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Recognized Leaders

Northwestern welcomes annual donors to its new Leadership Circle.


To honor alumni for their generous annual support of their alma mater, Northwestern has created the Northwestern University Leadership Circle, a University-wide donor recognition society for those who contribute $1,000 or more every year to Northwestern.

“The Leadership Circle recognizes the important role of our committed community of donors,” says Sarah Pearson, vice president for the Office of Alumni Relations and Development. “Their gifts assist our students and faculty every day and help make Northwestern the preeminent research and teaching institution it is today.”

In addition to the benefits alumni receive from the school-based giving societies to which they currently contribute, donors who give at the Leadership Circle level will receive invitations to exclusive events in major cities throughout the country as well as newsletters that detail the impact leadership gifts have on students and faculty.

“At the same time donors support their respective schools, they’ll have additional access to the University through the Leadership Circle,” says Christine Olson Robb (WCAS66), a member of the Leadership Circle task force and chair of the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art board of advisers. “They can get an inside look at the progress Northwestern’s making across many disciplines.”

To bring undergraduate young alumni into the Northwestern University Leadership Circle, members of the classes of 2003–06 can join with an annual gift of $100 or more to Northwestern, and young alumni in the classes of 1998–2002 can be recognized as Leadership Circle members with a gift of $300 or more annually. Also, these gifts can be made gradually throughout the year, rather than in one lump sum.

“As students, many young alumni were actively involved in causes such as Dance Marathon and Special Olympics,” says J. Paul Lussow (WCAS98), young alumni chair of Northwestern’s Annual Fund. “Leadership Circle gives them a chance to continue that spirit of giving back and introduces them to philanthropy.” He adds that membership also gives recent graduates the added benefit of access to alumni who are leaders in their professions.

In September President Henry S. Bienen, Board of Trustees chair Patrick Ryan (EB59) and Chicago Regional Council co-chair Carole Browe Segal (WCAS60) welcomed Leadership Circle members at a gala at Chicago’s Peninsula Hotel to launch the new society. Members heard presentations from distinguished members of the University community, including Kelly Amonte Hiller, head coach of the back-to-back NCAA national champion women’s lacrosse team, opera singer and 2006 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Grand Finals winner Paul Corona (Mu06) (see “Voice of a Star,” fall 2006), and David Kelso (GMcC72, 74), associate professor of biomedical engineering, who is leading a team of experts to develop and produce affordable diagnostic devices for infectious diseases plaguing developing countries (see “Early Diagnosis Equals Early Treatment”).

In October members were honored in New York City. In March Northwestern will honor Leadership Circle members in San Francisco.

For more information about the Northwestern University Leadership Circle, visit

Chris Combe (WCAS70), left, national chair of Northwestern
Chris Combe (WCAS70), left, national chair of Northwestern's Annual Fund, and Chris Olson Robb at the Leadership Circle gala. Photo by Mary Hanlon
Liz and Bob Hayward (C94, L97) and Sally Madden Hayward (SESP61) at the September Leadership Circle event.
Liz and Bob Hayward (C94, L97) and Sally Madden Hayward (SESP61) at the September Leadership Circle event. Photo by Mary Hanlon