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The Northwestern Alumni Association presents A Night with Northwestern at The San Francisco Symphony — a concert performance followed by an exclusive reception  — at 6:30 p.m. on February 21.


Distinguished Spanish maestro Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos makes his long-awaited return to the San Francisco Symphony after more than 25 years. A renowned master of orchestral color, Frühbeck leads the Symphony in Scheherazade, Rimsky-Korsakov’s dazzling symphonic suite to One Thousand and One Nights, the famed collection of Persian folktales.


After the performance, Bienen School of Music Dean Toni-Marie Montgomery and alumni members of the symphony will welcome guests to a special Northwestern reception in the elegant Wattis Room.


Visit the Northwestern Alumni Association for more details or to purchase tickets.

Dennis Chookaszian ’65, the former chairman and CEO of CNA Insurance Companies, has been named by the Northwestern Alumni Association (NAA) as the winner of the 2014 Alumni Medal — the highest honor bestowed by the NAA. He will be honored alongside 18 other distinguished winners of the 2014 Alumni Awards on April 12 in Chicago.


The recipients:


For high achievement in a profession or field (recipients chosen by school)

Wayne Whalen ’67 JD (School of Law); Scott Bergren ’68, ’69 MS (Medill); David Porges ’79 (McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science); Martin Gaynor ’79 MA, ’83 PhD (The Graduate School); Elizabeth White ’81 (School of Continuing Studies); Agnes Nixon ’44 (School of Communication); Cesar Purisima ’83 MM (Kellogg School of Management); Mark Ratner ’69 (Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences); Dr. Robert Pick ’80 DDS, ’82 MS (Dental School); Nichole Pinkard ’98 PhD (School of Education and Social Policy); and Victor Benedetti ’90, ’92 MM (Bienen School of Music)


For the exceptional advancement of causes or ideas that improve society

Mary Pettinato ’08 MBA



For outstanding service to the University

Frank Cohen ’95; Steven Nelson ’83; Jonathan Newcomb ’79, ’82 JD; and Holly Sunshine ’71



Presented to one outstanding individual who, although not a graduate of Northwestern University, greatly enhances the University through their professional accomplishments, commitment and service

Donald Perkins


For making a significant impact in his or her profession and/or community at large by the age of 35

Cody Keenan ’02


Learn more about the Northwestern Alumni Association Awards.

This fall, Northwestern University will launch a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Program in Documentary Media. With an emphasis on the crosspollination of documentary and narrative and on the use of traditional and emerging forms, the two-year professional program will differ from other MFA programs.


The new program will build on Northwestern’s faculty strengths in filmmaking, media and production as well as the University’s location just minutes from Chicago — a city with a long, rich history of documentary media practice and one of the nation’s documentary hubs. It will accept up to 12 students each academic year. Applications are due Feb. 15.


"The need for actuality-based images and the people who can create them is continuously multiplying," says Debra Tolchinsky, who will direct the new MFA program. "Think Google, Netflix, news outlets, companies with social media campaigns, advertising as well as conventional theaters. Documentary was once considered secondary to narrative media. Today it’s a vital part of entertainment, promotion and advocacy."


"We’ll give our students a solid foundation in traditional documentary media-making while also preparing them to look beyond the traditional and to innovate by plugging into new strategies and emerging formats," Tolchinsky adds. An award-winning documentary filmmaker whose work has been featured at Sundance and other film festivals, Tolchinsky is associate professor of radio/television/film.


Visit the Northwestern News Center for the full story. Learn more about the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Program in Documentary Media.

Tickets are on sale for Northwestern University’s 83rd annual Waa-Mu Show. Presented by the Theatre and Interpretation Center (TIC) at Northwestern University and the Waa-Mu Show team, "Double Feature at Hollywood and Vine" will be staged May 2–11 at Cahn Auditorium on the Evanston campus.


The original full-length musical is written, produced, composed and choreographed by more than 150 Northwestern students. Undergraduate student co-chairs Desiree Staples, Ryan Bernsten and Ryan Garson lead the 2014 production.


"Double Feature at Hollywood and Vine" reimagines Shakespeare’s comedy Twelfth Night in 1930s Hollywood. When twins are tragically separated on their journey to a better life in Los Angeles, the sister, believing her brother dead, has no choice but to assume his identity to get work as a movie extra, only to take the silver screen by storm — as a man. When her brother unexpectedly arrives in Hollywood, struck with amnesia, hilarity ensues with mistaken identities, love triangles and an unforgettable reunion in this contemporary retelling of the epic Shakespeare tale.


The Waa-Mu Show began as a joint effort of the University's Women's Athletic Association (WAA) and Men's Union (MU) during the 1928-29 academic year. It soon garnered a reputation as one of "the greatest college shows in America" and has been an important launching pad for many respected performers.


Visit the Northwestern News Center for the full story.


Dale T. Mortensen, a recent Nobel laureate and the Board of Trustees Professor of Economics at Northwestern University in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, died on January 9, surrounded by his family. He was 74.


Mortensen pioneered a new approach to studying important economic problems now known as search theory. Utilizing the theory, Mortensen developed an original approach to investigating the labor market, revolutionizing how economists and policymakers view labor market matters and the role of government policy and regulation.


That original approach can, for example, explain why it takes so long for job seekers to find acceptable jobs even in good economic times, when vacancies are plentiful, or why firms with vacancies fail to fill positions quickly even though large numbers of people are unemployed.


Macroeconomists cite Mortensen's work as a key element in understanding how unemployment changes during the cycle. Search theory has since been applied to a host of other major areas of economics such as monetary theory, housing markets, marriage markets and many others.

"On behalf of the entire Northwestern community, I extend my deep condolences to Professor Mortensen’s family," said Northwestern President Morton Schapiro. "He will be deeply missed by his colleagues at Northwestern — and by the world. His groundbreaking work is especially relevant to policymakers attempting to address unemployment today."


Visit the Northwestern News Center for the full story.


In November, NU for Life — an initiative dedicated to the professional growth of Northwestern student-athletes from the moment they arrive on campus — hosted its second annual Wildcat Professional Excellence Program (WPEP) at Hardin Hall. WPEP is an event aimed at providing student-athletes in their junior year the chance to meet and learn from professionals representing a wide range of career fields, giving the 'Cats insight into the roads they'll travel after graduation and a network of industry leaders to call upon for advice.

More than 40 professionals attended this year's WPEP, representing such diverse organizations as William Blair, Abbott Labs, Accenture, Creative Artists Agency, PepsiCo, Under Armour, Leo Burnett, Lurie Children's Hospital, Merrill Lynch, the Chicago Sports Commission, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, among others. Over the course of the networking sessions, each of the approximately 100 Northwestern student-athletes who attended WPEP met in small groups with five different professionals of their choosing.


NU For Life began in 2012 following a generous donation to Northwestern Athletics by David Kabiller ’85, ’87 MBA, a member of the University's Board of Trustees and a former Wildcat tennis player.


Visit the for the full story. Learn more about David Kabiller’s support of NU athletics.

For the first time in school history, Northwestern's fall student-athletes cracked the 100-award mark by earning a conference-best 104 Academic All-Big Ten honors across six sports, the conference announced in December.


The 104 awards eclipse NU's previous school-best total of 97 in 2011 and represents an incredible climb from 68 such honors in the fall of 2007, which at the time was NU's best-ever single-quarter Academic All-Big Ten performance.


Northwestern is the lone Big Ten school to earn more than 100 Academic All-Big Ten awards during the fall season, topping Indiana's 94 and Michigan State's 90. Both IU and MSU sponsor seven fall sports while NU fields six varsity squads.


NU football topped its own program record with 36 total honorees, besting its previous high of 34 earned in 2012. This season is the Wildcats' fourth straight with more than 30 Academic All-Big Ten award winners.


To earn Academic All-Big Ten recognition, an athlete must be in at least his or her second year at the institution, letter in his or her sport, and have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better.


Visit the for the full story.


Henry S. Bienen ’09 H, President Emeritus of Northwestern University, was elected into the Northwestern Athletic Hall of Fame in an honorary capacity in December.


He joins Eileen Canney (softball), Julie Foldi (fencing), Dustin Fox (wrestling), and Scott Rowe (men’s golf) as a member of the Class of 2013.


"It's a great honor to join the outstanding former Northwestern student-athletes as a member," said Bienen. "I enjoyed watching many of them compete during my years as president, and I know the tremendous efforts they all made in order to be successful. So I'm particularly pleased to be in their company in the Athletic Hall of Fame."


Bienen served as Northwestern's President from 1995 to 2009, presiding over a period of increased academic prominence, financial strength and athletic success. During his tenure, NU varsity athletics programs won nearly 20 Big Ten championships while capturing five straight women's lacrosse national titles and five football bowl appearances.


Bienen's tenure saw extensive construction and upgrades to athletics facilities, highlighted by a complete renovation to Ryan Field. NU athletics also saw the completion of the state-of-the-art indoor Combe Tennis Center, the Luke Donald Practice Facility and Gleacher Indoor Golf Center, an overhaul of the Sharon J. Drysdale softball field and the construction of Lakeside Field, home to NU's soccer and women's lacrosse programs.


"The strength of the Northwestern University athletic program today was built on the foundation that President Emeritus Henry Bienen helped create during his 14 remarkably successful years as president," said Northwestern President Morton Schapiro. "He understood clearly the importance to the University of competing at the highest level, both academically and athletically, and he provided the leadership and resources to make that happen. To a great extent, we are following the path that he laid out nearly 20 years ago, and our present-day success would not have been possible without his vision for Northwestern."


Visit the for the full story.

Massive terrestrial planets, called "super-Earths," are known to be common in our galaxy, the Milky Way. Now a Northwestern University astrophysicist and a University of Chicago geophysicist report the odds of these planets having an Earth-like climate are much greater than previously thought.


Nicolas B. Cowan and Dorian Abbot’s new model challenges the conventional wisdom which says super-Earths actually would be very unlike Earth — each would be a waterworld, with its surface completely covered in water. They conclude that most tectonically active super-Earths — regardless of mass — store most of their water in the mantle and will have both oceans and exposed continents, enabling a stable climate such as Earth’s.


Cowan is a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern’s Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA), and Abbot is an assistant professor in geophysical sciences at the University of Chicago.


"Are the surfaces of super-Earths totally dry or covered in water?" Cowan said. "We tackled this question by applying known geophysics to astronomy.


"Super-Earths are expected to have deep oceans that will overflow their basins and inundate the entire surface, but we show this logic to be flawed," he said. "Terrestrial planets have significant amounts of water in their interior. Super-Earths are likely to have shallow oceans to go along with their shallow ocean basins."


In their model, Cowan and Abbot treated the intriguing exoplanets (planets outside our solar system) like Earth, which has quite a bit of water in its mantle, the rocky part that makes up most of the volume and mass of the planet. The rock of the mantle contains tiny amounts of water, which quickly add up because the mantle is so large. And a deep water cycle moves water between oceans and the mantle.


Cowan presented the findings at a press conference, "Windows on Other Worlds," held January 7 at the 223rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in Washington, D.C.


Visit the Northwestern News Center for the full story. Learn more about CIERA

Computational work conducted at Northwestern University has led to a new mathematical theory for understanding the global spread of epidemics. The resulting insights could not only help identify an outbreak’s origin but could also significantly improve the ability to forecast the global pathways through which a disease might spread.


"With this new theory, we can reconstruct outbreak origins with higher confidence, compute epidemic-spreading speed and forecast when an epidemic wave front is to arrive at any location worldwide," said theoretical physicist Dirk Brockmann, who developed the ideas for this research at the Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems (NICO). "This may help to improve possible mitigation strategies."


Brockmann, currently a professor at Berlin’s Humboldt-Universitaet, worked with fellow scientist Dirk Helbing, a professor at ETH Zurich, to develop the theory. Brockmann was an associate professor of engineering sciences and applied mathematics at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science before moving to Germany this year.


Their study was published Dec. 13 in the journal Science.


Brockmann and Helbing’s new approach for understanding global disease dynamics is based on the intuitive notion that in our strongly connected world, conventional geographic distances are no longer the key variable but must be replaced with "effective distances.""From the perspective of Frankfurt, Germany, other metropolitan areas such as London, New York or Tokyo are effectively not more distant than geographically close German cities such as Bremen, Leipzig or Kiel," said Brockmann.


When an unknown virus emerges at various locations in the world, scientists focus on answering the following questions: Where did the new disease originate? Where are new cases to be expected? When are they expected? And how many people will catch the disease?


In order to contain the further spread — and potentially devastating consequences — rapid assessment is essential for the development of efficient mitigation strategies. Highly sophisticated computer simulations, which attempt to predict the likely epidemic time-course and spreading pattern, are important tools for forecasting different scenarios.


Visit the Northwestern News Center for the full story. Read more about the Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems.

Northwestern University Professor Kemi Jona testified on January 9 at a U.S. Congressional subcommittee hearing about ways to successfully involve the private sector in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education on the K–12 level.


Jona is director of Northwestern’s Office of STEM Partnerships (OSEP), which since 2006 has worked to connect K–12 teachers and students to the world-class STEM resources of Northwestern University and beyond.


At the invitation of U.S. Representative Dan Lipinski ’88, Jona described some of the successful and replicable models his office has developed in conjunction with scientists and engineers in academia and industry to excite young students in STEM subjects and STEM career possibilities.


What’s often missing from discussions about the proper role of federal STEM policy and the involvement of the private sector in STEM education is the need to develop robust mechanisms that support scalable and sustainable high-quality education programs, Jona stressed.


In his testimony to members of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Science, Space and Technology, he described three promising models developed by Northwestern’s Office of STEM Education Partnerships to increase federal and private sector support of STEM education.

The OSEP models outlined by Jona include:

  • A partnership with Baxter, an Illinois-based global healthcare company. Baxter has supported the creation the Biotechnology Center of Excellence at Lindblom Math & Science Academy, a Chicago public school serving predominantly minority and low-income students.
  • Illinois Pathways, a State of Illinois-led STEM education initiative that to date has created nine new statewide, public-private partnerships known as STEM Learning Exchanges.
  • FUSE, an out-of-school project funded by the MacArthur Foundation, the National Science Foundation and private sector sponsors including Motorola Mobility, Siemens and IBM. FUSE aims to engage youth — especially from underrepresented groups — in topics such as robotics, electronics, mobile app development, and 3D design through a series of increasingly difficult challenges.

Visit the Northwestern News Center for the full story. Learn more about the Office of STEM Partnerships (OSEP).

Northwestern University Trustee Neil Bluhm ’62 JD and the Bluhm Family Charitable Foundation have made a $25 million gift to Northwestern to support Northwestern University School of Law and to provide additional funding for other areas of the University, including Northwestern Medicine, the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, the Bienen School of Music, and the Holocaust Educational Foundation of Northwestern University.


This significant gift from Bluhm and the foundation was announced in December. It includes a $15 million commitment for the Law School, the biggest gift ever made to the school.


"I am extremely pleased to support Northwestern University and the Law School with this commitment," Bluhm said. "And I am especially proud to assist with the important work of the Law School. I am inspired by the vision of Dean Daniel Rodriguez and his goals for the Law School’s mission and future."


Bluhm asked that his gift be allocated in ways that would help Dean Rodriguez accomplish his key objectives. With that in mind, the largest portion of the gift — $6 million — will be unrestricted. These funds will be used to support need-based financial aid and key initiatives of the law school’s strategic plan, which is under development. The law school’s Loan Repayment Assistance Program will be the next biggest beneficiary of the gift — $5 million will be used to help graduates who accept public service and government jobs repay law school loans. The Bluhm Legal Clinic will receive $3 million to strengthen its endowment and enhance clinical legal education programs; these funds are in addition to the $7 million Bluhm has already given to support the legal clinic. The remaining $1 million will be used over a 10-year period to build ongoing, sustainable support from Law School alumni through annual gifts to the Law School Fund.


"We are sincerely grateful to Neil and his family for this wonderful gift that will significantly benefit the Law School at a transformative time in legal education," said Northwestern President Morton Schapiro. "It’s a major commitment that will lend critical support to the Law School’s bold leadership, innovative programs and distinctive scholarship in American jurisprudence."


Bluhm, president of JMB Realty Corporation, has had a long history of giving to Northwestern. A Northwestern National Trustee from 1986 to 2008 and a Life Trustee since 2008, Bluhm received Northwestern’s Alumni Medal in 2009, the highest honor an alumnus can receive from the University.


Visit the Northwestern News Center for the full story.

Northwestern University has received 33,200 applications for the Class of 2018 — setting a new record and illustrating the University’s growing appeal.


With this year’s 1.3 percent increase over last year, freshman applications have been on the rise at Northwestern for 11 years in a row.


Applications have risen by more than 10,000 since 2007, when the University admitted 27 percent of all applicants. The growth in applications typically results in lower acceptance rates. Northwestern received 32,772 applications for the Class of 2017, with an acceptance rate of only 13.9 percent — down by almost half since 2007.


The University increasingly is being recognized nationally and internationally for the excellence of its students, the highly diverse education offered inside and outside the classroom, leading faculty research regularly covered in the news and a popular president, Morton Schapiro, who is well known for his expertise in the economics of higher education.


"We’re doing an excellent job of raising our visibility across the nation and the world," said Michael Mills, associate provost for University enrollment, "through outreach by staff, student volunteers and faculty, and the president through his international travel."


Visit the Northwestern News Center for the full story.

The Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine publication The Institutes at Northwestern Medicine was selected Jan. 10 as recipient of the Award for Excellence in Publications by the Association of American Medical Colleges.


The award, which will be presented in March at AAMC’s Group on Institutional Advancement National Professional Development Conference, recognizes exemplary work and contributions made in advancing medicine, research, and education in academic medical centers.


Visit the AAMC website for full details on the GIA Awards for Excellence.>>

Carolyn Burrows Matalene (WCAS63) talks about organizing Northwestern's second symposium, filled with world-class speakers.