Dear Northwestern Alumni, Parents and Friends:
I’m starting my third year as president of Northwestern, and I’m pleased to report that the University continues to make impressive strides.
As many of you know, last year was highlighted by Dale Mortensen’s sharing the Nobel Prize in Economics. The Ida C. Cook Professor of Economics, who has taught at Northwestern for more than four decades, represents what makes this University unique: He is a truly outstanding intellect who is also a great teacher and a treasured member of the Northwestern community.
Northwestern is without a doubt one of the top research universities in the world, and our research enterprise continues to grow. However, the University is also a place with an unusual intersection of big research, strong professional schools and a focus on undergraduate education. That combination of excellence in all three areas — and I would add to that a strong Division I athletics program — puts Northwestern among a very small number of universities.
The wide variety of achievements by our alumni, students and faculty demonstrates that. In the past year:
• Rahm Emanuel (GC85) was elected mayor of Chicago.
• The women’s lacrosse team won the NCAA national championship for the sixth time in the last seven years, and rising senior Shannon Smith was named the top women’s lacrosse player in the country.
• The Lookingglass Theatre Company, which was founded by Northwestern alumni and includes theater professor Mary Zimmerman (C82, GC85, 94) as an ensemble member, won the Tony Award for best regional theater.
• Luke Donald (WCAS01) became the No. 1 ranked golfer in the world.
• A law school team won the national trial championship.
• Three faculty members were inducted into branches of the National Academies, in sciences, engineering and medicine.
• Northwestern alumni won Pulitzer Prizes for local reporting (Frank Main [GJ87], Chicago Sun-Times) and drama (Bruce Norris [C82], for his play Clybourne Park).
• Dance Marathon broke the $1 million mark.
• The debate team won the national championship.
• Luke Matheny (J97)won an Academy Award for best live action short film.
That was all in the past year, and I’m undoubtedly leaving some things out. This is truly a place where good things are happening nearly every day.
In addition, thanks to our alumni, good things also are happening around the world. That was reinforced for me this summer when I traveled to England, India, Singapore and China and met with alumni. Our alums in those countries, and elsewhere in the world, are leaders, helping to improve matters both locally and globally. In doing so, they represent Northwestern in an extraordinary fashion.
Those alumni will be joined next May by the first graduates of Northwestern University in Qatar. These pioneering students from throughout the Middle East have been studying journalism and communication at our campus in Doha and will undoubtedly begin making their mark soon in those fields. The historic events that occurred in that region last spring illustrated clearly the importance of communication and journalism in transforming societies. Because of what we teach at NU-Q, our graduates will have the opportunity both to participate in and to chronicle those changes. I look forward to hearing more from these new alumni.
As was the case in many areas of the economy, the past few years have been challenging for higher education. But Northwestern has come through in a very strong position. Our endowment has nearly returned to prerecession levels, our balance sheet is in excellent shape, and most importantly, a Northwestern degree at all levels continues to be much sought after. We received almost 31,000 applications for this year’s entering undergraduate class of approximately 2,000 students, and our acceptance rate was 18 percent, placing us in a very select group of institutions. Application numbers also remained very strong for our professional schools and graduate programs. We’re moving forward on our strategic plan for the University, and we’ll be sharing more information on that in the coming year.
In short, we’re on a roll. We need your help to continue this momentum. I urge you to participate in the Northwestern community. You can do so by volunteering with your local alumni club, mentoring current students and making an annual gift to the University. Annual giving is the engine that fuels our growth. I invite you to support the area of Northwestern that matters most to you — whether it be your school, scholarships, athletics, the arts or any other area that you feel passionate about. Each gift makes an important difference every day in the lives of our students, our transformative research and in the overall success of our University. Please join me in supporting Northwestern. Find out more at alumni.northwestern.edu/participate.
President and Professor