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Northwestern University

The Alumnae of Northwestern: Supporting Academic Enrichment

Nine Weinberg College professors receive grants to pursue excellence in the classroom — and beyond


By Rebecca Lindell

The Alumnae of Northwestern University are on a mission.

Their goal: academic enrichment, not only for faculty and students but also for the community at large.

Every year, the organization engages Northwestern faculty to teach 10-week continuing education classes on subjects that range from religion to history to media to Shakespeare. Geared to community members, the noncredit classes attract more than 1,000 participants each year.

The funds raised by the class fees go right back to the University in the form of grants that support faculty research and ultimately the academic experiences of students across Northwestern.

The Alumnae includes about 60 members, all of whom are female graduates of Northwestern. Founded in 1896, the group has generated more than $8 million for the University during its century of fundraising.

“We’re very proud of the work we do,” says Michele Bresler ’63, president of The Alumnae of Northwestern University. “We’re very happy to give back to our alma mater and to share the University’s resources with the broader community.”

Supporting initiatives across the University

The funds are distributed in a variety of ways, across the University’s many schools and programs.  Last year, for example, Nick Davis, an associate professor of English and gender and sexuality studies, received a three-year Alumnae Teaching Professorship Award for excellence in teaching and curriculum innovation. The Alumnae have also funded undergraduate scholarships and grants that allow students to gain valuable work experience through unpaid internships. They also fund fellowships, building renovations, scholarships and other initiatives.

This year, the Alumnae received 42 applications for grants and distributed $120,000 to 20 faculty members at Northwestern University. Nine went to Weinberg College faculty to pursue a variety of goals: new research, support for graduate students, writing workshops, conferences, equipment and the development of new curricula.

This year’s College’s grant recipients (and their projects) include:

The Alumnae of Northwestern will celebrate the 50th year of its Continuing Education program beginning in the fall quarter of 2018. Learn more about The Alumnae of Northwestern here.

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