Meet the Staff
University Chaplain at Northwestern since 1986, I enjoy conducting university chapel services each Sunday of the academic year in Alice Millar Chapel. In addition, I am responsible for religious life on campus, advising religious groups on campus. My hope is to work with leaders of religious communities to create a positive environment for religious expression and inter-religious understanding and cooperation. I am available for personal counseling or informal conversation on a range of issues. I encourage students and other members of the Northwestern community to stop by my office to get acquainted.
I am a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary (Master of Divinity) and Northwestern University (Ph.D. in English Literature). I am an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ.
I enjoy travel. Each year, I co-lead a spring break trip abroad, which we refer to as “Friendship Missions.” The aim is to increase our global awareness and establish relationships with communities in other countries. In the past, we have traveled to Russia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Cuba.
From time to time, I teach courses on subjects such as: interfaith conflict and dialogue; and faith and service.
If you have questions about the chapel and its programs or about religious life on campus, do not hesitate contacting me.
Tahera Ahmad is a dynamic young female scholar, and a native of the Chicago land Muslim community. She was raised in Morton Grove, and graduated from Niles West High School where she played varsity basketball. She has served the Muslim Community of Chicago through leadership at the MCC, IFS, CIOGC, IMAN, MYNA, ISNA, etc. As a Dept. Head of Islamic Studies at the Islamic Foundation School, Villa Park IL., she taught courses in Quran, Arabic, and Islamic Studies.
She regularly hosts young Muslim art stages, open mics, and counsels young Muslims through study circles that promote a balanced Muslim life-style. She received graduate certification in Arabic from Al-Diwan, Cairo, Ijaazaat (certification) in Tajweed (art of Quranic recitation) and traditional Islamic sciences from various institutions in USA and abroad. During her graduate studies in Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations at Hartford Seminary, she served as the Muslim Chaplain/Advisor at Mt. Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts. She has been featured in several documentary films about Islam and will be depicted as a young female Muslim Advisor/Chaplain in an upcoming PBS documentary about faith and youth leadership in the United States, titled: The Calling.
Mary has been a member of the Northwestern University community since 1987, when she was hired as secretary to the Associate VP for Human Resources. In 2000 she worked with the Office of Strategic Initiatives, and in 2006 she joined the University Chaplains staff.
Mary is responsible for scheduling all functions in both chapels (weddings, memorials, concerts, recitals) and Parkes Hall social rooms (student groups, dinners, receptions, various events), and classroom space on weekends. Mary also provides oversight for building maintenance issues.
Mary worked at Evanston Hospital and EF Hutton before joining Northwestern University.
She is a mother of two grown daughters, grandmother of 3 handsome and brilliant grandsons, animal lover, bike-rider, jewelry-maker, crafter, crocheter, furniture painter, worm wrangler and organic gardener.
Annette's Christian foundation began at Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church with The late Rev. Dr. Frederick G. Sampson as her pastor. As the daughter of a Minister and a Sunday School teacher, Annette grew up in the midst of true servant hood to the Lord. After preaching her first sermon at the age of 15 she felt a special connection with sharing the word of God. At the age of 17, Annette joined Hartford Memorial Baptist Church with The Rev. Dr. Charles G. Adams as her Pastor. She has served in many ministries including The Jubilee Chorus and Director of the Multi-Media Ministry for the last 5 years.
Annette accepted her call as a servant of God by being ordained as a Deacon in 2002 and licensed as a Minister in 2005. In preparation for Ministry, she attended classes at Ecumenical Theological Seminary in Detroit. After working 25 years in the audio and video production field and earning an Emmy Award in Deadline News Editing, Annette followed God's lead in 2009 and transferred to Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL where she is studying for her Master's of Divinity. As part of her Field Education she presently serves as the Chaplain Intern at The Alice Millar Chapel at Northwestern University. "Working with the Chaplain staff at Northwestern University is a true blessing and a unique opportunity. Gaining knowledge and experience with the interfaith community is a wonderful opportunity to broaden my understanding and appreciation of the various Religious groups."
Annette is the proud mother of 2 wonderful and supporting daughters, Allyson, a senior at Kentucky State University and Allyssa, a senior at Evanston Township High School.
Her favorite scripture is Philippians 4:13: "I can do all things in him who strengthens me."
Stephen Alltop has built a career based on excellence in several disciplines, conducting both orchestral and choral ensembles, and performing as a keyboard artist. He joined the Northwestern University Conducting faculty in 1992, and has served as Director of Music at Alice Millar Chapel since 1994. Under his direction, the Chapel Choir has performed numerous masterworks, including Brahms Schicksalslied, Duruflé’s Requiem, Dvorak’s Te Deum, Handel’s Dixit Dominus, Joshua, Judas Maccabaeus, and Solomon, Fauré’s Requiem, Haydn’s The Creation, Theresienmesse and Mass in Time of War, Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610, Mozart’s Coronation Mass, Schubert’s Masses in G, C and A-flat, and Telemann’s Der Tag des Gerichts. He serves as Music Director of the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra and the Green Lake Choral Institute.
As Associate Conductor of the Peninsula Music Festival, he has performed many solo works as a harpsichord and organ soloist. He has worked closely with many leading composers of the day, including residency projects with John Corigliano and Eric Whitacre. He has conducted world premieres of music by Jan Bach, Miguel del Agila, Frederico Cumar, Frank Ferko, Fabrizio Festa, Ricardo Iznaola, Maxwell Raimi, Kenkichi Sakai, Giancarlo Scarvaglieri, Andrew Suter, Alan Terricciano and Hiroaki Tokunaga.
Stephen Alltop became music director and conductor of the Apollo Chorus of Chicago in 1997. He has led the Chorus in such masterworks as Bach’s Mass in B Minor and Haydn's The Creation and has guided Apollo’s activities to include appearances at the Ravinia Festival and Peninsula Music Festival. Alltop has expanded Apollo’s repertoire in both early and contemporary music, from works of the Mexican Baroque period to compositions of Eric Whitacre. Mr. Alltop has guest conducted numerous orchestras and choruses across the United States. He has led opera and orchestral concerts with a number of Italian orchestras, including I Soloisti di Perugia, Fondazione Arturo Toscanini in Bologna, Teatro Reggio Orchestra of Parma, Mozart Festival of Roverto, Orchestra Sinfonica of Bari, Teatro Piccinni of Bari, and the Festival Duni in Matera. In 2007, he made his Carnegie Hall debut conducting music of Eric Whitacre.
As a harpsichordist and organist, Mr. Alltop has performed with the Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society, Chicago Chamber Musicians, Joffrey Ballet, Minnesota Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and the Omaha Symphony. He appeared as organ soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the Ravinia Festival of 2008 in Saint-Saëns’ Symphony No. 3. He made his Chicago Symphony Orchestra subscription concert debut as a harpsichord soloist in 2009 playing Bach with conductor Pinchas Zukerman.
Eric Budzynski is a frequently sought after organist and accompanist throughout the Chicago area. He is the Organist and Music Associate of Alice Millar Chapel at Northwestern University. Previously he has served as Organist of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church (Chicago), Director of Music for The Church of Saint Paul and the Redeemer (Chicago) and Director of Music at The Parish Church of Saint Luke (Evanston, IL). He holds the MMus in Church Music and Organ degree with honors from Northwestern University and the BA cum laude in Organ Performance from Duquesne University. As a recitalist he has been featured in many venues including the National AGO Convention, the Holy Name Cathedral Music Series, and Fourth Presbyterian Church (Chicago). Eric has served as resident/guest organist at St. Paul’s Cathedral (London), Christ Church (Oxford), and The American Cathedral (Paris). He is a recipient of the Jean Langlais Award for Excellence in Sacred Music and took first prize in the Violette Cassel Organ Competition and the Pittsburgh AGO Competition. Eric is also a continuo player for various musical organizations and can be heard at the harpsichord in Apollo Chorus’ 2006 release of Messiah on Clarion Records.