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Getting to Know You

A letter from President Morton Schapiro

Dear Northwestern Alumni, Parents and Friends:

I'm Northwestern's new president, Morty Schapiro. Although I've only been in the position for a few months, I've been fortunate to meet many members of the Northwestern community, and it's been a great experience. The affection for and loyalty to the University that I've seen is truly heartening, so I'm definitely looking forward to meeting more of you in the coming years.

During the transition in leadership, I had the benefit of President Emeritus Henry S. Bienen's wise counsel. President Bienen (H09) led this University with remarkable success, and I'm honored that he has passed the baton to me.

I've also been meeting with Northwestern's alumni leadership, as well as the University's academic and administrative leaders, and I'll continue to do so in the next few months. Northwestern is indeed a complex institution, and I'm learning my way around, both organizationally and physically.           

One of Northwestern's strengths is the breadth and excellence of its academic programs, which is unusual in an institution of our size. It's been particularly interesting for me to learn more about our professional schools of law, management and medicine, and how those relate to other programs at the undergraduate and graduate level. When I was dean of the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences at the University of Southern California, one of the things I worked on was creating connections among schools within the University, so I'm pleased to see how strong that effort already is at Northwestern.

Williams College, where I was president before I came to Northwestern, is a somewhat different institution, but it shares with us the characteristic of having first-rate academics coupled with top-notch athletics. Both institutions share an unyielding commitment to academic integrity and excellence in the classroom complemented by a highly competitive athletic program. As a result, all of us can be proud to wear purple, even those who may not be sports fans.           

Northwestern, Williams and a relatively small number of other top universities and colleges are also unusual in their commitment to need-blind admissions and meeting the full financial need of undergraduate students. That means that students who are admitted and choose to attend Northwestern can do so, regardless of their ability to pay. In recent years, thanks to a major gift from former Board of Trustees Chairman Patrick G. Ryan (EB59, H09) and his wife, Shirley Welsh Ryan (WCAS61), and other funds, we've increased significantly the amount of financial assistance we provide to students from low- and middle-income families, so that those students no longer have to take out student loans. Northwestern is fortunate to be in a relatively strong financial position, although our endowment has dipped significantly in the past year, as is the case with all our peer institutions. Therefore, the continued support of our alumni is critical in enabling the University to provide needed financial support for our students.

My wife, Mimi, and our youngest daughter, Rachel, have moved with me to Evanston, and we absolutely love it here. We are exploring the campuses and communities in both Evanston and Chicago, and I'll be heading to Doha soon to visit the new Northwestern University in Qatar campus there.

Again, I'm thrilled to be Northwestern's new president. I've been working with William A. Osborn (WCAS69, KSM73), the chair of the Board of Trustees, and I'm getting to know other members of the Board and alumni leaders. In addition, I'll continue to travel around the country in the coming months to meet with alumni. I hope to get a chance to chat with many of you as I learn more about our great University that I am now privileged to serve.


Morton Schapiro signature

Morton Schapiro
President and Professor

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Morton Schapiro
Northwestern President Morton SchapiroPhoto by Peter Barreras
Morton Schapiro with students
President Morton Schapiro answers a question from the audience during the live and online chat with students during inauguration week.Photo by Peter Barreras