Photo by Andrew Campbell
Bright Prospects for NorthwesternA letter from University President Henry S. Bienen
Dear Northwestern Alumni,
I begin my 10th year as Northwestern's president this year, and I can honestly say I've never been more enthusiastic about the prospects for the University than I am now. In the past decade, we have made tremendous strides, thanks to the efforts of thousands of alumni, faculty, students and other University leaders. As a result, we now have the opportunity to make this already-great institution even better, and I'm excited by the challenge of doing so.
A key reason that I remain excited after nearly a decade in this post is that I continue to be inspired by the dedication that so many others connected with Northwestern display for this institution. Members of our Board of Trustees and alumni volunteers devote countless hours to the University without compensation and provide the core of our financial support.
Our faculty members conduct important research in their fields while remaining passionate about teaching. And our students are among the best in the world, eager to learn and to contribute to the betterment of society, both while they're here at Northwestern and after they graduate.
I think few things symbolize the tremendous breadth and depth of this institution better than last spring's announcement that two students and a recent graduate had won a Rhodes Scholarship and two Marshall Scholarships and next spring's planned opening of the Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Center of Northwestern University on the Chicago campus. The first exemplifies the terrific accomplishments of Northwestern's undergraduates; the second demonstrates clearly the significant commitment to cutting-edge research that we have made in recent years.
Last spring we had our first Rhodes Scholar in many years, Cristina Bejan (WCAS04), who double majored in philosophy and theater (see"The Mind and The Muse"). At the same time, another student, Tracy Carson (WCAS04) ("An Activist and a Scholar," summer 2004), a history major, a member of the debate team for three years and president of For Members Only, the Northwestern black student alliance, received a Marshall Scholarship. Another Marshall was awarded to Kate Elswit (C02), who double majored in comparative literature and dance. All three will be studying this year in England.
The accomplishments of these wonderful students - and the increasing number of other students who have won prestigious awards and scholarships - illustrate the wide range of opportunities for our undergraduates. One of the hallmarks of a Northwestern education is the unusually broad choice in academic programs for a school of our size. So it's wonderful to see our students take advantage of those opportunities and be recognized for their success.
The new Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Center will be a powerful symbol of our investment in scientific and medical research. With this building and the new Arthur and Gladys Pancoe-Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Life Sciences Pavilion, the Center for Nanofabrication and Molecular Self-Assembly, and renovations to our existing science and technology facilities, we are making a major commitment to increasing Northwestern's research activities. This is important, not just because it brings research dollars into the University, but because the research being done will benefit society as a whole. So we're very much looking forward to the opening of the new Lurie Medical Research Center, which will be a major addition to our Chicago campus in many ways.
These new facilities could not have been possible without the generous support of our alumni and other friends of the University. Major gifts are very important in funding new facilities, but continuing annual support by alumni also is critical to maintaining the strong financial assistance that we provide undergraduate students, as well as other important missions of the University. Therefore, I hope you will join me and thousands of alumni in expressing your confidence in the University by supporting Northwestern financially and through your volunteer efforts.
I also hope I will continue to see many of you at alumni activities this year, such as Homecoming and Reunions Weekend, the football pregame activities in Wildcat Alley or away-game tailgates this fall, or at the many other club activities around the country. Whenever I travel, I always enjoy meeting with alumni, both our loyal, longtime alums and the younger ones who are"my" alumni - graduates who were students here during my presidency. So often alumni tell me how valuable their education and experiences have proven to be. That's great to hear, as it recognizes the superb teaching of our faculty and the hard work of our staff on behalf of our students.
I very much appreciate the opportunity that I have been given to lead this great university. With your continued support, I look forward to continuing to do so as we reach new levels of success at Northwestern.
Henry S. Bienen