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Fall 2018

Features

Record producer-songwriter-mixer Thom Russo knows talent when he hears it. Last spring his manager sent him two songs recorded by a 20-year-old student who’s attending the Brit School, a free performing arts and technology academy in south London.

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russo soundboard
On the outer edge of the color spectrum of visible light lies a mysterious place on the far side of violet. As red morphs to orange and then fades to yellow and so on, the wavelengths become shorter and shorter.

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vadim backman in lab
Throughout a life dedicated to education and the struggle for equality, Johnnetta Cole ’59 MA, ’67 PhD, ’92 H has drawn on her training as an anthropologist to ask fundamental questions about humankind.Questions like “What makes us similar and different?” and “Where do systems of inequality come from?” have shaped a remarkable career in education and the arts. “Even today, when I’m not teaching cultural anthropology and doing fieldwork in some part of the world, I continue to wear what is like a pair of glasses — anthropological lenses through which I see and try to understand the world,” Cole says.

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johnnetta cole 2018 alumni medalist
It was the majestic oak trees near the shore of Lake Michigan that caught Orrington Lunt’s eye on his first visit to the land that today is Northwestern University’s Evanston campus. “The thought first struck me that here was where the high and dry ground began,” Lunt, one of the University’s founders, later wrote.

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old oak student gathering 1880
Last April the School of Communication assembled a star-studded cast for A Starry Night. The evening performance brought together some of Northwestern’s most famous entertainment alumni, including Ana Gasteyer ’89, Heather Headley ’97, Brian d’Arcy James ’90, Richard Kind ’78, Harry Lennix ’86, Tony Roberts ’61 and, of course, Stephen Colbert ’86, ’11 H, who hosted the night of merriment.

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commfest a starry night brings together famous entertainment alumni
Students, from left, Michael Smith ’70, ’72 MA, Steve Colson ’71, Dan Davis ’69, ’78 MA/MS and William Eric Perkins ’70 appear onscreen during the premiere of the Northwestern University Black Alumni Association–commissioned documentary The Takeover: The Revolution of the Black Experience at Northwestern University. The film, which was screened at the NUBAA Summit and Salute to Excellence Gala in May at Chicago’s Swissôtel, examined the May 1968 Bursar’s Office takeover by more than 100 African American students protesting inequitable campus policies and attempting to improve awareness of African American students’ experiences.

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1968 bursars office takeover film
I love fall at Northwestern. A new academic year kicks off, and it’s about a lot more than parking lots getting more crowded or the lines getting longer at our campus eateries: It’s about that renewed burst of energy that the whole Northwestern community gets, from Evanston to Chicago to Doha, Qatar.

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morton schapiro northwestern university president

Voices

Welcome to the new Northwestern Magazine! Our goal for the redesign was to reflect the unique spirit and attributes of Northwestern and its community of faculty, students and alumni in a more flexible and engaging format.

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fall2018 cover
Medill alumna Susan Page, the Washington, D.C., bureau chief for USA Today, remembers well the first time she interviewed candidate Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election. “He said, ‘Susan, I so admire your work,’” Page ’73 recounted in a panel discussion at Medill late last year.

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tim franklin journalism professor and senior associate dean at medill
Four Northwestern professors discuss recent misinformation campaigns and their impact on American democracy.

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fake news typewriter
Yarrow Axford, associate professor of Earth and planetary sciences “Teaching is a really remarkable source of inspiration. I teach classes not just for Earth scientists but also for students in McCormick and Medill, even the law school.

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yarrow axford

Discovery

You can add climate change to the list of threats that might harm certain species of bees. A study done by Northwestern and the Chicago Botanic Garden found that warmer temperatures may drive local extinction of mason bees in naturally warm climates.

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paul caradonna bee researcher

Innovation

A Northwestern student-led startup is commercializing a material that can treat contaminated wastewater from industrial processes more efficiently and effectively than market competitors. NUMiX Materials will provide industrial users with a platform of water treatment sorbent powders to remove toxic materials from their wastewater streams. Working with a patented ion exchange technology from the lab of Northwestern chemistry professor Mercouri Kanatzidis, the student startup is bringing to market a material that can capture an array of heavy metals from contaminated water.

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numix technology treats contaminated wastewater
Three Kellogg grads teamed up to launch Cariset, a startup that makes a high-fashion, high-function leather backpack for women.

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Cariset lake view

News

The typical Becoming a Man session includes a simple game: One young man tucks a small ball into his palm, while his partner has one minute to do whatever it takes to get it away from him. Often the young men start wrestling, trying to pry open their partner’s hand by force.

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becoming a man illustration
'Cat Tales

The Bridge Project

In the summer of 1988, Robert Kath ’88 and Paolo Mazzucato ’88 traveled to Moscow to initiate the first cinematic co-production between students in the United States and students in the Soviet Union. Envisioned as an opportunity for cultural exchange, “The Bridge Project” evolved from discussions between Kath, Mazzucato and students at Moscow’s All-Union State Institute of Cinematography.

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bridge project cultural exchange music video documentary
When Mary Deeley ’89 PhD, pastoral associate at Sheil Catholic Center, read a spring 2016 Daily Northwestern story about students battling food insecurity, she was shocked. “Why are there students who are hungry on this campus, where food is seemingly everywhere?” Deeley asks.

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purple pantry illustration
The Fourth Plinth, London: Northwestern artist Michael Rakowitz unveiled a 14-foot statue of the Lamassu, a winged Assyrian deity with the body of a bull and the head of a human, at the Fourth Plinth in London last March. Created from 9,000 steel cans of Iraqi date syrup, the piece is part of Rakowitz’s larger project The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist, which uses ephemera to represent and commemorate lost Iraqi artifacts.

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The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist michael rakowitz fourth plinth v2

Alumni

Samir Mayekar ’06, ’13 MBA has had no shortage of purple pride since his days as a drum line captain in the Northwestern University “Wildcat” Marching Band. He began volunteering for the Northwestern Alumni Association more than a decade ago and was elected as the NAA’s youngest president in history in September.

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samir mayekar

My Northwestern Direction

My Northwestern Direction

Medill Professor Was My Guiding Light

One day during my freshman year, I was sitting in the McCormick Foundation Center during an introductory journalism course where different professors would come in and give us a cursory overview of different sectors in the industry: digital, broadcast television and magazines. But the lecture that day was the one I had been waiting weeks for: radio.

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my northwestern direction antonia cereijido

“We Will” Update

A major new commitment from Northwestern University Trustee T. Bondurant “Bon” French ’75, ’76 MBA and his wife, Hollis “Holly” S.

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fundraising event at museum of modern art
Reaching Higher

Dedicated Donors

A major new commitment from Northwestern University trustee and alumnus T. Bondurant “Bon” French ’75, ’76 MBA and his wife, Hollis “Holly” S.

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holly and bon french
New and renovated facilities on the Evanston campus are changing the way students in varsity, club and intramural sports practice, study and perform, thanks to the generosity of Northwestern Athletics and Recreation supporters. On April 5 an on-field celebration was held to honor key benefactors who made Ryan Fieldhouse and Wilson Field a reality.

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ryan fieldhouse celebration

People

A few years back, classmates Hana Schank ’93 and Elizabeth Wallace ’93 met for dinner and realized that they were both orbiting around a crisis. Since their undergraduate days, they had been told to dream big.

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schank and wallace
The former viola performance major turned Broadway star won the 2018 Tony Award for best performance by an actress in a musical for “The Band’s Visit.” In this interview she shares how she transitioned from music performance to theater, how she focuses her creative energies and the life lessons she learned at Northwestern.

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tony award winner katrina lenk
The San Francisco–based art collective FoldHaus enlisted tech help from then-undergrad Bomani McClendon ’17 when it was building Shrumen Lumen for Burning Man 2016. McClendon, now a software engineer for Facebook, worked as a programmer on the 12- to 18-foot tall mushrooms, which are now on display at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

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shrumen lumen
A common cause of death following traumatic head injury is subdural hematoma, when blood builds up between the brain and the covering over the brain beneath the skull. This condition, which is often the result of a fall and relatively common among older adults, causes headaches, seizures or even death, and conventional treatments involve invasive surgery, such as drilling a hole in or removing a part of the skull to drain the blood.

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knopman hematoma
People often ask Robert Simonson, the New York Times cocktail writer for more than a decade, what drinks he makes at his home bar. His latest book, 3-Ingredient Cocktails: An Opinionated Guide to the Most Enduring Drinks in the Cocktail Canon, helps answer that question.

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robert simonson three-ingredient cocktails
“There’s a certain symmetry between law and history,” says Sam Kleiner ’09, a New York lawyer and author of The Flying Tigers: The Untold Story of the American Pilots Who Waged a Secret War Against Japan. As a child, Kleiner had heard stories about World War II from his grandfather, who had been a navigator on a B-25.

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sam kleiner horiz
When Tyler Kraemer ’93, ’97 JD and Tammy Henley Kraemer ’97 JD met as students at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, fragrance wasn’t the first thing on their minds. But in 2015, after balancing legal work and a successful essential oil wholesale operation, the couple decided to embrace their passion for perfume.

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kraemers blocki
Philadelphian Sam Ballam fell in love with surfing as a teenager at his home break in Ocean City, N.J. After earning his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, he spent five years working and surfing in Hawaii, where he was president of the Northwestern alumni club during the late 1970s.

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sam ballam
In the fall of 1986, Northwestern offered Timothy Stevens ’82 MA, ’90 PhD the job of acting University chaplain, an appointment intended to last one year. “It’s been a long year,” says Stevens.

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tim stevens
Miki Sawada '09 is a nomad, often spending a month or more on the road. But wherever she goes, she is never far from a piano. During three weeks in August and September 2017, Sawada crisscrossed the largest U.S.

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miki sawada
Mark Vadik ’89, ’04 MA has proved you can balance creative talent with a practical, business-savvy approach to life. After graduating from Northwestern with a degree in performance studies, Vadik became a lawyer and started his own entertainment law firm in Chicago.

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mark vadik on set
Bonnie and Clyde, 1967 Former Northwestern student Warren Beatty starred as con man Clyde Barrow in this biographical crime film. The Graduate, 1967 This groundbreaking rom-com featured William Daniels ’50 as the father of protagonist Benjamin Braddock, played by Dustin Hoffman.

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These rock and jazz acts played Northwestern in the 1980s.

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Online Exclusives

Longtime audio engineer and professor Benj Kanters now focuses on hearing conservation.

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benj kanters NYT