Due to an overwhelming response, A Day with Northwestern 2017 is now SOLD OUT. Registration is closed. No walk-ins will be accepted at the event.

Saturday, April 22

9 AM–4 PM

Norris University Center
Northwestern University
1999 Campus Drive, Evanston

Join fellow alumni, friends, and current students for this all-day event featuring prominent faculty and alumni speaking on a variety of timely topics. Choose from 14 lectures to personalize your class schedule and enjoy engaging discussions with alumni and friends.

Open to the Northwestern community and the general public.


Registration fee includes two keynote lectures, choice of three breakout sessions, and a box lunch. An assortment of meat, vegetarian, and vegan sandwiches will be available.

Please note: The registration deadline is April 14, but the event could sell out before then. Space is limited. 

 Regular (Register by March 31 and save $10.)    
 - Early registration by March 31   $55
 - March 31 through April 14   $65
 Young Alumni (Undergrad Years 2007—16)   $40
 Northwestern Undergraduate Students   $10 

Free parking is available in the Segal Visitors Center garage, 1847 Campus Drive.


Morning Sessions        910 AM 
Mid-Morning Sessions    10:1511:15 AM
Lunch (box lunch included)  11:15 AM12 PM
Early Afternoon Keynote 12:151:30 PM
Afternoon Sessions         1:452:45 PM
Late Afternoon Keynote    34 PM




Songs by Heart: How Music Improves the Lives of People with Memory Loss

Nancy Gustafson ’80 MMus
, Artist in Residence, Bienen School of Music; Founder and Executive Director, Songs by Heart Foundation

Nancy Gustafson was an international opera singer for 30 years before joining the Bienen School of Music faculty. When her late mother Susan Gustafson ’49 developed Alzheimer’s disease, Nancy sought a way to communicate with her. Unable to speak or connect to those around her, Susan was alone in her own world in a wheelchair. In her keynote address, Nancy will share how she not only got her mother singing, talking, and laughing again, but also started a nonprofit organization that helps hundreds of people reconnect daily to the world around them. The Songs by Heart Foundation has professionally trained musicians lead interactive sing-along programs in memory care facilities five days a week. Residents sing songs they like and remember from their youth—be it Frank Sinatra, the Andrews Sisters, Cole Porter, or Disney. The program helps people with age-related memory loss engage in a way that brings them joy, enhancing their ability to reconnect with language and experience emotional release.


Pardon the Interruption

Michael Wilbon ’80, Trustee

Michael Wilbon is a cohost of ESPN’s award-winning show Pardon the Interruption and a contributor to ESPN/ABC coverage of the NBA. Previously, Wilbon worked for more than 30 years as a reporter and columnist for the Washington Post. His columns in the Post and commentary for ESPN deal as much with the issues of the day as they relate to what happens on the fields or courts. During his career, which began at the Post in 1980, Wilbon edited two New York Times best-selling books with Basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley. He was a regular contributor to ESPN’s The Sports Reporters and weekly contributor on WRC-TV-4 for more than a decade to George Michael’s Redskins Report and Full Court Press. In 2009, Wilbon was honored by the National Association of Black Journalists with the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and two years later received the Posts Eugene Meyer Award. In 2001, he was recognized by Sigma Delta Chi, the Society of Professional Journalists, as the top sports columnist in America and has been inducted into both the DC Sports Hall of Fame and the Chicago Sports Hall of Fame. Wilbon—a University trustee and professor of practice in Northwestern’s sports journalism program—will share highlights from his experiences as a sports journalist and detail his Northwestern direction, including the impact the University has made on his career.


Under New Management
Brian S. Wesbury ’89 MBA,
Chief Economist, First Trust Advisors L.P.
From Brexit to Trump to the Italian Referendum and the rise of a Thatcherite in France, the world is changing in massive ways. Add in activist central banks, bloated bureaucracies, and acrimonious politics, and it’s no wonder investors are nervous. Will the aging economic expansions stumble? Will the bull market in US stocks continue? Are inflation and rising interest rates in the cards? Brian Wesbury promises to cut through the noise to provide a solid, actionable game plan for investors in the years ahead. Wesbury called the bull market in US stocks starting in 2009. He ’s ready to tell you where they will go from here.

The Law of Sexual Assault in Flux
Deborah Tuerkheimer
, Professor of Law, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
Policymakers are increasingly confronting the problem of sexual assault, both on and off college campuses. A former prosecutor in the New York County District Attorney’s office, Deborah Tuerkheimer will discuss her scholarship on the law of sexual assault and problems with its enforcement. While significant obstacles to reform persist, promising efforts are
under way. Note: This session has been approved for one CLE credit in the state of Illinois.

“Tis Pleasant to Draw from a Large Heap:” Rare Books in the Digital Age
Martin Antonetti
, Director of Distinctive Collections, Northwestern University Libraries
Quintus Horatius Flaccus, commonly known as Horace, was one of the most famous and influential Roman writers of the classical age, and his effect on literature and language persists to this day. Have you ever said “carpe diem” or “the punishment should fit the crime?” That’s Horace. Thanks to a gift of more than 2,000 rare books in 1955, Northwestern holds one of the nation’s largest and most important collections by and about Horace. But what value do all these dusty old editions of the Odes, Satires, and Epodes have in our time? This richly illustrated presentation will demonstrate how original editions of Horace’s texts are being used in innovative ways across Northwestern’s curriculum, shedding light on how the books were read and used through the centuries.

The Intersection of Design and Making at Northwestern
Michael Beltran
, Lecturer, Mechanical Engineering, McCormick School of Engineering
David Gatchell, Clinical Professor, Segal Design Institute; Director, Manufacturing and Design Engineering Program
Design has spread throughout Northwestern’s curriculum, leaping from engineering into all corners of the University. With the intersection of ideas created by this expansion, the Segal Design Institute and Department of Mechanical Engineering have led the teaching of design by creating student courses and experiences directed at solving complex problems. In partnership with design, maker culture and manufacturing have grown in importance across all levels of education, with Northwestern at the forefront. Michael Beltran, who directs Northwestern’s Mechanical Engineering Capstone experience, and David Gatchell, who directs the Manufacturing and Design Engineering degree, will tell a story of design and making and how these two philosophies have created a unique learning environment across the University.


Brain Estrogens and Epilepsy
Catherine Woolley
, William Deering Professor in Neurobiology, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences
Professor Catherine Woolley will discuss how reading the scientific literature on songbirds sparked the idea for a new approach to seizure control. Her research group recently discovered that seizures stimulate the synthesis of estrogens in the brain, and that inhibiting brain estrogen synthesis suppresses seizures, in both sexes, without anti-seizure drugs.

The Right (and Wrong) Stuff: Why Some Careers Accelerate While Others Derail
Carter Cast, Clinical Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Kellogg School of Management
Carter Cast, a former entrepreneur who went on to become the CEO of Walmart.com, shares key insights from his upcoming book, The Right (and Wrong) Stuff. Based on his personal experiences, fly-on-the-wall observations, and deep research into the topic of career derailment, Professor Cast will discuss where good people go wrong and what high
performers do differently than the rest.

Prohibition, American Identity, and Politics: The WCTU and the ASL
Bill Savage ’88 MA, ’92 PhD, Associate Professor of Instruction in English, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences
Myth—especially around Evanston and Northwestern—credits the Women’s Christian Temperance Union with causing the 18th Amendment and Prohibition. But the Anti-Saloon League played a much bigger role, due to its tight focus on making America Dry. George Ade’s The Old-Time Saloon explores how saloons themselves, as semipublic drinking spaces, brought about their own demise, and this lecture will explore the identity dynamics of both Prohibition and repeal.

Is Journalism Dead?
Charles Whitaker ’80, ’81 MS, Associate Dean, Journalism; Helen Gurley Brown Professor, Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications
At a time when the business model for media is under stress and when the Internet has created echo chambers that challenge the notion of honest brokers in the dissemination of news, everyone questions the validity and continued existence of journalism. This talk will address those concerns and explore how journalism is evolving in these challenging times, how it’s remaining vibrant, and how Medill is a leader in training the next generation of journalists.


Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries in Sports: Are They Really Mild?
Julian Bailes ’88 GME
, Co-Director, NorthShore Neurological Institute; Chair, Department of Neurosurgery, NorthShore University HealthSystem
The discovery of “Mild Traumatic Brain Injury” in athletes has evolved over the last several decades. During the last few years, however, our knowledge of how and why these injuries occur and the potential for short- and long-term implications are better understood. This presentation will focus on the history of the scientific and human breakthroughs in sports-related brain injuries and the innovations which will make sports safer in the future.

Diversity in 2017: Ongoing Challenges and New Opportunities
Clyde W. Yancy
, Magerstadt Professor of Medicine; Chief, Division of Cardiology; Associate Director, Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute; Vice Dean of Diversity and Inclusion, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Racial and ethnic heterogeneity is an evident truth in our society. Successful inter-relationships between groups of people require cultural awareness, slow thinking, and active engagement. Shortcomings in these relationships lead to disparities in housing, education, health, income, and justice with subsequent tensions that may escalate. Conversely, healthy relationships typically evolve new skills and new strengths, leading to better experiences and outcomes for all involved. Health care is the domain where these issues are most acute and has been the testing ground for strategies to better address diversity.

If You Remember, I’ll Remember: Block Museum Tour
Janet Dees
, Curator, Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art
Join exhibition curator Janet Dees at the Block Museum for an engaging talk. We will reflect on the past while contemplating the present through works of contemporary art exploring themes of love, mourning, war, relocation, internment, resistance, and civil rights in 19th- and 20th-century North America. The included artists engage historic documents, photographs, sound recordings, oral histories, and objects of material culture to explore individual and collective stories. Works in the exhibition reflect upon the Japanese-American internment experience and the 1963 bombing of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church, among other touchstones.

Hamilton’s America
Geraldo L. Cadava, Associate Professor of History, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical Hamilton has become a national sensation, capturing the imagination of Americans young and old, far and wide, of diverse backgrounds and ancestries. Like Alexander Hamilton himself, Miranda represents an amalgam of American character—that sometimes paradoxical combination of ambition and humility, failure and success, immigration and nativism, tradition and innovation, individual enterprise and dependence on community. In this lecture, you will learn about Hamilton’s own times and the elements of both Hamilton’s and Miranda’s biographies that inspired Miranda to see his experience as intertwined with Hamilton’s.

Join the conversation on social media using #ADayWithNU and engage in discussion with fellow alumni about A Day with Northwestern.

Primary Contact:
Northwestern Alumni Association