Under Zimmer, now in his eighth year at the U. of C., the school’s endowment reached a high of $7.5 billion in 2014. The university also opened the Chicago Innovation Exchange, a startup incubator with $20 million in venture funding, a boost to the South Side. But after being the presumed favorite to win the bid for the Obama presidential library, U. of C. had its proposal whacked by the Obama Foundation and needed a rescue by Rahm. Losing the bid would be a serious black eye.