A Day With Northwestern




For more than 45 years, A Day with Northwestern in Evanston has drawn more than 400 alumni, students, parents, and friends for a full day of presentations and lectures on timely topics from prominent Northwestern faculty and alumni. Attendees choose from 14 different lectures—on the arts, science, business, journalism, medicine, and more— to personalize their class schedules and enjoy engaging discussions with fellow alumni and friends. View a social media recap of the 2015 event in this Storify. >>


A Day with Northwestern April 9, 2016

View Photos from the 2013 Program

 This event has reached capacity and registration is now closed. 

Walk-ins may be accepted for some breakout sessions, space permitting.  Walk-ins will not be accepted for the keynote presentions. 

April 9, 2016
Norris University Center
1999 Campus Drive, Evanston

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


Please note: Admission to individual sessions is $20 each and can be purchased only on a walk-in basis on April 9, space permitting.

$55: Early registration by March 11
$65: March 12 through March 31
Young Alumni (Undergrad Years '06 – '15):
Current Northwestern Student:

Free parking is available in the Segal Visitors Center garage, 1841 Sheridan Road.


Morning Sessions                 9 - 10 a.m.
Mid-Morning Sessions         10:15 - 11:15 a.m.
Lunch (box lunch included) 11:15 - 12 p.m.
Early Afternoon Keynote       12:15 - 1:30 p.m.
Afternoon Sessions              1:45 - 2:45 p.m.
Late Afternoon Keynote        3 - 4 p.m.

23rd Annual NGN Dinner and AuctionApril 9th from 5pm - 10pm.  Coach Fitz and the Northwestern Gridiron Network invite you to be a part of the most exciting fundraising event for Northwestern Football!



The Urgency of NOW!
Orbert Davis ’97 MMus, '19 P
, Co-founder, Conductor, and Artistic Director of the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic  @OrbertDavis
Orbert Davis, an Emmy Award-winning musician and successful entrepreneur, will share his advice for building on the foundation of your past to maximize your potential for the future, while still living a rewarding life in the present. He’ll do so by reflecting on his own “mission-driven” career, which began with him trying to make it in the music industry and led to him becoming a leader of Chicago’s arts and culture community. Davis will share insights he’s gleaned from co-founding the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, a jazz symphonic orchestra that includes more than 55 instruments; co-founding Jazz Alive and Discover Music: Discover Life, interdisciplinary enrichment programs operating in 25 Chicago-area schools; and hosting a weekly jazz radio show on Chicago’s WDCB-FM. Davis’s presentation will include video and musical examples that are sure to inspire participants.


Future Trends in Technology and Social Media
Howard Tullman ’67, ’70 JD,
CEO of 1871, Chicago’s Entrepreneurial Hub for Digital Startups  @Tullman
Howard Tullman, CEO of Chicago’s 1871 startup incubator, will deliver a rapid-fire review of the major technology trends that are radically changing the ground rules and the ways in which all businesses will reach and engage their customers from now on. Tullman knows a bit about how to start a business—over the last 45 years, he has successfully founded more than a dozen high-tech companies. In addition to overseeing operations at 1871 in Chicago’s iconic Merchandise Mart, Tullman is also the general managing partner of G2T3V and Chicago High Tech Investment Partners, investment firms that finance and develop disruptive innovations. Tullman serves on technology councils that advise Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel ’85 MA and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and is also an adjunct professor at the Kellogg School of Management. 


The Model of Wealth Creation
Brian S. Wesbury ’89 MBA,
Chief Economist, First Trust Advisors L.P.  @wesbury
The Middle East is unstable, China’s growth is slowing, the Fed is raising interest rates, government spending is rising, and a chaotic presidential election cycle is in full swing. However, American banks have rarely been in better shape, gas is cheap, consumers have reduced their debt, corporations have trillions in cash, and technology is constantly improving. So, are investors facing insurmountable challenges? Or have investors never had it better? Brian Wesbury, an award-winning economist and nationally acclaimed speaker and author, will cut through the clutter by explaining his model of wealth creation.

The Anatomy of a Morning Show—And What to Do If You Ever Find Yourself on One
Jeanne Sparrow ’91, ’15 MS,
Cohost of “You & Me This Morning” on WCIU-TV Chicago  @JMSparrow
After 25 years of working for top-rated radio and TV shows in Chicago, Emmy-winning broadcaster Jeanne Sparrow knows a whole lot about what it takes to produce live news and entertainment programming. During her presentation, she’ll answer the questions about her job that she’s asked most frequently, from what time she wakes up to whether it's really as much fun as it seems. Get a behind-the-scenes look at all the work that goes into live broadcasts every day, plus helpful tips about what to do if you ever find yourself in the guest chair.

Modern Advances in Brain Surgery - Due to circumstances beyond our control, THIS SESSION IS CANCELED, please select another session.
Julian Bailes ’88 GME,
Co-director of the NorthShore Neurological Institute and Chair of NorthShore University HealthSystem’s Department of Neurosurgery
Brain trauma—especially sports-related injuries—has become a major public health concern. Julian Bailes, an NFL and NCAA team physician for the last 25 years and a nationally recognized leader in neurosurgery, will discuss recent advances that have made it possible to more effectively intervene in the body’s last frontier—the brain. Bailes, who is portrayed by Alec Baldwin in the recent film Concussion, will explain how cutting-edge technology such as advanced imaging, new navigation techniques, optics systems, and robotics have become miracles of modern-day neurosurgery, enabling surgeons to safely and effectively treat most diseases of the central nervous system.

Culinary Crossroads: The Intersection of Food and Technology
Kelly Senyei ’08,
Founder of Just a Taste, chef, on-camera host, and author of Food Blogging for Dummies  Instagram: @justataste
An epicurean explosion over the last decade has catapulted food from our plates into the mainstream media. Kelly Senyei, a food journalist and author who earned a culinary arts diploma with highest honors from The Institute of Culinary Education, will discuss the role that cooking shows, blogs, ebooks, podcasts, and mobile apps have played in the proliferation of food journalism. She’ll also draw on her own personal experiences to explain what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur in the rapidly expanding world of food journalism, blogging, and social media.


Cutting the Cord: The Changing Landscape of Broadcast and Cable TV
Jim Kowats ’93
, Executive Producer, TLC television network
Some say television is a thing of the past. Others say this is television’s golden age. Either way, there’s no denying that viewership of traditional TV is steadily declining. In fact, many millennials have never signed up for cable or have already “cut the cord.” Although this trend seems grim, Jim Kowats, an award-winning producer, argues that it’s actually good for television. Industry executives are embracing this transformation through a variety of innovative methods, creating better shows than ever before. Kowats will discuss these innovations and explain how content is produced and monetized in the face of rapidly evolving viewing habits.

Aging: Inevitable or Preventable?
Douglas Vaughan,
Chair of the Department of Medicine and Irving S. Cutter Professor of Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine
Is the aging process inevitable, or are some parts of it preventable? Douglas Vaughan, physician in chief at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, will explore these questions while discussing his research on aging. Learn about the molecular and biochemical markers of aging, how the aging process unfolds in humans, and how researchers are using targeted approaches to preserve people’s quality of life—their “health span”—as they age. The fountain of youth may be a myth, but doctors are learning more and more about how the aging process works— and how more people can enjoy long, healthy lives.

Urban Nocturnes: Visualizing Night in the Era of Gaslight and Electric Light
Holly Clayson,Professor of Art History and Bergen Evans Professor in the Humanities, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences
During the 19th and early 20th centuries, the visual experience of nighttime was transformed. A series of new lighting technologies— notably gaslight, arc light, and incandescent electric light—permeated city streets, theaters, restaurants, stores, factories, and affluent homes, bringing brilliant illumination to the urban night. Holly Clayson, a historian of 19th-century art who has published widely on Paris-based art practices, will discuss representations of the newly illuminated night in the City of Light. Her presentation mirrors her current book project, entitled Electric Paris: The City of Light in the Era of Thomas Edison.

See the Word: Northwestern’s Beatles Manuscripts
D.J. Hoek
, Associate University Librarian for Collections Strategies, Northwestern University Libraries
Through a remarkable chain of circumstances, Northwestern University Libraries acquired a small group of original handwritten Beatles lyrics in the early 1970s. These manuscripts from 1965 and 1966 document some of the Fab Four’s first ideas for “The Word,” “Eleanor Rigby,” “Good Day Sunshine,” and other classics. Music scholar and librarian D.J. Hoek, who directs the development and preservation of collections for Northwestern’s libraries, will provide an up-close look at the manuscripts. Take a trip back in time as Hoek traces the manuscripts’ history and highlights the fascinating insights they reveal about the Beatles’ process for creating their timeless hits.


A Neuroscientist and a Humanist Walk into a Bar
Indira Raman,
Bill and Gayle Cook Professor of Biological Sciences, and Susie Phillips, Associate Professor of English and Alumnae of Northwestern Teaching Professor
Until a few centuries ago, scholars made no distinction between science and literature, or science and art. Poets such as Chaucer wrote scientific treatises, while figures we think of today as hardcore scientists, like Johannes Kepler, also practiced the creative arts. What would it be like to revive this older paradigm, to reintegrate these supposedly disparate ways of thinking about thinking? Indira Raman and Susie Phillips, both professors in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, will raise these questions as they explore the intersections between their seemingly unrelated disciplines—neurophysiology and medieval literature—both inside and outside the classroom.

The Intensifying Controversy over the Death Penalty in America
Rob Owen,
Clinical Professor of Law, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
For years, capital punishment enjoyed broad public support in the United States, making abolition unthinkable. But today, fears of wrongful conviction, dismay over spiraling costs, and concerns about bias and unfairness in the criminal justice system are all prompting a critical reappraisal of this ancient practice. Rob Owen, who has spent 25 years defending clients facing the death penalty, offers his perspective on whether high-profile capital trials like those arising from the Boston Marathon bombing and the tragic mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado, may soon be a thing of the past.

The Panama Canal: How Did They Build It, and What Is Its Future?
Joseph Schofer ’65 MS, ’68 PhD,
Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, McCormick School of Engineering
The completion of the Panama Canal in 1914 was a spectacular achievement. More than a century later, the canal is still a key component of global trade, bringing retail goods to American stores and enabling the flow of agricultural exports to Asia and South America. In this presentation, Joseph Schofer will use historic and modern photos to describe the engineering and managerial breakthroughs that made the canal’s construction possible. He’ll also explain the canal’s current expansion program, the workings of its innovative new locks, and the role it will continue to play in 21st-century global logistics.

A Feast of Astonishments: Charlotte Moorman and the Avant-Garde, 1960s-1980s
Corinne Granof,
Curator of Academic Programs, Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art
Charlotte Moorman was a pioneering, rule-breaking cellist, performance artist, and advocate of the avant-garde. A groundbreaking exhibition of her work, A Feast of Astonishments, is currently on view at the Block Museum. Join Corinne Granof for an illustrated overview of the exhibition, which brings together sculpture, design, sound pieces, film, documentation, ephemera, and photographs to explore Moorman’s extraordinary impact on art in the 1960s, '70s, and '80s. After the presentation, please take time to visit the exhibition, where you can experience the work of artists who were close to Moorman, including John Cage, Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik, Otto Piene, and Carolee Schneemann.

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

The Hilton Orrington/Evanston Hotel is the official host hotel for A Day with Northwestern. A special rate of $155 per night has been prearranged for event attendees.
Call 1-800-HILTONS (1-800-445-8667).  Please identify yourself as being with the “A Day with Northwestern” group to receive the discounted rate.  

Book online at orringtonevanston.hilton.com. Enter the code "ADWN" in the box marked "Group/Convention Code." Rooms will be on hold until March 11. Reservations cancelled after March 11 will be charged for one night, plus tax.