A Message to the Community
Dear members of the Northwestern community,
I am writing to let you know that, at the end of 13 gratifying years, my term as 16th president of Northwestern will conclude on August 31, 2022. This date was scheduled long ago, providing ample time to plan a smooth transition to my successor. The Board of Trustees will offer more detail in the near future regarding the selection process.
It has been my great honor to work alongside our illustrious faculty, staff, students, trustees and alumni during my time here. You have inspired me with your passion, dedication and resilience, especially during these most challenging times for our campus, our country and the world. I know that, together, we can continue building on our many strengths over the next year and a half.
Our university serves more than ever as a global leader in higher education.
Since 2009, faculty memberships in the most prestigious academic societies have increased by 73%, and we have had one of the nation’s highest growth rates in sponsored-research funding, as we rapidly approach the highly coveted $1 billion-per-year milestone.
The number of undergraduate applications has nearly doubled, and I am especially proud that we have more than doubled the percentage of enrolled students from underrepresented and lower-income backgrounds. With an acceptance rate that is currently below 7%, we are now one of the world’s most selective institutions for undergraduates, and we have seen similar gains in selectivity across our graduate and professional school programs.
All of this has helped fuel our rise in national and international rankings, resulting in a position among the top 10 universities in the country, along with record-high rankings for many of our individual schools and departments.
At the same time, we have worked hard to fulfill and expand our community service mission, committing our scholarly and financial resources to Evanston and Chicago through programs such as the Northwestern Academies that serve public high school students, the Good Neighbor Fund and a myriad of other investments.
These efforts have been generously supported by more than 170,000 individual donors who have given to our “We Will” Campaign, a fundraising effort that has far surpassed its initial goal and currently stands at more than $5.3 billion, with several months remaining before it concludes at the end of June. That success is one of the reasons why our endowment currently exceeds $12 billion, more than twice its size in 2009.
Our campuses have been transformed physically over the past decade. The 3.5 million square feet in new and renovated spaces include the Kellogg Global Hub, Kresge Hall, the Louis A. Simpson and Kimberly K. Querrey Biomedical Research Center, the Segal Visitors Center, the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center for the Musical Arts, Welsh-Ryan Arena, Ryan Fieldhouse and the Walter Athletics Center. I am so proud of all that is taking place within these and other state-of-the-art facilities.
In the next 18 months, we have the opportunity to build our momentum as we prepare for the next chapter in Northwestern’s history. We have been strengthening our senior leadership team with the recent appointments of Robin Means Coleman, our new chief diversity officer, and Amy Falls, our incoming chief investment officer, while making progress with other searches, such as the ones for our next law school dean and our new athletic director.
Mimi and I hope that when the “new normal” finally arrives, we can thank many of you in person for all that you have done for Northwestern and for us.
Looking ahead, let us continue to work together to prepare our university to even better serve the world.
Professor and President