Bob and Kaye Hiatt proclaim their allegiance to Northwestern to be "the ultimate purple," and their actions without a doubt confirm as much.
Though both are 1957 graduates of the University, it was at a class reunion where they reconnected. Within in the year, they married in Northwestern's Shakespeare Garden. The couple has only strengthened their bond to the campus since then. Last year, they both served as committee members for their 50th Reunion at Northwestern. Bob sits on the National Advisory Council for the School of Communication, and in the past he has served as an at-large member of the Campaign Committee.
Demonstrating their support of Northwestern's progressive academic initiatives, the couple recently established the Robert and Kaye Hiatt Fund for Research on Media, Technology, and Society for the School of Communication. They had been considering the gift for years; because Bob attended Northwestern with a scholarship from an alumnus, he has always wanted to give back to the University. His work with the advisory council helped him clarify what form the Hiatts' gift might take: "[Through the council] I learned of the impressive strides the School of Communication has made in the area of media, technology, and society," he explains. Within the school's successes, he saw "the tremendous room for growth in the field." This was the opening he had been waiting for, an opportunity to support faculty and student research in a way that was meaningful to him, his wife, and the campus community. The Hiatt Fund was born.
The Hiatts' gift is meant to support research in areas such as Internet studies, telecommunications, human-computer interaction, computer-mediated human communication, and the influence of networks on groups and organizations. Support will also go to faculty and student recruiting in the relevant areas. Bob and Kaye will serve as honorary hosts of an annual conference at which researchers will present their projects to colleagues, students, editors, and interested agencies.
Bob is the retired chairperson, president, and CEO of Maybelline and now serves as a corporate director and advisor. Under his leadership, the company went public in 1992 and grew to become one of the largest cosmetics outfits in the country. Before moving to Maybelline, he had held executive positions at American Cyanamid and Esmark's subsidiaries, Playtex and Swift and Company.
Kaye received her JD from National University in 1994. Previously, she had run a small manufacturing company based in San Diego while also devoting many hours volunteering at the city's children's hospital. Along with having served as the president of various non-profits and working with women from Tijuana to raise funds for across-the-border endeavors, she is on the Marin Theatre Company Board of Directors for the 2008-2009 season.
The Hiatts live in Mill Valley, California where they are active supporters of the California Historical Society and the Marin Community Foundation.