WASHINGTON—The Barack Obama Foundation on Monday announced the finalists for President Barack Obama’s presidential library and museum: the University of Chicago; the University of Illinois at Chicago; Columbia University and the University of Hawaii.
The University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago offered the foundation a choice of several sites in their proposals. The foundation on Monday did not pick among the various specific locations they were offered.
The Chicago-based foundation also released a “request for proposal,” providing for the first time much more detail about what President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle have in mind for the institution to hold the documents from the Obamas’ White House tenure; present exhibits and programs about the Obama administration and provide a home for their future activities.
One significant item in the RFP: bidders must provide a "vision" for an "academic collaboration that will enhance the pursuit of the President’s initiatives beyond 2017. The academic collaboration will include an Institute and possibly a degree-seeking program. An Institute may include academic research, undergraduate coursework offered in collaboration with existing academic departments, infrastructure to achieve real world impact and/or collaboration with partner universities."
The Clinton School of Public Service and The George W. Bush Institute were created as partnerships with the libraries and museums of former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
In addition, the RFP asks the bidders describe how they would provide office space for Obama, Mrs. Obama and staff starting in 2017, when Obama leaves office.
The RFP is due on Dec. 11 and includes a request to detail financial committments. The board will present recommendations to the First Couple in early 2015.
“We were amazed by the quality of responses to our Request for Qualifications and we are grateful to every institution that expressed interest in carrying President Obama’s legacy forward,” said Foundation Board Chair Martin Nesbitt in a statement. “These four potential partners have come the farthest in meeting our criteria and have each demonstrated a strong vision for the future Obama Presidential Library. We look forward to working with each institution to further refine their proposals over the coming months, and to presenting our recommendations to the President and First Lady early next year.”