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Crosscurrents

From the Dean


As I reflect upon another eventful fall at Northwestern, the weather is positively splendid, with temperatures in the 50s and clear blue skies. Where shall I begin? In September we welcomed a freshmen class with even higher credentials than the class before (I did not think that was possible!). The energy and excitement they bring to the campus is palpable. 

On October 9, we inaugurated our 16th president, Morton Schapiro (aka “Morty”), who joined us from Williams College. Despite less than ideal weather, the Inauguration was festive and inspiring. The students put on wonderful performances at Pick Staiger, Thomas Friedman of the New York Times delivered a riveting keynote speech, and our new president spoke of the importance of institutions like Northwestern being “elite, but not elitist.” We were joined that day by many alumni and friends, and representatives from universities around the world who marched in the procession. For those of you not able to attend, I invite you to watch the inauguration video on our website.

Two weeks later, alumni joined us for a weekend of fun at Homecoming. Marie Arana ’71, award-winning author and recent editor of the Washington Post Book World, received the Alumnae Award. In her student days, Marie was a Russian major, a pom pom girl, and a Homecoming queen. Marie gave a heart-warming speech about growing up in Peru, moving to New Jersey as a child, and later coming to Northwestern. She spoke eloquently about the value that her liberal arts education has had in her life. At the Homecoming game, it was cloudy and cold, we were losing 28-3 to the Indiana Hoosiers, and I was ready to give up and go home, but my daughter Julia wouldn’t let me. I was glad I stayed, because the Wildcats had their biggest comeback in Northwestern history and went on to win 29-28! 

October brought the news that Northwestern produced 32 U.S. Fulbright scholars this year—the highest of any university in the country. As Dean of Weinberg College I can boast that 24 of those were Weinberg students. We are very proud of these bright, motivated scholars who will study and conduct research all over the world. 

November brought us the beautiful fall weather we normally have in October. We had the ribbon-cutting celebration for The Richard and Barbara Silverman Hall for Molecular Therapeutics and Diagnostics. The building honors Rick Silverman, our John Evans Professor of Chemistry and his wife, Barbara, who donated to the University a portion of his royalties from the drug Lyrica to help fund construction. Silverman Hall will house the Chemistry of Life Processes Institute, which brings together interdisciplinary teams of scientists to design and develop new drugs to treat cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, as well as to develop improved techniques for early-stage diagnosis of disease. Next time you are in town, please take a tour of this beautiful new facility! 

Yesterday on another gorgeous fall day at brunch with many Weinberg alumni, Jim Phillips, our athletic director, announced that Northwestern’s student athletes have the second highest Graduation Success Rate of all the Division-I teams in the nation. We then went on to watch our football team beat #17 ranked University of Wisconsin. It was another come-from-behind victory. They don’t call our team the “Cardiac Cats” for nothing! I loved watching all the students garbed in purple run onto the field afterwards to celebrate with the players. 

So, we have had a wonderful fall here in Evanston, but it has not been without financial concerns. We have put more money than ever before into financial aid to assure that we are an “elite, but not elitist” institution and that we can continue to recruit the best and brightest students from all over the world, regardless of their financial need. We thank you for all your help and support in these challenging times. 

Sarah C. Mangelsdorf