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150 Years of Women

Blaze Pizza started with a trip to Chipotle in 2011. Looking for a no-wait pizza lunch, Elise Wetzel ’87, ’92 MBA and her husband, Rick, ended up eating burritos, but the made-your-way format sparked an idea.

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Northwestern alumna Jolene Loetscher ’01, namesake of South Dakota's Jolene's Law, spearheaded a campaign to end child sexual abuse in South Dakota. Loetscher, a former TV reporter and CEO of Mud Mile Communications, was named a 2019 Presidential Leadership Scholar.

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Villy Wang ’90 JD founded the Bayview-Hunters Point Center for Arts and Technology (BAYCAT), a nonprofit social enterprise in San Francisco that helps young people from low-income communities capture and tell untold stories and create social change.

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Northwestern All-American Kristen Kjellman Marshall ’07 remains active in the lacrosse world, helping to grow the sport and mentor young women as a coach, camp organizer and children's book author.

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Jody Gerson ’83, the first woman to be named CEO of a major music publishing company, wields enormous influence in the entertainment industry as chairman and CEO of Universal Music Publishing Group. She has transformed UPMG into a billion-dollar–plus company.

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After overcoming adversity in her own life, Jade Maze ’08 MMus is mentoring promising musicians at the Merit School of Music, a community music school in Chicago that serves talented youth in its tuition-free college-prep conservatory.

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Emily Harburg ’18 PhD built Brave Initiatives, a series of workshops and camps for girls designed to promote self-efficacy and develop confidence in coding.

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Inspired by their families, a love of Northwestern and the desire to make the University and the world a better place, women philanthropists have created exciting new spaces, programs and opportunities for students.

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When Sheila Gujrathi ’92, ’96 MD was a student at the Feinberg School of Medicine, she took a year off between her second and third years to live in an ashram in the south of India. Her mother, a pediatrician, was so worried about Gujrathi that she called the ashram and asked them to send her daughter home to finish school, but Gujrathi wanted to lead a more centered life.

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Pulitzer Prize–winning author and Northwestern professor of English Natasha Trethewey’s beloved mother died decades ago, and yet her grave, down in Mississippi, remains unmarked by a headstone. The reasons for this are varied and complicated, and they speak to the essence of Trethewey, one of the most acclaimed poets of our time.

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