Steven and Gretchen Rings

Resident Deans — Campus North Residential Commons

Steven (Steve) and Gretchen Rings have called Chicago their home for the past 11 years and are eager to share their passion for the city. The Rings will be Resident Deans at UChicago’s newest residence hall, Campus North Residential Commons.

Steve and Gretchen both hail from Minnesota and attended the University of Minnesota, where Steve earned a bachelor’s degree in music and Gretchen earned her bachelor’s degree in English. Steve went on to receive a PhD in music theory from Yale University and now works as an associate professor of music theory in UChicago’s Department of Music; he is also the Chair of the Society of Fellows. Gretchen received her master’s degree in library science from Dominican University and works as a reference and interlibrary loan librarian at the Field Museum. Before settling in Hyde Park, the Rings lived for two years in the Azores islands, off Portugal, where Steve taught guitar at a conservatory and Gretchen worked at a field campus for the University of Maryland.

Steve and Gretchen have two sons, Elliott and Theo. The Rings look forward to raising their children among college students and becoming more integrated with the UChicago community. “We’re adventurous, and we looked at this as another adventure,” Gretchen says.

The Rings will incorporate their passions into programs they develop for residents. Steve is eager to build bridges between the University’s rich intellectual life and the housing system. “Chicago is one of the world’s great universities, largely because its students are second to none in their passion for ideas and debate. I’m eager to explore and cultivate that intellectual curiosity in the more informal context of the housing system, with a particular focus on music, literature, and the arts,” he says.

Gretchen plans to invite staff from the Field Museum to visit the community and speak about the exhibits and collections featured in the museum.

The Rings also plan to get to know students in more informal settings. They’ll eat in the dining hall and will open their door to residents, “especially for students wanting a family away from home,” Gretchen says.

As a family, the Rings love to explore Chicago. Their favorite spots include Promontory Point, Maggie Daley Park, and the Museum of Science and Industry.