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Alumni Leader: Q&A with Gordon Scott ’89 and Anne Nelson Scott ’89

National reunion co-chairs Gordon and Anne Nelson Scott discuss their Northwestern roots, why they decided to attend the University and what motivates them to stay involved with Northwestern.

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Anne and Gordon Scott stand in Scott Hall near a portrait of Anna Miller Scott 1895, ’52 H (in red), Gordon’s great-grandmother. She was married to Walter Dill Scott 1895, Northwestern’s president from 1919 to 1939 and the building’s namesake.Image: Jim Prisching

Summer 2019

The Scott family tree has deep roots on Northwestern’s Evanston campus, the place where three of the last four generations met future spouses during their first year. Gordon Scott ’89, the great-grandson of former University president Walter Dill Scott, and Anne Nelson Scott ’89 found love, lifelong friends and a sense of belonging soon after arriving at Northwestern in 1985. They give back to the University in many ways, including serving as this year’s national reunion co-chairs for Homecoming and Reunion Weekend, which takes place Oct. 24–27.

Why did you decide to go to Northwestern?

Gordon: My father, grandparents and great-grandparents all went to Northwestern. I almost decided to go elsewhere, but I fell in love with the University on my overnight visit. As a student, I valued the quarter system and the diversity of classes I was able to take. I fondly remember my Russian literature courses taught by (Slavic languages and literatures professors) Irwin Weil and Gary Saul Morson and loved learning about art history. Also, did I mention that I met my wife at Northwestern?

Anne: Growing up in Kokomo, Ind., as the very bookish daughter of a professor and a Parisian, I was a fish out of water until Northwestern. I loved the professors, the classes, the opportunities and, most of all, the intelligence and curiosity of the other students. Northwestern transformed my thinking and opened my world.

You’ve co-chaired your 15th, 20th and 25th reunions. Why is Homecoming and Reunion Weekend special to you?

Gordon: I’ve never been to a reunion where somebody didn’t say to me, “Man, I was thinking about it, and I’m so glad I decided to come.” It’s fun to see old friends and meet new ones. This is the weekend the University organizes a party for you. All you have to do is show up.

What’s your favorite memory from a past reunion?

Anne: We both still have our freshman facebooks — printed before Facebook actually existed — and so I took one to Kinko’s and blew up each page. I made two or three copies of each, and then we spread them out on tables at our 25th reunion.

Gordon: Last reunion, the football game was on Saturday evening. After the game, a bunch of us went back to the restaurant and bar at the Hilton Orrington and stayed there chatting until the wee hours of the morning. It was great fun hanging out and catching up with old friends.

Gordon, you’re a co-chair for the Northwestern University Leadership Circle (NULC) Chicago Regional Board, and Anne, you’re an active member of the Women’s Board. What motivates you to stay involved?

Anne: We never really lost our connection to Northwestern. Moving back to the Chicago area from the East Coast in 1999 enabled us to spend time on campus and be more closely involved with the place we love so dearly. We choose to give back because we are grateful for our years at Northwestern and the role the University has played in our lives.

Learn more about Homecoming and Reunion Weekend.

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