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The Writing Program offers courses at every level and works with faculty across Northwestern to help students become more effective writers. (Photo by Jim Ziv.)


The Writing Program of the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences will be renamed the Bobbie and Stanton Cook Family Writing Program after the Cook family made a significant gift to the program that touches every part of Northwestern University.


Widely regarded for its leading-edge instruction combining tradition and innovation, the writing program has made it a mission to help all Northwestern students learn to write clearly, thoughtfully and effectively.


As the nexus of all writing services and resources on campus, the program exemplifies interdisciplinary learning and champions effective communication -- key ingredients for preparing Northwestern students for success in a globalizing world.


The gift by the Bobbie and Stanton Cook Family Foundation enables Weinberg to extend the Writing Program to include more offerings for juniors and seniors, to develop new partnerships for first-year programming and to expand its work beyond Weinberg to create writing-related curricula for other disciplines at Northwestern.


“We believe that clear writing and thinking are central to success in every academic discipline,” said Writing Program Director Robert Gundlach. “We also believe that writing is a complex activity worthy of study in itself.”


The Weinberg-based writing program is increasingly being recognized for its excellence, and that is attracting support and increased collaboration across the University, including in partnerships with other schools and programs at Northwestern such as the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Graduate Writing Place.


The Bobbie and Stanton Cook Family Foundation wanted to invest in a core strength of Northwestern, and the gift recognizes the Writing Program as one of the best writing programs in the nation.


The foundation’s gift was directed by Northwestern Trustee Stanton R. Cook '49, '85 H, retired chairman of Tribune Company, and his daughter, Sarah Shumway MBA '87, who were both impressed with the deep experience of writing program faculty and the program’s reach to all corners of the University.


”After spending so much of my life working at a great Chicago newspaper and running a national multimedia company,” Cook observed, “the idea of contributing meaningfully to such an outstanding writing program to help train the next generation of writers was very important to me.”


“We were fascinated by the fundamentals of the existing program and the possibility of promoting such strong teaching in the art of writing to a large and diverse student body,” said Shumway.


Other key goals for the gift are to:


  • Provide additional writing support for high-potential students, including those enrolled at Northwestern as well as participants in the University’s college-access programs.
  • Expand The Writing Place, Northwestern’s center for peer writing consultations, both physically and programmatically, to include a broader range and greater availability of in-person tutoring and consultation services.
  • Advance the writing program’s technological offerings, including improved online resources and digital communication expertise.


To read the complete story, please visit the Northwestern News Center.