Northwestern University (NU) is a nonsectarian, coeducational, private research university located in Evanston, Illinois and downtown Chicago, Illinois, United States. Northwestern's main campus is a parcel in Evanston, along the shore of Lake Michigan. Several of Northwestern's professional schools such as the School of Law, the Feinberg School of Medicine, and parts of the Kellogg School of Management are located in the Streeterville neighborhood of downtown Chicago.
Northwestern was founded in 1851 to serve the people of the Northwest Territory. A tract of farmland along Lake Michigan north of Chicago was chosen as the new Evanston campus. The university is organized into eleven schools and colleges and in 2007, enrolled 8,284 undergraduate and 9,744 graduate and professional students and granted 2,089 bachelor's degrees and 3,543 graduate and professional degrees. Northwestern employs 2,925 full-time faculty members and had $284 million in research expenditures in 2007.
Northwestern was founded in 1851 by Methodists from Chicago (including John Evans, after whom Evanston is named), and opened in Evanston in 1855 with two faculty members and ten students. The school’s nine founders, all of whom were Methodists (three of them ministers), knelt in prayer and worship before launching their first organizational meeting. The University's name, Northwestern, came from its founders' desire to serve citizens of the states that occupied the area of the former Northwest Territory: Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and part of Minnesota. The original Evanston campus in 1855 consisted of only one building, a temporary structure called "Old College." University Hall, the first permanent building, was constructed in 1869. Northwestern built a campus in Chicago for its graduate schools of law, medicine, and business in the 1920s.
The phrase on Northwestern's seal is Quaecumque sunt vera -- in Latin, "Whatsoever things are true" from Philippians 4:8. Also on Northwestern's seal is a Greek phrase inscribed on the pages of an open book: ho logos pleres charitos kai aletheias, which translates as "The Word... full of grace and truth." This phrase comes from the Gospel of John 1:14: "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we behold His glory, and the glory was of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." Both the Latin and Greek phrases express the values of the University's founders, and recall Northwestern's Methodist heritage.
Northwestern's founding charter granted the school a permanent exemption from paying property taxes. For this reason, Northwestern has often endured a difficult relationship with Evanston's government. Tensions have arisen regarding building codes, law enforcement, and politics. Recently, factions of Evanston's government have attempted to divide Northwestern's campus into several different wards, in order to reduce students' voting power.
In 1873, the Evanston College for Ladies merged with Northwestern, and Frances Willard, who later gained fame as a suffragist, became the school's first dean of women. Northwestern first became co-educational in 1869 at the insistence of Dean Erastus Haven, and the first female student graduated in 1874.
Purple became Northwestern's official school color in 1892, replacing black and gold; a university committee thought that too many other universities used those colors. Today, Northwestern only has one official color, royal purple. However, tradition has firmly established white as a de facto if not de jure official color. As a result, the University's Alma Mater mentions white in conjunction with purple ("Hail to purple, hail to white"), and both are listed in the university guidelines.
During the 1930s, Northwestern nearly merged with its academic rival, the University of Chicago. In 1933, Northwestern President Walter Scott and Chicago President Robert Hutchins concluded that in order to secure the future of both universities, it was in the best interest of both to merge as the Universities of Chicago, with Northwestern's Evanston campus serving undergraduates, Northwestern's Chicago campus serving professionals, and Chicago's Hyde Park campus serving postgraduates. What Scott and Hutchins initially envisioned as the preeminent university in the world was eventually extinguished by Northwestern's board of trustees, a result that Hutchins called "one of the lost opportunities of American education."
Northwestern hosted the first-ever NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship game in 1939. It took place in the original Patten Gymnasium, which was later demolished and relocated farther north in order to make room for the Technological Institute. In 1948, prominent anthropologist Melville J. Herskovits founded the Program of African Studies at Northwestern, the first center of its kind at an American academic institution. In May 1978, the first Unabomber attack occurred at Northwestern University. The following year, the second Unabomber attack also occurred at Northwestern.
In 1999, Northwestern student journalists uncovered information that exonerated Illinois death row inmate Anthony Porter two days before his scheduled execution. Since, the Medill Innocence Project has exonerated nine more innocent men. On January 11, 2003, in a speech at Northwestern School of Law's Lincoln Hall, Governor of Illinois George Ryan announced that he would commute the sentences of more than 150 death row inmates. Ryan said, "it is fitting that we are gathered here today at Northwestern University with the students, teachers, lawyers and investigators who first shed light on the sorrowful conditions of Illinois’ death penalty system.
Northwestern's Evanston campus, home to the undergraduate program and the business school, runs north-south in between Lake Michigan and Sheridan Road from Clark Street to Central Street. The north side of campus is home to the campus' fraternity quads, the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion and other athletic facilities, the Technological Institute, Dearborn Observatory, and other science-related buildings including Ryan Hall, and the Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center. The south side of campus is home to the University's humanities buildings, music buildings (such as Pick-Staiger Concert Hall), art buildings (such as the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art), and sorority quads. This division in building location, along with the fact that the south end of campus is closer to the downtown center of Evanston, creates a cultural difference between the students typically found on either end of the campus. In the 1960s, the University expanded its campus boundaries by constructing a lakefill in Lake Michigan. The additional 84 acres are now home to the Northwestern University Library, Norris University Center, and Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, among other facilities.
The university has five libraries on the Evanston campus and three on the Chicago campus. The libraries in total have over 4.6 million volumes, with the majority housed in University Library on the Evanston campus. University Library is home to The Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies, the largest separate collection of Africana in the world.
The Chicago Transit Authority's elevated train running through Evanston is called the Purple Line, taking its name from Northwestern's school color. The Foster and Davis stations are within walking distance of the southern end of the campus, while the Noyes station is close to the northern end of the campus. The Central station is close to Ryan Field, Northwestern's football stadium. Northwestern's professional schools and hospital in downtown Chicago are about four blocks east of the Chicago station on the CTA Red Line. The Chicago Transit Authority and Pace Suburban Bus Service have several bus routes that run through both campuses. The Evanston Davis Street Metra station serves the Northwestern campus in downtown Evanston as well, and the Evanston Central Street Metra station is near Ryan Field.
Northwestern's Chicago campus is located in the city's Streeterville neighborhood, with close proximity to landmarks such as the John Hancock Center and Michigan Avenue. Its Ward Building was the first academic skyscraper in the country. The Chicago campus is home to the medical school and hospital, the law school, the part-time business school, and the School of Continuing Studies, which offers evening and weekend courses for working adults.
The University Senate is comprised of all full-time faculty and makes recommendations on matters of educational policy, recommends candidates for honorary degrees, and can elect special committees such as the 22-member General Faculty Committee which serves as a liaison between the faculty and administration. The Associated Student Government and Graduate Student Association are likewise the elected, representative liaison bodies for undergraduate and graduate students respectively to the university administration.
Northwestern University is composed of 11 schools and colleges. The faculty for each school consists of the university president, provost, the dean of the school, and the instructional faculty. Faculty are responsible for teaching, research, advising students, and serving on committees. The admission requirements, degree requirements, course of study, disciplinary and degree recommendations are determined by the voting members of each school's faculty (assistant professor and above).
|Undergraduate and Graduate Programs||Graduate and Professional|
| Evanston Campus || Evanston Campus |
| Chicago Campus |
USNWR ranks Northwestern's School of Law 9th, Kellogg School of Management 5th, Feinberg School of Medicine 21st in research and 44th in primary care, the McCormick School of Engineering 21st, and the School of Education and Social Policy 7th. The Medill School of Journalism ranks among America's top three advertising schools. Business Week ranks Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management as the best business school for executive MBA's and 3rd best overall, with respect to full-time MBA programs.
WNUR (89.3 FM) is a 7200 watt radio station that broadcasts to Chicago and its northern suburbs. It is the largest student-run radio station in the country. In 2003, WNUR was named the #1 college radio station in the country by Spin magazine. WNUR has also been recognized as a top US station by The Wire and is often cited as one of the major centers for the nascent indie music movement during the early 1990s. However, music is not the only part of WNUR's programming. Students broadcast Northwestern's varsity athletics (football, men's and women's basketball, baseball, softball, and women's lacrosse) live, produce news updates on weekdays, and discuss politics, current events, and literature.
The Northwestern News Network, commonly known as NNN, is the student television news and sports operation at Northwestern. It broadcasts news and sports programming three days of the week during the academic year on NU Channel 1, online at nnntv.org and weeknights at 10 p.m. on Evanston cable access channel 6.
North by Northwestern is a student-run online publication dedicated to campus life. It recently won first place in its region for Best All-Around Independent Online Student Publication from the Society of Professional Journalists.
Other prominent student publications include the The Northwestern Chronicle, Northwestern's monthly alternative newspaper; Northwestern Business Review, a business magazine; Helicon, a literary magazine; schmooze, a magazine for Jewish college students around the country; STITCH, a fashion and photography magazine; Blackboard, published by black student alliance For Members Only; Mustardseed, a Christian publication; NUde Magazine, which focuses on student culture and experiencing Chicago; and The Protest, part of the Peace Project umbrella organization.
Northwestern also has a variety of improv groups. The improv and sketch comedy group Mee-Ow lists Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Ana Gasteyer, Dermot Mulroney, Seth Meyers, John Cameron Mitchell, and Kristen Schaal among its alumni. The Titanic Players are the oldest long-form improv group in the country. Mee-Ow, Titanic, and Out da Box, a multicultural comedy show, along with Northwestern's theatre department, have brought nation-wide attention to Northwestern's improv comedy training and performance.
There are over ten a cappella groups and a variety of dance companies on campus. The dance companies include Fusion Dance Company, a Hip-Hop Dance Crew; Graffiti Dancers, a dance group that focuses on jazz and modern; and Boomshaka, Northwestern's premiere drum and dance ensemble, combining body rhythm, drumming, and dance. Radio drama featuring student voice actors is a staple of WNUR's programming.
Northwestern is a charter member of the Big Ten Conference and the only private institution in the conference. Currently, Northwstern fields 19 intercollegiate athletic teams (8 men's and 11 women's) in addition to numerous club sports. The football team plays at Ryan Field (formerly known as Dyche Stadium); the basketball and volleyball teams play at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
Northwestern's athletic teams are nicknamed the Wildcats. Before 1924, they were known as "The Purple" and unofficially as "The Fighting Methodists." The name Wildcats was bestowed upon the university in 1924 by Wallace Abbey, a writer for the Chicago Daily Tribune who wrote that even in a loss to the University of Chicago, "Football players had not come down from Evanston; wildcats would be a name better suited to [Coach Glenn] Thistletwaite's boys." The name was so popular that university board members made "wildcats" the official nickname just months later. In 1972 the student body voted to change the official nickname from "Wildcats" to "Purple Haze" but the new name never really stuck.
The Northwestern Athletics' mascot is Willie the Wildcat. However, the team's first mascot was not Willie, but a live, caged bear cub from the Lincoln Park Zoo named Furpaw. In fall 1923, Furpaw was driven to the playing field to greet the fans before each game. After a losing season, the team decided that Furpaw was the harbinger of bad luck and banished him from campus. Willie made his debut ten years later in 1933 as a logo, but did not actually come to life until 1947, when members of the Alpha Delta fraternity dressed up as him during the Homecoming parade.
Northwestern's football team has a history of futility, as it holds the all-time records for Division I-A losses, points allowed, and negative point differential (amount opponents have outscored them by), and is on the losing end of the greatest comeback in Division I-A history. Northwestern also holds the record for the longest losing streak in Division I-A, 32 games. However, the team has seen success in recent years, including trips to the 1996 Rose Bowl, 1997 Citrus Bowl, 2000 Alamo Bowl, 2003 Motor City Bowl and 2005 Sun Bowl. In addition to those winning seasons, Northwestern also enjoyed one of their most memorable Football victories in 2004, with an upset over usual Big Ten power Ohio State. The current coach is former All-American Northwestern linebacker Pat Fitzgerald. The Northwestern University Marching Band (NUMB) performs at all home football and lead cheers in the student section and the alma mater at the end of the game.
Current successful athletic programs include men's soccer, wrestling, men's swimming, men's golf, women's tennis, softball, fencing and women's lacrosse. The women's lacrosse team is the four-time NCAA national champion, and went undefeated in 2005.
Notable current faculty include sexual psychologist J. Michael Bailey; Holocaust denier Arthur Butz; former-Weatherman Bernardine Rae Dohrn; ethnographer Gary Alan Fine; Kyoto Prize-winning philosopher Jurgen Habermas; Templeton Prize-winner Charles Taylor; Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Garry Wills; and MacArthur Fellowship recipients Stuart Dybek, Aleksandar Hemon, Jennifer Richeson, and Mary Zimmerman. Notable former faculty include artist Ed Paschke, Nobel Laureate chemist John Pople, and military sociologist and "don't ask, don't tell" author Charles Moskos.
Northwestern totals approximately 190,000 alumni, including leaders in business, government, law, science, education, medicine, media, and the performing arts. Among Northwestern's notable alumni are U.S. Senator and presidential candidate George McGovern, Nobel Prize-winning economist George J. Stigler, and Nobel Prize-winning author Saul Bellow. U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice John Paul Stevens, former Supreme Court Justice and Ambassador to the United Nations Arthur Joseph Goldberg, lawyer David Boies, and politician Adlai Stevenson are among the graduates of the Northwestern University School of Law. Many Northwestern alumni play or have played important roles in Chicago and Illinois, such as current Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, Chicago Bulls and Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, and theater director Mary Zimmerman. Northwestern alumni David J. Skorton and Graham Spanier currently serve as president of Cornell University and Penn State University, respectively.
Northwestern's film and theater programs have also produced a number of talented actors, actresses, and filmmakers. Alumni who have made their mark on film and television include Academy Award-winner Charlton Heston, Ann-Margret, Warren Beatty, David Schwimmer, Zach Braff, Marg Helgenberger, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jerry Springer, Megan Mullally,William Daniels, and Stephen Colbert. Alumni such as Stephanie D'Abruzzo, Heather Headley, Kristen Schaal, Lily Rabe, and Walter Kerr have seen prominence on Broadway. Amsterdam-based comedy theater Boom Chicago was founded by Northwestern alumni, and the school has become a training ground for future The Second City, I.O., ComedySportz, Mad TV and Saturday Night Live talent. Alumnus Tam Spiva wrote scripts for The Brady Bunch and Gentle Ben. Northwestern alumni living in New York City and Los Angeles, especially those involved in theater and film, are commonly known as the "Northwestern Mafia" due to their high concentration in the area and their willingness to help out fellow Wildcats.
The Medill School of Journalism has produced notable journalists and political activists including 9 Pulitzer Prize laureates. National correspondents and reporters such as The New York Times's Elisabeth Bumiller and Vincent Laforet, NBC correspondent Kelly O'Donnell, CBS correspondent Richard Threlkeld, CNN correspondents Nicole Lapin and Joie Chen, and ESPN personalities Rachel Nichols, Michael Wilbon, Mike Greenberg, J. A. Adande, and Kevin Blackistone.
Northwestern alumni involved in music include Steve Albini, Thomas Tyra, Andrew Bird, Matt Muckey, M. Superlatif, Julie Liu, Jen Charowhas, and members of Arcade Fire, The Lawrence Arms, Chavez, Freddie Feldman, and OK Go. Lastly, many Northwestern alumni are involved in professional sports including Rick Sund (NBA), Billy McKinney (NBA), Mark Loretta (MLB), Joe Girardi (MLB), Luis Castillo (NFL), and three-time Olympic medalist Matt Grevers.