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Show your purple pride wherever you are with these custom Northwestern ringtones.


"Go U Northwestern" Ringtone (for iOS)


"Go U Northwestern" Ringtone (for Android)


Wildcat Growl Ringtone (for iOS)


Wildcat Growl Ringtone (for Android)


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Instructions for iOS devices

Adding sound files to your mobile device: Save the m4r files above to your laptop or desktop, then import the songs to iTunes. Once in iTunes, you'll connect your phone to your computer and sync tones. If you're having trouble, search "Adding Ringtones to an iPhone" for detailed instructions.

Changing your ringtone: Under "Settings" on your phone, you'll be able to change your ringtone under "Sounds." If you're having trouble, search "Adding Ringtones to an iPhone" for detailed instructions.


Instructions for Android devices

Adding sound files to your mobile device: Save the mp3 files above to your laptop or desktop. Connect your phone to your computer and open your phone's storage. You'll want to copy the sound file into the "Ringtones" folder. If you're having trouble, search "Adding Ringtones to an Android Phone" for detailed instructions.

Changing your ringtone: Open the "Settings" app on your phone; you'll be able to change your ringtone under "Sound." If you're having trouble, just search "Adding Ringtones to an Android Phone" for detailed instructions. If you're having trouble, search "Adding Ringtones to an Android Phone" for detailed instructions.


Katherine Wisner.jpgBy Nora Dunne


A multidisciplinary team of Northwestern Medicine scientists has received a five-year, $3.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to determine the optimal drug doses for treating pregnant women with depression across the changing physiological landscape of their pregnancies.


Depression is a common complication of pregnancy, but healthcare providers don’t have comprehensive evidence on the most effective doses to treat the disorder with antidepressants. In the new study, funded by the NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), investigators will develop guidelines that lay out the best doses across pregnancy and after birth for widely prescribed antidepressants called serotonin selective reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).


“Pregnant women get sick and sick women get pregnant. Providing them with adequate treatment is critically important,” said principal investigator Katherine L. Wisner, MD, Norman and Helen Asher Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (pictured right).


She said the default for many years was to avoid prescribing medications to expectant mothers to prevent any chance of birth defects due to drug exposure. But it’s now known that treating illnesses that affect a woman’s health and ability to function, such as hypertension, epilepsy, depression and bipolar disorder, is important for the well-being of both the mother and fetus, said Dr. Wisner, who has a secondary appointment in Obstetrics and Gynecology. She also directs the Asher Center for the Study and Treatment of Depressive Disorders.


“Now we need to understand how medications are metabolized at different points in pregnancy,” she said. “For example, plasma concentrations of most antidepressants decline in the third trimester and women may relapse into depression. If we’re going to write a prescription, we need to be responsible for making sure the drug does the maximum amount of good by reducing the disease burden.”


With fellow principal investigators Catherine Stika, MD, associate professor of clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Alfred George, Jr., MD, chair of Pharmacology, Dr. Wisner will oversee the study’s three parts: A clinical project will assess the safety and toxicity of drugs throughout pregnancy and into postpartum. A translational project will investigate how variability in genes involved with the metabolism of SSRIs impacts plasma concentrations and pharmacodynamics during pregnancy. Then, a pilot project will look at infant outcomes.


Building robust medication guidelines for pregnant women is a priority for policymakers. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has an initiative called “Treating for Two” and the Food and Drug Administration recently introduced new labeling requirements for drugmakers that will help healthcare providers decide on safe treatment options for pregnant patients.


“Our team is going to be providing the evidence base to make future policy decisions,” Dr. Wisner said.


The new study is funded by NIH NICHD grant 1U54HD085601-01.


Read more in the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine News Center. >>

Dance_2145_RAWC.jpgBy Judy Moore


EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University will continue to team up with two other premier schools in fostering emerging leaders in dance studies thanks to a $600,000 grant renewal from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


The multi-year project, “Dance Studies in/and the Humanities,” began in 2012 with the appointment of postdoctoral fellows at Northwestern, Brown University and Stanford University. The renewal will fund additional advanced teaching and research in dance studies at all three institutions through the 2017-18 academic year.


“The Mellon Fellows have enriched academic discourse by contributing diverse perspectives to the liberal arts and our community,” said Northwestern President Morton Schapiro. “We thank the Mellon Foundation for their continued support of this wonderful program.”


“Before the Mellon initiative, developing dance studies as an inter-discipline of the humanities felt like my own personal obsession,” said Susan Manning, professor of English, theatre and performance studies at Northwestern. “With postdoctoral fellows now on campus, we’ve truly built a community of interest among undergraduates, graduate students and faculty from several departments.”


A number of interdisciplinary initiatives are planned, including an ongoing Working Group in Dance Studies hosted by Northwestern’s Kaplan Institute for the Humanities.


Amanda Graham, the current Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Dance Studies at Northwestern, is planning a symposium for spring 2016 in conjunction with the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art’s exhibit “A Feast of Astonishments: Charlotte Moorman and the Avant-Garde, 1960s-1980s” (Jan. 15 to July 17, 2016). The symposium, titled “Performed in the Present Tense,” will bring together artists, scholars and performance curators to reflect on dance in the museum. Participants will include Noemie Solomon, the current Mellon Fellow in Dance Studies at Brown, and Brendan Fernandes, a visiting artist at the Kaplan Institute who works across choreography and visual art.


The program has already proven successful in cultivating dance studies leaders. Jose L. Reynoso, the inaugural Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Dance Studies at Northwestern, is now an assistant professor of critical dance studies at the University of California, Riverside. Brandon Shaw, the inaugural fellow at Brown, is now permanent faculty in Dance Studies at the University of Malta, while Joanna Dee Das, last year’s fellow at Stanford, just started a tenure-track position at Williams College. The current Stanford fellow, Rachel Carrico, will also be invited to Evanston within the next year, Manning said.


Applications are currently being accepted for Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowships in Dance Studies at all three campuses for the 2016-17 academic year. They must be completed by Jan. 1, 2016. For information on how to apply, see the project website at


See more in Northwestern News. >>

chadmirkin175.jpgEVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University scientist Chad A. Mirkin, one of the world’s leaders in nanotechnology research and its application, has been awarded the inaugural $400,000 Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in Convergence Research from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).


This year’s prize is being awarded for convergence research that benefits human health.


A researcher whose work cuts across disciplines, Mirkin is being recognized “for impressively integrating chemistry, materials science, molecular biology and biomedicine in the development of spherical nucleic acids that are widely used in the rapid and automated diagnosis of infectious diseases and many other human diseases -- including cancers and cardiac disease -- and in the detection of drug-resistant bacteria.”


These nanostructures, called SNAs, are able to access and interact in unique ways with biological systems and structures, including cancer cells and tumors.


Mirkin will receive the prestigious award Oct. 13 during a ceremony at the NAS building in Washington, D.C.


“I am absolutely delighted to be recognized by the academy with this inaugural award,” Mirkin said. “It is a remarkable tribute to the many students and postdoctoral associates who have contributed to my group’s research over the last two decades.”


Mirkin is the George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and founding director of Northwestern’s International Institute for Nanotechnology.


The annual prize was established through a generous gift from Raymond and Beverly Sackler and their foundation. It recognizes significant advances in convergence research -- the integration of two or more of the following disciplines: mathematics, physics, chemistry, biomedicine, biology, astronomy, earth sciences, engineering and computational science -- and achievements possible only through such integration.


“By successfully combining the power of many scientific disciplines, Chad Mirkin created an entirely new kind of nucleic acid that is fueling critical advances in the diagnosis and treatment of devastating illnesses,” said Ralph J. Cicerone, president of the National Academy of Sciences. “We are pleased to recognize his significant achievements in convergence research with this prize.”


One-third of the prize money will go to support the further development of Mirkin’s SNAs for the treatment of cancers.


SNAs are nanoscale structures comprised of round nanoparticles densely covered with DNA or nucleic acids -- the building blocks of living organisms. Like rays emitting from the sun, the DNA strands dangle from a common center; the resulting 3-D structure gives SNAs chemical and physical properties that are radically different from DNA configured in other shapes.


For example, SNAs can cross the blood-brain barrier, penetrate cells and circumvent the human immune system. SNAs are showing promise as highly efficacious, targeted and personalized solutions for the prediction of disease prognosis, as well as for early diagnosis and treatment of patients struggling with advanced cancers.


“Chad’s impact in multiple fields has been extraordinary,” said Dr. Steven T. Rosen, provost and chief scientific officer at the City of Hope, a leading research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. “He is both a gifted investigator and true visionary.”


Rosen, former director of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, is a longtime colleague and collaborator of Mirkin’s.


Mirkin is a member of the Lurie Cancer Center as well as co-director of the new Northwestern University Center for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence. He also is a professor of medicine, chemical and biological engineering, biomedical engineering and materials science at Northwestern.


One of the most-cited researchers in the world, Mirkin is the author of 610 manuscripts and more than 960 patents and applications. He is a member of President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.


Mirkin is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Medicine. He has received more than 100 national and international awards.


Mirkin’s research at Northwestern has resulted in several startup companies that are working to bring his inventions from lab to market. They include Nanosphere, Inc., founded with the late Robert Letsinger, professor emeritus of chemistry at Northwestern; AuraSense Therapeutics; and Exicure.


The International Institute for Nanotechnology is an umbrella organization that represents and unites more than $800 million in nanotechnology research, education and supporting infrastructure.


Read more in Northwestern News. >>

jewett175.jpgEVANSTON, Ill. --- Researchers from Northwestern University and Yale University have developed a user-friendly technology to help scientists understand how proteins work and how to fix them when they are broken. Such knowledge could pave the way for new drugs for a myriad of diseases, including cancer.


The human body has a nifty way of turning its proteins on and off to alter their function and activity in cells: phosphorylation, the reversible attachment of phosphate groups to proteins. These “decorations” on proteins provide an enormous variety of function and are essential to all forms of life. Little is known, however, about how this dynamic process works in humans.


Using a special strain of E. coli bacteria, the researchers have built a cell-free protein synthesis platform technology that can manufacture large quantities of these human phosphoproteins for scientific study. This will enable scientists to learn more about the function and structure of phosphoproteins and identify which ones are involved in disease.


“This innovation will help advance the understanding of human biochemistry and physiology,” said Michael C. Jewett, a biochemical engineer who led the Northwestern team (pictured left).


The study was published Sept. 9 by the journal Nature Communications.


Trouble in the phosphorylation process can be a hallmark of disease, such as cancer, inflammation and Alzheimer’s disease. The human proteome (the entire set of expressed proteins) is estimated to be phosphorylated at more than 100,000 unique sites, making study of phosphorylated proteins and their role in disease a daunting task.


“Our technology begins to make this a tractable problem,” Jewett said. “We now can make these special proteins at unprecedented yields, with a freedom of design that is not possible in living organisms. The consequence of this innovative strategy is enormous.”


Jewett, associate professor of chemical and biological engineering at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering, and his team worked with Yale colleagues led by Jesse Rinehart. Jewett and Rinehart are co-corresponding authors of the study.


As a synthetic biologist, Jewett uses cell-free systems to create new therapies, chemicals and novel materials to impact public health and the environment.


“This work addresses the broader question of how can we repurpose the protein synthesis machinery of the cell for synthetic biology,” Jewett said. “Here we are finding new ways to leverage this machinery to understand fundamental biological questions, specifically protein phosphorylation.”


Jewett and his colleagues combined state-of-the-art genome engineering tools and engineered biological “parts” into a “plug-and-play” protein expression platform that is cell-free. Cell-free systems activate complex biological systems without using living intact cells. Crude cell lysates, or extracts, are employed instead.


Specifically, the researchers prepared cell lysates of genomically recoded bacteria that incorporate amino acids not found in nature. This allowed them to harness the cell’s engineered machinery and turn it into a factory, capable of on-demand biomanufacturing new classes of proteins.


“This manufacturing technology will enable scientists to decrypt the phosphorylation ‘code’ that exists in the human proteome,” said Javin P. Oza, the lead author of the study and a postdoctoral fellow in Jewett’s lab.


To demonstrate their cell-free platform technology, the researchers produced a human kinase that is involved in tumor cell proliferation and showed that it was functional and active. Kinase is an enzyme (a protein acting as a catalyst) that transfers a phosphate group onto a protein. Through this process, kinases activate the function of proteins within the cell. Kinases are implicated in many diseases and, therefore, of particular interest.


“The ability to produce kinases for study should be useful in learning how these proteins function and in developing new types of drugs,” Jewett said.


The National Institutes of Health (grants NIDDK-K01DK089006 and P01DK01743341), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (grant N66001-12-C-4211) and the David and Lucille Packard Foundation Fellowship supported the research.


The title of the paper is “Robust production of recombinant phosphoproteins using cell-free protein synthesis.” The other co-first author is Hans R. Aerni, of Yale.


Read more in Northwestern News. >>

DTC_44.jpgInnovation can be tricky to measure. What does it mean to be innovative? Who is the most innovative?


Reuters News recently set out to find that answer. Using a data-based methodology that employed 10 different metrics, they developed a list of the world’s top 100 most innovative universities – and ranked Northwestern University sixth.


The rankings used proprietary analysis tools to measure factors such as patent volume and success, research article volume and patent citations, and research collaboration with industry.


“The Reuters Top 100 World's Most Innovative Universities gets to the essence of what it means to be truly innovative; the institutions recognized here most reliably produce original research, create useful technology, and have the greatest economic impact,” they wrote. “They are the surest bets for anyone seeking to invest in and create real innovation.”


Northwestern’s high ranking was due to its $600 million in annual research funding and its recent startup successes. Naurex, a biopharmaceutical startup spun off from research conducted by biomedical engineering professor Joseph Moskal, was recently sold to pharmaceutical company Allergan for $560 million. MAKO Surgical, a company originally founded by mechanical engineering professor Michael Peshkin, was purchased by Stryker Corp in 2013 for more than $1.6 billion.


To create the rankings, Reuters used data compiled by Thomson Reuters Intellectual Property & Science and several of its research platforms. They began by identifying the 500 academic and government organizations that published the greatest number of articles in scholarly journals from 2008 to 2013. The list was cross-referenced against the number of patents filed by each organization during the same time period.


They then reduced the list to institutions that filed more than 70 patents and evaluated each candidate on how many patent applications were filed, how often they were granted, and how often those patents were cited by others. Universities were also evaluated on how often their research papers were cited by patents and how often their articles featured a co-author from industry.


From 2008 to 2013, Northwestern filed 300 patents and was granted 47 percent of those applications. Its commercial impact score (as measured by academic papers cited in patent filings) was 65.5, compared to an average of 54.2. Reuters also cited Northwestern’s new Garage, an ideas incubator opened this year that provides a place for student entrepreneurs to prototype ideas, as proof of its commitment to innovation.


Other Northwestern innovations have also seen success recently. Narrative Science, a Northwestern startup founded by computer science professors Kristian Hammond and Larry Birnbaum, turns data into natural language narratives. They recently released Quill Engage, an application that translates Google Analytics data into narrative reports.


4C, a data science software company founded by computer engineering professor Alok Choudhary, built the first platform to enable advertising across several social media platforms through certified API access and is the only company to combine data from set-top boxes, ad occurrence, ad scheduling, and social media for TV ad measurement, planning, and verification at scale.


See more in Northwestern News. >>



In recognition of the unprecedented generosity of Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan and their longtime support of the arts both at Northwestern and in the greater Chicago area, Northwestern University will name the recently opened music and communication building the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center for the Musical Arts.


The architecturally striking building, located on the shore of Lake Michigan on Northwestern’s Evanston campus, is the home of the Bienen School of Music and the theater and performance studies departments and administrative offices of the School of Communication. The building will be formally dedicated Sept. 24, 2015.


“The philanthropy and service that Pat and Shirley have given to Northwestern have touched nearly every aspect of the University,” said President Morton Schapiro. “From scholarships for undergraduates to graduate fellowships, to the highest level of support for our music, science, engineering, medicine and athletic programs, their generosity has transformed Northwestern. This recognition is especially appropriate because of the Ryans' close friendship with President Emeritus Henry Bienen and his wife, Leigh.”


Designed by Chicago-based Goettsch Partners, the Ryan Center for the Musical Arts includes performance and rehearsal spaces, teaching studios, classrooms, practice rooms and faculty and administrative offices.


“The school’s state-of-the-art building does much more than replace long-outdated facilities. It effects a true cultural change for the Bienen School of Music, helping create a greater sense of collaboration among its programs,” said Dean Toni-Marie Montgomery. “With a facility matching its stellar reputation, the school now is poised for even greater achievements in the years ahead. We are grateful to Pat and Shirley for their tremendous support of the Bienen School.”


The new building’s top floor provides space for the theater and performance studies departments and administrative offices of the School of Communication.


“As undergraduates, and as proud alums, Shirley and I have appreciated greatly the tremendous impact that the School of Music has had on the interdisciplinary education offered by our beloved University,” said Pat Ryan. “We are honored by this recognition, and we look forward to enjoying the outstanding music that will soon fill this beautiful new building.”


ryans-story.jpgPatrick G. Ryan is a 1959 Northwestern graduate. He received his undergraduate degree from what was then called the School of Business and now is named the Kellogg School of Management. Shirley Welsh Ryan is a 1961 Northwestern graduate. She received her undergraduate degree from what was then called the College of Arts and Sciences and is now named the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.


Over the course of their long association with Northwestern, the Ryans have become the University’s most generous benefactors, having provided leadership and support for academic programs, scholarships, the construction of Northwestern’s Nanotechnology Center, support for Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine and renovation of Northwestern’s football and basketball stadiums. They also made the lead gift for Ryan Fieldhouse, a new multi-use athletics and recreational facility that will be located next to the shore of Lake Michigan at the north end of Northwestern’s Evanston campus.


An earlier leadership gift from the Ryans created scholarships for low-income students to attend Northwestern without taking out any student loans, which has enabled Northwestern to attract high-achieving low-income students with exceptional leadership potential. That gift also supported graduate fellowships and facilities on both the Evanston and Chicago campuses, as well as provided athletic scholarships for undergraduate students.


The Ryans are co-chairs for We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern, a $3.75 billion University-wide fundraising initiative designed to support Northwestern’s strategic ambitions.


Pat Ryan is distinguished as one of Chicago’s most successful entrepreneurs and prominent civic leaders. He founded and served for 41 years as CEO of Aon Corporation, the leading global provider of risk management, insurance and reinsurance brokerage. At the time of his retirement, Aon had $8 billion in annual revenue with more than 500 offices in 120 countries. He also founded Ryan Specialty Group where he currently serves as CEO. He is a member of the International Insurance Hall of Fame.


A member and immediate past chairman of Northwestern University’s Board of Trustees, Pat Ryan received the Northwestern Alumni Association Medal of Honor in 2013. The award is the highest award granted by the Northwestern Alumni Association to alumnus/a who combines superior professional distinction and/or exemplary volunteer service to society, with an outstanding record of service to Northwestern. He also was elected that year to the Northwestern Athletic Hall of Fame. In 2008, Mr. Ryan was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honor society, reflecting his many contributions to higher education.


Shirley Welsh Ryan also received the Northwestern Alumni Association Medal of Honor in 2013. She is Chair of, has been appointed by two presidents to the National Council on Disability, and serves on the Executive Committee or on the Board of Directors of: the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the University of Notre Dame, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. She founded and directs Northwestern University’s graduate-level Learning for Life series and has been a charter member of Northwestern’s Women's Board since 1978.


Performance spaces in the Ryan Center for the Musical Arts include:


Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall

The 400-seat hall, with main floor and balcony seating, features a 50-foot glass wall offering views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline. Undulating walls of Forest Stewardship Council–certified wood, covered with a thin layer of African moabi wood, provide optimal acoustics, and the hall is equipped with state-of-the-art sound and video equipment for recording.


David and Carol McClintock Choral and Recital Room

A flexible space for choral rehearsals, small ensemble performances, and student recitals, the room seats 120. The walls are paneled in the same moabi wood as Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall.


Shirley Welsh Ryan Opera Theater

Seating 150, the theater is a versatile space for intimate opera performances and recitals, with double-height ceilings and expansive windows showcasing views of Lake Michigan. Steel beams, catwalks, and stairs are from Waukegan Steel. The retractable seating was designed and constructed in the United Kingdom.


The building’s primarily glass exterior takes maximum advantage of the lakefront location, yielding stunning views from the moment guests enter the Carol F. Rice Lobby.


Adjacent to the Galvin Recital Hall and Ryan Opera Theater is the Jean Gimbel Lane Reception Room.


A public concert celebrating the opening of the Ryan Center for the Musical Arts will be held Sept. 25 and 26 at 5 p.m. CT on the lawn just south of the new building. Sila: The Breath of the World by John Luther Adams will be performed by members of the Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble, Contemporary Music Ensemble and the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra. The concerts will be the first in a year of musical events celebrating the new building.


The funds raised through the "We Will" Campaign will help realize the transformational vision set forth in Northwestern's strategic plan and solidify the University's position among the world's leading research universities. More information on We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern is available at



Northwestern's women's golf team and freshman Stephanie Lau carded the lowest 54-hole scores in program history Sept. 20 at the 15th annual Mason Rudolph Championship, hosted by Vanderbilt University in Mason, Tennessee. The Wildcats placed four golfers in the top-17 to secure a second-place result in the tournament, the program's second consecutive top-2 finish against top-flight competition to open the season.


Lau dazzled down the stretch on the tournament's final day with five birdies over her last seven holes to finish the tournament in third place at 10-under (206). The rookie opened and closed the event with 4-under 68's, the best single-round score of the weekend for Northwestern. Her 54-hole score eclipses the previous Wildcats record of 208 set by Lauren Weaver at the 2010 Lady Northern Invitational.


Junior Kacie Komoto equaled Lau's low round with a 68 on Saturday and finished tied for 15th at 1-under for the tournament. Freshman Hannah Kim and senior Suchaya Tangkamolprasert carded matching even-par 216's to tie for 17th in the 90-player field.


Northwestern's 849 (-15) shaved four strokes off the previous 54-hole program record (853) established at the 2014 Stanford Intercollegiate on the par-71 Stanford Golf Course. Last weekend's event on the South Course of the Vanderbilt Legends Club, which played as a par-72, 6,321-yard setup, featured five golfers from each team, with four counting towards the collective score in each round. Northwestern's lineup also featured one golfer (Kaitlin Park) competing as an individual and not eligible for the team score.


The 2015 Mason Rudolph Championship featured a top-flight field of 17 teams, including seven of the top-25 programs from the end of the 2015 season. Northwestern, ranked 13th at the end of the 2014-15 campaign, took on the host Commodores, ranked 19th, as well as Alabama (25), Auburn, GRU-Augusta, Baylor (14), UCF, Georgia, Houston, LSU (11), Louisville, Michigan State, MTSU, South Carolina (6), Tulane, Virginia (15), and Yale. The Crimson Tide edged the Wildcats by one stroke to capture the title.


To read the original story, and for more coverage of Northwestern women's golf, visit

Ovid Eshbach photo.jpgOvid W. Eshbach was dean of Northwestern’s engineering school when the cornerstone was laid for the Technological Institute in 1940, but his legacy extends far beyond one of the Evanston campus’s most iconic buildings.


Eshbach’s son and daughter graduated from Northwestern, as did a granddaughter and two great-granddaughters.


Now, as the University remembers the 75th anniversary of the beginning of Tech’s construction, Eshbach’s family is reflecting on the impact he had on the University he loved.


“People remember my dad because of his personal touch,” says Frances Eshbach Kinney ’48, ’49 MS. “He was a highly organized person, but not rigid. He was a people person, and he related to the students.”


Ovid Eshbach was born in eastern Pennsylvania in 1893. He studied electrical engineering at Lehigh University and then served in the Army’s Signal Corps during World War I, where he taught officer candidates to operate radios.


After the war, Eshbach began teaching at Lehigh, and he and his wife, Clara, became parents to Frances and her older brother, John ’46, ’47 MS. Eshbach worked at Bell Telephone of Pennsylvania and AT&T for more than a decade, until a speech he gave about engineering education caught the attention of several people who were searching for a new dean for Northwestern’s engineering school (now called the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science).


Eshbach was named the school’s dean in 1939, and planning for the construction of Tech soon became one of his top priorities, along with hiring additional faculty for the expanded school, introducing a co-op program, and, later, adjusting the school’s operations after the United States entered World War II. As construction of Tech began, Eshbach’s home was filled with blueprints for the building, and he carried a tape measure with him at all times so he could measure distances in various auditoriums to refine the building’s plans.


Construction of Tech was completed in 1941, and Eshbach continued to lead the engineering school until retiring in 1953. However, Eshbach’s retirement was short — his successor resigned in 1955, so he served as temporary dean in 1955 and 1956, until a new permanent dean was hired.


Eshbach was teaching physics at Northwestern in 1958 when he died unexpectedly in his Tech office of a blood clot. He was 64.


Eshbach’s death rattled the University. An article published two months after his death in Northwestern Engineer magazine described him as a “legend,” “an impressive man with a pipe who personified the wise educator” and “a counselor whose advice we often sought.”


Kinneys_cropped.jpgEven before his death, Eshbach’s students and colleagues recognized his remarkable devotion to the University. In 1948, the engineering school’s graduating class established the Ovid W. Eshbach Award, which is still given annually to a student for overall excellence in scholarship and leadership. (In the photo at right, the most recent recipient of the Eshbach Award, Newlin Weatherford '17, is pictured with Frances Kinney, her husband Byron Kinney, and Northwestern President Morton Schapiro at the University's Scholarship Luncheon in April 2015.)


Today, a plaque in Tech’s entrance lobby honors Eshbach as a “scholar, teacher, friend and man of God.”


“My dad was ahead of his time,” says Frances Kinney, who has at her home her father’s handwritten letters to her mother and copies of engineering books he authored. “I never saw him flustered, no matter how busy he was. You couldn’t upset him.”


Frances says one of her favorite memories of her father occurred in 1949, when he agreed to students’ requests that they be dismissed from class so they could celebrate the Wildcats’ victory over Cal in the Rose Bowl.


“He was all for it,” says Frances, who was at the game.


Frances’s husband, Byron Kinney ’49, says Ovid Eshbach was also a key factor in his decision to attend Northwestern’s engineering school.


Byron was trying to decide between the engineering school and a major in general business when he learned of the engineering school’s co-op program, which enabled students to obtain work experience and earn income beginning in their sophomore year. Byron interviewed with Eshbach, who convinced him that the engineering school was the best fit for him. Little did Byron know that he was discussing his decision with the man who would later become his father-in-law.


“I was wondering whether I was in the right place, but he calmed me down, and I’m so glad he did,” says Byron, who met Frances in 1951, after they had both graduated from Northwestern.


Now, decades later, Frances and Byron remain fiercely proud of Northwestern, and of her father’s role in shaping the University.


“All of us got a very good start at Northwestern,” Frances says of herself and her other relatives who graduated from the University. “We love the place.”


To learn more about the history of the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, visit the history page on the school's website.


Northwestern has launched a new branding initiative designed to define the University’s strengths more clearly to our key audiences.

Using the theme “Take a Northwestern Direction,” the branding effort creates a more consistent, unified message that helps enhance the University’s reputation.


As part of this effort, the University’s main website and undergraduate admissions website have already been redesigned. The University has also released a new promotional video (see above), and new TV spots have begun to air during Wildcats football games. In addition, updated logos are being rolled out across the University to help present a more cohesive overall image.

The initiative focuses on Northwestern’s key strengths, including multidimensionality, innovation and collaboration, to help improve awareness of the University both across the country and around the world, says Mary Baglivo ’81 MS, the University’s vice president for global marketing and chief marketing officer.

“The mission of our work is to develop a brand framework — a set of themes that help us tell a more cohesive and compelling story about Northwestern,” Baglivo says.


Northwestern improved to 3-0 with a 19-10 win over Duke at Wallace Wade Stadium on Sept. 19, boosting the team's position in both national college football polls.


The Wildcats are now ranked 17th in the AP Poll and 19th in the USA Today/Amway Coaches Poll as they prepare for a matchup under the lights at 7 p.m. CT this Saturday, Sept. 26, against Ball State at Ryan Field. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network. Single-game tickets are available at


To read a full recap of the Wildcats' victory over Duke, go to



Sophomore middle linebacker Anthony Walker had a career day Sept. 19 at Duke and as a result has been named the Walter Camp Football Foundation Defensive Player of the Week.

Walker had 14 tackles in the first half alone and finished the game with a career-high 19, marking the most by a Wildcat since the 2005 season. His play was instrumental in the then-23rd-ranked Wildcats limiting the Blue Devils to just 10 points, 36 below their season average entering the game.

The Miami native also had 1.5 tackles for loss, bringing his season total to 6.5, which ranks eighth in the country at an average of 2.2 per game. He is currently second in the Big Ten with 36 total tackles and ranks eighth in the country with 12.0 tackles per game.

Walker is the sixth Northwestern player since 2004 to earn Walter Camp Player of the Week honors, and the second defensive player. (Former Wildcat LB Tim McGarigle was a two-time winner, in October 2004 and October 2005.)

The Wildcats are off to their first 3-0 start since the 2013 season and their fifth under head coach Pat Fitzgerald. They return home to Ryan Field next Saturday, Sept. 26, for a primetime game on the Big Ten Network against regional foe Ball State. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

To read the original story, visit

rbmp_homeplate.jpgThe home of the Northwestern baseball program, Rocky and Berenice Miller Park, has continued to take shape over the summer as crews have worked tirelessly to create what will be one of the finest ballparks in the country. The facility, which was built in 1943, had not been renovated since 1983 until construction began last fall.


The stadium had been known as Rocky Miller Park, named in honor of former Northwestern University president Dr. J. Roscoe Miller, who served as the University’s leader from 1949 to 1970. The new home for NU baseball will now be known as Rocky and Berenice Miller Park, with the addition of Rocky’s wife. The extensive renovation, located in the heart of the athletics campus, has been made possible thanks to the incredible support of Richard Pepper ’53 and his wife, Roxelyn ’53. Roxelyn (Roxy) is the daughter of Rocky and Berenice Miller. In June 2013, Richard and Roxy Pepper generously pledged $5 million toward the renovations at Rocky Miller Park, and just this month the Barrington, Ill., couple pledged an additional $1.5 million to the project.


Richard Pepper, chairman of The Pepper Companies, of Chicago, received a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Northwestern in 1953. Roxy Pepper received a degree in communication sciences and disorders from Northwestern in 1953. The two met and married while undergraduate students at Northwestern. The Peppers have been longtime volunteers and benefactors of NU. Both have served as leaders for several alumni organizations and on their class reunion committee. Roxy Pepper also was a member of Northwestern's Board of Trustees from 1985 to 1989. In 2001, they jointly received Northwestern's Alumni Medal, the highest honor awarded to alumni of the University.


Renovations to the ballpark began during the fall of 2014 with several improvements already in place to benefit both student-athletes and fans. Last spring saw the installation of a new synthetic playing surface, an expanded batter’s eye, a new backstop and spectator safety net and the extension of both the home and visitor dugouts. The newly enlarged and heated dugouts were expanded by 17 feet last spring to enhance the safety and comfort of those on field level.


In addition, the new synthetic turf will greatly reduce the number of practices and games that are impacted by inclement weather. In fact, the Wildcats were able to utilize all of the above new amenities during the final month of the 2015 campaign.


The work is not done yet, however. Since the end of the season, improvement has continued at Rocky and Berenice Miller Park. For the start of the 2016 college baseball season, the facility will also include a brand new concession stand, restrooms, chair-back seating and a press box. The following elements will also be added to the home of the Wildcats thanks to the generosity of so many connected to the Northwestern baseball program:


  • The Koldyke Family Field, made possible by Trustee Martin “Mike” Koldyke, his wife Patricia, and former Trustee Laird Koldyke ’83, ’89 MBA and his wife Deirdre ’92 MBA, ’01 MS.
  • The Mogentale Family Player’s Lounge, made possible by Eric ’84 and Cindy Mogentale ’84.
  • The Hayden Family Locker Room, made possible by Carrie and John Hayden ’79.
  • Stevens Plaza (see rendering below), named in honor of former Northwestern head coach Paul Stevens, who served as the program’s leader from 1988-2015.rbmp_rendering.jpg


The brand new Northwestern clubhouse will be nearly 6,000 square feet and it will contain the Mogentale Family Player’s Lounge and the Hayden Family Locker Room. The clubhouse will also include a coaches’ locker room, athletic training room and space for various team-support services.


Upgraded fan amenities will include two separate structures, one featuring a concession stand and men’s restroom that will cover 1,000 square feet, and the other providing a ticket booth and women’s restroom that will cover an additional 1,100 square feet.


A new elevated press box, more than four times larger than the old version, will be added to the facility as well. The new press box will cover 2,300 square feet and house an executive viewing suite, work areas for television and radio broadcasters, print media members and a scoreboard and visual media control room.


This past June, Northwestern Vice President for Athletics and Recreation Jim Phillips named Spencer Allen as the 26th head coach of the Wildcats baseball program. The new ballpark, coupled with the addition of Coach Allen and his staff, promise an exciting future for the NU baseball program.


“Rocky and Berenice Miller Park will provide a world-class facility that will touch every facet of our baseball program,” said Phillips. “There has never been a more promising time in the history of the Northwestern program with the addition of Coach Allen and his talented staff, coupled with the excitement surrounding our new ballpark.”


“The passion of so many who are connected to the Wildcats is inspirational,” said Phillips. “Sincere and heartfelt thanks to Richard and Roxy for their amazing leadership support as well as our wonderful champions who have donated so generously to make this project a reality.”


“Our entire program could not be more thrilled about the incredible commitment that has been made to the future of Northwestern baseball,” said Allen. “Rocky and Berenice Miller Park will undoubtedly give us one of the top facilities not only in the Big Ten Conference, but in the entire country. It is going to help us tremendously in all aspects of the program. We are so grateful to the Wildcats supporters who played such an integral in making this happen, especially Richard and Roxy Pepper.”


If you are interested in supporting the Rocky and Berenice Miller Park renovation and the baseball program, please contact Matt Smith at (847) 467-5289.


To read the original story, visit


Season 2 of The Foundation — a behind-the-scenes video series about Northwestern's men's basketball program — premiered this month with an exclusive recap of the team's summer season.

With head coach Chris Collins entering his third season in Evanston and another talented group of newcomers joining the group for 2015-16, the Wildcats focused their summer workouts on building not just a team, but a family. The cornerstone of the summer was a 10-day trip to Spain in August, where the 'Cats played five games against professional teams and had a bonding experience they'll remember for the rest of their lives.

All four episodes of The Foundation: Season 2 were released simultaneously for fans to watch 'binge' style. The videos are available on and on the Studio N YouTube channel.


For more coverage of Northwestern men's basketball, visit

L2N_0178.JPGDo you know a fellow Wildcat who has achieved remarkable success in her field? Devoted himself to making his community a better place? Played a key role in spreading far the fame of Northwestern's fair name?


If so, nominate him or her for the Northwestern Alumni Association's 2016 Alumni Awards. But don't delay — nominations are due Sept. 30.


For more information, and to submit your nomination online, visit the NAA's website.  

reunion-2009-welcome-reception.jpgIf your class year ends in 0 or 5, you don't want to miss Reunion Weekend, Oct. 16-18. Enjoy campus tours, an alumni panel moderated by President Schapiro, academic sessions, a welcome reception, the Homecoming Parade, class parties and the Wildcats' matchup against Iowa at Ryan Field.


For more information and to register, go to Whether you graduated 15 months ago or 50 years ago, your Northwestern family is waiting for you!

Ryan_Center_For_Arts_840x560.jpgIn recognition of the unprecedented generosity of alumni Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan and their longtime support of the arts both at Northwestern and in the greater Chicago area, Northwestern University has named the recently opened music and communication building the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center for the Musical Arts.


The architecturally striking building, located on the shore of Lake Michigan on Northwestern’s Evanston campus, is the home of the Bienen School of Music and the theater and performance studies departments and administrative offices of the School of Communication.


Watch the livestream of the building dedication at 4 p.m. CT on Sept. 24.


Pat Ryan '59, '97 P, '00 P, '09 H is a member and immediate past chairman of Northwestern's Board of Trustees. He and Shirley '61, '97 P, '00 P received the Northwestern Alumni Association Medal of Honor in 2013 and serve as co-chairs for We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern.

fabulous-future-.jpgIn "The Fabulous Future? America and the World in 2040," Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro and Gary Saul Morson, Frances Hooper Professor for the Arts and Humanities, unveil their predictions about what the world will look like in 25 years, along with predictions from other thought leaders in a variety of fields.


To learn more about Schapiro and Morson's predictions -- and their reasons for editing the book -- read their recent column about the project, which appeared Sept. 14 in The Daily Beast.

Northwestern artists, faculty members and students have a significant role in the 14th Istanbul Biennial, one of the world’s most comprehensive and influential international contemporary art exhibitions.


Held at 30 historical venues on both the European side of Istanbul, Turkey, and on the Asian side of the Bosphorus strait, the event has been drafted by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, the Edith Kreeger Wolf Distinguished Visiting Professor at Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Art and Sciences.

In addition, Northwestern faculty members will be exhibiting their work and presenting a two-day seminar. Some students will be attending the exhibition as part as an international field study component in a global humanities class; other students will be working with artists and organizers during a five-week internship.

Christov-Bakargiev, a curator, author and researcher interested in historical avant-garde and contemporary art, is considered one of the most high-profile museum curators working today.

Her vision of the show, called “Saltwater: A Theory of Thought Forms,” features new commissions from more than 50 international visual artists and others, including oceanographers and neuroscientists.

The Biennial, which runs from Sept. 5 to Nov. 1, will explore “different frequencies and patterns of waves, the currents and densities of water, both visible and invisible, that poetically and politically shape and transform the world,” said Christov-Bakargiev, who was named the most powerful person in the art world by Art Review, a leading international contemporary art magazine, in 2012.

“For me salt is one of the codes,” Christov-Bakargiev told reporter Andrew Russeth of ARTnews. “It’s about what’s under the surface of things…(Salt) has healing capacities. But one of the interesting coded aspects of it is that it’s the most dangerous thing to our technologies.

“Because if you have an iPod and it falls into water you can put it in a bowl of rice and just dry it,” added Christov-Bakargiev. “If it falls into saltwater, it’s gone. It’s the most corrosive thing in the technology world.”

In addition to Christov-Bakargiev, the Northwestern presence at the Biennial includes:

  • Faculty members Michael Rakowitz, Irena Knezevic and Steve Reinke, whose work will be featured at the exhibit.
  • Students in Northwestern’s global humanities class “Art, Politics and Public Space-Instanbul and Chicago” attended from Sept. 9 to 16. Led by Jessica Winegar, associate professor of anthropology, and Tom Burke, assistant director of the Kaplan Institute, the course explores how artists -- and art itself -- work to create publics through politics of different scales.
  • Five graduate students from the department of art theory and practice are participating in a five-week internship program in which they are working closely with artists and providing hands-on assistance to the Biennial’s curatorial project.
  • In cooperation with the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, faculty members from the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and the department of art theory and practice held a two-day complementary education program called “Freshwater/Saltwater: A Seminar on Aesthetics and Waterways.” The seminar has received critical support from the Roberta Buffett Institute for Global Studies and the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts.


“This convergence of curator and artists from our own faculty in this international exhibition provides a singular opportunity to represent the department, Weinberg College and the University in a highly visible and attended artistic and scholarly program,” said Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, chair of the department of art theory and practice.

To read the original story, visit the Northwestern News Center.

joel-mokyr-168x210.jpgNorthwestern University economist and historian Joel Mokyr has been awarded the 2015 International Balzan Prize for his groundbreaking work on the economic history of Europe and roots of technological change.


Mokyr, the Robert H. Strotz Professor of Arts and Sciences and professor of economics and history in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University since 1974, is one of three Americans to be awarded the prestigious prize.

Each prize winner is awarded approximately 750,000 Swiss Francs (approximately $770,000). Half of the prize money must be allocated for research purposes, preferably involving young scholars and researchers.

The Balzan prizewinners were announced Sept. 7 in Milan, Italy, by the chairman of the Balzan General Prize Committee, Salvatore Veca, together with the president of the Balzan Prize Foundation, Enrico Decleva, at the Corriere della Sera Foundation.

The subject areas of the Balzan prizes are either specific or interdisciplinary fields, in the humanities (literature, the moral sciences and the arts) and in the sciences (medicine and the physical, mathematical and natural sciences). To recognize emerging fields and give priority to innovative research, the subject areas vary each year.

Mokyr, who has appointments in Northwestern’s economics and history departments, will be honored during an award ceremony in Bern, Switzerland, Nov. 13.

“I feel a deep gratitude to two of Northwestern’s finest research departments, who in their different ways are both wholly committed to scholarship and learning,” said Mokyr about receiving the honor. “Without my outstanding colleagues and graduate students in economics and history, I would have never been able to do the work that is now being recognized.”

Mokyr works on the economic history of Europe, specializing in the period 1750 to 1914. He is the author of “The Lever of Riches,” “The Gifts of Athena,” “The Enlightened Economy,” and most recently “A Culture of Growth” -- all books that focus on changes in technology and economic growth.

He is concerned with understanding the economic and intellectual roots of technological progress and the growth of useful knowledge in European societies. His research also focuses on the impact that industrialization and economic progress have had on economic welfare.

Mokyr is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Econometric Society. He has been the president of the Economic History Association and a co-editor of the Journal of Economic History. He was the 2006 winner of the biennial Heineken Award for History offered by the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences.

Mokyr is on several editorial boards of peer-reviewed journals, and editor in chief of the Princeton University Press series on Economic History of the Western World.

In addition to Mokyr, 2015 Balzan prize recipients include Hans Belting, Staatliche Hochschule fur Gestaltung, Karlsruhe (Germany) for history of European art (1300-1700); Francis Halzen, University of Wisconsin-Madison, for astroparticle physics including neutrino and gamma-ray observation; and David Karl, University of Hawaii, for oceanography.

To read the original story, visit the Northwestern News Center.

qatar.jpgNorthwestern University in Qatar recently greeted its Class of 2019 at a colorful ceremony for students and parents, held at Qatar Foundation’s HBKU Student Center. With the administration and staff in full academic regalia, more than 60 first-year students were inducted into the University, including the largest number of Qataris to date. NU-Q's student body totals a record 207 undergraduates this year.


Addressing the Class of 2019, convocation speaker Jonathan Lyons highlighted the Middle East’s contribution to knowledge and its impact on Europe and the wider world, and he challenged NU-Q’s community to read, reflect and appreciate the notable impact of Arab thought and invention on education itself. From the ancients forward, he commented, scientific thought and philosophy has benefited from Islamic contributions. Read full speech.


Lyons, the author of "The House of Wisdom" (2008) and "Islam Through Western Eyes" (2012), spent 20 years as a foreign correspondent at Reuters, reporting from conflict zones around the world. He empowered students to ensure no barriers hinder successful learning and ended his remarks with “a call to action to free yourself from the prevailing academic and social consensus. To strike out on your own and pursue knowledge wherever it may take you.”


Everette E. Dennis, dean and CEO of NU-Q, greeted students and began by thanking the national leadership and Qatar Foundation “for their foresight to recognize the importance of communication, media and journalism in Qatar’s national development,” which is NU-Q’s mandate. He argued, “QNV2030 explicitly acknowledges the need for educated citizens and professionals as part of a quest to create a knowledge-based economy for this country and the region.”


Dennis also celebrated the school’s “active support in the dynamic growth of media industries in Qatar from satellite TV and traditional news, to the latest digital start-ups, some of which have been nurtured by NU-Q’s alumni.” He continued they should be proud to be part of a student body “acknowledged internationally for their intelligence, professionalism and great spirit.”


The ceremony signalled the start of the academic year and the conclusion of NU-Q’s Wildcat Welcome Week, an orientation program for incoming students to learn about academic and community expectations, forge friendships and meet the mentors who will serve as critical resources through the next four years.


To read the entire story, visit NU-Q's website.

N_logo.jpgNorthwestern is offering innovative, new massive open online courses (MOOCs) this fall, including Introduction to Reproduction and two new specializations -- one focusing on leadership and another on social marketing.


The Organizational Leadership Specialization features four Northwestern deans and 10 faculty members teaching a five-course series with a capstone project and a certificate for completion. The five courses examine high-performance leadership through team building, negotiations and conflict resolution; communications and storytelling; social influence; marketing; and design innovation. It launches in October.

The Social Marketing Specialization -- also with five courses, a capstone project and a certificate for completion -- will teach students to design a social media strategy, engage online communities and assess business impact. It started Sept. 15.

The Introduction to Reproduction MOOC is a crash-course in human reproductive health through fact- and biology-based information on a variety of topics. It will cover reproductive anatomy, key biological changes during puberty, sexual biology and contraceptive methods, reproductive disorders and a special introduction to the field of oncofertility. It begins Sept. 28.

“These new MOOCs showcase some of Northwestern’s leading thinkers, excellent programs, intellectual and research leadership and global outreach,” said Marianna Kepka, assistant provost for academic administration. “They cut across a variety of programs, disciplines and schools.”

The deans featured in the Leadership Specialization include Sally Blount, dean of the Kellogg School of Management; Barbara O’Keefe, dean of the School of Communication; Brad Hamm, dean of Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, and Julio Ottino, dean of the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Hundreds of thousands of students from around the world have taken MOOCs created by Northwestern since the University first started offering the courses in fall 2013 through its partnership with Coursera. The MOOCs are available on Coursera’s digital platform to anyone, anywhere, for free.

Here are the three new Northwestern MOOCs:

  • On Sept. 15, Northwestern launched its first new specialization of the fall, Social Marketing: How to Profit in a Digital World, through the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. The specialization is made up of five MOOCs and culminates with a capstone project. The next four MOOCs in the specialization will launch over the next four months. In today’s marketplace, organizations need effective, profitable social marketing strategies. In this specialization, students will learn to match markets to social strategies to profitably grow their businesses. They will use social media tools and platforms to design, manage and optimize social campaigns to promote growth and position their brands in the global digital marketplace. In the final capstone project, students create and evaluate a comprehensive social marketing strategy.


  • On Sept. 28, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Professor Teresa Woodruff, chief of the division of reproductive science in medicine, will launch Introduction to Reproduction. This is a crash-course in human reproductive health through fact- and biology-based information on a variety of topics. It will cover reproductive anatomy, key biological changes during puberty, sexual biology and contraceptive methods, reproductive disorders, and a special introduction to the field of Oncofertility. Specific lecture titles are as follows: 1) Reproductive Anatomy & Hormones, 2) Menstrual Cycle, Oocyte Maturation, & Sperm Activation, 3) Sexual Biology, Fertilization, & Contraception and 4) Reproductive Health & Disorders.


  • The second new MOOC specialization, Organizational Leadership, will begin Oct. 15, consisting of five MOOCs focused on leadership and featuring faculty from four of Northwestern’s schools: the Kellogg School of Management, the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, the School of Communication and the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. The first three courses of the specialization are scheduled to launch Oct. 15. They will include the Kellogg MOOC, High-Performance Collaboration: Leadership, Teamwork and Negotiation; the Medill MOOC, Leadership Communication for Maximum Impact: Storytelling; and the School of Communication MOOC, Leadership Through Social Influence. The specialization will bring together learners from different disciplines, different parts of the world and different types of organizations to foster the type of interdisciplinary learning and collaboration for which Northwestern in known.


Through Coursera, Northwestern is able to offer some of its top courses and faculty to learners around the world with no admissions requirements and no tuition costs. Because of the asynchronous course delivery, students can complete the work at times convenient for them. Through developing the MOOCs, Northwestern faculty are at the forefront of experimenting and implementing new technology and pedagogical tools that they then adapt to on-campus teaching at the University.

For more detailed information on Northwestern's three new MOOCs, visit the Northwestern News Center.

Eberly_Janice_PS_6012015.jpgJanice C. Eberly, the James R. and Helen D. Russell Professor of Finance and former chief economist for the U.S. Department of Treasury, has been named co-editor of the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, one of the leading publications on global economic policy. Eberly is the first woman to assume the role in the journal’s 45-year history.

Eberly, who returned to Kellogg in 2013 after serving as the department’s assistant secretary for economic policy, will work with academics and policy leaders developing the agenda and research for the Brookings Institution’s flagship economic journal.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity to work with one of the leading policy institutions at the interface of the academics and policy work,” Eberly said of the appointment. “The Brookings Papers bring academic structure and research to relevant policy debates.”

In addition to the appointment, Eberly has been named a senior fellow at Brookings, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank renowned for its impeccable research and work as a designer of independent policy. She is joined as co-editor by Jim Stock, professor and former chair of the Harvard Economics department, and member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers.

Increasing the role of women in economic policy

Eberly will be the first woman in the co-editor’s role. The appointment further illuminates the role of the women in economic policy, said Eberly, citing as examples Janet Yellen, current head of the Federal Reserve, and Christy Romer, former chair of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, among many others.

“This is further recognition of the role that women leaders play in the policy environment,” she said.

Banner year for Kellogg faculty

Eberly’s appointment also marks another accolade for Kellogg’s top-tier faculty in 2015. Earlier this year, Timothy Feddersen, the Wendell Hobbs Professor of Managerial Politics, was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, of which Eberly is a member.

In January, the Journal of Finance, the world’s premier journal for financial research, awarded Assistant Professor of Finance Dimitris Papanikolaou the 2014 Smith Breeden Prize — his second in as many years — for best paper of the year.

“We're all delighted by Jan's appointment as an editor of the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity,” said Robert McDonald, the Erwin P. Nemmers Professor of Finance and senior associate dean, faculty and research. “It's a wonderful recognition of Jan's accomplishments and the high regard of her peers. Brookings made an outstanding choice.”

Eberly said these kinds of roles outside of the school exemplify “Kellogg’s ability of to cut across what seem like boundaries in other organizations and bring our thinking to practice.”

“Kellogg has terrific, thoughtful, creative, energetic faculty who are at the forefront of academics,” she said. “But Kellogg also values having an impact in the world; whether through policy or business or markets, our faculty make a difference.”

To read the original story, visit Kellogg's website.

chemistry.jpgFive members of Northwestern's department of chemistry faculty have been honored with 2016 American Chemical Society National Awards.


This is the largest number of Northwestern chemists to receive American Chemical Society (ACS) awards in a single year.

The national awards program is designed to encourage the advancement of chemistry in all its branches, to support research in chemical science and industry and to promote the careers of chemists.

The Northwestern recipients and their awards are:

  • Antonio Facchetti, adjunct professor of chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, was honored with the ACS Award for Creative Invention. Facchetti’s area of research expertise is organic optoelectrics, including organic thin-film transistors and organic photovoltaics.
  • Mercouri Kanatzidis, the Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Chemistry in Weinberg, was honored with the ACS Award in Inorganic Chemistry. Kanatzidis is an international leader in inorganic and solid-state chemistry. His research focuses on the development of new solid-state semiconductors able to recover waste heat and convert it directly into electricity.
  • Frederick D. Lewis, a professor of chemistry in Weinberg, was honored with the Josef Michl ACS Award in Photochemistry. Lewis’ research involves understanding the relationship between the unique structure of DNA and its interaction with light.
  • Mark A. Ratner, the L.B. Dumas Distinguished University Chair and co-director of the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN), was honored with the Peter Debye Award in Physical Chemistry. His research focuses on the structure, function and dynamics behavior of molecular systems.
  • George C. Schatz, the Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Chemistry in Weinberg, was honored with the Irving Langmuir Award in Chemical Physics. Schatz’s research is concerned with theory and computational modeling in a variety of nanoscience topics and related fields of biophysics and materials.

To read the original story, visit the Northwestern News Center.


Members of Northwestern's Class of 2019 took the first steps of their college journey Sept. 13 when they paraded in a purple procession in the March Through the Weber Arch as Wildcat Welcome went into full swing.


Cheered on by parents and friends, the 2,029-member class surged through the Weber Arch to mark the traditional start of their time at the University.


Clad in purple T-shirts and led by the Northwestern University Marching Band, first-year and transfer students marched to Deering Meadow to hear advice from President Morton Schapiro, to pose for their class photo and take some final selfies with their families.


“Welcome to Northwestern,” President Schapiro said, standing on the sun-drenched steps of Deering Library as thousands assembled moments before students would say their goodbyes to parents, siblings and friends.


“I have a request for you,” he added. “When your loved ones hug you, or text you, or call you, and they tell you they’re proud of you and say they love you, say the same thing to them.”


It was an emotional day for many parents and students, but the beautiful late summer weather and the support of families, friends and more than 200 peer advisors took some of the sting out of parting at the “Kiss ‘n’ Bye” on Deering Meadow.


Sponsored by the office of New Student and Family Programs, the 10-day Wildcat Welcome program is packed with events to keep new students busy, help them navigate the transition and orient them as they start taking a Northwestern Direction.


Read more about March Through the Arch in the Northwestern News Center.

Professor Adam.jpgEVANSTON, Ill. --- In both blacks and whites, everyday feelings of discrimination can mess with the body’s levels of the primary stress hormone, cortisol, new research suggests.


In African-Americans, however, the negative effects of perceived discrimination on cortisol are stronger than in whites, according to the study, one of the first to look at the biological response to the cumulative impact of prejudicial treatment.


The team of researchers, led by Northwestern University, also found that the teenage years are a particularly sensitive period to be experiencing discrimination, in terms of the future impact on adult cortisol levels.


“We found cumulative experiences matter and that discrimination mattered more for blacks,” said study lead author Emma Adam (pictured right), a developmental psychologist at Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy. “We saw a flattening of cortisol levels for both blacks and whites, but blacks also had an overall drop in levels. The surprise was that this was particularly true for discrimination that happened during adolescence.”


The study will be published in the December 2015 issue of the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology and is currently available online.


In times of stress, the body releases several hormones, including cortisol. Ideally, cortisol levels are high in the morning to help energize us for the day. At night, cortisol levels wane as the body prepares for sleep.


Previous research indicates that discrimination can affect the natural rhythm of this process. Work by Adam and others suggests that young adults from racial/ethnic minority groups who perceive more discrimination have higher levels of cortisol in the evening and less decline in cortisol levels across the day than those with lower discrimination.


Having flatter or dysfunctional cortisol levels throughout the day is linked with higher fatigue, worse mental health, cardiovascular disease and mortality, as well as cognitive problems, such as impaired memory.


The latest study suggests for the first time that the impact of discrimination on cortisol adds up over time. Using data collected over a 20–year period, the researchers showed that the more discrimination people experience throughout adolescence and early adulthood, the more dysfunctional their cortisol rhythms are by age 32.


"We’ve been trying to solve the mystery behind why African-Americans have flatter diurnal cortisol rhythms than whites,” said Adam, a faculty fellow at Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research.


“There’s a fair amount of research on how discrimination affects people in the moment. But we haven’t been sufficiently considering the wear and tear and accumulation of discrimination over lifetimes.  Our study offers the first empirical demonstration that everyday discrimination affects biology in ways that have small but cumulative negative effects over time.”


Even after controlling for income, education, depression, times of waking and other health behaviors, they still couldn’t explain or remove the effects of discrimination, “making it unlikely that those other factors play a role,” Adam said.


The researchers measured discrimination from ages 12 to 32, prospectively. They also assessed adult cortisol levels over a seven-day period. Using modeling, they determined the age range during which discrimination most dramatically affected cortisol.


“Adolescence might be an important time period because there are a lot of changes in the brain and body,” Adam said. “When you experience perceived discrimination during this period of change, it’s more likely that those effects are built into the system and have a bigger impact.”


Read more on Northwestern News. >>

_ESQ8019.jpgEVANSTON, Ill. --- The Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University will present “Big Boss and the Ecstasy of Pressures,” the first solo museum exhibition by the artist Geof Oppenheimer (b.1973). The exhibition will open to the public on Sept. 12, with an opening celebration featuring remarks by the artist on Saturday, Sept. 26 at 2 p.m. The exhibition will close Nov. 30.


“Big Boss and the Ecstasy of Pressures” features two new works by Oppenheimer commissioned by the Block, including a large sculpture, occupying the entirety of the museum’s main gallery, and a video installation, 10 minutes in length, on the museum’s first floor. With each of these new works, Oppenheimer deepens his ongoing investigations into the rational, regulating forces of human society, from political and economic systems to the proliferation of visual and textual rhetoric. The sculpture, “Civil/Evil,” probes structures of power and how they are communicated through material and image, pressure and release, upon the individual. The video, “DRAMA,” invokes how our relations to one another are shaped and predetermined by systems of exchange and labor.


Included in museum group exhibitions and biennials nationally and internationally, this is the first solo exhibition by Oppenheimer in the city where he lives and works.


The Block recently expanded its contemporary art program, making a commitment to artists working globally. With this new initiative, the museum will undertake exhibitions and commissions of new works such as “Big Boss and the Ecstasy of Pressures” and will produce publications that consider an artist’s work within the context of his or her peers. The next project in this series will open in January 2017 and will feature a newly commissioned work by artist Kader Attia, who lives and works in Berlin. Attia will be an artist-in-residence at Northwestern’s Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities beginning in fall 2015.


Geof Oppenheimer, the inaugural artist invited to develop and present new work as part of this initiative, will also be the subject of a publication, the first focused exclusively on his work. The publication, to be released in spring 2016, will include essays by Dieter Roelstraete, member of the curatorial team for Documenta 14, who will survey Oppenheimer’s practice to date, and Anthony Elms, chief curator at the ICA Philadelphia, who will focus on the projects commissioned by the Block. Both authors, whose work straddles curating and art criticism, have worked previously with the artist.


Throughout fall, the Block Museum will present opportunities to engage Oppenheimer’s work through gallery talks by scholars, critics and artists in a series of free public programs. The cornerstone event will be a lecture by eminent sociologist and Chicago native Richard Sennett during the Chicago Humanities Festival. Currently serving as Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the Department of Sociology at Cambridge University, Sennett explores how individuals and groups make social and cultural sense of material facts. Oppenheimer has cited Sennett as an important influence on the development of his ideas on citizenship and public space. The artist will interview Sennett following his lecture. In addition, Block Cinema, the museum’s in-house repertory cinema, will present a series of four films selected by the artist.


Lisa Corrin, the Ellen Philips Katz Director at the Block, who has worked closely with the artist, states: “We are extremely proud that Geof Oppenheimer accepted the Block’s invitation to make us the site of his first one-person museum exhibition in Chicago. He wrestles with some of the most urgent issues of our time but does so using the power of materials to open experiential pathways into our own critical consideration of them.”


Details on other public programs are available at the Block’s events page.


About “Civil/Evil” and “DRAMA”


Oppenheimer’s new sculpture “Civil/Evil” will occupy the Block’s entire main gallery. With this work, the artist pursues the ways in which institutions, and other structures of power, set up an often invisible circuitry that impacts the human experience.


In creating “Civil/Evil,” the artist considered and responded to nearly every aspect of the Block’s gallery space. In the center of the gallery, intersecting barrier-like walls constructed from cinder blocks will corral the viewer into different spaces. The organization of these walls will create a series of controls for the viewer, who at various points may be trapped or held, or conversely released.


With overt reference to architectures of control ranging from Soviet Bloc public housing to post-9/11 protective barrier walls, this powerful construction will question the ways in which structures regulate our daily lives.


The second new work, “DRAMA," a video exhibited in a separate gallery on continuous loop across multiple screens, is a ghost story about capitalism. Shot in a modern business office, this non-narrative video proceeds at a languid pace, evoking a sense of fragmentation and loneliness with its displays of everyday corporate life.


The film makes use of the spatial and material aspects of capital -- conference rooms, office furniture, long hallways and cubicles. Two male actors, dressed as mirror images of one another, appear in a series of discontinuous scenes, shot in different spaces of the anonymous office. Throughout the film they perform the gestures of ritual exchange common to business practice.


Sculptural objects -- including large boulders and cartoonish ghostly forms -- appear and disappear, also behaving as mysterious, autonomous protagonists. These crudely fabricated, “dumb” forms are as blank as the negotiating businessmen, yet they suggest an alternative for those forces.


About Geof Oppenheimer


Trained as a sculptor, Geof Oppenheimer works across multiple mediums, including stage set video productions and photography.


Oppenheimer's practice takes up questions of civic value, the ways in which political and social structures are encoded in images and objects, and how meaning is formed in the modern world. Starting from the proposition that formal value is a social value, his projects interrogate the forms and rules of civic discourse as a material, positing art as a space of liberated social dialogue. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at a variety of venues such as PS1/MOMA, Long Island City NY; The Contemporary Museum, Baltimore; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; SITE Santa Fe; The Indianapolis Museum of Art; The Aspen Art Museum, CAB Brussels and AGORA 4th Athens Biennale. Oppenheimer's work has been the subject of published writings in Art in America, The Wall Street Journal, and The New Yorker. He studied at the Maryland Institute, College of Art where he received his BFA and received an MFA from the University of California, Berkeley. He also studied at the Academia voor Beeldende Vorming in the Netherlands. Represented by Ratio3, San Francisco, Oppenheimer lives and works in Chicago.


“Big Boss and the Ecstasy of Pressures” has been generously supported by: the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, The Illinois Arts Council, The Chauncey and Marion Deering McCormick Foundation, Lynn Hauser and Neil Ross, and the Diane and Craig Solomon Contemporary Art Fund.


Information on other public events and related programing follows. All programs are at the Block and free except when noted otherwise. For details, visit the Block Museum of Art events calendar.


Opening Day Program: A Conversation with Artist Geof Oppenheimer, from 2 to 5 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 26, McCormick Auditorium, Artist Geof Oppenheimer will join the Block’s director, Lisa Corrin, in a conversation about his art. Meet the artist at a reception at the Block Museum following the lecture. The Block will be open for viewing the exhibition throughout the day.


Conversation: Artist Geof Oppenheimer and Guest Film Curator Will Schmenner, from 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15. In conjunction with his exhibition, the artist has curated a special film series for Block Cinema to explore what it means to watch movies today. Oppenheimer and London-based guest film curator Will Schmenner will discuss key clips from the series, including “The Dark Knight.” Their discussion will be followed by a screening of Lars von Trier’s “Boss of It All” at 8 p.m. See the Block’s website for further details on the film series.


Conversation: Richard Sennett and Artist Geof Oppenheimer, from noon to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall in the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center for the Musical Arts. For nearly 50 years, Richard Sennett has been one of our most respected thinkers about cities, labor and culture. Sennett will take a bird’s eye view of citizenship today, and then be joined in conversation by Geof Oppenheimer. This program is generously underwritten by Lynn Hauser and Neil Ross and is presented in partnership with the Chicago Humanities Festival as part of its “Evanston Day.” Visit to purchase tickets ($12 CHF members, $15 general and $10 student tickets).


Gallery Talk: Art Historian David Getsy, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28. Join David Getsy, interim dean of graduate studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, for a gallery talk on the Geof Oppenheimer exhibition, “Big Boss and the Ecstasy of Pressures.”


Lecture: Cultural Critic Brian Holmes, The Cyborg in the Sphere, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 4. Cultural critic Brian Holmes explores the contemporary construct of the financial sphere and its inhabitants, the “masters of the universe,” as portrayed in the work of Geof Oppenheimer. He will consider lightning-fast electronic signals, advanced mathematical representations and the seductive sheen of cool glass that wreak havoc on our sublunary world.


Poetry Reading: "A Poem is a Sculpture," from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18. Visitors are invited to join artist Geof Oppenheimer for an opportunity to read and reflect upon poems selected in conjunction with his solo exhibition “Big Boss and the Ecstasy of Pressures.”


ABOUT THE MARY AND LEIGH BLOCK MUSEUM OF ART Celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2015, The Block Museum is Northwestern University’s art museum. The Block is a dynamic, imaginative and innovative teaching and learning resource for Northwestern and its surrounding communities, featuring a global exhibition program that crosses time periods and cultures and serves as a springboard for thought-provoking discussions relevant to our lives today.


The museum also commissions new work by artists to foster connections with the public through the creative process. Each year, the Block mounts exhibitions; organizes and hosts lectures, symposia and workshops, involving artists, scholars, curators and critics; and screens classic and contemporary films at its in-house cinema. The museum also reaches national and international audiences through its traveling exhibitions, publications and website. Its growing permanent collection of approximately 5,000 works focuses primarily on prints, photography and drawings.


Located on Northwestern’s Evanston campus, the Block is housed in a building designed by Dirk Lohan, the grandson of the pioneering modernist architect Mies van der Rohe. The Block Museum is at the heart of Northwestern’s new Arts Circle, scheduled to open in fall 2015. The Arts Circle will, for the first time, unite all visual and performing arts in one neighborhood, inspiring collaborations across art forms and underscoring the University’s commitment to providing a unique site where campus and community can connect to celebrate creativity across artistic disciplines. The Block is free and open to all.


For more information, contact Susy Bielak, associate director of engagement/curator of public practice, at


Read more on Northwestern News. >>

Globe.jpgNorthwestern welcomes its largest-ever incoming class of international students this year - 1,700 new students from more than 100 countries around the world. The new class pushes Northwestern’s total international population to 6,500 students, scholars and family members.


Wildcat Welcome takes on added significance for international students who face culture and, often, language barriers as they begin their Northwestern careers.


To combat those issues, staff from the International Office traveled this summer to China, South Korea and India - three of the most highly represented countries of this year’s class - to meet new students on their home ground. In-country orientation sessions, known as NU In, highlighted American academics, culture shock and campus life. More than 500 new students met classmates, alumni and even President Morton Schapiro at the Beijing event.


"By all measures, NU In better prepares our international students and their families,” said Ravi Shankar, director of the International Office. “It not only provides valuable and practical information on acculturation and the Northwestern experience, but it also gives students a chance to network and to begin forming lifetime relationships with each other and the University.”


Once students arrive in Evanston and Chicago, the International Office continues the process of helping smooth the transition by hosting orientation sessions before Wildcat Welcome (Sept. 11-20). Undergraduate events include information sessions on life at Northwestern, tours of Chicago and Evanston and a bonfire on the lakefront. Orientation for graduate students highlights American academic and cultural life with a daylong interactive workshop.


During Wildcat Welcome, international undergraduate students will join the entire Class of 2019 to share their personal stories, learn how to manage college life and explore local neighborhoods. International students make up 10 percent of this year’s freshman class, an all-time high.


The total number of international students joining Northwestern has increased 200 percent over the last decade. In 2006, Northwestern enrolled approximately 550 new international students, compared to 1,700 this year. That dramatic increase reflects key goals of Northwestern’s strategic plan, We Will, by strengthening the campus community through diversity and expanding the University’s impact at home and abroad.


Read more at Northwestern News. >>

Stanton Cook.jpg


EVANSTON, Ill. --- Retired Tribune Company Chairman Stanton R. Cook, a life trustee, devoted alumnus and longtime benefactor of Northwestern University, died September 3 of natural causes in his Kenilworth home. He was 90.


“Northwestern filled a special place in my father’s heart,” Cook’s daughter, Sarah Shumway (Kellogg MM, 1987), said Friday. “My dad came from a humble background, but he always had a passion for learning. He strongly believed that everyone had a chance to ‘get ahead’ in life by getting a good education.”


Cook’s long affiliation with the University went back to his undergraduate days, and he was still an active contributor in 2015. He received a B.S. in mechanical engineering in 1949 from the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.


Earlier this year, Cook and his daughter unveiled a special gift underscoring Cook’s passion for good writing and for the University. The Writing Program of the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences was renamed the Bobbie and Stanton Cook Family Writing Program on May 13 after the Cook family made a significant gift to the program that touches every part of Northwestern.


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


Cook was elected to the Northwestern University Board of Trustees in 1987. He became a life trustee in 1996. He was the recipient of the 1987 Alumni Medal. In 1985, he received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Northwestern. He was a member of the Northwestern Leadership Circle and the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science Advisory Council.


As chairman of Tribune Company, Cook was a pioneer in expanding and diversifying a national media company. He took an underperforming Chicago institution and helped build it to profitability and national prominence.


As the Chicago Tribune reported in his obituary, Cook moved the Tribune from “a closely held, private entity to a publicly traded company in 1983.” He made the Tribune’s broadcasting unit a separate division that became the country’s largest operator of independent TV stations. He also oversaw an era when the newspaper’s editorial voice broke from its conservative past and the company purchased the Chicago Cubs baseball team. Baseball was one of his passions.


He also served as a director of the Robert R. McCormick-Tribune Foundation, the Associated Press and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. In addition, he was a trustee of the Museum of Science and Industry, the Field Museum and the Shedd Aquarium. He was a past president of the Commercial Club and past president for life of the Economic Club of Chicago.


In 1989, he played a key role in obtaining the $30 million pledge to the Campaign for Engineering and Physical Sciences from the Robert R. McCormick Charitable Trust. The gift was one of the largest made to Northwestern at the time and resulted in the naming of the school of engineering the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.


More than a decade ago, Cook also endowed the Wilson-Cook Chair in Engineering Design at the McCormick School.


Shumway said her father “felt, in particular, that higher education provides the tools and pathways to advance oneself – and, because his own experience at Northwestern's Engineering school launched his career, he maintained a strong allegiance to the university.


“He especially loved staying abreast of the Tech School (McCormick) and its many new programs, research achievements and outstanding faculty,” she added. “It was one of his biggest joys.


“But his recent gift to the Writing Program, meant to honor my mother, was also symbolic of his belief in cultivating the fundamentals,” Shumway noted. "Without a doubt, he believed in Northwestern as a vehicle for bettering the future, and his contribution of both energy and dollars to the University was his way of providing opportunity for generations to come.”


The gift that renamed the Writing Program at Northwestern earlier this year was an important and meaningful one for Cook and his family.


“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 at the time.


Cook’s wife, Barbara “Bobbie” Wilson Cook, passed away in 1994. They were married for 44 years. Several members of the Cook family across the generations have attended Northwestern.


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.


This gift came at a pivotal time for Northwestern. On March 14, 2014, the University announced its $3.75 billion fundraising campaign, We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern, to address society’s critical challenges and prepare global leaders.

In the 1940s, Cook served in the U.S. Army Air Corps for two years during World War II. He trained as a tailgunner/navigator, but the war ended before he saw combat duty.

After graduating from Northwestern in 1949, Cook started out as a salesman with Shell Oil Company. He later moved to the Chicago Tribune and rose through the ranks, eventually becoming the newspaper’s general manager, president, CEO, chairman and publisher.

During this period, from the early 1970s to the mid 1990s, Cook also took on increasingly more important roles at Tribune Company, rising to serve as president, CEO and chairman of the firm, a publisher of daily newspapers and community publications and an operator of television and radio stations.

In addition to Shumway, Cook is survived by another daughter, Nancy Cook; three sons, Scott, David and Douglas; and seven grandchildren.

A memorial service was held on Wednesday, Sept. 9, at Kenilworth Union Church.


Read more on Northwestern News. >>



Reunion Weekend 2015 is October 16-18. Register online or by phone at 877-240-6512.


Today, we spotlight Wildcat of the Week Melissa Kemp David '85. Arriving at Northwestern from Florida, Melissa Kemp David ’85 didn’t know a single person on campus. Yet she made some of the best friends of her life—people she is still close with today. “I have such fond memories of NU,” says Melissa. “Football Saturdays, tailgating, spending time with my sorority sisters.”


She also held a work-study job with the Phonathon program, calling alumni to solicit gifts for the University. “At the time, we were raising funds for the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion,” she says. “Working in the Alumni Relations Department made me realize that giving back is just what you did as an alum. I remember thinking, this is how stuff gets done; this is how buildings get built.”


After graduating with a Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences degree in computer studies, Melissa went on to earn her MBA at Michigan State University and work in advertising at Leo Burnett for thirteen years. She remained committed to Northwestern—active on her Reunion Committee, attending the Waa-Mu Show every year, and working part time as an Undergraduate Admissions Application Reader. She and her husband, Oscar, are also football and men’s basketball season ticket holders.


Melissa has also enjoyed taking continuing education classes sponsored by the Alumnae of Northwestern. “I took a great class with Dominic Missimi, who was head of the music theatre program, and another interesting class on the movies of Alfred Hitchcock. It’s wonderful because these classes are always taught by prominent professors and you meet people of all ages and stages of life!”


Proud of Northwestern’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, for the past two years Melissa and her husband have supported the Weinberg summer BRIDGE program, which provides first-generation students with financial need with the resources, individualized tutoring, and mentoring to thrive at Northwestern. “For us, it’s a more personal way to give,” Melissa says. “My husband and I get to meet some of the incoming NU freshmen in the program annually. It feels gratifying and impactful to help these talented students get acclimated to Northwestern and this program helps to jump start their four years at the University.”


Reunion Weekend is just a month away, and Melissa can’t wait for the big football game against Iowa, her class party, and the chance to run into people she hasn’t seen in years. On visits to campus, she also enjoys seeing how the University has changed. “The facilities are phenomenal, we have Nobel-prize-winning professors, and we’re becoming an even more global community,” she says. “A lot of that can be attributed to the amazing alumni community that is making the NU experience so special for students.”


As a prospective college student from the state of Florida, Melissa considered several Big Ten schools. “My dad and I even drove through a blizzard to get to NU,” she recalls. “On the campus tour, the weather was so awful that the tour guides had to point to the north campus buildings from Norris, instead of walking over to them. And despite all that, I knew Northwestern was the place for me.”



Read more 'Wildcat of the Week' profiles at >>

This week’s Wildcat of the Week spotlight features two Leadership Symposium (#LeadNU) participants: Brian Miller '99, a McCormick School of Engineering alumnus, and Rachel Lippmann '05, a Medill alumna. The 2015 Leadership Symposium takes place in Evanston Sept. 10-11.




Brian Miller ’99

Northwestern had so many of the things I wanted for my college experience — foremost, excellent academic programs across a wide range of majors, as well as unique and established opportunities like the Cooperative Engineering Program.  I also wanted to have access to the diverse experiences that come from living near an international city like Chicago. 

I love that Northwestern does not just rest on its laurels.  The University continues to make progressive choices when it comes to shaping the future, whether it is transforming the southern gateway to campus with the new Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center for the Musical Arts and the Segal Visitors Center; or founding a communications program in Qatar; or creating a space for a student-driven innovation incubator.

I am proud of my Northwestern degree and the University’s extraordinary reputation which is a fundamental reason why I give back. I am an NU Loyal member, which means I make the pledge to give every year.  Consistent giving at any level is crucial for Northwestern to continue to ascend in the national rankings of the top tier Universities.  I also volunteer in multiple roles with the Northwestern Alumni Association (NAA).

The NAA Leadership Symposium (LS) is an excellent opportunity to plug into the Northwestern community on a national level.  I started by volunteering in Boston, but it wasn’t until my first LS that I realized how valuable it would be to share experiences and broaden my NU network with volunteers from around the county. My connection to the NU community continues to grow with each LS I attend. Also, there is always a significant portion of the programming dedicated to professional development, oftentimes with sought-after speakers. And who doesn’t need an excuse to come back to Chicago and Evanston once a year? Go ’Cats!




WotW_Rachel_Lippmann_470x246.jpgRachel, pictured left, with NU Club of St. Louis board members


Rachel Lippmann ’05

I was a National High School Institute journalism student ("Cherub") in 2000, between my junior and senior year of high school. I fell in love with the campus and with the journalism program, and decided then and there that I could be very happy spending four years in Evanston. I love the fact that Northwestern combines the best of so many worlds -- a very high caliber education, with major conference athletics, great cultural experiences, and a world-class city right nearby.


My involvement with the NU Club of St. Louis actually began at a happy hour shortly after I moved back to St. Louis from Lansing. Over the course of the last several years, I've served at various times as the St. Louis club's programming VP, programming and communications VP, communications VP, and I am now serving as president. I've also donated to the Club Scholarship Fund.


I attend Leadership Symposium (LS) to get ideas and figure out the best way to implement them for our club. I go to see friends I've made over the last three years. I go to see how the campus has changed and how it hasn’t. The best part of LS is getting inspired for another year. Sometimes, like when the football team isn't doing so well, or you aren't getting the turn-out at events, or major events fall through, being a club leader becomes just another responsibility. But you go to LS, hear that you're not the only one having a particular issue, and get ways to solve it, and being a club leader becomes a little more fun again.

Read more 'Wildcat of the Week' profiles at >>

Morris_Aldon.jpgEVANSTON, Ill. --  In his groundbreaking new book, Northwestern University’s Aldon Morris has done no less than rewrite the history of sociology by making a compelling case that black sociologist and activist W.E.B. Du Bois was the primary founder of modern sociology in America at the turn of the 20th century. It is a sociology that bases its theoretical claims on rigorous empirical research.


Pulling from over a decade of research in primary sources such as personal letters, conference proceedings and scholarly writings, “The Scholar Denied: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Birth of Modern Sociology” (University of California Press, August 2015) argues that power, money, politics and the ideology of white supremacy led to W.E.B. Du Bois being “written out” of the founding of sociology. Moreover his intellectual breakthroughs were marginalized in the field for the last century.


Morris, the Leon Forrest Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, argues that Du Bois’ pioneering work was often characterized in the academy as unscientific and politically motivated while systemic racial biases colored the intellectual work of leading white sociologists, even those with liberal bents throughout the 20th century.


In Morris’ gripping narrative, Robert E. Park, the white University of Chicago scholar considered to be one of the major architects of modern-day sociology, and Booker T. Washington, the most famous and powerful black man in America between 1895 and 1915, play a central role in marginalizing the pioneering work that Du Bois and other black scholars produced at Atlanta University, a historically black institution.


The Du Bois-Atlanta School profoundly influenced the discipline by laying the intellectual foundations of scientific sociology, Morris argues, noting that Max Weber, the famous German sociologist and philosopher, was significantly influenced by Du Bois’ work.


“Du Bois produced the first scientific school of modern sociology,” Morris said. “He was into data collection -- census data, survey data, interview data and ethnographic data. He did it all. That was a new kind of sociology, and my argument is that Du Bois was the founder of it.”


Yet, Booker T. Washington, as well as other leading white scholars, including Park and sociologists at Columbia, Yale and University of Pennsylvania, disparaged and ignored Du Bois’ work.


“I show in my book that two black men -- W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington -- profoundly influenced the trajectory of American sociology. That’s a story that has never been told,” Morris said.


Black scholars are often viewed as making no contributions to the founding of the discipline. However, Morris demonstrates this claim is untrue given that Du Bois pioneered modern empirical sociology while Washington blocked Du Bois’ Atlanta School. Furthermore, Washington through Park, interjected his conservative ideas on race into the Chicago School, which spread throughout the academy.


“The Washingtonian view was clear: Black people should not fight for the vote nor seek social equality with whites,” Morris said. “Rather, their salvation would be realized through working on farms and engaging in industrial labor useful to whites.”


“The Scholar Denied” demonstrates that Du Bois not only possessed deep knowledge about race but that his scholarship profoundly affected the discipline of sociology, as well as the lives of black people.


“Du Bois’ argument was straightforward: Black people were not racially inferior. They were fully human with all the intellectual capacities of any racial group,” Morris said. “His school of thought was based on producing research that proved black people were equal.”


Du Bois was angered by the economists, sociologists and historians who failed to produce empirical research to prove black inferiority.


“Du Bois accused them of being ‘car-window sociologists,’” Morris said. “They speed through the black community, gaze out the window of an automobile and return home convinced they know everything about race without doing empirical research.”


An important legacy of Du Bois’ scholarship is its emphasis on racial attitudes and identities.  Du Bois and his colleagues researched the powerful role beliefs played in determining racial outcomes. They considered it crucial to discredit non-scientific beliefs of black inferiority. They produced scholarship uncovering the roots and social consequences of racial attitudes. Moreover, at the core of Du Bois’ scholarship were sharp analyses of how racial oppression produced racial inequality.


Because of Du Bois’ penetrating analyses of racism, leading white sociologists ignored and marginalized his scholarship.


“Intellectual schools of thought do not become dominant, prominent and institutionalized just because of the merit of the ideas,” Morris said. “Power, money, politics and the ideology of white supremacy played a major role in which schools of thought took root. “That’s also a big story I’m telling in ‘The Scholar Denied.’”


Morris’ book has already garnered high praise from leading scholars of race and social thought.


  • “The Scholar Denied” is “sure to be a major book.” -- Henry Louis Gates Jr., Harvard University
  • “Aldon Morris has given us a great gift: the truth of Du Bois’ genius and America’s denial of it! Don’t miss this pioneering text.” -- Cornel West, Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice, Union Theological Seminary
  • “One of those landmark studies that changes the way we think. A must-read.” -- William Julius Wilson, Harvard University
  • “A stunningly original history that should inspire both debate and self-reflection within and beyond the discipline of sociology for years to come.” -- Mitchell Duneier, Princeton University
  • “An eye-opening book! Morris turns the lens of sociological analysis on the discipline itself, with bracing and essential conclusions.” -- Frances Fox Piven, City University of New York
  • “The Scholar Denied” a “fascinating study.” -- Publishers Weekly

Morris hopes that “The Scholar Denied” will inspire social scientists and humanists to produce more rigorous and critical scholarship, especially pertaining to the contemporary nature of race.  Du Bois provided a model of such scholarship throughout the first six decades of the 20th century.

Learn more in Northwestern News. >>

#NUReunion_Dance_Photo.JPGNorthwestern Alumni, get ready to get down, #NUReunion style! With Reunion 2015 just around the corner, it's time to celebrate the tunes from your class year. To help you get into the groove, we've created some rockin' Spotify playlists.

Getting down with the decades isn't the only thing you can do to show your Purple Pride -- the NAA will host a #FlashbackFriday poll each week until Reunion where you'll have the chance to vote for your favorite ditty of the decade. Show your class pride by voting for your favorite reunion jams on the NAA's Facebook page.

Be sure to connect with your class in the Classes space of Our Northwestern.

Class Playlists


(Note: You must log in or create an account with Spotify to access the playlists.)

Haven't registered for Reunion 2015? Don't miss out on the action -- register here.

2colbert.jpgThousands of Wildcats around the country tuned in Sept. 8 for the debut of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert."


Check out the Northwestern Alumni Association's full coverage of the broadcast and the on-campus watch party (photo at right) on Periscope [@NUAlumni], Twitter [@NUAlumni], and Instagram [NorthwesternAlumni]. Also check out the NAA's official #WildforColbert Storify.


Staff, students, alumni, and Wildcat friends and family also joined in on the social media celebration. Find out more:


More about Stephen Colbert's "Late Show" Debut

At Northwestern, Colbert performed weekly with a Northwestern improv team called No Fun Mud Piranhas, which included Northwestern alumnus David Schwimmer, later of “Friends” fame.


The big question answered in the show's debut: Who is the real Stephen Colbert now that he's retired the ultra-conservative blowhard alter ego that the world came to know and love on “The Colbert Report?"


Jon Stewart, the former “Daily Show” host and executive producer of “The Colbert Report,” seemed to know the answer.


“What made that character work was the thing that Stephen had to hide, which is his humanity,” Stewart said in The New York Times Sunday. “Instead of throwing off the cape and revealing the monster, he reveals, actually — oh, this incredibly lovely, talented man.”


In a column titled “Top 10 burning questions for Stephen Colbert’s ‘Late Show’,” Steve Johnson, arts and entertainment columnist for the Chicago Tribune, too, joined in the speculation prior to the Late Show debut.


Read more about Northwestern's Stephen Colbert watch party Tuesday, Sept. 8.


Learn more on Northwestern News. >>

STUDENTSatsilvermanlectureDSCF8629.jpgThis article originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times on Aug. 31, 2015.


By Barry Glassner and Morton Schapiro


Everyone knows that kids find their elders deeply uncool. We'll reveal our own uncoolness by citing John Sebastian's 1969 song "Younger Generation" to prove the point. "Why must every generation think their folks are square?" he asks. The lyrics go on to offer an uncomfortable futuristic scenario: a child who tells his dad about taking LSD and riding a toy vehicle that goes 200 miles an hour.


But as college presidents, we've noticed an odd trend. Turning the Sebastian lyric on its head, baby boomer pundits are accusing the younger generation of, in effect, being square. They ridicule students for asking professors to provide advance warning about disturbing materials — so-called trigger warnings — and mock administrators trying to better protect students on campus. Commentators portray students who make such requests as hypersensitive, self-involved and censorial — which is to say, the uncool opposite of the tolerant and communal, anything-goes ethos the Woodstock generation espoused.


Granted, the more extreme examples of these appeals on college campuses provide easy targets. Pundits on both the left and the right had a month of field days last spring after students at Oberlin College and Georgetown University cautioned that just listening to a speech by Christina Hoff Sommers, an author and critic of contemporary feminism, could cause trauma. Comedians and satirists have garnered laughs with confections such as a recent article in the Onion headlined, "Parents Dedicate New College Safe Space in Honor of Daughter Who Felt Weird in Class Once."


Also seemingly worthy of scorn is the notion of "micro-aggressions" — that "innocent" comments might leave recipients feeling slighted. Why, we hear, can't students just toughen up and prepare to face the real world?


But it would be dishonest, amid all the attention directed at the extremes, to fail to see that many students have genuine concerns and deserve to be taken seriously. Those who offer blanket indictments of calls for safer spaces and content notices would do well to sit face to face, as we have, with anguished 18-year-olds.


One of us watched a brilliant young African American woman who had been highly engaged on campus and in her course work, an "A" student, recoil from her classes and her classmates after returning to her dormitory one afternoon. There, in the place she had come to consider her home halfway across the country from where she grew up, she was confronted with racist slurs scrawled on posters she had put up as part of a job she held on campus to help cover expenses.


Less traumatic but nonetheless deeply upsetting are those little comments that haunt us all — when someone compliments an Asian American from Ohio on his "good English" or orders drinks from an African American guest at a cocktail party. Both of us, when we were younger, were told that we didn't "look Jewish." If such remarks don't wound us to the core, why is it that we remember them for a lifetime?


Derald Wing Sue, a professor at Columbia University and the lead author on the 2007 study that gave rise to a body of research and policy on micro-aggressions, has said that his interest in the topic derives in part from slights he experienced as a Chinese American.


Sue and other researchers point to studies that suggest people suffer psychological harm from repeated affronts. And we've both heard from counseling staff about students who were victims of sexual and other abuse who experienced setbacks after being exposed to course materials without having been given an opportunity to prepare themselves psychologically.


For university officials, finding the best approach to take in such situations is no easy matter. We must continually ensure a long list of rights and responsibilities on our campuses that sometimes are in conflict with one another: free speech and public safety; environments in which students can concentrate on their studies and those that advance their growth by unsettling their beliefs. As educators, we seek to develop in our students the cultural literacy that reduces the chances that someone will inadvertently belittle another.


Wholesale denouncements of young people's concerns only hinder our efforts to do right by our students. Statements like the following sound more informed than they actually are: "Trigger warnings are presented as a gesture of empathy, but the irony is they lead only to more solipsism, an over-preoccupation with one's own feelings — much to the detriment of society as a whole." So wrote author Jenny Jarvie in the New Republic, echoing much of the commentary on this topic — and, we would note, the condemnation of rock 'n' roll music in its early days and Vietnam War protesters a decade later.


Today's college students would not be struggling to deal with sexual assault and racism from their childhoods and on our campuses had their parents and grandparents made the world as harmonious as we imagined we would. Let's hope the "square" generation will do a better job than we did.


- Barry Glassner is president and professor of sociology at Lewis & Clark College. Morton Schapiro is president and professor of economics at Northwestern University.


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Chad Mirkin.jpgNorthwestern, a leader in cancer nanotechnology research, has received a five-year, $11.7 million grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to use nanotechnology to develop next-generation cancer treatments.


Extensive efforts to battle cancer during the last few decades have resulted in overall cancer death rates declining. Major challenges still remain, however, in understanding, detecting and treating this highly complex disease, and cancer continues to be a leading cause of death in the U.S. and worldwide.


With the NCI support, the new Northwestern University Center for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence (Northwestern CCNE) will use nucleic-acid-based nanoconstructs called Spherical Nucleic Acids (SNAs) to gain access to intracellular environments, discover new aspects of cancer biology and create effective cancer treatment options.


SNAs are nontoxic to humans, making them a versatile tool in medicine. They were invented at Northwestern in 1996 and have been used for therapeutic purposes since 2010.


Under the direction of principal investigators Chad A. Mirkin (pictured above) and Leonidas C. Platanias, the Northwestern CCNE combines the strengths and resources of the International Institute for Nanotechnology (IIN) and the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.


The center will unite scientists, engineers and clinicians from diverse fields, such as nanoscience, cancer biology, chemistry, materials science, physics, engineering and medicine. They will work towards the common goal of developing SNA nanostructures poised to enter the clinic as revolutionary, cancer-killing agents to improve and save the lives of patients suffering from glioblastoma multiforme and prostate cancer, two of the most deadly forms of cancer.


Recently, the field of nanotechnology has offered up a multitude of interesting structures, materials and tools that are showing promise in the development of new detection and treatment methodologies. These methods could permit highly efficacious, targeted and personalized solutions for the prediction of prognoses as well as for early diagnosis and treatment of patients struggling with advanced cancers.


In addition, nanoscience and technology are enabling fundamental discoveries in the fields of cancer biology, genetics and oncology. Within these realms, nucleic-acid-based nanostructures such as SNAs offer interesting opportunities, because they can be used to access and interact in unique ways with biological systems and structures, including cancer cells and tumors, modulating their intracellular genetic pathways and reprogramming their cellular biology.


The CCNE will feature three projects (one discovery-based and two translational) and one core facility. The center also will have for-profit partners united to provide novel nanotechnology-based solutions to daunting and complex issues in cancer research and treatment.


“We are pleased to see continued participation of Northwestern University’s IIN and Lurie Cancer Center in the NCI Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer program,” said Piotr Grodzinski, director of the NCI Office of Cancer Nanotechnology Research.


“Professor Mirkin and his colleagues have established a highly successful effort and are capable of rapid innovation and translation of pioneering science to clinical applications,” he said. “Their NanoFlare technology is an outstanding example of this.”


NanoFlares are spherical nucleic acids with gold nanoparticle cores outfitted with single-stranded DNA “flares.” NanoFlare technology is the first genetic-based approach that is able to detect live cancer cells in the bloodstream, long before they settle and form a dangerous tumor.


“The support from the National Cancer Institute will enable researchers to continue to make significant cancer-relevant discoveries that ultimately can be transferred to the clinic and profoundly impact the way cancers are studied and treated,” Platanias said.

Leonidas Platanias.jpg

Platanias, pictured right, is director of the Lurie Cancer Center and the Jesse, Sara, Andrew, Abigail, Benjamin and Elizabeth Lurie Professor of Oncology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.


Building upon the significant advances in cancer research and nanotechnology obtained at Northwestern during the past 10 years (the NCI has supported a Northwestern CCNE since 2005), and operating within the framework of a single university, the Northwestern CCNE will optimize the intensive level of integration and collaboration required to create an accelerated pathway -- from conception to clinical trial -- for development of nanomaterials and nanodevices to overcome cancer.


“Nanotechnology is a key driver of advances in cancer detection and treatment, and Northwestern has played a major role in developing this field,” Mirkin said. “We are grateful for this opportunity to continue our work in this important area.”


Mirkin is director of the IIN, the George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and a Lurie Cancer Center member. He also is professor of medicine, chemical and biological engineering, biomedical engineering and materials science and engineering.


In addition to research, the Northwestern CCNE is committed to educating and training scientists who can work at the interface of nanotechnology and cancer research; encouraging and supporting trans-alliance training opportunities and collaborations; and providing effective mechanisms to disseminate knowledge to the larger community.


Some of the strategies to achieve these goals include support for trans-alliance research and pilot projects, integrative training in nanotechnology and cancer, an intramural seminar series, medical student summer fellowships in nanotechnology, summer research programs for undergraduates, nanotechnology boot camps for clinicians and annual mini-symposia.


The IIN is an umbrella organization that represents and unites more than $800 million in nanotechnology research, educational programs and infrastructure. The Lurie Cancer Center is an NCI-designated, comprehensive, university-based, matrix cancer center conducting a broad range of multidisciplinary basic, clinical and population science research with more than $167 million dollars in annual extramural funding.


To read the original story, visit the Northwestern News Center.

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Mostly untouched for 100 years, 15 Roman-era Egyptian mummy portraits and panel paintings were literally dusted off by scientists and art conservators from Northwestern University and the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology as they set out to investigate the materials the painters used nearly 2,000 years ago.


What the researchers discovered surprised them, because it was hidden from the naked eye: the ancient artists used the pigment Egyptian blue as material for underdrawings and for modulating color -- a finding never before documented. Because blue has to be manufactured, it typically is reserved for very prominent uses, not hidden under other colors.

“This defies our expectations for how Egyptian blue would be used,” said Marc Walton, research associate professor of materials science and engineering at Northwestern and an expert on the color blue. “The discovery changes our understanding of how this particular pigment was used by artists in the second century A.D. I suspect we will start to find unusual uses of this colorant in a lot of different works of art, such as wall paintings and sculpture.”

The best Roman-era painters tried to emulate Greek painters, who were considered the masters of the art form. Before the Greek period, Egyptian blue was used everywhere throughout the Mediterranean -- in frescoes, on temples, to depict the night sky, as decoration. But when the Greeks came along, their palette relied almost exclusively on yellow, white, black and red.

“When you look at the Tebtunis portraits we studied, that’s all you see, those four colors,” Walton said. “But when we started doing our analysis, all of a sudden we started to see strange occurrences of this blue pigment, which luminesces. We concluded that although the painters were trying hard not to show they were using this color, they were definitely using blue.”

The study was published this month by Applied Physics A, a journal focused on materials science and processing. The research collaboration is part of the Northwestern University-Art Institute of Chicago Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts (NU-ACCESS), for which Walton is a senior scientist.

“Our findings confirm the distinction between the visual and physical natures of artifacts -- expect the unexpected when you begin to analyze an artwork,” said Jane L. Williams, a conservator at the Hearst Museum and a co-author, along with Walton, of the study. “We see how these artists manipulated a small palette of pigments, including this unusual use of Egyptian blue, to create a much broader spectrum of hues.”

The researchers studied 11 mummy portraits and four panel painting fragments. The 15 paintings were excavated between December 1899 and April 1900 at the site of Tebtunis (now Umm el-Breigat) in the Fayum region of Egypt. They now are housed in the collections of the Hearst Museum at the University of California, Berkeley.

The fragile mummy portraits are extremely lifelike paintings of specific deceased individuals. Each portrait would be incorporated into the mummy wrappings and placed directly over the person’s face, Williams explained.

While working on the conservation treatment of these paintings, Williams had many unanswered questions about their materials and techniques, but without a conservation science division at the Hearst Museum, she had limited means to investigate. Working with NU-ACCESS made a comprehensive technical survey of the paintings possible, Williams said.

Walton and his Northwestern team brought expertise in scientific analysis of cultural heritage materials and some of the latest technology for the non-destructive analysis of artworks to the Hearst Museum. The study quickly revealed some surprises.

The researchers uncovered the unexpected uses of Egyptian blue -- the first man-made pigment, inspired by lapis lazuli, the true blue -- using a routine battery of different analytical techniques, such as X-ray fluorescence and X-ray diffraction. Six of the 15 paintings have the unusual use of blue, the researchers found.

The skilled painters employed blue for underdrawings, to modulate clothes, the shading on clothing and in other not necessarily intuitive uses of Egyptian blue, a pigment used for millennia before these paintings were made.

“We are speculating that the blue has a shiny quality to it, that it glistens a little when the light hits the pigment in certain ways,” Walton said. “The artists could be exploiting these other properties of the blue color that might not necessarily be intuitive to us at first glance.”

Research on these paintings, which is ongoing, will contribute to the international collaborative study project Ancient Panel Paintings: Examination, Analysis and Research (APPEAR), initiated by the J. Paul Getty Museum. APPEAR aims to create an international digital database to compile historic, technical and scientific information on Roman Egyptian portraits.

“Our collaboration with NU-ACCESS makes it possible for the Hearst Museum to contribute to this project at the level of much larger museums, like the Getty or the British Museum, that have conservation science divisions,” Williams said.

The paper is titled “Investigating the use of Egyptian blue in Roman Egyptian portraits and panels from Tebtunis, Egypt.” In addition to Walton and Williams, other authors of the paper are Monica Ganio (first author), Johanna Salvant and Oliver Cossairt, of Northwestern; and Lynn Lee, of the Getty Conservation Institute.

NU-ACCESS is based at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science and is supported by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The center’s mission is to provide scientific support for the investigation of art collections, as well as to develop new technology to look at art.

Credit Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley.jpg

Credit: Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley

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