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Northwestern University

From the Dean

Sarah Mangelsdorf

Sarah Mangelsdorf

As I write this letter, I am nearing the end of my first academic year at Northwestern as Dean of Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. It has been a rewarding and enjoyable year, despite the challenges of a steep learning curve. I have memorized the names of people and buildings and have deciphered the words (and hence the meanings) behind simply hundreds of acronyms! I have also learned much about Northwestern University’s policies and procedures. You may say, “Well, all of that doesn’t sound like too much fun.” But I have enjoyed it because behind every name is a face, a story, and a welcome. From the wonderful students I have met in the classroom and on our College’s SAB (Student Advisory Board) to the incredibly insightful and supportive alumni on our College BOV (Board of Visitors), along with other alumni I have met in my travels around the country who are active in our regional NULC (Northwestern University Leadership Circles), I have learned about the enormous good the College can do. Our alumni have taught me much about the history of Northwestern and the College (formerly CAS), and our current students and faculty have enlightened me about the present, and the future, of Weinberg College.

Despite the difficult economic circumstances, it has been a year of remarkable success for both the University and the College. Two Weinberg students won Rhodes scholarships, five Northwestern students won Gates scholarships, two won Churchill scholarships, and 31 students won Fulbright fellowships! Our undergraduate applications for admissions were up again this year, and the quality and diversity of our incoming student body has continued to increase. Our women’s lacrosse team won its 5th National Championship in a row, and our faculty continued to win stellar recognition. To mention just two, Chuck Manski, chair of economics, was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and chemistry professor Chad Mirkin was one of 20 scientists nationwide chosen to be on President Obama’s Science and Technology Advisory Council, as well as being elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering. We recently celebrated the opening of the beautifully renovated home of the Alice Kaplan Institute in the Humanities in Kresge. You must stop by to visit it next time you are on campus. The good news goes on and on….

In my column in the fall issue of Crosscurrents, I talked about my meetings with the faculty of all of the departments and programs in the College. Their candor in discussing the strengths and weaknesses of their programs, the College, and the University has given me a keen understanding of what works well and what works less well. These insights will help me as we join forces to move the College forward under the leadership of our incoming president Morton Schapiro. Although we are excited about the future, we are also very sad to see Henry and Leigh Bienen leave us. They have been great supporters of the entire University, and under Henry’s leadership, the national visibility of Northwestern University has grown tremendously. Henry is leaving this great University greater than when he came. Thanks to him, we are well-positioned to continue to advance in exciting new directions.

Sarah C. Mangelsdorf

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