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June 1, 2012

E-newsletter for Alumni and Friends

Northeastern Illinois University

2012 Commencement Report

Student Commencement Speaker Eddie Bocanegra The Commencement speaker for May 2012 was Northeastern's own Murrell J. Higgins Duster, associate vice president and dean for diversity and intercultural affairs and assistant professor, teacher education.

This May's student speaker was Eddie Bocanegra (B.A. '12 Social Work). Bocanegra (pictured right) has been accepted to the University of Chicago, where he will pursue a master’s degree in social work.

Leading up to Commencement were several celebrations of student  achievement including the Student Awards Ceremony , Academic Honors Reception and celebrations for African American, Asian and Latino/a graduates.

Graduates of Note
Elizabeth Gammel (B.S. '12 Earth Science) has received a full scholarship and will be pursuing a Master of Science degree in earth science at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Kelsey Nordine (B.A. '12 Anthropology) has received full funding to pursue a Ph.D. in anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis.

Bilal Hussain (B.A. '12 Sociology) has received full funding to pursue a Ph.D. in sociology at Loyola University in Chicago.

Bryan Brady (M.A. '12 History) has been accepted to the Teach for America program in Las Vegas, Nev. Teach for America is a nonprofit organization that aims to eliminate educational inequity by enlisting high-achieving recent college graduates and professionals to teach for two or more years in low-income communities.

Emeriti Faculty
Each year, emeriti are announced and honored during both December and May commencements. Click here to view a list of the twenty-two new emeriti appointments this year.

Congressman Luis Gutierrez Celebrates Que Ondee Sola's 40th Anniversary at NEIU

Northeastern Illinois University's Que Ondee Sola magazine, the oldest Puerto Rican and Latina/o student publication in the country, is celebrating 40 years in print in 2012. A celebration held on April 20 included a reception, art installation and program, plus a silent auction to benefit the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture.


The keynote address, "A Conversation between Two Puerto Rican Masters," featured Luis V. Gutierrez (left), congressman for the Illinois 4th District, and Antonio Martorell, distinguished Puerto Rican artist (right).  Read More


NEIU's Annual Lobby Day in Springfield

President Sharon Hahs and Suleyma Pérez, executive director of government relations, led a group of 23 faculty, students, staff, alumni, and trustees to Springfield, Ill., to lobby the representatives in the Illinois House and Senate on Wednesday, April 18. This annual event, sponsored by the NEIU Foundation, is aimed at promoting awareness of NEIU and making a case for financial support from the legislative and executive branches of the state.

The General Assembly members who visited with NEIU representatives indicated strong support for NEIU and its mission of serving a diverse student population.

Are you interested in becoming an advocate for NEIU? Learn more about the Northeastern Network and become an ambassador for NEIU to the State of Illinois government today.

NEIU Celebrates its Faculty Authors

NEIU's 2012 Faculty Authors Reception honored 26 scholars who authored books that were published in 2011.   Read More

Copies of several of these books have been purchased by the NEIU Foundation and are available for alumni use in the NEIU Alumni Center Library. Call the Alumni Center at (773) 442-4205 or e-mail for more information.

NEIU Alumni Association Summer Events

The NEIU Alumni Association Six Flags Great America Family Day has sold out! One hundred NEIU alumni, students, faculty, staff, family, and friends will head to Great America in Gurnee, Ill., on Saturday, June 9. Two buses will transport many of the NEIU attendees, who will also be treated to a free buffet lunch at the Six Flags Picnic Grove and an Alumni Association raffle with prizes.  

"Art: Alumni," a juried exhibition of work in all media created by NEIU art department graduates will run from June 11-July 27 in the NEIU Fine Arts Center Gallery. All NEIU alumni and friends are invited to the opening reception sponsored by the NEIU Alumni Association, which will be held on Friday, June 15, from 6 - 9 p.m. RSVP to (773) 442-4205 or .

An Alumni Reception for Varsity Athletes and HPERA Alumni will be held on Tuesday, June 26 from 6 - 9 p.m. at ESTATE Ultra Bar, 1177 N. Elston in Chicago. Come meet fellow Golden Eagles, teammates and classmates! Heavy hors d'oeuvres, cash bar, business casual attire. RSVP by Friday June 22 to (773) 442-4205 or .

The third annual Welcome Home reunion event for alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of Chicago Teachers College South and North will be held at NEIU in August 2012. Contact the Alumni Association at (773) 442-4205 or for more information.










College of Arts and Sciences Summer Research Stipends

The College of Arts and Sciences NEIU Foundation Fund is supporting research projects for seven faculty members and twelve students this summer. Six summer research projects have been approved and will be conducted by faculty and students from the departments of African and African American Studies, Anthropology, Economics, Latino and Latin American Studies, and Social Work. Research topics include: "Social Mobility of Latino Youth," "Staying the Course: A Study of African American Men Returning to College," Changing Incentives and Collusive Behavior in the National Hockey League," "Analysis of Primate and Other Prey Remains from Harpy Eagle Predation," and more. "We are grateful for the donations that have allowed us to provide these research opportunities for our students and faculty," said David Leaman, associate dean, College of Arts and Sciences. "We look forward to seeing and sharing the results of this work." The College of Arts and Sciences’ Student Center for Science Engagement and a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant are supporting similar faculty/student summer research projects in the natural and physical sciences.

NEIU Foundation Scholar/Donor Luncheon

The NEIU Foundation hosted the Scholar/Donor Luncheon on Tuesday, April 17. The event brought together individuals who have named scholarships at NEIU and their current scholarship recipients. Donors, including Bernard J. Brommel (pictured above, center), had the opportunity to meet their current scholarship recipients and learn how their gifts impacted the students.  Read More

If you would like to learn more about scholarships at NEIU, please contact Liesl Downey , director of development, at (773) 442-4248.

Earth Day Celebration at NEIU 

NEIU Celebrated Earth Day on Monday, April 23. The day began with an overview of campus sustainability initiatives. Alderman Margaret Laurino (pictured above with NEIU president and staff) introduced the solar panel project, which will put solar panels on top of Building B this summer. Other recent initiatives include the installation of LED lights in Lech Walesa Hall and Bernard J. Brommel Hall.  Read More

The Earth Day celebration also included presentations, a panel discussion, the annual biology department plant sale, and the planting of native shrubs and plants on campus. Read More


Profile: Lance Williams

A profile of Lance Williams, assistant director of the Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies, recently appeared in the NEIU Independent student newspaper.

"[Williams] has utilized both street knowledge and book sense to pave the way for African American men and women all over Chicago – but especially in the Kenwood and Englewood communities.

[sic] Dr. Williams, known for his keen intellect and fierce determination to uplift at-risk youth, has done a great amount of work to introduce young Black youth to their inner strengths." Read More

Mini-Kane Mini-Golf Outing and Kane Dinner Speaker

The first Mini-Kane Mini-Golf outing was a great success. Nearly 100 NEIU students, friends, faculty, and staff participated. Seven holes were sponsored by campus groups, and the Ronald Williams Library won the "best hole contest." Click here for more information and to see pictures from the event.

The Kane Golf Outing dinner program will feature remarks by David Kaplan (pictured right), a local columnist, radio and television personality. Kaplan hosted "Sports Central" on WGN Radio in Chicago, and now hosts " Chicago Tribune Live," a daily sports roundtable discussion show on Comcast SportsNet (CSN) in Chicago. Kaplan co-authored the “Around Town” column in the Chicago Tribune and is the pre- and post-game host for CSN’s Chicago Cubs broadcasts. Kaplan also co-hosts WGN Radio’s “Sports Night.”



Money Smart Week

NEIU participated in the Chicago Federal Reserve's Money Smart Week 2012 during the month of April. Money Smart week aims to increase personal financial literacy and is sponsored at NEIU by the Colleges of Arts and Science, Business and Management, and Education, plus the Office of Financial Aid and the Ronald Williams Library. The free series of classes and activities covered topics such as strategic rules for financial fitness, starting a business online, choice of business entity for entrepreneurs, self employment, and more.  Read More

New Foundation Board Members





The NEIU Foundation Board welcomed two new members this spring.

Lawrence P. Frank, Ph.D., is professor and provost emeritus at Northeastern Illinois University. He served at NEIU for nine years prior to his retirement in 2012. He has also served as dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Saint Xavier University in Chicago, and had been the director of the School of Policy Studies, chair of political science, and coordinator of the international studies program at Roosevelt University. Frank was a visiting lecturer at Sarah Lawrence College, University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, Columbia University, American University in Cairo (Egypt), Ahmadu Belo University (Nigeria), and was a research associate at University of Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Gaborone, Botswana and Roma (Lesotho, Africa), where he also served in the Peace Corps.    

Catherine Krawitz, C.F.A., is director and senior municipal analyst at Bank of Montreal (BMO) Harris Capital Markets. She provides fundamental credit support to multiple areas within the Capital Markets Group including the sales, trading and underwriter area; public finance; and the BMO capital market management team. Krawitz was previously the senior fixed income analyst for Harris. She has also served as senior municipal analyst for Kemper Financial Services, and municipal bond analyst for Van Kampen Merritt.

American Opera "Street Scene" Performed at NEIU

The NEIU Department of Music presented "Street Scene," an American opera by Kurt Weill on April 11 - 14. The production was funded in part by a grant from the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, and was directed by Sasha Gerritson, instructor, music, and conducted by Michael Melton, instructor, music.  Click here for more information and to see pictures of the opera.



NEIU Celebrates 20th Annual Student Research and Creative Activities Symposium

On Friday, April 13, NEIU celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Student Research and Creative Activities Symposium. State Representative Daniel Biss, 17th House District, Illinois General Assembly, (pictured above left) attended the symposium and provided remarks at the program opening.

Over the past two decades, the event has grown from 25 to 150 student presentations and has become the crown jewel of scholastic events at NEIU. The 2012 symposium featured 250 students who participated as presenters and co-authors. To date, more than 1,000 Northeastern students have participated in this symposium and have presented their scholarly activities to an audience of faculty and peers.  Read More

The Student Research and Creative Activities Symposium was founded in 1993 by John Al-Bazi, professor and chair, chemistry (pictured above right). Al-Bazi is in his 23rd year of teaching and mentoring at NEIU.  In 1991, Al-Bazi helped establish the Master of Science in chemistry with an emphasis on separation science.  Read More

Alumni Spotlight: Sarah Vorpahl

Sarah Vorpahl (B.S. '11 Chemistry) graduated summa cum laude from NEIU last fall. During her time at NEIU, she worked alongside NEIU faculty on research projects in chemical education, surface chemistry and biology. 

In the summer of 2010, Vorpahl completed a National Science Foundation-Research Experience for Undergraduates Program at the University of Chicago, where she designed and built an instrument that quantifies how water spreads onto surfaces. 

Vorpahl has presented her research at several venues, including the NEIU Student Research Symposium and the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science national conference. 

Inspired by materials chemistry, Vorpahl applied for admission to Ph.D. programs in chemistry. She was accepted to several prestigious institutions including Cornell University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of California-Santa Barbara, and University of Washington–Seattle. 

Vorpahl chose to pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry at UW-Seattle as a Distinguished Energy Fellow of the Advanced Materials for Energy Institute, where she will begin her studies in the fall of 2012.

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