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Back to School for Many

Alumnae program offers mix of eclectic continuing education classes

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June 10, 2010
Students who are studying four plays on the Chicago stage take part in a theater class with Cindy Gold and guest Frank Galati.
Mary McLaughlin didn't think she'd ever be in school again. But when longtime friend Lois Howe encouraged her to sign up for a Chicago theater course offered through the Alumnae of Northwestern Continuing Education Program, she eagerly agreed.

"It's fun to tell my grandchildren that I'm going to school," said McLaughlin. "It gives the grandmother a little edge."

"It's good stimulation," said Howe, who has taken multiple courses over the past few decades. "The literature classes have been my favorites."

The program is just one example of Northwestern classes and courses - from degree-seeking programs to non-credit classes for enjoyment - open to Evanston residents who are encouraged to take advantage of world-class faculty and facilities in their backyard.

Through the Continuing Education Program, participants engage in a wide-range of interesting and timely courses like "Italian Masters and Masterpieces" and "The Arab World," with faculty experts in these fields. Four courses are offered each quarter, and participants can choose those that interest them without the pressure of homework, grades or tests.

In "Chicago Theater 2010," participants get an in-depth look into four plays currently on stage in Chicago with Cindy Gold, associate professor of theater. Guests and performers involved in the productions frequently join the class. Frank Galati, professor emeritus and director of Steppenwolf's "Endgame," was a recent visitor.

Each 10-week class (or six-week summer course) meets once a week. Although taught by faculty, the course fees are a fraction of standard tuition.

"It is an affordable opportunity for adults who haven't lost the urge to learn," said Carolyn Krulee, chair of the Continuing Education Program. "The response from participants is always positive."

"We select course topics based on exciting research being conducted at the University," said Karla Stone, coordinator for the Continuing Education Program. "We find the stars of academia to teach our courses."

The program, in its 41st year, is run completely by the Alumnae of Northwestern University, a volunteer group of women who have graduated from the University. The proceeds, more than $4 million since its inception, are donated back to the University in the form of fellowships and grants.

For more information on upcoming classes and registration, go to nualumnae.org.
Topics: University