Rob Schoenthaler ’92 and Lauren Knudsen Schoenthaler ’92

When Rob and Lauren Schoenthaler—who met during their freshman year at Northwestern and married six years later in 1994—moved into their current home, they painted the front door purple as a reminder of their time at Northwestern. This fall, the Schoenthalers will bring this same Purple Pride to their 25th Reunion, where they will serve as national reunion co-chairs.


The Schoenthalers live in the San Francisco Bay area—Rob is the CEO and founder of Atollogy and Lauren is a senior associate vice provost at Stanford University—but make it a point to return to Evanston for Homecoming and Reunion Weekend. These weekends, says Rob, give them “a chance to return to campus and reconnect with friends.”


Lauren says that participating in Reunion has strengthened the family’s ties to the University and its many generations of alumni. “Everyone at Reunion Weekend has a slightly different Northwestern direction,” says Lauren, “but we can still find connections and share what makes Northwestern and Evanston special.”


The Schoenthalers are looking forward to revisiting old haunts during Homecoming and Reunion Weekend. They plan to stop by Allison Hall, where they met, as well as Lauren’s Alpha Chi Omega sorority house and Rob’s Alpha Delta Phi fraternity house. They’ll also visit the lakefront, where Rob once painted “You are my sunshine” on a rock for Lauren. The rock has been painted over for many years, but the couple still enjoys walking along Lake Michigan and attempting to figure out which one it might have been.


Rob and Lauren are also excited to reminisce about the experiences that were most meaningful to them as students. “We loved football games,” says Rob, “and we went to a whole lot of theatre.” He counts the Mee-Ow show and Wednesday night dollar movie on Central Street among his favorite memories.


A visit to Evanston wouldn’t be complete without visits to their favorite restaurants, says Lauren. “We have to stop at Giordano’s for Chicago deep dish pizza,” she says “and, of course, make a stop at Buffalo Joe’s for spicy wings with celery sticks and ranch.” 


When they’re not fulfilling their duties as national reunion co-chairs—serving as ambassadors for the University and motivating fellow alumni to come back and give back in honor of Reunion—the Schoenthalers are actively engaged in the Bay Area’s Northwestern alumni community. Rob conducts admissions interviews—which he calls “a great opportunity to talk with interested and incoming students”—and Lauren represents the University at college fairs.


Recently, the Schoenthalers inspired a high school student in their neighborhood to apply to Northwestern after they shared with her the story behind their purple front door. “I want to go to a school people care about so much that they paint their front door to remind them of it each time they enter their home,” the student told Lauren.


As Rob and Lauren approach their 25th Reunion, the Schoenthalers look forward to celebrating the University that has impacted them in so many ways—connecting them to each other and to the greater Northwestern Network.


Learn more about Reunion festivities at the 2017 Homecoming and Reunion Weekend, which is scheduled for October 5-8.