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Northwestern University (NU) is a private research university located primarily in Evanston, Illinoismarker, USA. Northwestern is a comprehensive research institution consisting of eleven undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools and colleges: the Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, the Feinberg School of Medicine, the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, the Graduate School, the Medill School of Journalism, the Bienen School of Music, and the Schools of Communication, Lawmarker, Education and Social Policy, and Continuing Studies.

Northwestern was founded in 1851 by John Evans to serve the people of what had once been the Northwest Territory. Instruction began in 1855, and women were first admitted in 1869. Today, Northwestern's main campus is a 240-acre (97 ha) parcel in Evanston, along the shore of Lake Michiganmarker. The university's campus in downtown Chicagomarker is the location of its law and medical schools. The Medill School of Journalism and School of Communication also have a campus in Education Citymarker, Dohamarker, Qatarmarker.

In 2008 Northwestern enrolled 8,476 undergraduate and 9,955 graduate and professional students. The Northwestern Wildcats compete in 19 intercollegiate sports in the NCAA's Division I, primarily in the Big Ten Conference.


The history of Northwestern University can be traced back to a May 31, 1850 meeting of prominent Chicago businessmen who shared a desire to establish a university to serve what had once been the the Northwest Territory. On January 28, 1851, the Illinois General Assembly granted a charter to the Trustees of the North Western University making it the first recognized university in Illinois. The school’s nine founders were all Methodists (including three ministers in the church) and were committed to non-sectarian admissions for the entire population of the territory.

John Evans purchased of land along Lake Michigan in 1853 and Philo Judson began developing the plans for what would become the city of Evanstonmarker. The first building, Old College, opened on November 5, 1855. As a private university that had to raise funds for construction, Northwestern sold $100 "perpetual scholarships" that entitled the purchaser and his heirs to free tuition. In 1873, the Evanston College for Ladies merged with Northwestern, and Frances Willard, who later gained fame as a suffragist, became the school's first dean of women. Northwestern admitted its first female students in 1869 and the first female student graduated in 1874.

Northwestern first fielded an intercollegiate football team in 1882 and later became a founding member of the Big Ten Conference. Northwestern became affiliated with professional schools of law, medicine, and dentistry throughout the Chicago area in the 1870s and 1880s. Enrollments grew through the 1890s and under Henry Wade Rogers these new programs were integrated into a modern research university combining professional, graduate, and undergraduate programs, and emphasizing teaching along with research. The Association of American Universities invited Northwestern to become a member in 1917. Under Walter Dill Scott's presidency from 1920–1939, Northwestern began construction of an integrated campus in downtown Chicago designed by James Gamble Rogers to house the professional schools, the establishment of the Kellogg School of Management, as well as opening new buildings on the Evanston campus like Dyche Stadiummarker and Deering Librarymarker. A proposal to merge Northwestern with the University of Chicagomarker was considered in 1933 but rejected by both schools. Northwestern hosted the first-ever NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship game in 1939 in the original Patten Gymnasiummarker, which was later demolished and relocated farther north in order to make room for the Technological Institute.

University Hall, the second building constructed on the campus, and the oldest building still standing.
Like other American research universities, Northwestern was transformed by World War II. Franklyn B. Snyder led the university from 1939 to 1949 and during the war nearly 50,000 military officers and personnel were trained on the Evanston and Chicago campuses. After the war surging enrollments under the G.I. Bill drove drastic expansion of both campuses. In 1948, prominent anthropologist Melville J. Herskovits founded the Program of African Studies at Northwestern, the first center of its kind at an American academic institution. J. Roscoe Miller's tenure from 1949–1970 was responsible for the expansion of the Evanston campus with the construction of the Lakefill on Lake Michigan, growth of the faculty and new academic programs, as well as polarizing Vietnam-era student protests. In 1978, the first and second Unabomber attacks occurred at Northwestern University. Tensions between the Evanston community and Northwestern were strained throughout much of the post-war era given episodes of disruptive student activism, disputes over municipal zoning, building codes, and law enforcement, as well as restrictions on the sale of alcohol near campus until 1972. Northwestern's exemption from state and municipal property tax obligations under its original charter was a particular source of town and gown tension and led to a federal lawsuit between the city and university which was settled out-of-court in 2004.

As government support of universities declined in the 1970s and 1980s, President Arnold R. Weber oversaw the stabilization of university finances and revitalization of the campuses. As admissions to colleges and universities grew increasingly competitive throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Henry S. Bienen's tenure oversaw the increase in the number and quality of undergraduate applicants, continued expansion of the facilities and faculty, as well as renewed athletic competitiveness. In 1999, Northwestern student journalists uncovered information that exonerated Illinois death row inmate Anthony Porter two days before his scheduled execution and the Innocence Project has since exonerated nine more innocent men. On January 11, 2003, in a speech at Northwestern School of Law's Lincoln Hall, Governor of Illinois George Ryan announced that he would commute the sentences of more than 150 death row inmates.

The Latin phrase on Northwestern's seal Quaecumque sunt vera ("Whatsoever things are true") is drawn from Philippians 4:8. Also on Northwestern's seal is a Greek phrase inscribed on the pages of an open book: ho logos pleres charitos kai aletheias, which translates as "The Word... full of grace and truth" from the Gospel of John 1:14. Both the Latin and Greek phrases express the values of the University's Methodist founders. Purple became Northwestern's official school color in 1892, replacing black and gold after a university committee thought that the colors were common to too many other universities. Today, Northwestern only has one official color, royal purple although white is a de facto official color mentioned in both the university's Alma Mater ("Hail to purple, hail to white") and some university guidelines.



Northwestern's Evanston campus, home to the undergraduate program, graduate school, and business school, runs north-south in between Lake Michigan and Sheridan Road from Clark Street to Central Street. The north side of campus is home to the campus' fraternity quads, the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion and other athletic facilities, the Technological Institute, Dearborn Observatorymarker, and other science-related buildings including Ryan Hall, and the Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center. The south side of campus is home to the University's humanities buildings, music buildings (such as Pick-Staiger Concert Hall), art buildings (such as the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Artmarker), and sorority quads. This division in building location, along with the fact that the south end of campus is closer to the downtown center of Evanstonmarker, creates a cultural difference between the students typically found on either end of the campus. In the 1960s, the University expanded its campus boundaries by constructing a lakefill in Lake Michiganmarker. The additional are now home to the Northwestern University Librarymarker, Norris University Center, and Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, among other facilities.

The Chicago Transit Authority's elevated train running through Evanston is called the Purple Line, taking its name from Northwestern's school color. The Fostermarker and Davismarker stations are within walking distance of the southern end of the campus, while the Noyesmarker station is close to the northern end of the campus. The Centralmarker station is close to Ryan Fieldmarker, Northwestern's football stadium. The Evanston Davis Streetmarker Metra station serves the Northwestern campus in downtown Evanston and the Evanston Central Streetmarker Metra station is near Ryan Field.


The Montgomery Ward Building at the Feinberg School of Medicine—America's first academic skyscraper.
Northwestern's Chicago campus is located in the city's Streetervillemarker neighborhood. The Chicago campus is home to the medical school and hospital, the law school, the part-time business school, and the School of Continuing Studies, which offers evening and weekend courses for working adults. Northwestern's professional schools and hospital in downtown Chicago are about four blocks east of the Chicagomarker station on the CTA Red Line. The Chicago Transit Authority and Pace Suburban Bus Service have several bus routes that run through both campuses.

Northwestern's professional schools had been founded or affiliated with the university at various times in its history and consequently their facilities were scattered throughout Chicago. In connection with a 1917 master plan for a central Chicago campus and President Scott's capital campaign, of land were purchased at the Corner of Chicago Avenue and Lake Shore Drivemarker for $1.5 million in 1920. George McKinlock donated $250,000 to have the campus named in honor of his son, Alexander McKinlock Jr. who died in World War I, but his financial losses during the Great Depression prevented him from fulfilling his pledge, so the university forgave his debt and the name defaulted to the Chicago campus instead. James Gamble Rogers was given a commission to create a master plan for the major buildings on the new campus which he designed in a collegiate gothic style. In 1923, Mrs. Montgomery Ward donated $8 million to the campaign to fund the construction of the Montgomery Ward Memorial Building to house the medical and dental schools and create endowments for faculty chairs, research grants, scholarships, and building maintenance. The building would become the first skyscraper housing academic facilities in the United states. In addition to the Ward Building, Rogers designed Wieboldt Hall to house facilities for the School of Commerce and Levy Mayer Hall to house the School of Law. The new campus comprising these three new buildings were dedicated during a two-day long ceremony in June 1927. The Chicago campus continued to expand with the addition of Thorn Hall in 1931 and Abbott Hall in 1939.


In fall 2008, Northwestern opened a campus in Education Citymarker, Doha, Qatarmarker joining five other American universities: Carnegie Mellon Universitymarker, Cornell Universitymarker, Georgetown Universitymarker, Texas A&M Universitymarker, and Virginia Commonwealth Universitymarker. The Medill School of Journalism and School of Communication offer bachelors degrees in journalism and communication respectively. The Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development provided funding for construction and administrative costs as well as support to hire 50 to 60 faculty and staff, some of whom will rotate between the Evanston and Qatar campuses.


In 2009 The Sustainable Endowments Institute awarded Northwestern a “C+” on its College Sustainability Report Card. In January 2009, the Green Power Partnership (GPP, sponsored by the EPA) listed Northwestern as one of the top 10 universities in the country that purchase the most energy from renewable sources. A total of 40 million kWh, or 20% of the energy supplied to Northwestern’s Evanston and Chicago campuses is offset through the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs).

Northwestern requires that all new buildings will be LEED-certified. Currently there are two LEED Certified buildings on campus: The Wieboldt School of Continuing Studies was awarded Gold LEED Certification in 2007, and the Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center was awarded Silver LEED Certification in 2006. New construction and renovation projects will be designed to provide at least a 20% improvement over energy code requirements where technically feasible. The university also released the Evanston Campus Framework Plan at the beginning of the 2008-2009 academic year, which outlines plans for future development of the Evanston Campus. The plan not only emphasizes the sustainable construction of buildings, but also discusses improving transportation by optimizing pedestrian and bicycle access. Northwestern has had a comprehensive recycling program in place since 1990. Annually more than 1,500 tons are recycled at NU, which represents 26% of the waste produced on campus. Additionally, all landscape waste at NU is composted.

Organization and administration

Northwestern is owned and governed by a privately-appointed board of trustees. The current board, with 70 members and chaired by Patrick G. Ryan, delegates its power to an elected President to serve as the chief executive officer of the university. Northwestern has had sixteen presidents in its history (excluding interim presidents) and the current president, Morton O. Schapiro succeeded Henry Bienen's fourteen year tenure on August 31, 2009.. Former President Bienen's total compensation for 2006–2007 was $1,742,560. The president currently has an immediate staff of 21 vice presidents, directors, and other assistants for administrative, financial, faculty, and student matters. The Provost, Daniel I. Linzer since September 2007, serves under the President as the chief academic officer of the university and is the office to which the deans of every academic school, leaders of cross-disciplinary units, and chairs of the 17 standing faculty committees report.

The University Senate is composed of all full-time faculty and makes recommendations on matters of educational policy, recommends candidates for honorary degrees, and can elect special committees such as the 22-member General Faculty Committee which serves as a liaison between the faculty and administration. The Associated Student Government and Graduate Student Association are likewise the elected, representative liaison bodies for undergraduate and graduate students respectively to the university administration.

Northwestern University is composed of 11 schools and colleges. The faculty for each school consists of the university president, provost, the dean of the school, and the instructional faculty. Faculty are responsible for teaching, research, advising students, and serving on committees. The admission requirements, degree requirements, course of study, disciplinary and degree recommendations are determined by the voting members of each school's faculty (assistant professor and above).

In 2007, Northwestern's endowment increased by 11.4% to $7.243 billion, making it the 8th-largest endowment of all American universities. In the eleven year period between 1997 and 2007, the endowment grew by an average rate of 13.4%. $187.9 million is gifts and other voluntary support were made to Northwestern in 2006–2007. In 2003, Northwestern finished a five-year capital campaign which raised $1.55 billion, $150 million more than its goal. In 2007, the university sold its royalty interest in the pain relief drug Lyrica (developed at Northwestern by Professor Richard Bruce Silverman) for $700 million, the largest royalty sale in history, and the proceeds placed in the endowment to support financial aid, research, and construction.

Undergraduate and Graduate Programs

Graduate and Professional
Evanston Campus Evanston Campus Chicago Campus
Chicago Campus


Northwestern is a large, highly residential research university. Accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and the respective national professional organizations for chemistry, psychology, business, education, journalism, music, engineering, law, and medicine, the university offers over 130 undergraduate programs and 70 graduate and professional programs. NU granted 2,089 bachelors degrees, 2,665 masters degrees, 462 doctoral degrees, and 416 professional degrees in 2006–2007.

The four year, full-time undergraduate program comprises the majority of enrollments at the university and emphasizes instruction in the "arts & sciences/professions." There is no required common core curriculum; individual degree requirements are set by the faculty of each school. Northwestern's full-time undergraduate and graduate programs operate on an approximately 10 week academic quarter system with the primary three academic quarters beginning in late September and ending in early June. Although undergraduates are required to complete at least 12 quarters on campus to graduate, Northwestern offers honors, accelerated, and joint degree programs in medicine, science, mathematics, engineering, and journalism. The comprehensive doctoral graduate program has high coexistence with undergraduate programs.

Undergraduates with grade point averages in the highest 3 percent of each graduating class are awarded degrees summa cum laude, the next 5 percent magna cum laude, and the next 8 percent cum laude. Northwestern also has chapters of academic honor societies such as Phi Beta Kappa, Eta Kappa Nu, Tau Beta Pi, and Lambda Pi Eta. Since 1951, Northwestern has awarded 520 honorary degrees to distinguished individuals.

Undergraduate tuition for the 2008–2009 school year was $37,125. Northwestern awards financial aid solely on the basis of need through loans, work-study, grants, and scholarships. $213.8 million was offered in financial aid across the university's undergraduate and graduate programs, including $81 million from university funds, federal and state aid, and outside sources awarded to 3,380 undergraduates in 2007–2008. Beginning in fall 2008, Northwestern replaced loans with grants for students with the greatest financial need, although only 9% of students qualify for Pell Grants. 46% of Northwestern undergraduates graduate with student debt and the average debt is $18,393.

Among the six undergraduate schools, 51.2% of undergraduate students are enrolled in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, 17.2% in the McCormick School of Engineering, 14.7% in the School of Communication, 8.4% in the Medill School of Journalism, 5.0% in the Bienen School of Music, and 3.4% in the School of Education. The five most commonly awarded degrees are in economics, journalism, communication studies, psychology, and political science. While professional students are affiliated with their respective schools, the Graduate School rather than home schools is responsible for enrolling and administering the full-time graduate students pursuing advanced academic degrees. With 2,075 students enrolled in science, engineering, and health fields, the largest graduate programs by enrollment include chemistry, integrated biology, material sciences, electrical engineering and computer science, neuroscience, and economics. The Kellogg School of Management, School of Lawmarker, and Feinberg School of Medicine are the three largest professional programs by enrollment.

Libraries and museums

The Northwestern library system consists of four libraries on the Evanston campus including the central University Librarymarker, three on the Chicago campus, and two affiliated with the Garrett-Evangelical and Seabury-Western seminaries respectively. The library contains over 4.6 million volumes, 4.5 million microforms, and 45,000 periodicals making it (by volume) the 30th-largest university library in North America and the 10th-largest library among private universities. Library expenditures totaled $26.3 million in 2006 and over 100,000 volumes were added in the same year. Notable collections in the library system include the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies, one of the largest Africana collections in the world, an extensive collection of early edition printed music and manuscripts as well as late-modern works, and an art collection noted for its 19th and 20th-century Western art and architecture periodicals. The library system participates with twelve other universities in digitizing its collections as a part of the Google Book Search project. The Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Artmarker is a major art museum within Chicagoland and contains over 4,000 works in its permanent collection in addition to dedicating a third of its space to temporary and traveling exhibits as a kunsthalle.


Ford Design Center

Northwestern was elected to the Association of American Universities in 1917 and remains a research university with "very high" research activity. Northwestern's schools of management, engineering, and communication are among the most academically productive in the nation. Northwestern manages research and development budgets that totaled $420.0 million in 2006, 34th among all universities and 13th among private universities in the United States. $250.0 million originated from the federal government, $12.2 million from industry, $5.1 million from state and local governments, $44.5 million from other sources, and $108.2 million from Northwestern's own institutional funds, the third most among private universities nationwide. Northwestern dedicates to science and engineering research space, predominately in the medical and biological sciences. Northwestern spent $29.8 million on research in non-science and engineering fields like management, education, law, communication, and journalism in 2006, 12th most among all American universities. $61.56 million in congressional earmarks were appropriated to Northwestern between 1990 and 2003 and $4.98 million in appropriations were granted in 2008. Northwestern researchers disclosed 184 inventions, filed 158 patents applications, received 32 patents, started 9 companies, and generated $776 million in license income in 2008, although the latter is distorted by the $700 million sale of Lyrica to Pfizer, the largest royalty sale in history.

NU is home to the Northwestern Institute for Complex Systems, Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center, Materials Research Center, Institute for Policy Research, International Institute for Nanotechnology, Center for Catalysis and Surface Science, Buffet Center for International and Comparative Studies, the Initiative for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern and the Argonne/Northwestern Solar Energy Research Center.

Campus life


The Rock in front of University Hall
Northwestern University is home to a number of student traditions. Painting The Rock (originally a fountain that was donated by the Class of 1902) is a way to advertise Greek organizations, student groups, and on-campus events. Dance Marathon, a 30-hour philanthropic event, raises several hundred thousand dollars every winter. Primal Scream is held at 9 p.m. on the Sunday before finals week every quarter. For the event, students lean out windows or gather in court yards and scream at the top of their lungs. Armadillo Day, or more commonly Dillo Day, is held on Northwestern's Lakefill every Spring on the weekend after Memorial Day.

Northwestern has several traditions for football games. Students perform the Wildcat Growl when opposing teams control the ball, while making "claws" with their hands. Also, students jingle their keys at the beginning of each kickoff. Students used to throw marshmallows during football games, but this unusual tradition was discontinued at the behest of former football coach Gary Barnett. The Rebecca Crown Center Clock Tower glows purple (instead of its usual white) after a winning game, announcing the results to a large part of the Evanston community. The Clock Tower remains purple until a loss or the end of the sports season. The Clock Tower is now lit for football, men's basketball, and women's lacrosse victories; important wins in other sports may also prompt a lighting. This is a recent change from the original tradition of lighting the Clock Tower purple only after winning football games, and keeping it purple during the off-season if the football team won its last game of the season.


The Daily Northwestern is the main student newspaper at Northwestern. It is published on weekdays during the academic year. Established in 1881, it is run entirely by undergraduates. Although it serves the Northwestern community, the Daily is not affiliated with the university and is supported entirely by advertisers. It is owned by the Students Publishing Company. Current circulation is in excess of 7,500.

North by Northwestern is an independent, online magazine founded and run entirely by Northwestern undergraduate students. It was established in September 2006 by Medill students and is not affiliated with Northwestern University. It is published weekdays, with updates on breaking news stories and special events throughout the day and on weekends.

WNURmarker (89.3 FM) is a 7200 watt radio station that broadcasts to Chicagomarker and its northern suburbs. However, music is not the only part of WNUR's programming. Students broadcast Northwestern's varsity athletics (football, men's and women's basketball, baseball, softball, and women's lacrosse) live, produce news updates on weekdays, and discuss politics, current events, and literature.

The Northwestern News Network, commonly known as NNN, is the student television news and sports operation at Northwestern. It broadcasts news and sports programming three days of the week during the academic year on NU Channel 1, online at and weeknights at 10 p.m. on Evanston cable access channel 6.

The Northwestern Syllabus Yearbook, known as Syllabus, is the only official yearbook on campus. Founded in 1885, the yearbook contains all of the priceless moments that occur in any given year at Northwestern. Published by Students Publishing Company and run by Northwestern students, Syllabus seeks to include all memorable events of that specific year. The book covers events in a spring quarter through winter quarter cycle, and as such, is released every year in late May.

The Northwestern Flipside is a satirical publication at Northwestern University. Founded in 2009, The Flipside publishes a weekly issue both in print and online.

Performing arts

Student theater enjoys a highly visible presence on campus. Two annual productions are especially notable: the Waa-Mu show, and the Dolphin show. Waa-Mu is an original musical, written and produced almost entirely by students. Children's theater is represented on campus by Griffin’s Tale and Purple Crayon Players. Its umbrella organization—the Student Theatre Coalition, or StuCo—organizes the 9 fully-functioning student theatre companies, plus some other performance groups. Students produce over sixty independent productions each year. Many Northwestern alumni have used these productions as stepping stones to successful television and film careers. Chicago's Lookingglass Theatre was founded by several alumni, including David Schwimmer, and began in the Great Room in Jones Residential College.

Northwestern also has a variety of improv groups. The improv and sketch comedy group Mee-Ow lists Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Ana Gasteyer, Dermot Mulroney, Seth Meyers, John Cameron Mitchell, and Kristen Schaal among its alumni. Mee-Ow, Titanic, and Out da Box, a multicultural comedy show, along with Northwestern's theatre department, have brought attention to Northwestern's improv comedy training and performance.

There are ten a cappella groups and a variety of dance companies on campus. The dance companies include Fusion Dance Company, Northwestern's premiere Hip-Hop Dance Crew; Graffiti Dancers, a dance group that focuses on jazz and modern; and Boomshaka, Northwestern's premiere drum and dance ensemble, combining body rhythm, drumming, and dance. Radio drama featuring student voice actors is a staple of WNUR's programming.


Many Northwestern students are also heavily involved in community service. Annual events include Dance Marathon, a 30-hour event that raised over $917,000 for charity in 2009. Another annual event, Project Pumpkin, is a Halloween celebration hosted by Northwestern Community Development Corps (NCDC), where over 800 local children are invited to campus for an afternoon of games and candy. NCDC connects hundreds of NU student volunteers to over 20 volunteer sites in Evanston and Chicago communities throughout the year. Many students have assisted with the Special Olympics and have taken alternative spring break trips to hundreds of service sites across the United States. Northwestern students also participate in the Freshman Urban Program, which is a special program for students who are interested in community service. A large and growing number of students participate in the university's Global Engagement Summer Institute (GESI), a group service-learning expedition in Asia, Africa, or Latin America, in conjunction with the Foundation for Sustainable Development. Internationally recognized non-profit organizations have also been born at NU such as the World Health Imaging, Informatics and Telemedicine Alliance, which spun off from an engineering student's honors thesis.


Northwestern has diverse student housing options, including both regular residence halls and specially-themed "Residential Colleges." Some residential colleges include business-themed Ayers College of Commerce and Industry, Jones Residential College, dedicated to the arts, multi-themed Willard Residential College, science and engineering themed Slivka Residential College, the International Studies Residential College and the Communications Residential College (CRC) for students interested in communications.

In fall 2007, 27% of students were affiliated with a fraternity or a sorority. Northwestern recognizes 21 fraternities and 18 sororities.


Northwestern is a charter member of the Big Ten Conference and the only private institution in the conference. Currently, Northwestern fields 19 intercollegiate athletic teams (8 men's and 11 women's) in addition to numerous club sports. Current successful athletic programs include men's soccer, wrestling, swimming, golf, tennis and women's tennis, softball, fencing and lacrosse. The women's lacrosse team won five consecutive NCAA national championships between 2005 and 2009, went undefeated in 2005 and 2009, and holds several scoring records. The men's basketball team is recognized by the Helms Athletic Foundation as the 1931 National Champion. In the 2008–2009 school year, a total of 184 athletes received Academic All-Big Ten honors: 75 athletes in the fall season, 41 in the winter season, and 68 in the spring season.

The football team plays at Ryan Fieldmarker (formerly known as Dyche Stadium); the basketball and volleyball teams play at Welsh-Ryan Arenamarker. Northwestern's athletic teams are nicknamed the Wildcats. Before 1924, they were known as "The Purple" and unofficially as "The Fighting Methodists." The name Wildcats was bestowed upon the university in 1924 by Wallace Abbey, a writer for the Chicago Daily Tribune who wrote that even in a loss to the University of Chicagomarker, "Football players had not come down from Evanston; wildcats would be a name better suited to [Coach Glenn] Thistletwaite's boys." The name was so popular that university board members made "wildcats" the official nickname just months later. In 1972, the student body voted to change the official nickname from "Wildcats" to "Purple Haze" but the new name never stuck.

The Northwestern Athletics' mascot is Willie the Wildcat. However, the team's first mascot was not Willie, but a live, caged bear cub from the Lincoln Park Zoomarker named Furpaw. In fall 1923, Furpaw was driven to the playing field to greet the fans before each game. After a losing season, the team decided that Furpaw was the harbinger of bad luck and banished him from campus. Willie made his debut ten years later in 1933 as a logo, but did not actually come to life until 1947, when members of the Alpha Delta fraternity dressed up as him during the Homecoming parade. The Northwestern University Marching Band performs at all home football and lead cheers in the student section and the alma mater at the end of the game.

Northwestern's football team has a history of futility; its all-time record is 468-614-44 (0.435) giving it the all-time record for Division I-A losses. Other dubious distinctions include being on the losing end of the greatest comeback in Division I-A history and holding the record for the longest losing streak in Division I-A, losing 34 consecutive games between 1979 and 1982. In 2004, Northwestern broke a 33-year losing streak (46 years at home) by defeating No. 7-ranked Ohio State 33-27. Although the team was invited to the 1996 Rose Bowl, 1997 Citrus Bowlmarker, 2000 Alamo Bowl, 2003 Motor City Bowl, 2005 Sun Bowl, and 2008 Alamo Bowl, the last bowl game Northwestern won was the 1949 Rose Bowl. Following the sudden death of football coach Randy Walker in 2006, 31-year old and former All-American Northwestern linebacker Pat Fitzgerald assumed the position becoming the youngest Division I FBS coach at the time.

In 1998, two former Northwestern basketball players were charged and convicted for sports bribery as a result of being paid to shave points in games against three other Big 10 schools during the 1995 season. The football team became embroiled in a different betting scandal later that year when federal prosecutors indicted four former players for perjury related to betting on their own games. In August 2001, Rashidi Wheeler, a senior safety, collapsed and died during practice from an asthma attack. An autopsy revealed that he had ephedrine, a stimulant banned by the NCAA, in his system which prompted Northwestern to investigate the prevalence of stimulants and other banned substances across all of its athletic programs. In 2006, the Northwestern women's soccer team was suspended and coach Jenny Haigh resigned following the release of images of alleged hazing.


Student body

Demographics of student body
Undergraduate Postgraduate U.S. Census
African American 6.0% 4.0% 12.1%
Asian American 16.6% 9.9% 4.3%
White American 59.2% 46.0% 65.8%
Hispanic American 6.7% 3.1% 14.5%
Native American 0.1% 0.2% 0.9%
International student 5.0% 20.0% N/A
Northwestern enrolled 8,284 undergraduate, 8,249 graduate, and 1,495 professional students in the 2006–2007 academic year. The undergraduate population is 51.6% female and represents 50 states and 50 countries. Admissions are characterized as "more selective, lower transfer-in". There were 21,930 applications for the undergraduate Class of 2011 (entering 2007): 5,872 were admitted (26.8%), 1,981 enrolled (33.7%), and 96.3% rematriculated as sophomores. The interquartile range on the SAT was 2010–2270 and 85% ranked in the top ten percent of their high school class. In 2007, Northwestern enrolled 249 National Merit Scholars as freshmen, the third-largest total in the nation. 86% of students graduated after four years and 93% after six years.


The university employs 2,925 full-time faculty members and approximately 5,600 staff members among its eleven schools, including 26 members of the National Academy of Sciencesmarker, 74 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciencesmarker, 21 members of the National Academy of Engineering, and 6 members of the Institute of Medicine. Notable current faculty include NSF Career Award winning computer scientists Bryan Pardo and Jason Hartline, sexual psychologist J. Michael Bailey; Holocaust denier Arthur Butz; former-Weatherman Bernardine Rae Dohrn; ethnographer Gary Alan Fine; Kyoto Prize-winning philosopher Jurgen Habermas; Templeton Prize-winner Charles Taylor; Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Garry Wills; genetic circadian clock discoverer Joseph Takahashi; and MacArthur Fellowship recipients Stuart Dybek, Aleksandar Hemon, Jennifer Richeson, and Mary Zimmerman. Notable former faculty include artist Ed Paschke, writer Charles Newman, Nobel Laureate chemist John Pople, and military sociologist and "don't ask, don't tell" author Charles Moskos.


Northwestern totals approximately 190,000 alumni, including many in business, government, law, science, education, medicine, media, and the performing arts. Among Northwestern's notable alumni are U.S. Senator and presidential candidate George McGovern, Nobel Prize-winning economist George J. Stigler, and Nobel Prize-winning author Saul Bellow. U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice John Paul Stevens, former Supreme Court Justice and Ambassador to the United Nations Arthur Joseph Goldberg, and politician Adlai Stevenson are among the graduates of the Northwestern University School of Lawmarker. Many Northwestern alumni play or have played important roles in Chicagomarker and Illinoismarker, such as former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, Chicago Bulls and Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, and theater director Mary Zimmerman. Northwestern alumni David J. Skorton and Graham Spanier currently serve as president of Cornell Universitymarker and Penn State Universitymarker, respectively. Rahm Emanuel, an American politician and White House Chief of Staff, earned his Masters in Speech and Communication from Northwestern 1985.

The film and theater programs of Northwestern's School of Communication have also produced a number of actors, actresses, and film and television writers and directors. Alumni who have made their mark on film and television include Ann-Margret, Warren Beatty, Paul Lynde, David Schwimmer, Anne Dudek, Zach Braff, Marg Helgenberger, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jerry Orbach, Jerry Springer, Megan Mullally, Charlton Heston, William Daniels, Paula Prentiss, Richard Benjamin, Mara Brock Akil, Greg Berlanti, Zooey Deschanel, Seth Meyers, Stephen Colbert and Garry Marshall. Directors who graduated from Northwestern include Gerald Freedman, Stuart Hagmann, Marshall W. Mason, and Mary Zimmerman. Microbiology alumnus Lee Phillip Bell hosted a talk show in Chicago from 1952-1986 and co-created the Daytime Emmy Award winning soap operas The Young and the Restless in 1973 and The Bold and the Beautiful in 1987. Alumni such as Sheldon Harnick, Stephanie D'Abruzzo, Heather Headley, Kristen Schaal, Lily Rabe, and Walter Kerr have seen prominence on Broadwaymarker. Amsterdam-based comedy theater Boom Chicago was founded by Northwestern alumni, and the school has become a training ground for future The Second City, I.O., ComedySportz, Mad TV and Saturday Night Live talent. Tam Spiva wrote scripts for The Brady Bunch and Gentle Ben. In cities such as New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, the number of Northwestern alumni involved in theater, film, and television has lead to perception of there being a "Northwestern mafia".

The Medill School of Journalism has produced notable journalists and political activists including 9 Pulitzer Prize laureates. National correspondents and reporters such as The New York Times's Elisabeth Bumiller and Vincent Laforet, USA Today's Gary Levin, NBC correspondent Kelly O'Donnell, CBS correspondent Richard Threlkeld, CNN correspondents Nicole Lapin and Joie Chen, and ESPN personalities Rachel Nichols, Michael Wilbon, Mike Greenberg, J. A. Adande, and Kevin Blackistone.

Northwestern alumni involved in music include Steve Albini, Thomas Tyra, Andrew Bird, members of Arcade Fire, The Lawrence Arms, Chavez, Freddie Feldman, and OK Go. Lastly, Northwestern alumni involved in professional sports include Rick Sund (NBA), Billy McKinney (NBA), Mark Loretta (MLB), Joe Girardi (MLB), Luis Castillo (NFL), three-time Olympic medalist Matt Grevers, and PGA Tour star Luke Donald.

File:Charlton Heston Civil Rights March 1963.jpg|Charlton Heston, Academy Award-winning actor, National Rifle Associationmarker President, B.S. '45File:John Paul Stevens, SCOTUS photo portrait.jpg|John Paul Stevens, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, J.D. '47File:Rahm Emanuel, official photo portrait color.jpg|Rahm Emanuel, White House Chief of Staff, M.A. '85File:George McGovern bioguide.jpg|George McGovern, 1972 Democratic Presidential nominee, Ph.D. '53

Notes and references

  1. Timeline 1900–1949, History, About, Northwestern University
  2. Northwestern University Wildcams: Troubleshooting
  3. Northwestern traditions, Campus life, Freshman, Office of Undergraduate Admission - Northwestern University
  5. See Demographics of the United States for references.

Further reading

External links

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