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. After guiding generations of students, faculty and staff through some of their best and toughest times, Stevens retired as chaplain following the 2018 Commencement. In his 32-year tenure, Stevens helped transform religious life on campus by embracing multiculturalism, advocating for inclusion and LGBT rights and fostering interfaith dialogue. He convened the Northwestern Council of Religions, which featured regular conversations among students from different religious backgrounds. Five years later the council served a central role in hosting an interfaith gathering for grieving students, staff and faculty following the 9/11 attacks. Stevens also worked to further Northwestern’s social mission beyond campus by co-leading interfaith “Friendship Missions” during spring break. On these trips, he brought 10 to 15 students to El Salvador, Guatemala, Cuba, Haiti and Russia with a focus on showing students another part of the world and helping them build relationships with these communities. In retirement, Stevens plans to attend some Chicago Cubs and Northwestern basketball games with his wife, Priscilla Wilkins Stevens ’79 MA/MS, ’82 PhD. He has also been taking lessons at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago and relishes the chance to “just be the old guy who plays the banjo.”
MaryAnn Ihejirika Marsh grew up hearing about Northwestern, where her father met the people who helped his wife and children escape war-torn Nigeria and find refuge in America. If it hadn’t been for her father’s experience at Northwestern, she might not be here today. Now, as the president of the Northwestern University Black Alumni Association and a member of the Northwestern University Leadership Circle (NULC) Chicago Regional Board, Marsh says she owes the University as much as she can give.