Bethany Crystal ’09 (right) with husband Jason Crystal ’06 (left)

When the Wildcats take on the Pittsburgh Panthers in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl on December 28 in New York City, Bethany Crystal ’09 will be there to cheer them on.


Crystal, a flutist, has been an avid Northwestern football fan since the first time she stepped onto Ryan Field with the marching band as a freshman in September 2005. After her initial experience cheering on the Wildcats—as they defeated the Northern Illinois Huskies by a single point—she went on to have many other memorable football moments. One of her favorite memories was Northwestern’s narrow victory over Iowa in 2005. “After the game,” recalls Crystal, “quarterback Brett Basanez raced across the field in his bare feet, climbed into the drum major’s stand, and led the band in playing Go! U Northwestern one final time.”


A native of Lansdale, Pennsylvania, Crystal’s decision to attend Northwestern was based in part on the excellent reputation of its marching band—as well as its academic programs, proximity to Chicago, and fact that her mother is an alumna. Now a resident of New York City, Crystal works as a general manager at Union Square Ventures, where she acts as a “community builder” for the more than 60 companies in her investment portfolio—helping them learn from one another, share best practices, and ultimately build better businesses. A Medill graduate, Crystal never envisioned herself working in venture capital but says that her current position is the “perfect blend of what I loved the most about journalism—talking to people, writing, and traveling.”


Crystal is active in the Northwestern community, serving as president of the Medill Club of New York and a member of NUMBALUMS, the Northwestern University Marching and Band alumni group. She is proud to celebrate Purple Fridays—wearing purple during football season—and greets fellow alumni she meets around New York with “Go ’Cats!” Earlier this year, she married Jason Crystal ’06 and the couple had their wedding band play Go! U Northwestern at the reception. Says Crystal, “We never miss an opportunity to cheer on the Wildcats.”


Crystal is thrilled that the Wildcats are coming to New York for the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, “just a subway ride away” from where she lives. The evening before the game, Crystal will host a NUMBALUMS bar night at Hurley’s Saloon in the theater district. On game day, she and her husband will head to Yankee Stadium, where they will participate in the N Zone tailgate before heading inside for the game. Crystal is confident that she will have more celebrating to do after the Bowl—following another Wildcat victory.