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.”