Northwestern football coach Pat Fitzgerald puts a high price on winning, but he'll have a little extra motivation when his Wildcats face the University of Minnesota Oct. 13. His 10-year reunion classmates will be cheering on the Wildcats.
With Reunion Celebration just weeks away, Fitzgerald's 1997 classmates and alumni from the classes of 1962, 1967, 1972, 1977, 1982, 1987, 1992 and 2002 have been connecting through the reunion web sites and planning for their return to campus Oct. 12â14. For Fitzgerald (SESP97), victory on the football field is a priority.
He hopes to make this year's Homecoming game against Minnesota just as exciting as his favorite Homecoming game as a Wildcat linebacker in 1995, when he helped lead the team to a 35-0 win against the University of Wisconsin, and later, to the first of two consecutive Big Ten Conference championships and a trip to the 1996 Rose Bowl.
"I remember it vividly," Fitzgerald says of the '95 Homecoming game. "We had beaten Michigan and Notre Dame earlier in the season. The atmosphere at the stadium was electric, and that excitement and passion were contagious."
Now Fitzgerald will spread school spirit during the Reunion Celebration's Friday activities â the Gridiron Network Football Luncheon at Norris University Center, the pep rally at Cahn Auditorium and the Homecoming Parade on Sheridan Road. Prior to the pep rally, alumni will reconnect at the free Reunion Welcome and Cocktail Reception on Deering Meadow.
During Reunion Celebration, alumni will have the chance to share Homecoming football fun with their classmates at the free family-friendly All-Class Reunion Tailgate in the field east of Rocky Miller Park. Classmates can also be seated together at Ryan Field for the game. Between the game's first and second quarters, reunion co-chairs will present this year's collective class gift to President Henry S. Bienen.
Homecoming and football activities are just a part of Reunion Celebration weekend. On Friday alumni can hop on one of the free shuttle buses that will bring them from various Evanston and Chicago locations to Norris, which serves as Reunion Celebration headquarters.
Also at Norris, alumni can attend one-on-one job search consultations and workshops with Cynthia Graham of University Career Services, and those age 50 and beyond can hear about new and creative alternatives to retirement from David Corbett (WCAS60), author of Portfolio Life: The New Path to Work, Purpose and Passion After 50 (Jossey-Bass, 2006). Those interested in steering their children or grandchildren toward college can catch "Navigating the College Admissions Process," a presentation by Michael Mills, associate provost for University enrollment at Northwestern.
The afternoon also includes "Stem Cell Research: The Science and the Ethics," part of the Northwestern Alumni Association's annual Classes Without Quizzes. John Kessler, chair of the department of neurology at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine, and Laurie Zoloth, director of Northwestern's Center for Bioethics, Science and Society, will discuss the benefits and risks of applying stem cell research.
Alumni living and working in downtown Chicago can kick off the weekend at the James Hotel on East Ontario Street, the Friday evening check-in point. From 5 to 8 p.m., reunion alumni can meet friends at the hospitality suite or pick up information on their class parties and other weekend activities there. Young alumni can then head to Joe's Sports Bar, the site of this year's annual Young Alumni Homecoming bash. Free shuttles will also be available to take members of the fifth- and 10th-year classes from the James to the Saturday night class parties at Jake Melnick's Corner Tap and the Landmark Grill and Lounge in Chicago.
For more information about Reunion Celebration, please visit www.alumni.northwestern.edu/reunions/fall2007