A Day With Northwestern



A Day With Northwestern in Evanston annually attracts more than 400 alumni, students, parents, and friends for a full-day series of presentations and lectures. For more than 40 years, this Springtime event has featured prominent Northwestern faculty and alumni speakers on a variety of timely topics. Attendees choose from 14 different lectures — on the arts, science, business, journalism, medicine, and more — to personalize their class schedule, and enjoy engaging discussions with fellow alumni and friends.

View Photos from the 2013 Program



A Day with Northwestern 2015

APRIL 18, 2015

Details coming in February.


A Day with Northwestern 2014

April 26, 2014
Norris University Center
1999 Campus Drive, Evanston

Registration fee includes two keynotes, choice of three breakout
sessions, and a box lunch.

Register by March 26 and save $10.
$55: Early registration by March 26
$65: March 27 and after

Young Alumni (Undergrad Years ‘04 – ‘13)
$40: Full day

Northwestern Student
$10: Full day


Birthplace of the Skyscraper
Geoffrey Baer (GC85),
Emmy Award-Winning Public Television Writer, Producer, and Program Host, WTTW Chicago
Out of the ashes of the devastating Chicago Fire of 1871 rose the world’s first city of skyscrapers. Architects in Chicago not only perfected the revolutionary techniques that made high-rise office towers possible, but also defined what these startling new buildings should look like. Public television writer and host Geoffrey Baer will take you on a journey from the earliest tall towers to the soaring structures of today in America’s preeminent city of architecture — Chicago. Baer is known locally and nationally for his popular feature-length public television specials about architecture and Chicago history. His PBS primetime special Ten Buildings that Changed America debuted in May 2013. 

Law, Politics, and the Media
Rikki Klieman (C70),
CBS Legal Analyst and Former Court TV Anchor
“Is the media reporting the news or creating the news?” Rikki Klieman traces the evolution of media from three networks to cable television to all the news that fits in the palm of your hand, where the media itself becomes the story. Klieman will examine the evolution of neutral reporting from the Cronkite model of “on the one hand, on the other hand” to the present form of opinion being presented as news. She will give insight into her world of analyzing trials and legal proceedings where she believes that the media should not tell people what to think; rather, the media should tell people what to think about. Klieman has reviewed cases that riveted the public’s attention including O.J. Simpson, Casey Anthony, Trayvon Martin, and her recent work for CBS on “Whitey” Bulger and Aaron Hernandez.



Opening Kickoff — The Tumultuous Birth of a Football Nation
Dave Revsine (WCAS91),
Lead Studio Host, Big Ten Network (BTN)
Modern-day college football has been troubled by recruiting scandals, amateurism debates, academic fraud, and injury concerns. Yet as sports commentator and author Dave Revsine’s research revealed, these problems have been present throughout the sport’s long history. His upcoming book takes a look at the most pivotal 25 years in the history of college football — the period between 1890 and 1915. The session will explore the confluence of factors, many unrelated to the game itself, which helped launch football toward its modern popularity. Revsine was BTN’s first on-air hire before its 2007 launch, coming to the network after more than a decade as an anchor at ESPN. 

Navigating the Economic Echo Chamber
Brian S. Wesbury (KSM89),
Chief Economist, First Trust Advisors, LP
Information overload is reality. Cable TV and the Internet give every idea a voice and every voice an outlet. Navigating this echo chamber — especially when it comes to the economy and financial markets — calls for an “antidote to conventional wisdom.” Brian Wesbury is just that. He will simplify what seems complicated and stimulate your common sense with an understandable presentation on what is moving the markets. As a winner of the Wall Street Journal’s annual economic forecasting award and a nationally acclaimed speaker and author, Wesbury has a message that will help you cut through the noise of our very busy world. 

The Global Health Initiative Fund: Creating Transformative Impact through Education and Research
Robert Havey,
Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine
Global health is often described as a set of complex problems that presents momentous challenges for those working to eradicate infectious disease, create better access to health care, and improve the lives of people struggling in the developing world. These issues transcend national borders and affect everyone. Dr. Robert Havey will illustrate how Northwestern University’s Center for Global Health is creating meaningful solutions to these complex issues through the training of young physicians, cutting-edge research, and innovative collaborative programs designed to address some of the world’s most pressing healthcare needs. 

Traveling with Ramon Casas
Tonia Grafakos,
Chief Conservator, Northwestern University Library
What does it take to transport a large portrait from Deering Library onto a European museum wall? Le Bohemio, Poete de Montmartre (Portait d’Erik Satie) by Ramon Casas was recently on-loan for exhibitions in Paris and Madrid. Tonia Grafakos will share her adventures preparing the painting for exhibition and serving as courier for its journey. Grafakos is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works.


MOOCs, Flipped Classes, and the Internet Come to Higher Education
Michael Peshkin,
Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence, Department of Mechanical Engineering, McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science
Will massive open online courses (MOOCs) put Northwestern out of business? We hope not, however, Internet-enabled education is changing what we can offer and what our students expect. Michael Peshkin has been pushing the online envelope for 20 years. He will demonstrate his “lightboard” video technology and talk about producing an online course. He will describe moving a lab course out of the lab by shrinking the lab bench to fit in a backpack. He’ll also discuss student reaction to “flipped” classes, in which lectures are moved online and classroom time is used for interaction. 

The Right to Know and Freedom of Expression
Craig LaMay,
Associate Professor and Associate Dean, Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications
In the information age, access to information is to citizenship what civil, political, and social rights were to the industrial age. For 20 years, LaMay has worked to advance free and independent media in developing democracies from Bosnia to Indonesia. During this time, a global right to- information movement has created a new norm for democratic governments, i.e. mere “negative freedoms” — the right to be free from government limitations on speech, for example — are not enough. Citizenship requires “positive freedoms,” too — the opportunity to ask for and receive information in pursuit of social, political, and economic goals. 

Hunger: Causes, Consequences, and Policy Solutions
Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach,
Associate Professor, School of Education and Social Policy; Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research
Hunger is on the rise in the United States and abroad. The adverse long-term impact of childhood hunger on subsequent health and economic well-being has been well documented. Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, an economist at SESP studying hunger, consumption, and food support policies, will discuss causes and potential solutions for inadequate access to food in the United States and developing countries. 

This session ties into the themes of the 2013-14 One Book One Northwestern selection: The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Farm Community on the Brink of Change by Roger Thurow. The book chronicles a year in the life of four small-scale farmers in Western Kenya who, with help from a social enterprise organization founded by a Northwestern graduate, begin to transcend cyclical poverty and hunger.

CATrepreneurs: A Young Alumni Entrepreneurship Panel
Shradha Agarwal (J08), Co-Founder, ContextMedia
Mike McGee (C10), Co-Founder, The Starter League
Jonathan Miller (WCAS02, KSM08), Founder, GetCheapBooks.com and Element Bars
Neal Sales-Griffin (SESP09), Co-Founder and CEO, The Starter League
Forbes online recently reported that the Kaufman Index for Entrepreneurial Activity showed the entrepreneurial rate in the U.S. is already well above the dot-com bubble of 15 years ago. Our young alumni panel will introduce you to four individuals successfully riding this entrepreneurial wave: creators of a beginner web design and development school, a start-up media company that helps physicians in educating patients before, during, and after their doctor’s appointments, and a custom energy bar company. The panel will share their entrepreneurial adventures and expertise. Their insights might even fuel an idea for a new great venture. 


The Left Front: Radical Art at the Block Museum of Art
Jill Bugajski,
PhD Candidate in the Department of Art History, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences
Tour the Block Museum’s acclaimed spring exhibition, The Left Front: Radical Art in the “Red Decade” 1929–1940, with the exhibit’s co-curator Jill Bugajski. The Left Front draws on the Block’s rich collection of American prints of the 1930s, and examines what cultural activism meant for artists in that period, and how this resonates currently. Today’s economic turmoil mirrors the 1930s more than any other decade. What is art’s responsibility to social change? What does revolutionary art look like, and what does collective action mean? Is there a Left Front today? The Left Front reveals that the debates dividing the 1 percent from the 99 percent characterized a large part of the 20th century.  This session will be held at The Block Museum, located next door to Norris Univeristy Center.

The Tough Luck Constitution and the Assault on Health Care Reform
Andrew Koppelman,
John Paul Stevens Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science, School of Law
The Supreme Court case over the Affordable Care Act — better known as Obamacare — reveals that Americans are divided about fundamental questions of justice. Law professor Andrew Koppelman has written the leading history of the litigation. According to Koppelman, the law rested on a “tough luck” philosophy: if you fall on hard times, too bad for you. Drawing from his studies examining the intersection of law and political philosophy, he will show the decision’s significance for questions of individual liberty, distributive fairness, and limits on both governmental and private power. 

The Northwestern Version of the Human Proteome Project
Neil L. Kelleher,
Walter and Mary Elizabeth Glass Professor of Chemistry, Molecular Biosciences, and Medicine, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and Feinberg School of Medicine; Director, Proteomics Center of Excellence
The Human Proteome Project will change the way we view proteins and have a major impact on medicine, much like the Human Genome Project changed the way the world views DNA. Human genome sequencing showed that our ~20,300 genes play a central role in determining what diseases can and do impact an individual. Recent discoveries show that proteins can play larger and more direct roles in disease progression and diagnosis – but we simply do not understand them well. The Human Proteome Project involves identifying all of the proteins in the human body. Dr. Kelleher will reveal how Northwestern is uniquely situated to take a leading role in cataloguing the human body’s approximately one billion protein molecules. 

Mariachi Northwestern, student performance group
Daniel Flores (C14/KSM15) President/Co-Founder, Alejandro Serrano (WCAS16) Treasurer, Antonio Jose Vielma (J16) Co-Founder, Wilson Smith (BSM16) Musical Director, Liliana Bonilla (WCAS15) Artistic Director Henry Cheng (WCAS15), Jacqueline Ovalle (WCAS16) Logistics Director, Conor Lee-Smith (WCAS17), Aaron Yost (MEAS15), Fatima Gomez (SESP17), Joel Garcia (WCAS14), Carlos Reyes (MEAS15)
Started by two students from South Texas, Mariachi Northwestern has quickly evolved from Northwestern’s only Mariachi ensemble to the premier college Mariachi in the state of Illinois. This award-winning group has performed at events ranging from movie premieres in downtown Chicago to the largest student-produced open-air music festivals in the country. Mariachi NU’s style incorporates both the vibrant sounds and rhythms of traditional Mexican folk music and the recreation of contemporary popular songs in the Mariachi style. This winter you can catch the group being featured on Telemundo Chicago and as clinicians at the Rockford Music Academy Suzuki Winter Workshop. 

Join the Conversation

Visit the A Day with Northwestern space in Our Northwestern to engage in discussion with fellow alumni about A Day with Northwestern.