Fall 2014

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Transformation Underway

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Ever wonder about those strange designations we use throughout Northwestern to identify alumni of the various schools of the University? See the complete list.

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Dear Northwestern alumni,

This month more than 2,000 entering students will march through the Weber Arch to begin their Northwestern education. Even though we started this tradition just a few years ago, it’s already become a key moment in the lives of our students. In part, it’s because they literally separate from their parents, with the moms and dads soon afterward headed off in one direction and the students in another. But it also symbolically marks the beginning of students joining the Northwestern family.

That sense of being a member of the greater Northwestern community continues well after graduation among our alumni. Wherever and whenever I travel to meet with alumni, I’m struck by the pride and the sense of belonging that so many of you clearly have in regard to your experience at Northwestern. Our alumni, regardless of whether they came as undergraduates or as graduate or professional school students, are proud to wear Northwestern purple, as I am as well.

We’re proud for good reason. Northwestern, already one of the leading research universities in the country, is on an upward trajectory.

Following are a few highlights.

Applications for undergraduate admission increased to record levels for the 11th consecutive year, a feat unmatched by any of our peer schools. This fall we will enroll the most academically qualified — and the most diverse — freshman class in Northwestern’s history. I emphasize that second point deliberately. Critics occasionally say that in our efforts to increase the availability of a top-notch education to traditionally underrepresented populations, universities relax their standards. We’ve proven that does not need to be the case: our entering class will be 23 percent African American and Latino/Latina, a new record for Northwestern, and will include 74 graduates of Chicago Public Schools and 182 international students from 55 countries and 75 valedictorians of their high school class. We are making a Northwestern education available to an increasingly diverse population of students, which benefits not just the University but society in general. In addition, we are seeing similar strong demand and increasing diversity in our graduate and professional school enrollments.

We are literally changing the face of our campuses. In Chicago we plan to begin work early next year on a building that will be the hub of our research activities in the Feinberg School of Medicine. The building will significantly accelerate our ability to do research into cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other diseases, thereby helping patients and families who struggle with those illnesses. We also will complete a major addition to the Rubloff Building, the home of the School of Law, which will provide an improved and expanded café, a classroom, four library group study rooms and 50 additional study seats. In addition, we will continue the renovation of historic Wieboldt Hall to provide additional space for the School of Professional Studies.

In Doha we are nearing completion of the new home for our journalism and communication programs at Northwestern University in Qatar. This remarkable new facility will provide state-of-the art classrooms, production studios and faculty and administrative office space for our increasingly successful program in the Middle East.

And in Evanston, on the south end of campus, we will soon open the doors on a new lakefront admissions visitors center, which will finally provide a suitable welcoming site for the thousands of prospective students and their families who visit every year. (For those of you who came to Northwestern despite our less-than-adequate previous admissions visitors center, we appreciate your faith in the University.)

But the unquestioned highlight of our completed construction projects will occur next spring when the Bienen School of Music and areas of the School of Communication will move to their sparkling new lakefront home. With a 400-seat recital hall, teaching studios, classrooms, rehearsal space and faculty and administrative offices, the new building already is a wonderful addition to our lakefront. When we soon demolish the eastern third of the parking garage and replace it with a landscaped green space that will stretch from Pick-Staiger Concert Hall and the Block Museum down to Lake Michigan, we will truly have a magnificent setting for our arts programs, in which we take great pride.

I won’t go into details about the many other facilities projects underway, which include new buildings or major additions and renovations for the Kellogg School of Management, athletics and recreation, the sciences and engineering, the humanities, and the planned construction of new residence halls on north campus. All the work means getting around campus can occasionally be a bit of a challenge, but the new facilities will provide greatly improved academic and research space, along with new residential and recreational facilities for our students.

All of these improvements, as well as the increasing strength of our academic programs and the growing amount of financial aid for our students, would not be possible without your continued support. Last spring we launched We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern, a $3.75 billion fundraising effort that will provide the resources to achieve the ambitious goals for the University. So I hope you’ll join me and the thousands of alumni who have already made a gift to the Campaign and, in doing so, helped make a difference in the research and teaching that are at the core of our mission.

I’ll be traveling a great deal this year, so I also hope to meet as many of you in person as possible, either here on campus or at one of the many Northwestern events around the world. In addition, I urge you to visit campus and see for yourself the transformation that is occurring at Northwestern. This is a truly remarkable university, and thanks to you, it’s getting even better.

Best wishes,

Morton Schapiro
President and Professor