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Sound Off: Our Beautiful Campus

Alumni reflect on the places at Northwestern that spark joy.

shakespeare garden hero
The Shakespeare Garden is a favorite spot on the Northwestern campus.

Winter 2022
3 Responses

Gaye Miyasaki ’78

Northwestern had one of the most beautiful campuses when I attended. One of my favorite spots was the Shakespeare Garden. I loved reading books in the garden, which was near my dorm, McCulloch Hall. It was a beautiful, serene place in the fall and the spring. I recently looked up the garden online and was pleased to see that it has been refurbished. It looks wonderful and is definitely still a gem!

Michael Weidemann ’74

Alice Millar Chapel! The stained-glass windows are awe-inspiring, and the organ and choir provide an amazing accompaniment during services. I was part of a group of students, faculty, alumni and townspeople who formed the Church in the Chapel, an interdenominational Christian community that worshipped and studied together and tried to live out our faith in the world. My wife and I were married in the adjoining Jeanne Vail Chapel, and our daughter was baptized there. What a wonderful place to nourish one’s soul!

Catherine Scholl ’86

No place on campus is more special to me than the old Music Administration Building. Everything from the creaking floors that gave way as you walked on them, to the smell of oil carefully applied to ease the bones of the century-old wood banisters, to the cavernous rehearsal rooms that connected to others like a cave system — it all made me feel like the artist I was becoming. Often I would just close my eyes and “feel” the building through a cacophony of piano, flute, clarinet and other instruments, all performing beautiful concerts of their own. It brought me vitality and peace, and it’s etched in my memory and heart forever.

Jacob Munoz ’21

Whether it was painting on large rocks along the shore, partying to thundering Dillo Day concerts or just gathering with friends, many of my great memories on campus took place on the Lakefill. Even on the most crowded summer days, the area has a true serenity to it. There’s nothing quite as special as listening to crashing waves while viewing the Chicago skyline or watching the dark blue horizon give way to a bright orange sunrise.

Robert Lilienfeld ’75, ’76 MBA 

It’s an early evening on a Friday in spring. You’re finished with classes for the week and have just eaten dinner at Elder Hall. You and a few friends grab a drink, head over to the rocks and sit along the lake with your legs hanging over the edge. There’s a warm, onshore breeze washing over you. The gulls above are squawking, some dogs at the nearby frat houses are barking, and your stress melts away. On a warm spring day, before the alewives washed ashore, that spot was heaven.


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Reader Responses

  • I’m with Catherine Scholl ’86 — loved the old Music Building! I’d trek down from the Phi Gam house, sometimes late at night, just to spend an hour or two playing piano to my heart’s content down in the basement. Then, up in the big rehearsal hall, under the baton of the great John Paynter ’50, ’51 MMus, it was a thrill adding my trombone to the sound of the NU band or orchestra.

    As she said, it's etched in my memory and heart forever.

    Richard Allen ’61 Los Angeles, via Northwestern Magazine

  • Harris 108 with its fireplace, enjoying the gift of participating in a seminar led by the amazing professor Ivor Wilks while he smoked his pipe (it was the '80s) and guided us along in his Welsh accent.

    Dave Allen ’88 Evanston, Ill.

  • The walk along fraternity row. I was a DU [Delta Upsilon].

    John Gleason ’68 Scottsdale, Ariz., via Northwestern Magazine

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