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Kicking Off Our Celebration of the 150th Anniversary of Coeducation

Dear Members of the Northwestern Community,

Since the beginning of our University’s history, the courage and advocacy of our community members have shaped our institution. To mark the 150th anniversary of coeducation at Northwestern, we are celebrating our community of remarkable individuals — past, present and future. We are championing those who take risks, chart their own course and inspire change, including the bold and brave women/womxn who have led the struggle to open doors, creating greater access and opportunity for all who follow.

Despite the efforts of many across our Northwestern community and society, inequity continues. As an institution, it is our responsibility to reflect on our history and understand our current challenges and to focus our efforts on creating a more positive future in which all individuals have the same opportunity to thrive.

This means we must embrace some key challenges ahead:

  • Supporting the student experience so all feel like they belong. To maximize the potential of each of our students — including women/womxn-identified students — we must ensure all students are living and learning in a healthy, supportive and inclusive environment. 
  • Strengthening our research excellence and intellectual eminence with more diverse faculty. We must bring a rich diversity of backgrounds, perspectives and experiences if we are to challenge our assumptions and broaden our understanding of the world. We must increase the diversity of the faculty, especially faculty from historically marginalized and underrepresented backgrounds. 
  • Providing opportunity, growing and developing all of our people for success. To achieve our aspirations, we must develop our people and continue to further diversify our community at all levels of the organization. This includes elevating and supporting more women/womxn-identified individuals to achieve leadership roles across Northwestern.

To get involved and to learn more about our history, as well as the work being done to improve the future, please visit the new 150 years of women website. The website also will highlight the University’s efforts to address the key challenges outlined above, and profile many of the individuals who have been catalysts for change at Northwestern.

Throughout the academic year, events and programming will be held across the University and around the world. There are many ways to be a part of the 150 years of women story and help shape the future of our community.

You have our commitment to continue investing in initiatives that will tackle these challenges, however, it will take all of us, working together, to make Northwestern a more inclusive, diverse and equitable community. We hope the commemoration of this milestone will encourage you to lift up others and inspire you to find new ways to be a catalyst for change.