University of Chicago campus

University of Chicago

Lynne Oshita Brickner, AM’75

“I was supported by the University during a critical period of my development,” says Lynne Oshita Brickner, AM’75, who received her master’s degree in history from the University of Chicago.

She came to the University on the recommendation of her Scripps College adviser, who was a UChicago alumnus.

“I’ve prepared you for the University of Chicago,” he told her.

Brickner came to UChicago and earned her degree in modern French history.

“But I met a group of PhD students, students of John Hope Franklin, who were all interested in American legal history,” Brickner explains. “I changed fields. This was something you could do at Chicago and maybe not other grad schools, which are pretty siloed.”

Steeped in American legal and economic history, Brickner headed to law school.

Brickner fondly remembers other unique UChicago experiences, including playing squash in Bartlett, living at International House, and moving with several of her I-House friends into the home of a faculty member who was at Stanford on a visiting professorship.

“That professor was Eugene Fama,” Brickner adds. “We were all hoping that he would return to Hyde Park.”

Her own teachers in the Department of History left a lasting impression. “I had really terrific and influential professors in History: Barry Karl, Neil Harris, Bill McNeill, Arthur Mann—and at the Law School: Stan Katz, John Langbein, Richard Epstein, and Richard Posner. And I was a research assistant for Donald Lach. I followed his advice: do what really interests you.”

She has given consistently to the University of Chicago for more than 35 years—including to the John Hope Franklin Endowment, the Visiting Committee Fellowship, and the Dean’s Fund for the Social Sciences. She has served as chair of the Social Sciences Visiting Committee and has been honored as a member of the Chicago Society for her loyal giving.

“What keeps me interested in the University is that everyone is so engaged and committed to being the best. The University is not confused about its mission,” Brickner says. “Being financially supportive is one way of communicating my support.”