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Bienen Letter to Community

March 3, 2008
To members of the Northwestern community:

I have recently notified the Board of Trustees of my decision to retire, effective August 31, 2009, and I wanted to share that news with you today. I continue to enjoy my job immensely, but I truly believe that it is important for institutions to be refreshed regularly with new leadership. Northwestern has come to occupy a large portion of my heart and mind, and it has been an honor to serve as Northwestern's president – and a great experience.

The successes we have had over the years are due to more people here at Northwestern than I can name. I have been privileged to work with many, many outstanding faculty, students, staff, alumni and trustees. Pat Ryan, who has been an extraordinary chairman of the board of trustees during my tenure, and Howard Trienens, who was chairman as I came, have led this institution in an exemplary fashion, and I have benefited immensely from their counsel and guidance. My colleagues on the president's staff and among the deans have provided outstanding leadership, and I thank them for their dedicated efforts, as I do all the members of our staff. I am also extremely proud of the accomplishments of our stellar faculty and remarkable students, whose achievements have advanced significantly the reputation of Northwestern.

I also would like to thank my wife, Leigh. She has been a crucial partner with me and has made her own terrific contributions to the University and to Chicago through her involvement in a variety of activities. Through her work at the Law School and in the Chicago community, she too has been a leader at Northwestern and in the greater Chicago area.

There is still a great deal to accomplish, and I intend to be quite busy in the next 15 months. We will finalize plans for the new School of Music building, we will implement our enhanced financial aid program for students and we will continue our efforts in several curricular initiatives, including intensifying the internationalization of the University. I will be working with many of you to move these programs forward.

In conclusion, my tenure here has been a wonderful experience that I will cherish. The scripture from which Northwestern's motto is taken urges us to "think on these things" that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of good report. I know in my heart that in regard to my Northwestern experience, I will think on these things forever.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your president and lead this great university.

Henry S. Bienen

(For additional information, go to www.northwestern.edu/Bienenpresidency.)
Topics: University News