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The Northwestern Alumni Association (NAA) Board of Directors’ 2016-2017 slate of nominees is hereby posted for public viewing in accordance with Article VII of the NAA Bylaws. This slate shall be elected by a majority vote of the members of the Association present the annual meeting on Thursday, September 22, 2016.


View the incoming slate here.


You can also learn more about our current members of the NAA Board of Directors on the NAA website.





Congratulations to Northwestern’s newest class of alumni – check out this full recap of Commencement 2016 festivities!



Northwestern Alumni Association coverage

Purple Line website -- resources for recent graduates

Video: A Moment of Celebration, A Lifetime of Memories, commencement told in first-person

Video: Cheers to the Class of 2016

Video: The Class of 2016 Says Thanks

Social Media: Instagram takeover of @NorthwesternAlumni by graduating senior Haley Hinkle

Social Media: Messages from the Northwestern family to the Class of 2016

Photos: Flashback to the Class of 2016 on their first week at NU

Video: Register for Our Northwestern



University coverage

Social media: See the day-of coverage

Video: Seth Meyers discusses how much the University means to him

NU Qatar students participate in commencement

Video: Commencement highlights

Educators who "lit the spark" on graduates honored

Recap: See all the commencement coverage from the University

Photos: Commencement 2016

Social Media: Commencement digital swag for parents and graduates


Coverage from across campus

Buzzfeed: The 23 Things You Must Do Before You Graduate From Northwestern

Feature: Northwestern Magazine spotlights first-generation graduates

The Daily Northwestern captures Commencement 2016

Video: Northwestern athletics Commencement 2016

North by Northwestern’s Senior Reflections

#NU2016 and #NUGrads on Twitter



Class of 2016, be sure to visit to find out ways all the ways you can connect with alumni after graduation. Log in and comment below to let us know how you celebrated Commencement 2016.

Connect with the Northwestern Alumni Association on social media:

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Adam Kantor ’08 (left) performs at the 70th annual Tony Awards.


Congratulations to the several Northwestern alumni who either won awards at last night's Tony Awards or worked on award-winning shows. Here are the Wildcats that we know are celebrating this morning:



Heather Headley ’97 stars as Shug Avery in The Color Purple, which won for Best Revival of a Musical.



Kaitlin Fine ’09 (assistant company manager) and Jason Crystal ’06 (associate sound design) currently work as crewmembers on Hamilton. Ian Weinberger ’09, a NUMB alum, has previously served as musical conductor for the show.



The Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey, where Mark Hoebee ’82 serves as producing artistic director, won for Best Regional Theater.



Additionally, Marshall W. Mason ’61 and Sheldon Harnick ’49 received lifetime achievement awards.



And while he didn't win, Adam Kantor '08 performed as Motel during a number from Fiddler on the Roof. Check him out (he's the one getting married). Jeff Blumenkrantz ’86, meanwhile, performed with the cast of Bright Star.


If we missed any other alumni wins from last night, please let us know.

Performers danced on rooftops, the music of cellists dominated the day and teaching artists shared wisdom about the essence and interconnection of art during a special daylong celebration of Northwestern University’s Arts Circle on Saturday.


From various vantage points on the ground, spectators gazed up at members of the renowned Trisha Brown Dance Company, each a solitary artist, all dressed in red, at times moving in unison and gesturing majestically to one another from atop Arts Circle buildings.

The day also featured an inflatable sculpture by avant-garde artist Otto Piene -- related to the work of performance artist Charlotte Moorman, now on exhibit at Northwestern’s Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art. And a provocative installation designed by Northwestern alumnus and artist Aaron Hughes had the intended effect of provoking discussion and critical thinking about the war on terror and detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

Despite an overcast sky and occasional showers, the day of festivities on Northwestern’s Evanston campus drew an estimated crowd of more than 1,000.

Northwestern is focusing on the Arts Circle as a concept, as well as a place, to demonstrate how the arts connect with one another at the University and, in the broader world of artistic expression, to teach students, engage the public and enlighten people with their beauty and ideas. 


“We are making a conscious effort to show how all the arts connect at Northwestern in a way that we had not done previously -- by showing the interactions, the common ways the arts explore ideas and issues and speak to each other, and to us, in ways that enable us to think about the world in a more comprehensive way,” Northwestern Provost Daniel Linzer said.  “That enriches all of our lives.”

In the keynote event, performance studies faculty scholar and artist E. Patrick Johnson filled the Ethel M. Barber Theater with his beautiful voice, singing “Home” from the musical “Wiz” right before a panel of Northwestern faculty and alumna luminaries discussed “Why the Arts Matter.”

Northwestern President Morton Schapiro introduced the panel and weighed in with his own personal and scholarly takes on why the arts matter.

“There are a lot of schools that are justifiably proud of the investment they make in business and in law and in medicine and engineering,” President Schapiro said. “We are, too, at Northwestern. But this is an institution that’s never going to forget that the arts and humanities are the most basic components of liberal learning.

“The Northwesterns of the world,” he stressed, “have a moral obligation to invest in the arts and the humanities.”


Read the full story here.

When mothers deliver later, babies are more likely to have physical problems, but they also are likely to have cognitive benefits down the road, suggests provocative new Northwestern University research published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics.


It is well known that continuing a pregnancy beyond 40 weeks can increase the risk of physical disabilities for the child, but this is the first study to document cognitive benefits, as well as physical risks, for late-term infants.

“Our hope is that this research will enrich conversations between ob-gyns and expectant parents about the ideal time to have the baby,” said David Figlio, economist, lead author of the JAMA study and director of the Northwestern Institute for Policy Research.

In the JAMA study, late-term infants, compared to full term, had higher average test scores in elementary and middle school; a 2.8 percent higher probability of being gifted; and a 3.1 percent reduced probability of poor cognitive.

The late-term infants, however, also had a 2.1 percent higher rate of physical disabilities at school age and higher rates of abnormal conditions at birth.

“The tradeoff between cognitive and physical outcomes associated with late term births is something parents and physicians should discuss,” said Figlio, also the Orrington Lunt Professor of Education and Social Policy at the Northwestern School of Education and Social Policy.

The researchers used a unique data set -- matched birth and education records for more than 1.4 million Florida school children – to find that late-term (41 weeks) children did better in school in the long run, but also had a higher risk of physical disability than their full term counterparts (39 or 40 weeks).

The research builds on a previous study by Figlio’s team using the same Florida data set that found that heavier newborns have an academic edge.


“Armed with the information we learned from the work on birth weight and cognitive outcomes, we began thinking about the single best way to pack on more birth weight which means keeping the baby in utero longer,” Figlio said. “We wanted to know: Is there a cost associated with delivering these babies?”


View the original story here.


Northwestern Medicine scientists have discovered a new cause of Parkinson’s disease – mutations in a gene called TMEM230. This appears to be only the third gene definitively linked to confirmed cases of Parkinson’s disease.

In a study published in Nature Genetics, the scientists provided evidence of TMEM230 mutations in patients with Parkinson’s disease from both North America and Asia. They also demonstrated that the gene is responsible for producing a protein involved in packaging the neurotransmitter dopamine in neurons. Loss of dopamine-producing neurons is a defining characteristic of Parkinson’s disease.

Taken together, the study’s findings provide new clues to explain how Parkinson’s disease develops in the brain. Those clues may inform future therapies for the disorder, which currently has no cure and few known causes.

“Previous research has associated Parkinson’s disease with various factors in the environment, but the only direct causes that are known are genetic,” said principal investigator Teepu Siddique, MD, the Les Turner ALS Foundation/Herbert C. Wenske Foundation Professor of Neurology and of Cell and Molecular Biology. “Many genes have been claimed to cause Parkinson’s disease, but they haven’t been validated. We show that mutations in this new gene lead to pathologically and clinically proven cases of the disease.”

About 15 percent of Parkinson’s disease cases are thought to be caused by genetics, such as mutations in two genes called SNCA and LRRK2. Siddique said that other genes have only been associated with features of parkinsonism, a general term for neurological disorders with motor symptoms.

The Northwestern Medicine team’s proof that mutations in TMEM230 lead to Parkinson’s disease is the result of 20 years of research conducted with collaborators around the world.

Read the full story here.

Wayne County Judge Brian Sullivan today ordered the immediate release of Davontae Sanford, who has been wrongly imprisoned since age 14 for a quadruple homicide that occurred on Detroit’s Runyon Street. Since 2008, professional hitman Vincent Smothers has repeatedly insisted that he alone was responsible for the murders.  Now 23 years old, Davontae will be released from custody imminently after serving nearly nine years of a 37- to 90-year sentence.


Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy also has agreed to dismiss all charges and not to re-try Sanford for these crimes. Worthy based her decision on a lengthy report by the Michigan State Police detailing that agency’s yearlong reinvestigation of the Runyon Street quadruple homicide, completed on May 20, 2016. Specifically, that report alleges that former Detroit Police Deputy Chief James Tolbert committed perjury when he falsely testified that Davontae Sanford drew a diagram of the crime scene in its entirety, including the location of the victims’ bodies, during his interrogation by police.

The Northwestern Pritzker School of Law’s Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth and the Michigan Innocence Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School filed the motion for relief from judgment that Judge Sullivan granted today.


Pro bono attorneys from Dykema Gossett PLLC handled the final negotiations with the prosecutor’s office leading to today’s stipulated order. The Northwestern team was headed by Megan Crane and supported by Steven Drizin and Laura Nirider, and the Michigan team was headed by Dave Moran. Valerie Newman from the State Appellate Defender Office, which formerly represented Sanford on appeal, also served on the legal team.


In April 2015, the Michigan Innocence Clinic and Northwestern’s Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth filed an extensive Motion for Relief from Judgment highlighting the detailed, corroborated confession by Smothers to the Runyon Street murders and highlighting the obvious unreliability of Davontae Sanford’s confessions, given their complete lack of corroboration and many inaccuracies. As a result, the Michigan State Police reinvestigated the murders. On May 20, 2016, the Michigan State Police provided the report to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s office.


“After 3,185 days of prison time for a crime he did not commit, Davontae finally got justice today,” said Megan Crane, co-director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth at Northwestern. “Davontae and his family, and many lawyers, have fought long and hard to show the truth in this case. We could not be happier that this day is finally here.


Continue reading the story here.

Pry the family away from the living room TV for one or more free lakeside evening screenings under the stars sponsored by Northwestern University’s Norris University Center and Summer Session.


Summer Cinema 2016 films will be screened at dusk (around 8:45 p.m.) on Wednesday nights, from June 29 through July 28, on the East Lawn of Norris Center on the Evanston campus.


Special pre-movie events will begin at 7:30 p.m., and family-friendly treats, including free popcorn at every movie event, will be available prior to all screenings.


If it rains, the scheduled film will be screened indoors in Norris Center’s 360-seat McCormick Auditorium, located on the first floor. All activities also will be moved inside on the ground floor.


Moviegoers are encouraged to bring their lawn chairs, blankets, food, beverages (alcoholic beverages are prohibited) and an environmentally-friendly insect repellent.


Free parking is available after 4 p.m. in the two-level lakefront lot south of Norris Center.


Information related to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) ratings shown above is available online.


For more Summer Cinema information, visit the Norris Center website.


Summer Cinema 2016

  • June 29 -- “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (J.J. Abrams, United States, 2015, 136 minutes). Three decades after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, a new threat arises. The First Order attempts to rule the galaxy, and only a ragtag group of heroes can stop them, along with the help of the Resistance. This action adventure film stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac. Special audience treats: sand art and glowsticks. (PG-13 rating)
  • July 6 -- “Inside Out,” (Pete Doctor and Ronnie Del Carmen, United States, 2015, 95 minutes). Disney-Pixar’s animated adventure comedy follows young Riley, who is uprooted from her Midwest life after she and her family move to San Francisco. The young girl’s emotions of joy, fear, anger, disgust and sadness conflict with how best to navigate a new city, new house and new school. The film features the voiceovers of Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Mindy Kaling and Diane Lane. Special audience treat: free ice cream creations. (PG rating)
  • July 13 -- “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (Steven Spielberg, United States, 1981, 115 minutes).This special screening celebrates the 35th anniversary of Spielberg’s popular action adventure film. Set in 1936, the film follows archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones, who is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis. It stars Harrison Ford and Karen Allen.Special audience treats: $1.35 hot dog (cash only) and free chips and lemonade. (PG rating)
  • July 20 -- “The Mask” (Chuck Russell, United States, 1994, 101 minutes). This Oscar-nominated action-adventure, starring Jim Carrey and Cameron Diaz, follows a bank clerk who is transformed into a manic superhero when he wears a mysterious mask. Special audience treat:free cotton candy. (PG-13 rating)
  • July 27 -- “Zarafa” (Remi Bezancon and Jean-Christophe Lie, France and Belgium, 2012, 78 minutes). This animated film follows the adventures of Maki, a young boy who escapes from slave traders, befriends a giraffe (the title character), crosses the desert, and meets a pirate and others on a trip that takes him from Africa to Paris. Special audience treat: a balloonist will be creating free animal balloons for young filmgoers. (Not rated)

View the original story here.

Dick Co, research associate professor of chemistry at Northwestern University, delivered one of three opening keynote addresses at the first annual United Nations Forum on Science, Technology, and Innovation in New York June 6. Co, invited by the U.S. Department of State, joined other scientists, entrepreneurs, and executives asked to address the global challenges identified by the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

During his remarks to an audience of 400 excellencies, distinguished delegates, and stakeholders, Co, managing director of the Solar Fuels Institute (SOFI), highlighted SOFI’s work to make a cost-competitive, carbon-neutral solar fuel from sunlight, water and air. SOFI is a one of four research centers within the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN)

“Answering the United Nations’ call for solutions will require that nations leverage existing infrastructures to turn scientific breakthroughs into scalable technologies and implement effective policies toward the Sustainable Development Goals,” Co said.

The Forum was co-chaired by Dr. Vaughan Turekian, science and technology adviser to the Secretary of State of the U.S., and Ambassador Macharia Kamau, permanent representative of Kenya to the United Nations. Ambassador Kamau commented on the urgent need for the Forum to facilitate stakeholder collaborations that translate to impact.

“This Forum cannot be just a talk show. We’re going to have to figure out how the outcomes of the collective efforts are systematized in a way in which they can be picked up and used, and really impact the work we’re trying to do as the United Nations,” he said.

View the full story, including a video of Co's keynote address, here.

In an effort to continue addressing the issues raised by the John Evans Study Committee, Northwestern University has established a Native American and Indigenous Peoples Steering Group.


Comprised of 37 students, faculty members and community members, the steering group is taking inspiration from the “One Book One Northwestern” program to support programming and projects and work to increase campus-wide interest in and understanding of Native topics and issues.

During this year’s One Book program, the Northwestern community has been reading Thomas King’s “The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America.” Focused on Native American issues, the One Book programming included 76 events – an all-time high.


The new steering group’s first meeting included a discussion about Northwestern’s progress in fulfilling the November 2014 recommendations of the University’s Native American Outreach and Inclusion Task Force. The group also discussed the sponsorship of a series of events during Native American Heritage Month in November.

The group is chaired by Northwestern professor and former Medill Dean Loren Ghiglione, the faculty chair of the 2015-16 One Book One Northwestern program. Ninah Divine, who will graduate from Northwestern in 2016, will provide staff support.

“The steering group hopes to involve all schools of the university,” Ghiglione said. “The recent hiring of faculty and post docs who are focused on Native subjects offers an opportunity for 2016-17 to be an especially important year in Northwestern’s growth.”

Ghiglione expects the committee to expand One Book’s efforts to work with the American Indian Center of Chicago, the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian in Evanston, the Newberry Library’s D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies and other member organizations of the Chicago American Indian Community Collaborative.

“Night at the Museum” was among the One Book programming. The night featured a mini-powwow and demonstrations of American Indian storytelling, beadwork and other Native crafts, bringing 2,400 first-year students to the Field Museum for a special after-hours visit.

One Book also developed a University-wide essay contest for incoming students and offered panels on provocative topics, including “Revisiting John Evans and the Sand Creek Massacre” and “Native American Stereotypes and Mascots in Sports.”

Other members of the Native American and Indigenous Peoples Steering Group include students Lorenzo Gudino (Fort Sill Chiricahua Warm Springs Apache), president of the Native American and Indigenous Student Alliance); Reuben Aguirre (Navajo), co-president of Native American Law Students Association;Jasmine Gurneau (Oneida/Menominee), a new admissions and student services staffer; Pamala Silas(Menominee), executive director of the National American Indian Housing Council; and Dorene Wiese(Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Mississippi Band, White Earth Reservation Enrolled), president of the American Indian Association of Illinois.


View the original story, including the full list of members of the steering group, here.


Two Northwestern University student startups, The Graide Network and SurgiNet, tied for first place at the eighth annual Northwestern University Venture Challenge (NUVC) finals held June 2. Each winner went home with $20,000.


The Graide Network is an online marketplace connecting teachers with qualified teaching assistants to grade and provide individualized feedback on student assignments. SurgiNet is a medical device company that produces bioabsorbable scaffolds for use in general and plastic surgery.

Third place went to Pak’d, which received a $10,000 prize. The company creates fresh, custom lunches for children and adults, delivered directly to their homes.


The three winning companies were among 11 finalists -- all Northwestern student startups -- at the University’s premier business pitch competition. At the event, each finalist team pitched their startups to venture capitalists and business executives, competing for $50,000 in grand prize money. Northwestern alumna Kat Mañalac, a partner at Y Combinator, delivered the keynote address right before the winners were announced.


“Placing first at NUVC was a tremendous honor and recognition of The Graide Network’s mission and progress as a company over the past year,” said Blair M. Pircon, co-founder of The Graide Network and an MBA student at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.


“The Northwestern community -- the Kellogg Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative and The Garage in particular -- has been instrumental in our success from the very beginning,” she said. “The NUVC award will help us hire our first full-time employee and also fund the next stage of our product’s development. Both are critical to our success as we expand to serve more teachers and students across the country.”

Each startup competed in one of five categories: green energy and sustainability; consumer products and software; social enterprise and nonprofit; business products and software; and health care and medical.


“NUVC not only showcases the tremendous talent of Northwestern students but also the diversity of entrepreneurial endeavors on campus,” said Melissa Crounse, executive director of The Garage, the University’s new innovation incubator.


Six of the finalist startups worked at The Garage this year as part of The Garage Residency Program. The Graide Network and Pak’d teams are both in the program, Crounse said.


The category and team members for the three winners are:

  • The Graide Network (Social Enterprise + Nonprofit category). Team members: Blair Pircon, Kellogg ‘16; Amanda McCarthy, Kellogg ‘16; and Liz Nell.
  • SurgiNet (Life Services + Medical category). Team members: Alexei Mlodinow, Feinberg School of Medicine/Kellogg ‘17; Todd Cruikshank, Kellogg ‘17; and Sega Moges, Kellogg ‘16.
  • Pak’d (Consumer Products + Services category). Team members: Nate Cooper, Kellogg ‘17; Rebecca Sholiton, Kellogg ‘16; and Kara O’Dempsey.


In total, NUVC awarded more than $200,000 in prize money during the finals and semi-finals. Teams representing more than 80 interdisciplinary startups in different stages of development submitted their ideas to NUVC in April; that number was winnowed down to the 11 finalists.


Many of the startups have come out of a variety of entrepreneurial courses taught at Northwestern, includingNUvention, and others incorporate technologies coming out of Northwestern labs. As the young entrepreneurs continue to develop their business ventures at the University and beyond, the only requirement to compete in NUVC is that at least one team member be a current Northwestern undergraduate or graduate student.


View the original story, including additional pictures, here.

Men with prostate cancer who are under close medical surveillance reported significantly greater resilience and less anxiety over time after receiving an intervention of mindfulness meditation, according to a recently published pilot study from Northwestern Medicine.


The anxiety and uncertainty that men who choose active surveillance experience when diagnosed with prostate cancer causes one in four to receive definitive therapies within one to three years, even when there is no sign of tumor progression.


Health psychologist David Victorson, the principal investigator of the study and an associate professor of medical social sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, researches the emotional stress of active surveillance and how mindfulness training helps alleviate the anxiety.  He also is a member of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.


Mindfulness meditation is a well-known contemplative awareness practice dating back some 2,500 years. It is a form of meditation designed to develop the skill of paying attention to our inner and outer experiences with acceptance, patience and compassion.


"It's very understandable that some men will feel concerned with the knowledge that they indeed have prostate cancer but are asked to NOT do anything to remove it,” Victorson said. "For many men this can create a great deal of inner turmoil. This turmoil can build up over time and eventually lead to men seeking surgical intervention when it may not ultimately be necessary.“


Victorson and his Northwestern team now are partnering with other academic medical institutions to conduct a five-year multi-site controlled trial where men and their spouses will be randomized to eight weeks of intensive mindfulness meditation training or an eight-week control group.


“I believe we have an opportunity to investigate and equip men with additional tools above and beyond surgical intervention that can help them manage cancer-related uncertainty intolerance," Victorson said.


View the original story here.

This week, we spotlight several June School Challenge donors. The June School Challenge is an exciting opportunity for alumni, parents, and friends to make an even bigger impact with their giving. Each of the generous donors below has challenged alumni, parents, and friends to give to their schools, libraries, or student affairs—if donor goals are met, Yelda, Ling, and other generous alumni have pledged to give to the University.

Yelda Basar Moers.jpeg

Yelda Basar Moers '98

Yelda Basar Moers ’98


Yelda Basar Moers’s experience at Northwestern was a mixture of society and seclusion. She joined a sorority, Alpha Phi, made incredible friendships, and engaged in a full and energetic student life. “The university’s camaraderie—it was an incredible collective energy; I had never felt that before, to be connected to so many people at once,” says Moers.


The Medill graduate—who later became an attorney and writer—was also an avid reader and would seek out the solace of the University Libraries to focus on her books. The academic heart of the community, the libraries offered an intellectual space as well as vital resources for a research university.


“They’re such an integral part of the University,” Moers says, “particularly because Northwestern wasn’t a textbook kind of place. It was a primary resource place. If you took a class on the Ancient Greece, they didn’t give you a textbook; they gave you Homer. We would read the Iliad, reading literature to understand history.”


Now a member of the Library Board of Governors and the Participation Chair for the Libraries Campaign Committee, Moers is committed to ensuring that today’s students have the same experience. Serving on the board as well as giving to the University Libraries Annual Fund, Moers helps provide support for renovations and digital resources, as well as protection for special collections. “There are rare, one-of-a-kind books worth a fortune sitting in the library; they need the proper facility to maintain them,” she says.


“Northwestern gave me so much—an unbelievable education, the confidence to go out into the real world, and four incredibly happy years. It’s my responsibility and privilege to give back.”


Ling Zhao Markovitz ’89 MMus, ’91 Certificate in Opera Performance


After Ling Zhao Markovitz earned a master's degree in music, she auditioned for the certificate in opera performance program—“the ‘king’ of post-masters degree programs at that time,” says Ling. But having come to Northwestern as an international student from Shanghai, China, she had little money. So when she received a full scholarship to the opera program, it meant a lot to her. “Without that help, I wouldn’t have been able to further my studies.”


That music education made a lasting impression on Ling, who has been a trustee at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and served on the boards of various music institutions in the years since she graduated. Music education made her a better person, she says. “We need food for our body, and we need music for our soul.”


To this day, Ling is grateful for her music studies and for receiving financial support when she needed it most. She and her husband Michael give back to the Bienen School “so others can benefit from my contribution as I benefitted from the generosity of others.”


The Bienen School Annual Fund helps enrich students’ lives through music by providing financial and merit aid, funding special artistic and academic initiatives, and supporting the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center for the Musical Arts.


Ling, who took classes before the Ryan Center united the entire Bienen School community, “can hardly believe we have such a beautiful, spectacular music building. We definitely win a gold medal for the best conservatory in the country!”


You can participate in the June School Challenge by making a gift to one of the schools or departments below:

McCormick School of Engineering

Student Affairs

Northwestern University Library

Bienen School of Music

Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences

Northwestern University’s Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) program has partnered with the Sorbonne in Paris to offer seasoned executives from all industries the chance to earn a master’s degree in international negotiation and take courses during the summer at six locations around the world.


During the final phase of the fast-track program, called the GEMINi Award, participants return to their home bases, where they work on cases specific to their own organization’s needs.

An innovative approach to international negotiation, GEMINi allows participants to keep working full-time while earning a world-class degree and five certificates, all in one year.

Classes are held in meeting rooms where executives learn by doing, rather than listening to lectures. The curriculum includes international trade and negotiation, intercultural management, entrepreneurship, leadership, innovative thinking and integrated marketing communications.

Participants convene in Paris at the Sorbonne in late July and August. Afterward, they travel for one week each to Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the U.S., where they will earn certificates from the following prestigious universities:

  • Singapore Management University
  • City of Brisbane 
  • University of Auckland Business School
  • HEC Business School in Montreal, Canada
  • Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications


The classes are conducted in English, and all costs are inclusive. For more information, visit the Gemini Award website or Medill professor Candy Lee.


View the original story here.

Steve Reich, recently called “our greatest living composer” by The New York Times and “...the most original musical thinker of Steve Reichour time” by The New Yorker, has been awarded the $100,000 Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Music Composition from the Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University.

Established in 2004, the Nemmers Prize in Music Composition honors classical music composers of outstanding achievement who have significantly influenced the field of composition.

Previous winners of the biennial award include John Adams (2004), Oliver Knussen (2006), Kaija Saariaho (2008), John Luther Adams (2010), Aaron Jay Kernis (2012) and Esa-Pekka Salonen (2014).

“I am delighted and honored to receive the 2016 Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Music Composition from Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music,” Reich said. “It is particularly gratifying to be honored in this way by a school of music that demonstrates such passionate commitment to the study, composition and performance of new music. I look forward to my two residencies at Northwestern for concerts of my music in 2017."

Reich’s Bienen School of Music residencies, planned during the next two academic years in February and November 2017, will feature three concerts of his music performed by the Bienen School’s Contemporary Music Ensemble (CME), Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble (BCE) and Percussion Ensemble. Reich also will engage in other activities, such as coaching student ensembles, meeting with student composers and participating in moderated discussions.

“The Bienen School of Music is pleased that the awarding of the Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize to Mr. Reich coincides with his 80th birthday celebration,” said Toni-Marie Montgomery, dean of the Bienen School of Music. “This prize, along with the activities of our Institute for New Music and performances by our various student ensembles, contribute to the school’s focus on presenting world-class contemporary music to Northwestern University and broader Chicago-area audiences.”

View the rest of the story here.

Northwestern University students are among the innovators who will pitch their startup ideas to venture capitalists and business executives June 2 at the eighth annual Northwestern University Venture Challenge (NUVC).


“NUVC brings together the Northwestern community to celebrate the best and brightest student-led ventures,” said Melissa Crounse, executive director of The Garage, the University’s new innovation incubator.

Eleven startups will compete in the challenge’s final round for more than $200,000, including a $25,000 grand prize. The popular event will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall in the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center for the Musical Arts, 70 Arts Circle, on Northwestern’s Evanston campus. The public is welcome but must register for the free event.

As Northwestern’s premier business pitch competition, NUVC rewards the most innovative and promising student startups with capital and mentorship. Teams representing more than 80 interdisciplinary startups in different stages of development submitted their ideas to NUVC; the number was winnowed down to 11 finalists.

Many of the startups have come out of a variety of entrepreneurial courses taught at Northwestern, including NUvention, and others incorporate technologies coming out of Northwestern labs. Six of the finalist startups worked at The Garage this year as part of The Garage Residency Program. As the young entrepreneurs continue to develop their business ventures at the University and beyond, the only requirement to compete in NUVC is that at least one team member be a current Northwestern undergraduate or graduate student.

The final round Thursday night will feature pitches, an awards ceremony and a keynote address by Northwestern alumna Kat Mañalac, a partner at Y Combinator, which provides seed funding for startups.

Each finalist falls into one of five categories: green energy and sustainability; consumer products and software; social enterprise and nonprofit; business products and software; and health care and medical. Two startups from each track were selected during the semifinal round May 2. These 10 teams will compete for various cash prizes. An additional all-undergraduate team will compete with them for the $25,000 grand prize.

NUVC provides a stage for Northwestern students from different schools and disciplines to gain real-world experience and collaborate with other students and entrepreneurs from around Chicago and across the country.

“With the opening of The Garage last year and an ever-growing number of students taking classes in entrepreneurship and pursuing their own ventures, this is a tremendous time to be an entrepreneurial thinker,” said Alicia Löffler, executive director of Northwestern’s Innovation and New Ventures Office (INVO). “More than ever, Northwestern students have ways to channel that creativity into original, inspiring ventures.

View the original story here.

Rep. Quigley visits

U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley of Illinois visited the Northwestern University Brain Tumor Institute (NBTI) and the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University May 20 to speak with leading researchers and clinicians about advancements in brain tumor care and treatment. Congressman Quigley has championed legislation in Congress to direct more research funding to brain tumor research and raise awareness about the need for more effective treatments.


The Congressman met with doctors Leonidas Platanias, Jeffrey Raizer and Matt Lesniak to discuss some of the new therapies in development at Northwestern that are showing significant promise. The physicians also highlighted how important federal funding for research is to continuing the development of new therapies and diagnostics for this aggressive cancer.


Platanias is director of the Lurie Cancer Center; Raizer is a professor of neurology and medicine-hematology/oncology in the Feinberg School of Medicine; and Lesniak is the Michael J. Marchese Professor and chair of Neurological Surgery in Feinberg and at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Rep. Quigley then toured the NBTI Tarry Lab facility to meet with residents and early career researchers in order to discuss their research and see where the residents are trained in surgical procedures.

In addition, the Congressman also had an opportunity to see where patients are treated at the NBTI and to meet with P.J. Lukac, a former patient who was successfully treated at the NBTI for his glioblastoma. Lukac is now a practicing pediatric hospitalist at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago.


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In recognition of National Military Appreciation Month, Northwestern University will make contributions to a number of veterans organizations and institutions. As part of this commitment to veterans, Northwestern also will increase its financial support for the Yellow Ribbon Program, which provides funding for military veterans to attend Northwestern, University officials announced today.


Northwestern will provide an additional $100,000 in funding for the program, which will enable more military veterans to enroll in Northwestern's programs.

“Northwestern University has been an active participant in veterans programs, especially the Yellow Ribbon Program, and we are very pleased to add support to many such programs in recognition of Military Appreciation Month,” Provost Daniel Linzer said.

Northwestern currently has a total of 222 veterans enrolled in the University. The largest number of enrolled veterans is in Northwestern’s School of Professional Studies graduate programs (92), followed by the Kellogg School of Management (74) and other graduate programs, including engineering, education, journalism and other schools.

In addition, Northwestern has 43 active duty members of the armed services enrolled, including a Navy SEAL who was on the football team last fall. (These numbers reflect those who self-report as veterans or are receiving veterans benefits that the University knows about. There may be other students who are not receiving benefits and who do not identify themselves as veterans.)

Through the Yellow Ribbon Program, which is run by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Northwestern and other participating colleges and universities provide direct financial assistance to military veterans. The program is similar to the GI Bill, which provided federal funding for veterans after World War II.

In addition to the increased funding for the Yellow Ribbon Program, contributions will be made to the United Service Organization (USO) of Illinois, to the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Center (Veterans Administration) in North Chicago and to four national organizations: Team Red, White & Blue; Children of Fallen Patriots; Fisher House Foundation; and Disabled American Veterans. Northwestern also will make a contribution to three Veterans Administration national cemeteries: Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, San Francisco National Cemetery and San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery. A donation also will be made to Central Coast Veterans Cemetery Foundation.

Through its Naval Reserve Officers Training Program, Northwestern has historically had close ties with the U.S. Navy. The program was one of the original six NROTC units established by the Navy in 1926 and has operated continuously since then. Northwestern has educated and graduated officers into the Navy and Marines for nearly 90 years, including Rear Admiral Lisa Franchetti, a 1985 journalism graduate who recently was promoted to commander of U.S. Navy Carrier Strike Group 9, based in San Diego.

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With student demand and research opportunities in computer science skyrocketing, Northwestern University today announced it will hire an additional 20 faculty members and substantially expand its commitment to this field in the years ahead. Half of the new faculty appointments will be in core computer science areas and half structured as collaborative “CS+X” appointments with other disciplines. The University is making initial investments in advance of fundraising to support the overall effort, which is expected to exceed $150 million.


“This is an investment in the future of the University. Computer science has become a foundational discipline for many of our students, and faculty across the University are increasingly using computational thinking,” Northwestern President Morton Schapiro said. “It is important for Northwestern to continue to enable new paths for exploration. The time is right to make this commitment.”

Interest in computer science among students at Northwestern has increased significantly. In the last five years, the number of computer science majors has more than tripled. Overall course enrollments have more than doubled, with non-majors taking many advanced classes. Basic computer science skills have become a prerequisite for many jobs for new graduates, and demand for such knowledge will only increase in the future.

“Through this investment, computer science at Northwestern will meet the challenge of ensuring students have the necessary skills they need to do great things in the world,” Northwestern Provost Daniel Linzer said. “This will have far-reaching implications. Not only can we advance computer science at Northwestern, but we can advance Northwestern through computer science.”

Computer science and computational thinking have the potential to touch nearly every field at the University. The explosion of available data combined with increased computing power has resulted in research growth in areas such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, robotics and data analytics. While this has led to a wealth of new research within computer science, the power of the field lies in its ability to provide new collaborations and points of view to many academic disciplines. This collaboration has a long history at the University: Several Northwestern computer science professors have joint appointments in areas such as music, journalism and education, and many of the new faculty positions will be at new intersections of disciplines. These CS+X appointments will accelerate collaborative research.

“The power of computer science lies in augmenting our thinking and in its ability to accelerate research exponentially in other areas,” said Julio M. Ottino, dean of the McCormick School of Engineering. “Even areas as diverse as art, economics, medicine and political science can benefit from integrating computational thinking into their research and education. The possibilities are endless.”


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This week, we spotlight several June School Challenge donors. The June School Challenge is an exciting opportunity for alumni, parents, and friends to make an even bigger impact with their giving. Each of the generous donors below has challenged alumni, parents, and friends to give to their schools, libraries, or student affairs—if donor goals are met, Tim, Mary, Peter, Jennifer, and other generous alumni have pledged to give to the University.

Tim ’87 and Mary Patronik ’88, ’97 MBA


Tim '87 and Mary Patronik '88, '97 MBA


“I couldn’t write a circuit diagram like I used to,” says Tim Patronik ‘87, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and later transitioned into executive management, “but I’m pretty good at solving problems.” He’s never shied away from complex situations, thanks to his engineering education.


His wife Mary Scott Patronik ’88, who earned a BS in Industrial Engineering Management Science and later a Master’s of Management from Kellogg in 1997, also credits her engineering degree for her ability to address challenges when she pursued a career in sales. Engineering “promotes discipline, a structured way of thinking that becomes part of the way you process ideas internally,” says Mary.


Many of Tim and Mary’s classmates also advanced in careers outside of engineering. “I don’t think any of them would trade their engineering background,” says Tim, “because it’s great preparation for industry and any kind of commercial vocation that involves complicated problem-solving.”


The McCormick School of Engineering specializes in a “whole-brain” approach, merging creative thinking with core engineering knowledge, even more so than during Mary and Tim’s time at Northwestern. “It’s so exciting compared to when we went,” says Mary, “when it was very much focused on your particular discipline.”


This is the type of cross-disciplinary preparation they hope today’s McCormick students will gain—and why they choose to support the McCormick Annual Fund.


In addition to supporting McCormick, Tim and Mary sit on a leadership council and participate in an alumni group. “There’s value in being part of the Northwestern community,” says Tim, but going on 30 years after graduation, remaining connected becomes increasingly difficult. “Giving to the University helps us to reconnect.”

Jennifer and Peter Altabef, '12 P, '17 P



Jennifer and Peter Altabef, '12 P, '17 P

Jennifer Altabef’s undergraduate and law education at SMU were made possible through a combination of employment, loans, and scholarship funds. But there were still times when it was a challenge to afford the basic necessities, like groceries.


“That was hard, when you don’t get paid for another four or five days, and you have only some milk and bread.” She and her husband, Peter, who also benefited from scholarship funds, understand that even well prepared, hard working students may need help from time to time.


Jennifer and Peter have had two children attend Northwestern—their daughter, who graduated in 2012 in American Studies, and their son, who plans to graduate next year with a degree in Communications. They hope that their children, and other Northwestern students like them, will never have to choose between succeeding in school and handling an unanticipated hardship, like a stolen laptop or a medical emergency.


The stress caused by such emergencies impairs students’ ability to focus on their studies. So when they read in Northwestern Magazine about the Margo Brown Northwestern Student Emergency Fund, which provides support to students experiencing unforeseen, critical, or catastrophic incidents, they felt compelled to make an endowment gift.


“When you don’t have many resources, you spend a lot of time worrying about not having many resources,” says Jennifer, who serves on the Student Affairs Committee of We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern. “If this fund had been available for me, even in very small amounts, it would have made a difference.”