| Alumni News
New Alumni Website
The Purple in Panama
School of Law
Ann Whitney (S52)
Jeff Mantel (G71, 76)
Maria Eliza Hamilton (WCAS87)
Bob and Rick Segall (J93)
Teach Your Students Well
What makes a professor good? The recipe includes many ingredients, but surely the open-door policy, genuine caring for students beyond the classroom, overall enthusiasm and expertise exhibited by the four professors honored this year by the Northwestern Alumni Association are crucial to success in front of the class.
Each year since 1987, the NAA has selected, with the help of the University's deans and student and alumni recommendations, outstanding faculty members to honor by award and stipend.
The four professors so honored this fall at a luncheon during the Annual Leadership Conference were Patricia Dean (GJ94), associate professor and former chair of broadcast journalism in the Medill School of Journalism; Dana Hodgdon (GS71), associate professor of radio/television/film in the School of Speech; Robert McClory (GJ71), associate professor at Medill; and Edward Muir Jr., professor of history in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.
Pat Dean has been on the Medill faculty since 1987 and is active in the field as a media consultant and freelance writer/producer. As a producer, she has worked at all three Chicago network television stations.
"Pat Dean is a pro," wrote Medill dean Ken Bode, who nominated her for the award. Her other honors include the National Press Club Award (1982), the George Foster Peabody Broadcasting Award (1979 and 1981) and selection for inclusion in Who's Who in the Media and Communications. She is also a "mentor, critic, confidence booster, career adviser, shoulder to cry on and safe harbor for legions of Medill broadcast students," noted Bode. "She takes students who have dreamed of broadcast careers and turns those dreams into reality."
Said Dean: "I have a passion for journalism, and I bring that passion to the classroom. My classroom approach is a 'coaching' style to encourage students to ask questions and get feedback. My door is open to all students at all times."
Dean's accessibility extends beyond graduation. As one alumna wrote in a letter of recommendation for the award, "Two years after graduation, I was considering a job change and needed advice. Pat Dean was one of the first people I called."
Dana Hodgdon has produced one-person shows for the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Hirshhorn Museum/Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and the School of the Art Institute's film department in Chicago. He has received countless film festival awards, including a Certificate of Merit and two Gold Plaques from the Chicago International Film Festival.
Hodgdon, who joined the faculty in 1971, was chair of the committee that designed the film and video studios of Northwestern's John J. Louis Hall. Besides teaching, he serves as the faculty adviser to Studio 22 and Niteskool, two School of Speech co-curricular programs.
To students, Hodgdon is a role model and mentor as well as an intense classroom teacher always challenging them to consider and reconsider artistic choices. Generations of students have relied on his expertise and maintain ties with him after graduation, said School of Speech Dean David Zarefsky (S68, GS69, 74), who nominated Hodgdon. "Dana himself continues to be available for advice as I struggle up the ladder," one former student wrote in a letter of recommendation.
A current student noted that a conversation with Hodgdon when he was on campus as a high school Cherub is "a large reason that I'm a student at Northwestern today."
Hodgdon's teaching philosophy is simple. "Effective communication with students in a teaching situation involves both teaching and delighting," he said.
Before joining the Medill faculty in 1988, Robert McClory was an award-winning writer. A former Catholic priest, he is author of five books, including Power and the Papacy: The People and Politics Behind the Doctrine of Infallibility (Triumph, 1997).
"I had always enjoyed teaching," McClory said. "It was one of the most enjoyable aspects of being a priest. ...I have a strong aversion to being bored, so I try to have a fairly lively class with a certain amount of humor in it, supplied either by me or by the students or both."
His teaching style seems to agree with students. "He doesn't teach," one wrote in a recommendation, "not in that dry, syllabus-obsessed, note-loving way. Instead, Bob, as he asks his students to call him, imparts wisdom, encourages free thought and discussion, pushes gently until you've done it right, and, before you know it, you're learning."
An authority on the Italian Renaissance, Edward Muir received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1985 and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1977. He joined the Northwestern faculty six years ago and was named Clarence L. Ver Steeg Professor in the Arts and Sciences in 1997.
A prolific writer, Muir wrote Mad Blood Stirring: Vendetta and Factions in Fruili During the Renaissance, published by the John Hopkins University Press, which won the Howard R. Marraro Prize for the best monograph on Italian history in 1993.
His classroom achievements parallel his publishing record. Impassioned students praise his lectures and his personal interest in them. "I was hooked ... by his energy and passion and sympathy for the intellectual revolution of the Renaissance," one wrote in a letter of recommendation. "To have missed out on this course ... would have been a loss to my spirit and to my experience of life." Another called Muir "one of the most gifted professors that I have ever had. He genuinely cares about his students."
Timothy Breen, William Smith Mason Professor of American History and chair of the history department, called Muir a "truly gifted teacher" and "one of the most respected Renaissance scholars in North America."
Log in at www.alumni.northwestern.edu and a purple world awaits you. Through the Web, you can stay in touch with the million-and-one things happening on -- and off -- campus today.
Just ask Cargill executive Jennifer Wagner (McC88, GMcC96, 97). Not long ago, she was pulling an all-nighter in Australia for a client presentation the next day in Singapore. At 3 a.m. Melbourne time, Wagner received an e-mail from Sagon Togasa (WCAS86), an old friend and classmate, now living in Indonesia. He had found her through the alumni Web site's online directory but had no idea she was in the South Pacific. A few days later, the two reconnected for the first time in seven years on the island of Bali.
Maybe your experience with the Web site won't be that dramatic or far-flung, but you'd be surprised how useful a little browsing can be. Find out who won the student government elections and which performers are coming to Evanston or Chicago. Hook up with the Daily Northwestern and other University publications, including Northwestern magazine. See how new football coach Randy Walker is finding life with his Wildcats. And don't forget reunion postings so you can make plans to return to campus and see old (and not-so-old) classmates. It's all there on the Web -- and more.
"Our recent survey of alumni indicated that 62 percent log on to the Internet daily," says M. Catherine Jaros (KGSM73), president of the Northwestern Alumni Association. "Our 'hits' log tallies more than 200 alumni and friends plugging into the alumni home page every day."
Some alums have planned trips to Tahiti or the French Riviera by searching the travel calendar by month or geographic location. When they relocate, graduates can meet kindred souls at alumni clubs located throughout the United States and abroad that are listed on the Web.
And it doesn't stop there. Visitors to the Web site can save money, find jobs and do their holiday shopping. The NAA offers discounts on insurance and moving companies and hotels, among other perks.
Log on and you'll like what you see. If you're successful in finding long-lost friends on our Web site, please e-mail us (email@example.com).
It seems that everyone uses e-mail these days. Using cyber-magic, four couples, including five alumni, converged on Panama City for their own version of an "almost 40th" reunion.
In March, John (S60) and Millie Meyer (WCAS60) Boaz of Chicago, David (McC61) and Nani Boyce of Evanston, and Greg (SESP61) and Peggy Goodwin of Bakersfield, Calif., reunited at the home of Carlos (WCAS61) and Daisy Williams for 10 days of fun. Sporting purple garb, the group reminisced about their undergraduate days in Evanston, swapping stories about working at Sargent Hall, dorm life at Lindgren Residential College and Hinman House and midnight treks to Howard Street.
Carlos Williams, recently retired from the Panamanian Canal Commission, gave his guests an insider's view of a canal lock, including a stroll along the catwalk on top of the gates and a view of the control room. "E-mail and the World Wide Web made all the difference in keeping our travel planning easy, quick and cheap," says David Boyce. "After an initial meeting of three of the couples, everything was done electronically. I searched the Web for national parks and vaccination infomation; and, after the trip, used e-mail to share photos with friends."
Since graduation, the group has corresponded yearly at holidays and
occasionally traveled together. Several were attendants at each others'
weddings. But it took modern technology and the power of e-mail to gather
the group in Panama.
Over the summer and into the fall, NU clubs around the country held events that reflected their members' ongoing commitment to Northwestern.
The NU Club of Cincinnati went on the road to watch the Wildcats meet the Hoosiers on the gridiron, and they hosted a new student party, while the NU Club of Denver had a wine-and-cheese get-together.
The NU Club of Detroit hosted Kevin O'Neill, the men's basketball coach, and attended the Nov. 6 football game against the University of Michigan Wolverines. The NU Club of Indianapolis welcomed new Northwestern freshmen at a get-together before the new students went off to Evanston. And the NU Club of Los Angeles came together for a wine-tasting party and hosted Irving Rein, professor of communication studies.
The NU Club of Milwaukee met jointly with the Milwaukee Kellogg Club; the NU Club of Greater New York watched Wildcat football all season at Blondie's on the Upper West Side and held a presidents' council meeting of past New York club presidents; the NU Club of Springfield (Ill.) held a spring reception at the Illinois Executive Mansion, while the NU Club of San Antonio dined at a restaurant along the San Antonio River.
The NU Club of Washington (D.C.) hosted an intern barbecue for Northwestern students who worked in the area during the summer, toured the National Zoo, organized a softball tournament for young alumni and hosted Sara J. Bloomfield (WCAS72), director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. In the spirit of planning ahead, the NU Club of Sarasota (Fla.) has scheduled a Big Ten lunch on Jan. 22.
The Northwestern University Entertainment Alliance/West held Festival '99, a film festival of alumni and student multimedia works, this fall at Paramount Studios through the generosity of studio head Sherry Lansing (S66).
From Jan. 1 to 15, 2000, submissions will be accepted for the first NUEA screenwriting competition. Besides a small entry fee, the only requirement is membership in the NUEA. Another Celebrity Improv Comedy Revue, including prominent and, of course, funny Northwestern alumni, is planned for November or December to close out the millennium.
Meanwhile, the Medill Club of New York has established a tutoring program on Saturday mornings for schoolchildren. The club has over 15 alumni volunteers and 30 students, grades two through five, for the program, which meets twice a month. Volunteers help students improve their reading, writing and math skills. Thanks to Dick Stolley (J52, GJ53), senior editorial adviser at Time Inc., Sports Illustrated for Kids is donating issues of the magazine to the program.
The John Evans Club enjoyed a close-up look at the latest technology and services offered by the world-class Northwestern Memorial Hospital, which opened two pavilions last May. The July evening began in the mezzanine by the hospital's Florence and Ike Sewell Museum, which tells Northwestern Memorial's history. Club member Reuben Feinberg, for whom the hospital's Reuben and Frances Feinberg Pavilion is named, greeted guests.
Kathleen G. Murray, the hospital's executive vice president and chief operating officer, then presented an overview of the hospital's planning and construction. Dieter Enzmann, chair of the department of radiology, and Hunt Batjer, chair of neurological surgery, presented the evening's lecture, "Innovations in Imaging and Neuroscience." A tour of new pavilions followed, with dinner concluding the evening.
In November, the club met at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier for a performance of Antony and Cleopatra.
Kellogg alumni in Hong Kong were treated in the spring to an evening with tennis star Patrick Rafter, seated second from left, during the Salem Open tournament.
Kellogg Graduate School of Management
At the request of family and friends, Kellogg established a scholarship fund in memory of John F. Neilson (KGSM87), who died May 29 at the age of 37.
Neilson enjoyed a 12-year career at Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft Corp., where he rose meteorically to become the youngest vice president in the company's history.
The endowed fund will help support four students each year, beginning this fall. Criteria for selection include financial need, enthusiasm for management, ability to inspire others and passion for life.
Contributions were made by Neilson's family and friends. The Gates Foundation also donated $250,000 to the fund.
Neilson was a recipient of the 1998 Schaffner Award and served as a member of the Kellogg Alumni Advisory Board.
On the local scene, the New York club expanded its membership and established a Kellogg alumni marketers group and a new media group.
In October, the Bay Area club hosted a welcome party for alumni new to the area, offering a private tour, wine tasting and a four-course lunch at Gallo of Sonoma.
The Twin Cities club continues to join other local MBA clubs from other schools to plan events. Last May, the Kellogg crowd joined other MBAs for dinner at a Minneapolis steak house.
In the summer, the School of Law recognized practicing lawyers who teach as adjuncts in its trial advocacy program, which ranks second in the nation. Chief among the awards was one named in memory of Judge Joan M. Corboy (L77), who died in a tragic accident earlier in the year.
Dean David Van Zandt presented the first Judge Joan M. Corboy Memorial Award for Excellence in Teaching Advocacy and Professionalism to Arthur Hill Jr. (L78), chief of felony prosecutions in the Cook County State's Attorney's Office. Judge Corboy's father, Philip Corboy -- a well-known attorney himself -- attended the presentation, as did her husband, Judge James R. Epstein (L78).
Judge Corboy served with distinction as a federal district court clerk and as one of the Cook County State's Attorney's top trial lawyers. Along with her husband, Judge Corboy was a teacher in the law school's trial advocacy program.
The School of Law's trial advocacy program was further bolstered by a $2 million contribution from the partners of Bartlit, Beck, Herman, Palenchar & Scott to create the Fred Bartlit Center for Trial Strategy in honor of its senior partner, an innovative leader in litigation and business strategies.
Last summer, 40 middle school-age children from Chicago's Cabrini-Green public housing units and the lower-income Washington Park neighborhood participated in a weekend of hiking, crafts and other activities, thanks to 25 medical student volunteers.
Camp Wildcat, held at a YMCA facility in Gurnee, Ill., was organized by these students in partnership with Chicago Youth Programs Inc., which provides educational opportunities for at-risk children. In addition to providing a safe recreational outlet, Camp Wildcat encouraged group-building, teamwork and a sense of self-worth.
College mentors for the class of 2003 have been named. The mentors will lead "colleges" of about 44 students each, providing guidance in the Physician, Patient and Society courses students take throughout their first two years of medical education.
The Medical School's Office of Alumni Affairs now offers "e-mail for life." Even if an alumnus' street address changes, the e-mail address remains the same. The system routes e-mail through a server at the University to an alum's preferred e-mail address and notifies the alum of all medical alumni-sponsored events and activities.
Ann Whitney, center, in
Many dreams have come true for Ann Whitney (S52), including success as an actress later in life.
Like many children, Ann Whitney (S52) dreamed of being an actress when she was growing up. Although she entered Northwestern to study theater, 30 years would pass after Whitney graduated before she set foot on a University stage.
Her first acting teacher, the late Claudia Webster Robinson, convinced her to pursue a different dream first.
"At that time, the place to go if you wanted to be an actress after you graduated was New York," she says. "I think that [Webster] could see that I was not single-minded enough to pack up my bags and go to New York and survive."
Webster advised Whitney to keep drama as an avocation and pursue one of her other interests professionally. Whitney agreed and changed her major to speech therapy.
After graduation and marriage, she worked briefly as a speech therapist at the Shriners Hospital for Children on Chicago's West Side, finding the work fulfilling. Then, she and her husband moved to Boston, where he attended Harvard Business School. It was there that their first child was born. "My other dream was to have a family and be a stay-at-home mom," says the Evanston resident. "That dream was beginning to come true."
In all that time, though, Whitney never lost her desire to be on stage. After her husband appeared in a church play, she decided to try acting again. She and some women from her church started a theater group, rehearsing in Whitney's living room so she wouldn't have to leave her son, her fourth child, during his naps.
She learned her craft well. In 1988, Whitney got her first union job performing in Passion Play, directed by Northwestern's Frank Galati (S65, GS67) at the respected Goodman Theatre in Chicago. Her career took off, and she began performing with the Court Theatre, Northlight Theatre, the Steppenwolf Theatre Company and the Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre, all professional Chicago-area playhouses.
In January 1992, Rives Collins, an associate professor of theater at Northwestern, asked Whitney if she would perform as a guest artist in a play he was directing called Do Not Go Gentle. "That was a high point in my career," she says."I never dreamed that my university would have me back to do something that I never did for them while I was there."
In addition to her stage work, Whitney has had a number of small roles in motion pictures filmed in the Chicago area. She played a drugstore clerk in Home Alone and worked with Sandra Bullock in While You Were Sleeping, Morgan Freeman in Chain Reaction and Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive.
In the fall of 1998, Whitney received official confirmation that her second dream in life wasn't misplaced: The Sarah Siddons Society named her Chicago's Leading Lady that year for her performance in Northlight Theatre's production of Driving Miss Daisy.
To Whitney, the best thing about acting is that, aside from knowing she must be at the theater at a certain time each night, there's nothing predictable about performing. "I think that's funny for me because I'm the kind of person who likes knowing what's going to happen, but [when] I get on stage I'm never quite sure," she says. "Every new audience makes each performance new."
She heeds the advice of Rondi Reed, one of Steppenwolf's mainstay actors, to value her other interests. "You need to be either helping someone else, volunteering somewhere [or] planting a garden," Whitney says. "You have to have a full life."
-- AnnMarie Harris (J00)
on Top of the World
Jeff Mantel (G71, 76) has been to the North Pole three times and plans on a fourth trip.
It was in New Zealand in 1990 that Jeff Mantel (G71, 76) "fell in love with the ice."
But it wasn't until 1993 that Mantel met famed polar explorer Richard Weber through a mutual friend. Since then, he's been on six lengthy Arctic expeditions, three of them all the way to the North Pole. Mantel is one of only a handful of people to ever make the trip three times on cross-country skis -- without sled dogs.
Mantel says the endurance he built up as the first manager of Northwestern's club soccer team in 1972, as a former semipro soccer player and as a 12-year referee on the professional soccer circuit helped him survive the grueling weeklong "boot camp" that first taught him the ins and outs of Arctic travel.
"Pretty much, Weber brought us to base camp on the island of Sredny in the Arctic Ocean and for one week, tried to kill us," he says. "It was the most miserable week of my life."
Obviously, Mantel survived. He made his first trip with the Weber Malakhov North Pole Expedition Team in 1994. He repeated the trip, this time from Siberia to the North Pole, in 1997 and again in 1999. He was also a member of a five-man team that completed the first-ever traverse of a huge, still-unnamed glacier on Baffin Island in Canada's Nunavut Territory. His many teammates have included Americans, Canadians, Russians, Brazilians and Britons.
"In the wild, you get over your differences quickly," Mantel says. "Either you learn to work together or you die."
Indeed, his adventures have not come without risk. He describes a time when he was rescued from the edge of a cliff after hanging on with nothing but a sea of ice hundreds of feet below him. A teammate threw him an ice pick on a rope, and he was able to hoist himself back to safety.
Animals can also be a problem in the frozen wild. "If there's any animal I don't want to meet, it's a polar bear," he says. "They can be up to 12 feet tall, up to 1,500 pounds. They're big, they're mean and they're hungry."
But even without the added hazards, Arctic adventurers like Mantel must take great precautions to simply survive the frigid temperatures, which can dip to as low as -175° Fahrenheit with the wind chill. Each team member sustains a 7,000-calorie-a-day diet and wears specially designed insulated clothing and boots for protection from some of the world's harshest conditions.
Mantel, who lives in Northern California, is a financial software product manager specializing in trading and risk management. He's also a partner with Weber in a trekking firm that takes adventurers to Siberia, the polar ice cap and elsewhere. Next year, Mantel will make his fourth trip to the North Pole. He and his team will retrace the exact route that Robert Peary supposedly took from the pole back to Canada. The purpose of the journey is to prove that it was impossible for Peary to have made the 500-mile trip in only 17 days, as he claimed. If the crew is right, it's equally unlikely that Peary ever reached the North Pole.
"Even with the technology we have today, it could never be done," Mantel says. "We think he was grossly in error."
-- Ed Fanselow (J02)
of the Ancestors
Maria Eliza Hamilton (WCAS87) retraced part of the Middle Passage journey of her forebears.
For two months, Maria Eliza Hamilton (WCAS87) heard the voices of men, women and children, silenced long ago by the harsh hand of slavery.
Traveling by sea in 1999 for the first time, Hamilton was the team leader -- one of 16 teachers -- for one leg of the Middle Passage Voyage project, organized by Chicago solo sailor William Pinkney and funded by corporate sponsors. The educators were aboard Pinkney's ship, the Sortilege, to retrace the Middle Passage, the physical and spiritual journey of slaves transported from the African continent to the Americas for hundreds of years. The project included daily correspondence with classrooms across the country by e-mail and the Internet.
Hamilton, three other teaching staffers, Pinkney and his crew started the journey last December from Puerto Rico. The entire voyage lasted six months.
On Hamilton's portion of the journey, she challenged students from the more than 300 participating schools to "imagine you are stuck on a boat with no windows, chained to someone who doesn't speak your language. How do you even learn to communicate? How do you deal with the fact that this new friend of yours could be dead before you even get to the other side?"
In the spring of 1997, Hamilton, who is executive assistant to Evanston School District 65's assistant superintendent and a poet, was approached by someone who attended one of her poetry workshops and was asked to help develop the Middle Passage Voyage curriculum for the classroom. Her response, she jokes, was even more enthusiastic than expected: "Forget the curriculum -- I want to be on the boat!"
Hamilton's strong Yoruba spirituality and artistic background made her an ideal team leader for the Sortilege's multiracial cast of characters. "You have now committed to looking at things from an African perspective and not a Western point of view," she told her sailing companions.
Obviously, conditions on the ship were not what one would have found during the Middle Passage, but she and the other teachers used their imaginations. "We developed roles to play on the ship and created entire lives and histories for ourselves," Hamilton says.
Seasickness was one very real problem for many of the passengers, along with the general fatigue that grows out of spending an extended interval at sea. "There were times when brushing my teeth took 20 minutes," Hamilton says. "When we could not move, we thought about what it would be like with 50 other people in the hull."
Hamilton was prepared for the emotional and cathartic nature of the journey as well as the strong spiritual presence on the ship. "From Barbados to Brazil, I heard many things. Your senses become sharper, more attuned," she says. "The waves hit the hull, the engine goes on... there is never a moment of silence. You can listen to the voices of the ancestors and the wind whistling through the mainmast." Below deck, crew members were sure they sometimes heard the conversation of children and other sounds from the past.
Hamilton intends to continue the dialogue on the slave trade initiated by the voyage by visiting classrooms and writing poetry inspired by her experiences at sea. "I hope that it continues to leave an open space for students to ask questions," she says. "Children understand so much more than people give them credit for. They need to feel open to ask questions."
-- Kim O'Brien (S00)
Rick Segall, left, and twin Bob after winning their Emmys
Twins Bob and Rick Segall (J93) won Emmys for their film on (what else?) twins.
Twin jobs, twin looks, twin Emmys.
In 1996, Northwestern graduates Bob (J93) and Rick Segall (J93) used their insights as identical twins to win Emmy awards for their reports on the annual Twin Days Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio (that's the town's real name).
"The fact that you had twins covering the Twins Festival was the obvious hook," Rick says. Wearing matching blue flowered luau shirts, the brothers brought their cameras to the event -- coincidentally only 45 minutes from their hometown of Warren, Ohio -- to witness thousands of twins participating in a myriad of games and social events.
"There's an instant kinship that you get when you pull into the Twins Festival," says Bob, at the time a general assignment reporter for television station WJRT in Flint, Mich. "It's like you are part of a family that you've never met."
He adds that, as an identical pair, the two were able to elicit observations from the festival's participants that a non-twin reporter may not have gotten. "We know all the silly questions that twins get asked, like, 'When one of you hits your head, does the other one feel it?' If you're not a twin, you can't truly understand."
After the event, Bob and Rick, who at the time was a feature reporter for NBC's REALlife, had more than five hours of videotape. However, their assignments called for stories of only 4.5 minutes. The two worked together to conceptualize and tape material, but they each wrote and edited their own versions for their stations.
"There is a lot you can do with a 4.5-minute piece, so to see how similar our two tapes are is kind of funny," Bob says.
Since winning their Emmys from the Michigan chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Rick has started his own production company in Atlanta, and Bob is working for television station WITI in Milwaukee.
"It was not only fun to be going out and covering the same story, it was a real privilege to be writing and reporting with my brother," Rick says.
"Winning an Emmy was icing on the cake," Bob says, finishing up his brother's thought.
-- Sarah Bellows (J01)
Carol Perricone (WCAS50) went on the NAA trip to Provence with husband, Gaspar (WCAS50). She painted this watercolor of Cassis.
Susan Kraus Jones (J71, GJ72) of East Grand Rapids, Mich., is a professor of marketing at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich.
| Travel Essay
French blue skies and stunning Roman ruins; walking in the footsteps of Cézanne and Van Gogh; sipping coffee in Ansouis with a charming viscountess in her family's ancestral chateau; visiting the Palace of the Popes and Pont du Gard in elegant Avignon. These are but a few of the vivid memories shared by 50 Northwestern alumni and friends who experienced the Alumni Campus in Provence last June.
Our group ranged in graduation years from the 1930s to the 1970s, yet we bonded together in instant friendship. Open and outgoing, the travelers formed and re-formed into cordial groups for walks, chats, dining, wine tasting and discovery of everything from historical landmarks to "Provence power shopping."
We selected Provence's traditional capital of Aix-en-Provence as home base. It's the town where native son Paul Cézanne and Émile Zola used to meet daily at the Deux Garçons café on the famous Cours Mirabeau. After hearing wonderful lectures on the local archaeology and art, we visited Aix's Roman landmarks, dating back to 122 B.C., and climbed the hill to Cézanne's atelier, preserved much as he left it in the early 1900s.
Each day after morning lectures from leading French academics, we'd head by motorcoach with our guide Héléne to visit highlights of Provence. First on our agenda was Cassis and its Calanques, or coves. Upon arrival in this picturesque fishing port, we boarded a boat for a relaxing cruise by the cliffs and rocks of the Calanques. We were greeted here and there by sunbathers and swimmers enjoying the sapphire-blue water and sunny weather.
Another day's journey took us to the Lubéron region, made famous to the English and Americans by Peter Mayle's charming book A Year in Provence. In the village perché town of Ansouis, we were treated to a rare glimpse into the life of the nobles. There, the viscountess of Ansouis led us on a private and personal tour of the vast chateau she shares with her husband and sons. Imagine our delight when she invited us to sip coffee from Limoges china cups in one of her several sitting rooms! Later at lunch in Roussillon, we shared impressions of the chateau visit before touring this classic French village, with its lace curtains, colorful shutters and abundant foliage.
Just as we experienced Cézanne's surroundings in Aix, we followed the path of Vincent Van Gogh in both Arles and St. Rémy. It was delightful to visit the sites of some of Van Gogh's most beloved paintings. Arles also boasts a Roman amphitheater, still used regularly for bullfights. During our Saturday visit, a lively local wedding was taking place in the cathedral at Arles, and we enjoyed watching the celebrants greet each other with the traditional Provençal "triple kiss."
We drove north to Avignon on our last excursion, amply rewarded with a thorough tour of the Palace of the Popes. Our lecture had prepared us for the monumental palace -- part fortress, part church, part home for the seven popes who reigned from Avignon circa 1400 A.D. We saved time to marvel at the Pont du Gard, a 2,000-year-old Roman aqueduct.
Spending our last day in Aix, we explored the city's cafés, museums, outdoor markets and shops. That evening, we enjoyed a combination graduation ceremony, farewell party and dinner, where we thanked Enrique Travé, our Provence campus director, for a trip that was both enjoyable and smoothly run.
This was the first Alumni Campus Abroad trip for my husband, Bill, and me, but it definitely will not be the last. Join us soon. You'll have the time of your life!
-- Susan Kraus Jones (J71, GJ72)
Click here to learn more about alumni travel programs