photo by David Joel











Dear Northwestern Alumni,

As we approach the end of the celebration of Northwestern's Sesquicentennial — the 150th anniversary of the University's founding in 1851 — we begin the start of what promises to be another outstanding academic year.

I am very encouraged by our recent significant success in attracting the best faculty and students to Northwestern and retaining our top faculty members. This remains a great challenge because we are competing with other elite institutions for top-ranked faculty and students.

We begin this year with exciting new faculty in the School of Music, including one of our alumni, Augusta Read Thomas (Mu87), who is featured in a story in this issue of Northwestern magazine. We also have been successful in making important new hires in the Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences in chemistry, biology, economics, mathematics, German, philosophy and other departments. In addition, we have appointed new chairs of molecular pharmacology and anesthesiology in the Medical School. We also continue to leverage the University's strengths in related disciplines by hiring faculty with appointments in two or more schools.

These new appointments, as well as others throughout Northwestern, reflect our determination to fulfill our dual missions of teaching and research. Northwestern is an extraordinary institution because it places equal emphasis on these two complementary goals. I think that is one of our strengths because it means that our students have the opportunity to work with some of the leading researchers in the country.

It also means that our faculty members have the opportunity to work with some of the best students in the country. This fall's entering undergraduate class has an estimated combined average SAT score of 1383, the highest level in the University's history. In the law school, the median LSAT score now ranks among the top 10 in the country, with 80 percent of the students entering with some work experience, a key goal in the law school's strategic plan. The entering classes in medicine, business and in our Graduate School are equally accomplished, with students coming from around the world to study here.

To meet the expectations of these outstanding students, we are constantly improving and refining our educational programs. At the undergraduate level we are increasing greatly the opportunities to study abroad and to participate in individualized research projects with our faculty members. Last spring, for example, one of our students examined galaxy formations in the early universe with professor Heidi Schellman in the physics and astronomy department, while in the summer another studied American Indian tribal colleges with professor Frank Safford of the history department.

As those of you who have recently been to Northwestern have seen, we're also making some dramatic changes on both our Chicago and Evanston campuses. In Chicago we are beginning work on The Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Center . This 12-story facility will provide state-of-the-art research laboratories for The Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, biomedical engineering, genetics and related fields.

In Evanston work is progressing well on several new buildings, including

  • the McCormick Tribune Center, a new facility for the Medill School of Journalism programs in broadcast media, new media and integrated marketing communications

  • the Arthur and Gladys Pancoe–Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Life Sciences Pavilion, a research center for the life sciences and biomedicine

  • the Center for Nanofabrication and Molecular Self-Assembly, a research center for chemistry and engineering on the molecular scale

  • the Combe Tennis Center, an addition to the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion and Dellora A. and Lester J. Norris Aquatics Center, which will provide six indoor tennis courts for athletic and recreational use

  • Benjamin W. Slivka Hall, a 140-bed residence hall that will be the new home for the Residential College of Science and Engineering

We will begin work next year on the new Ford Motor Co. Engineering and Design Center, a state-of-the-art facility for the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. We also will construct a major addition to Kresge Hall, providing space for new faculty in Weinberg College.

These improvements are physical symbols of the success of Campaign Northwestern, the University's major fundraising effort. The campaign now stands at approximately $1.15 billion. I'm hopeful that with your continued support, we can reach our goal of $1.4 billion by September 2003, when the campaign is expected to conclude. The campaign will provide greatly improved facilities, additional scholarships for needy students and new endowed professorships throughout the University.

I want to express my appreciation not only for the significant financial support that you, our alumni, provide, but also for your interest in and enthusiasm for Northwestern. While we may only get to have a Sesquicentennial celebration once every 150 years, there are many other opportunities for you to be involved with the University. I hope you'll return to campus for your reunions, homecoming and other events and continue to participate in other alumni activities around the world.

Henry S. Bienen