Skip to main content


Through his years of leadership, President Schapiro has impacted the lives and work of thousands of individuals both in and outside of the University. Read tributes from community leaders, faculty and members of the community. 

Tahera Ahmad, Associate Chaplain and Director of Interfaith Engagement

During his leadership, President Schapiro has advocated for the spiritual growth and development of our students and staff. In particular President Schapiro has dedicated efforts towards those who are may not identify in the dominant narrative or often feel marginalized. He has invested his time to meet with different affinity groups and advocated for their specific needs. Under his advocacy, Northwestern has been at the forefront of several initiatives including the launch of the first Interfaith Strategic Plan at a secular university, the hire of the first full-time female Muslim Chaplain at a private secular university and the continued efforts of establishment of a Multi-Belief Space for students of all backgrounds. 

Personally Morty had been an inspiration for me during my own struggles and I look up to him for his incredible leadership.

Pat Fitzgerald, Dan and Susan Jones Family Head Football Coach

For 12 years I’ve had the privilege to work for the best University president in higher education. There is no more passionate Wildcats fan than Morty Schapiro, his belief in our students is unmatched. The transformational past decade for Northwestern Athletics & Recreation simply would not have been possible without his unwavering support, leadership and vision. President Schapiro has elevated ambitions across our community and prepared Northwestern to expect and earn excellence in everything it does.

Henry Godinez, professor in the Department of Theatre at Northwestern University and Resident Artistic Associate at the Goodman Theatre

As a leader who is very much present, whether it be on the sidelines at a football game or in the audience of a play on campus, Morty makes students and faculty alike feel like he genuinely cares, like what everyone does matters.  To him, everyone does matter.  I believe Morty loves every single aspect of this university.  A true Renaissance man who embodies the values of liberal arts education, Morty is a teacher, a student, a fan, a friend.  He is not aloof or selective.

I’ve seen the way Morty and Mimi relish welcoming students into their home for dinners and special events, happily introducing them to all kinds of important people, and insisting they not leave without bags full of deserts.  For Morty and Mimi, that sense of family is genuine.

Vicky Kalogera, Daniel I. Linzer Distinguished University Professor in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and the director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics

In more than a decade, I was always amazed by Morty's immense enthusiasm and commitment to Northwestern’s advancement and his tireless efforts towards it. I witnessed, in person, as early as his first year, his decisiveness and the impact it can bring when he envisioned his Good Neighbor, Great University program. Since then, his impact broadened across the whole University. It has been a pleasure to partner with him when opportunities arose, and I wish him all the best at his next phase.

Lori E. Lightfoot, mayor of Chicago

President Schapiro’s steadfast leadership and passion for helping students reach their fullest potential has allowed Northwestern to not only maintain its reputation as a world class institution, but produce brilliant students that continuously contribute to the growth of society. The positive contributions he has made for over a decade will be felt here in Chicago, up north in Evanston, and across the world for many years more to come. I want to congratulate President Schapiro and his family on his well-earned retirement and I wish them the best of luck as they embark on this exciting next chapter of their lives.

Chad Mirkin, George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry and Director of the International Institute for Nanotechnology, Northwestern University

The growth and development of Northwestern under Morty’s leadership have been extraordinary. The programs started, faculty recruited, buildings built, and commitment to making the University a more diverse and welcoming place all will be a part of his lasting Northwestern legacy. His remarkable energy, commitment, and good humor helped guide Northwestern through both good and sometimes turbulent times.  

Saul Morson, Lawrence B. Dumas Professor of the Arts and Humanities, Northwestern University

Morty signs his messages "President and Professor,” because he never forgets that education is above all an interaction of teacher and student.  As someone who has co-taught a course with him for ten years, I can say that not only is Morty the most charismatic teacher I ever encountered; he also genuinely listens to student reactions so we can adapt the course every year. 

The same readiness to change characterizes his work as a scholar.  I have never learned so much as I did writing books with him – not only about economics, his expertise, but, more important, about how to seek out and benefit from ideas challenging cherished convictions.  There is nothing fake about Morty. As a person of faith, larger concerns genuinely matter to him and he helps others in ways that no one but his closest friends know about.  He is the real thing. Teacher, scholar, president, human being: Morty is the model educator.

Governor JB Pritzker

Since 2009, President Schapiro has steered Northwestern to new heights in innovation, research, diversity and community – and through outreach initiatives like Northwestern Academy, Morty made clear his commitment to investing in the next generation of Illinoisans long before they made it to campus. Our research universities – and the workforce they produce – are one of Illinois’ great strengths on the world stage, and I look forward to working with President Schapiro through the end of his tenure to make the most of his vision for Northwestern. Most of all, I’m proud to count Morty as a friend, and I wish him and Mimi all the best as they enter this new stage of life.

Kevin Warren, B1G Ten Conference Commissioner

It has been an absolute privilege and honor to work with President Morton Schapiro.  He is a man who is intellectually gifted and always makes it a point to treat all people with proper respect and decorum. Morty’s leadership throughout his entire academic career and especially at Northwestern University, has been monumental and impactful.

Morty has been a true blessing during my tenure as Commissioner of the Big Ten Conference. He has always provided me with wise counsel and insightful guidance.  I now realize that it is bashert that God brought me to Chicago to build a relationship with Morty, a fellow man who has taught me so many lessons regarding the Big Ten Conference, college athletics and most of all, the meaning of life.

Greta and I pray that Morty, Mimi and their children enjoy a future of health and happiness.

Emanuel “Chris” Welch, Speaker, Illinois House of Representatives

Thank you, President Schapiro! Your strategic leadership has helped grow Northwestern into the prestigious titan it is today. Thank you for championing the Wildcat community for over a decade.

Charles Whitaker, dean and professor, Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications

In the close to 45 years that I have been a part of the Northwestern community – as a student, faculty member, and now, dean – I have never encountered a president who cared more about or worked harder to improve the quality of the undergraduate student experience. Under Morty’s guidance, Northwestern’s enrollment of low-income and first-generation students has gone from single digits to 20 percent. By almost any measure, we are a better institution thanks to Morty’s transformational leadership.

Eric Witherspoon, Superintendent of Evanston Township High School (ETHS) District 202

Morty’s impact on Northwestern and Evanston has been significant and positive. Our community could feel the difference in the town-gown relationship during his very first months here in Evanston, and he has unfailingly continued to build and strengthen relationships with our community during his entire tenure here. President Schapiro created partnerships with ETHS beyond any collaborations that ever existed before or were ever imagined between ETHS and Northwestern. Because of his commitment to youth in our community, his vision for enhancing and enriching learning opportunities for our students, and his significant investment in Evanston students, he has made a difference for thousands of young lives here. Hundreds of our students have been hosted on the NU campus and have gained more confidence and knowledge about attending a university; ETHS students have participated in STEAM Design opportunities, summer programs, research projects, advanced classes and so much more. Our students have had opportunities rarely afforded to high school students because of Morty’s investment in them. Morty has changed lives.