these figures represent a 14% increase in numbers of members and a 16% increase in revenues. This represents the third consecutive year that the Institute's membership has grown, despite the renovation to our galleries. Membership programming in 1998/99 included:

12 August 1998: "The City of the Hawk: Recent Excavations at Hierakonpolis," a summer Members Lecture by Renee Friedman, Director, Hierakonpolis Expedition.

16 September 1998: "Jewels of the Nile and Beyond," an Associates Luncheon (held at the Fortnightly of Chicago) featuring Barbara Natoli Witt, a renowned maker of custom jewelry.

17 September 1998: "The Ape in the Balance," a book signing and lecture by University of Chicago alumna Barbara Mertz, author, as Elizabeth Peters, of the Amelia Peabody mystery series.

21 October 1998: "A Celebration of Professor Emeritus Hans Gustav Güterbock," a Members Lecture in honor of Professor Güterbock's 90th birthday, featuring remarks by Professor Harry A. Hoffner, Professor Piotr Michalowski of the University of Michigan, Professor Hans Nissen of the Free University of Berlin, and Professor Emeritus Erica Reiner. Professor Güterbock was presented with the title page of a volume of conference papers to be published in his honor, an issue of the Journal of Cuneiform Studies dedicated to him, and an honorary doctorate, awarded earlier in the year by the Free University of Berlin. Professor Reiner, a friend and colleague for over forty years, spoke of Professor Güterbock's mammoth contribution to ancient Near Eastern scholarship.

6 January 1999: "Vani, a Religious Center of the First Millennium B.C. in Colchis, the Land of the Golden Fleece," a Members Lecture by Professor Otar Lordkipanidze, Director of the Institute of Archaeology, Georgian Academy of Science. Co-sponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America.

24 February 1999: "Archaeology and History in the Ancient Territory of Nikopolis," a Members Lecture and the Inaugural Oscar Broneer Lecture by James M. Wiseman of Boston University and President of the Archaeological Institute of America. Co-sponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America.

17 March 1999: "Between the Tigris-Euphrates Basin and the Mediterranean Sea," a Members Lecture by Professor K. Asl1han Yener.

7 April 1999: "From the Land of Sheba: Twenty Years of Research in Yemen," a Members Lecture by Professor McGuire Gibson. Co-sponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America.

21 April 1999: "Rolling Stones: Economy, Society, and Culture in the Sixth Century Carbonized Petra Papyri," a Members Lecture by Assistant Professor Traianos Gagos of the University of Michigan.

23 May 1999 and 26 May 1999: Free previews for members only of the new Joseph and Mary Grimshaw Egyptian Gallery.

27 May 1999: "Institute Unveiled," a behind-the-scenes tour of new object and archival storage areas.

Travel Program

The Oriental Institute Travel Program offered two overseas departures in 1998/99. Gods, Saints, and Kings: Discovering Central Anatolian Turkey was led by Professor Emeritus Richard L. Chambers in September 1998. Thirty-two members and friends joined Dick for touring that ranged from cosmopolitan Istanbul to Associate Professor K. Asl1han Yener's dig at Tell Kurdu in the southern province of Hatay. In January and February, Museum Archivist John A. Larson and Director of Development Tim Cashion led a private tour of Egypt for the Women's Board of the University of Chicago. The twenty-five travelers on the tour ventured from Alexandria to Abu Simbel, including an elegant dinner at Chicago House.


The Office of Membership and Development passed through a period of transition in 1998/99. Cynthia Echols, Assistant Director of the Oriental Institute for Membership and Development since spring 1993, moved to a new post as Associate Director of Foundation Relations for the University of Chicago in September. Cynthia's steady hand guided the Institute through the daunting challenge of raising funds for the now-completed building, and she leaves with our best wishes.

Tim Cashion, who had been Membership Coordinator since fall 1995, was named Director of Development in November. Emily Napolitano, who had worked in the Museum Education Office since spring 1997, joined the Development Office as a part-time Development Assistant in August, and was promoted to Membership Coordinator, a full-time position, in December.

Revised: February 23, 2007

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