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Alumna accepts exclusive invitation

A surge for SOCIAL WORK


Daniel Goodwin is more than a donor


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Welcome to The Nest, Northeastern’s first residence hall

A message from the

President Greetings Northeastern alumni and friends, As many of you already know, I have decided to retire on September 30 after nearly 10 years at the University and 42 years working in public higher education. I will always be grateful for the enthusiastic support I have received from you during the past decade, and you can count on Billy and me to continue being a part of the Northeastern family even after I leave. For many reasons, this is the right time for my departure. As I review our most newsworthy events since the last edition of In Common, it is encouraging to know how all of these efforts represent our University community’s vision for the future, which was a priority for me since the day I arrived in 2007. When we refreshed our Strategic Plan in late 2014, we not only developed a deeper sense of our institution’s mission and core values, we also renewed our commitment to enhancing an already exceptional University. So, it is fitting that we dedicate our cover story to an initiative that delivers on that promise and touches so many Strategic Goals: Student Success, Academic Excellence and Innovation, Urban Leadership and Enhanced University Operation. In August, we opened our first residence hall, The Nest, and its ability to help transform the University is apparent. The Nest is transforming Northeastern, which is shedding its status as a commuter-only school with new Nest-based co-curricular programming that complements strong academics and heightens engagement. The Nest is transforming our students, who enthusiastically welcomed an opportunity to live on campus and have a more traditional student experience. The Nest is transforming our reputation in the marketplace with prospective students from near and far taking a second look at us now that we offer residential life opportunities. Our new residence hall is so much more than a building. It is an affirmation of Northeastern’s capacity and stability during a tumultuous time for Illinois public universities that have endured so long under financial uncertainty. That 2014 Strategic Plan exercise gave our vision the focus we needed to undergo the streamlining and cost savings we implemented in 2016. But, it also reminded us that Northeastern and its students will always be worth the investment and that the University must continue to grow and adapt. I, too, must continue to grow and adapt, especially now as I transition into a new chapter of my life—one that will involve making up for lost time with my children and grandchildren, visiting new and interesting places around the world with Billy, and, I hope, staying in touch with you. Your loyalty to Northeastern means everything to me, and I will always keep you in my thoughts and in my heart.

Very best wishes,

Sharon K. Hahs, President Northeastern Illinois University











With the opening of The Nest, the University’s first

Oscar Ramírez never had a Latino teacher growing up. Now

residence hall, Northeastern begins a new chapter of

on the verge of earning his bachelor’s degree, Ramírez plans

service to its students and the community.

to work to change that dynamic as he pursues a Ph.D.





Social service providers love Northeastern’s field-ready

Where do your NEIU Foundation donations go? They help

graduates. Now they have even more to love with the

clear the financial path for extraordinary students like Carly

addition of a master’s program in Social Work.

Hall, who is preparing to become a math teacher.



He’s the University’s first multimillion-dollar donor and the

first person to have a Northeastern college named in his

honor. Meet Daniel L. Goodwin, an alumnus of many firsts.







MAGAZINE STAFF Editorial Board: Mike Dizon, Liesl Downey, Mike Hines, Damaris Tapia Art Director/Designer: J. Matt Byerly Photographer: Joe L. Davis Contributors: Anna Cannova, Sylvia Daniels, Mike Dizon, Mike Hines, Damaris Tapia, Brenda Young In Common is published by the University for graduates, donors and friends. Please send your comments, suggestions, and news items by email to or to the NEIU Alumni Association, Northeastern Illinois University, 5500 North St. Louis Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, 60625-4699.

HOW TO CONTACT US Northeastern Illinois University: (773) 583-4050 Alumni Relations: (773) 442-4205 Development: (773) 442-4210 Public Relations: (773) 442-4240 Transcripts: (773) 442-4032

UNIVERSITY ADMINISTRATION Sharon K. Hahs President Richard J. Helldobler Provost Michael Pierick Vice President for Finance and Administration Melissa Reardon Henry Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel Daniel López Jr. Vice President for Student Affairs Liesl Downey Vice President for Institutional Advancement

BOARD OF TRUSTEES Carlos Azcoitia, Chair of the Board Jonathan J. Stein, Vice Chair Barbara Fumo, Secretary Olivia Clark, Student Trustee Robert Biggins Omar Duque Marvin Garcia Darlene Ruscitti George Vukotich

UNIVERSITY FOUNDATION Thomas R. Gramins, President Lawrence P. Frank, Vice President Neal Fenwick, Treasurer Mark Van Ausdal, Corporate Secretary Kenn Ashley Cathy Krawtiz Jacqueline Krump Marcellus H. Moore Jr. J. Todd Phillips Thomas F. Power Jr. John F. Roskopf Salme Harju Steinberg Dirk Tussing Liesl Downey, Executive Director PRINTED BY AUTHORITY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS • 8/16 • ??M • PO#??????

A message from the

Alumni Association Dear fellow alumni, In 2017, Northeastern Illinois University will commemorate the sesquicentennial anniversary of its founding as the Cook County Normal School in 1867. From humble origins in a rented schoolhouse in Blue Island, Illinois, the historic evolution of our alma mater from its singular focus as a Midwestern teacher training college into the modern multicultural university of today is the remarkable story of a triumph of educational experimentation and innovation in an urban setting. To mark this important milestone celebrating past and present, the University will publish a comprehensive historical book that weaves a rich tapestry of voices from the University— students, faculty and administration. The book mirrors the history of early Chicago education in theory and practice; the progression from Normal School to Chicago Teachers College (CTC) framed against the backdrop of contentious city and state politics; Depression Era hardships; the impact of the Baby Boom upon the teaching profession; the necessity for a North Side CTC campus in 1960; the future Northeastern Illinois University; and the seminal decades that followed. I am a proud Northeastern alumnus. I am also a Chicago historian and author, chronicling the rise of the Windy City in 17 earlier published volumes of urban history. It has been a pleasure and a great honor for me to write the complete story of Northeastern in book-length form. The idea crystallized more than four years ago when Northeastern’s greatest champion, my friend and mentor, Professor Emeritus Bernard Brommel, inspired and encouraged me to begin work on this important research project. President Sharon Hahs, an early and enthusiastic supporter, targeted the 2017 sesquicentennial celebration as the appropriate time for publication.

“You are a part of this book and part of Northeastern’s rich story.” Generations of students have passed through the doors of the St. Louis Avenue campus, El Centro and the Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies, parlaying their hopes, dreams and expectations for the future into a life-changing, transformative educational experience. Your hopes and dreams as a former student make up who we are today and what the future of Northeastern will be. This book is only one of many ways for us to celebrate the past 150 years of Northeastern. As we prepare to celebrate our sesquicentennial, I hope that you engage in the many events, activities and dialogues that will be wrapped around this tremendous milestone. I also hope that you will be a part of our first steps forward to the next 150 years of Northeastern Illinois University.


Richard C. Lindberg B.A. 1974; M.A. 1987


news & notes about your university community

‘We Knew Her When’ Invite to State of the Union speech is just the beginning As Alaa Basatneh sat in the gallery for President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union Address—a mere 15 seats away from first lady Michelle Obama—she couldn’t stop thinking about the Supreme Court justices. “It felt surreal. The energy in that room,” Basatneh said. “All of the lawmakers, the officials, the cabinet, the justices. I kept looking at the justices and thinking, I want to see the expressions on their faces. They’re supposed to be neutral.” Basatneh can be forgiven for being a little shellshocked. Less than a month earlier, she had crossed the stage at Commencement, having earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Northeastern Illinois University. A few weeks after collecting her degree, Basatneh took a call from U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Illinois), inviting her to be his personal guest for Obama’s

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speech on January 12. Not that he just picked her name out of a hat. Basatneh is featured in a documentary, “#chicagoGirl,” and has earned international attention for her work fighting the Assad regime by organizing protests in Syria, mapping escape routes and sharing videos. “Some of my students are nothing less than outstanding, some are wise beyond their years, and then there are those who make an everlasting impression giving you pause and taking your breath away,” Political Science Instructor Gregory Jackson said. “Alaa Basatneh, I believe without even realizing, fits into all three of these student categories. Her passion for scholarly work, human rights, social justice and service will lead to us all telling people we knew her when. She is already well on her way down that road.” That’s high praise, but that’s her trajectory. After chatting with Congresswoman Nancy

By Mike Hines

Pelosi (D-California) and sitting for an interview with the BBC in Washington, Basatneh stayed on the road for a series of speeches and talks in New Mexico, California and Idaho before accepting her first full-time job as an editorial coordinator for Fusion, an ABC News subsidiary that is geared toward the Millennial market. “My goal is to get students inspired and motivated,” said Basatneh, who plans to pursue a graduate degree in public administration once she is settled into her new home city of Miami. “The education I got from Northeastern really prepped me for everything I’m doing. Walking down the halls of the Capitol, everyone I’m meeting and talking to, I had background knowledge, and that’s because of the professors at Northeastern.” .




news & notes about your university community

The Gift of Travel

El Centro is the building that keeps on giving—literally. After winning a Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design during the 22nd Annual Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards on February 18 at the Chicago Hilton & Towers, JGMA company president Juan Moreno announced during his acceptance speech that he would donate the $15,000 award, and an additional $5,000 personal donation, to Northeastern Illinois University to establish an endowed scholarship. Immediately after Moreno’s commitment, Driehaus announced that he would match the donation. “My mother was the first in our family to have the courage to travel, leaving Colombia and coming to the U.S.,” said Moreno, who was joined at the awards by Northeastern President Sharon Hahs and Interim

Director of El Centro Maria Luna-Duarte. “I understand how travel and exposure to other communities, areas and cultures can educate, and I wanted to give students the courage and opportunity to do the same.” The scholarship is named after Moreno’s mother, Nohra DeFrancisco, to help minority students travel the world. The application process will begin in the spring of 2017. To apply, students will be required to submit an essay on where they want to go and what they hope to learn from the trip. They will also have to plan the trip and submit the estimated costs. Award winners will be required to travel within six months of earning their award, and upon their return they will submit a reflection paper and have an opportunity to meet Moreno and talk more about their travels.

A Pair of New Leaders President Sharon Hahs has named two new vice presidents in 2016. Vice President for Student Affairs Daniel López and Vice President for Institutional Advancement Liesl Downey assumed their new positions just four months apart. Downey, who previously served as the executive director for the Office of Development, also will serve as executive director of the Northeastern Illinois University Foundation. “Her appointment provides leadership, continuity and momentum for Northeastern’s first campaign,” Hahs said. “As state support dwindles, it is more critical than ever to expand scholarship support and provide important learning and teaching opportunities.” López, who was promoted from the position of associate vice president for Student Affairs, had also served as Northeastern’s dean of Academic Development and director of El Centro. “Dr. López’s extensive experience will provide a strong foundation as we continue to focus strategically on student success at Northeastern,” Hahs said.



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Fulbright Scholar Awards

Success Building a Foundation for

Northeastern Illinois University Professor of History Patrick Miller and Assistant Professor of Biology Cindy Voisine have earned Fulbright Scholar Awards for the academic year 2016-2017. Miller has been named the Fulbright Bicentennial Chair in American Studies at the University of Helsinki, where he will teach in the Program in North American Studies/ Department of World Cultures. Voisine will conduct research during the Fall 2016 semester in the laboratory of Bernd Bukau at the University of Heidelberg in Germany.


s a professor in Northeastern Illinois University’s Department of Educational Inquiry and Curriculum Studies, Nicole Holland is passionate about the success of her students. But she knows firsthand that success in a university classroom doesn’t happen without plenty of preparation.

That’s why she co-founded a three-year research project aimed at providing college planning interventions for female students of color.

$424,000 With the 44th Annual Chuck Kane Scholarship Golf Event on August 8, the NEIU Foundation surpassed that total endowment level for Kane scholarships. In total, that endowment creates more than $8,000 worth of annual scholarship support to students from across the University. The tournament was attended by former Chicago Bulls great Bob Love (pictured above) as well as Chicago Police Department Commander Marc Buslik (B.A. ’88 Criminal Justice).

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The project, titled Paving Postsecondary Pathways in Urban High Schools: Developing the School, College and Career Connections for Young Women of Color, is the result of a $158,000 grant from the Hymen Milgrom Supporting Organization, which funds the Successful Pathways from School to Work research initiative at the University of Chicago. The research project looks at developing students’ college knowledge early in their high school experiences, while requiring students to share that information with their families and apply it to college preparatory activities. “These types of programs are important and they say that students matter,” said Holland, who will teach in Northeastern’s Master of Arts in Community and Teacher Leaders program that launched in Fall 2016. “People give lip service, saying, ‘You can do it. You will be fine,’ but they don’t provide the tangibles. Our job with this project is to provide the tangibles.”





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home By Mike Hines and Brenda Young

Welcome to The Nest, Northeastern’s first residence hall


sabel Vargas is committed to Northeastern Illinois University. Make that Committed, with a capital C.

For her first two years at Northeastern, Vargas spent more than four hours a day commuting to and from campus from her home in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. She would start her day with two train rides and a bus ride, followed by class, followed by her on-campus job in the P.E. Complex, followed by study time in the library, followed by a bus ride and two train rides back home. “It was tiring,” she said. “And sometimes really stressful.” Now a junior preparing for some of the most important classes of her collegiate career, the Biology major has swapped her transit pass for a room key.

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t long last, almost 150 years after the University first opened its doors, and after eight years of committed planning and preparation by students, faculty, staff and alumni, Northeastern Illinois University opened its first residence hall in August. It’s called The Nest, and it’s spectacular.

With all of the typical amenities of modern residence halls—internet, cable TV and a full kitchen in every apartment, plus study lounges, a fully loaded game room and a fitness center— The Nest stands just south of the Parking Facility on the Main Campus as a six-story, 440-bed commitment to Northeastern’s students and to the future of the institution. The residence hall will vastly change the University environment, serving as a new and exciting hub for students to study, make friends and engage in philosophical debates that last into the wee hours of the morning. Like many of The Nest’s inaugural residents, Vargas was eager to trade in her long commute for a short walk to class. She’s particularly enthusiastic about how much more time she can dedicate to her academics with four more hours of each day now available to study in her own room or participate in student clubs. “I’m so glad that a residence hall has come to Northeastern before I leave,” she said. “It’s nice to have a home here.”

That’s exactly how Vargas and her fellow Nest residents should feel—at home—and the results will be transformative for the University. Northeastern President Sharon Hahs calls the opening of The Nest “a milestone in our commitment to student life and to student success” as the residence hall opens opportunities not just for students from the Chicago area to experience residence life, but for the University to become home to students from anywhere in the world. “Student housing complements our excellent academic programs,” Hahs said. “It fosters a greater sense of community for our students. And it strengthens our educational experience for all.” That sentiment was echoed by Student Government Association President Nicholas Martinez, who worked to educate and inform students about the residence hall before it opened. “With its expanding diversity, Northeastern has answered the call by truly allowing everyone the opportunity to learn in the city and lead in the world, regardless of

what part of the globe they come from,” he said during the groundbreaking ceremony in May 2015. “Northeastern is now opening the gates to provide everyone with an environment where they learn, belong, achieve, transform and lead.” There is significant evidence from colleges and universities across the country that demonstrates residence halls have a positive effect on the ability to recruit and retain students through the completion of their degrees. Vice President for Student Affairs Daniel López said the University will work hard on delivering quality programming to The Nest such as lectures, workshops, sports activities and perhaps even a full class to keep students engaged with their own residence hall community and the University community. “When students come to a university, they’re learning a discipline,” López said. “What student housing can do is to help them become wellrounded individuals by being involved, engaged and participating with other students who may come from different backgrounds and who

Go inside The Nest Do you want to see more of The Nest? Take a virtual video tour, find the application for housing and read about the rates, plans and amenities at Or stop by The Nest offices and say hello!



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How does it work? The Nest is the result of an agreement between Northeastern and American Campus Communities (ACC), the nation’s largest developer, owner and manager of student housing. Under the agreement, the University owns the land and ACC will finance and manage all assets of the property and operations.

“It’s great to come to class—that’s what we’re here to do—but you gain even more with a more traditional university experience that allows you to live on campus.” DANIEL LÓPEZ Vice President for Student Affairs

have different experiences. It’s great to come to class—that’s what we’re here to do—but you gain even more with a more traditional university experience that allows you to live on campus.” It’s not just the students who are excited about the increased activity on Northeastern’s Main Campus. “From a longer-term perspective, the residence hall will be a positive thing for the neighborhood because there will be more activities, and there are a lot of neighbors who will continue to take advantage of that,” said alumnus Dirk Tussing (M.A. ’08 Educational Leadership: Higher Education), who lives only a few blocks away. The residence hall is drawing rave reviews from students for its space, amenities and proximity

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to their friends. “The space feels so natural to be in,” sophomore Erica Bland said. “Immediately when you walk into the room, you see how much floor space there is. I can lay my yoga mat out here or I could do Pilates in my room, which is what I do at home.” Matt Ekart, a senior, moved into The Nest just in time to get the residence life experience before he graduates. “It’s hard to meet people at a commuter school,” the Elementary Education major said. “So being at The Nest will give me that opportunity.” Consider this: When the Fall 2016 semester began, it included a new crop of students who will never have known Northeastern as anything other than a university with residence

life. What will the student experience be like in five years, or 10 years? Perhaps Samiah Mohiuddin, who transferred to Northeastern from Elgin Community College, can offer a glimpse. Last spring, she imagined what her time at Northeastern would be like when she arrived in Fall 2016. “I am looking forward to meeting new roommates and after that focusing on school,” she said. “I will be hanging out with friends, but also cleaning. I might cook. Maybe I will ask my mom to make a dish for me.” Maybe. Why not? This is Northeastern Illinois University. You can do anything.



Student Stamp of Approval By Mike Hines


efore it became a place to study, The Nest was a place to be studied. That was the determination of Business Instructor Patrick Delaney when he saw the construction site in Fall 2015.

“They were not afraid to call me up and ask to stop by at 5 p.m. We just accommodated what they needed to do.”

Delaney had just begun teaching an undergraduate Operations Management class, his first at Northeastern, when he invited the project superintendent to come speak about the project control system used for the construction tasks.

Students sat in on weekly subcontractor meetings, interviewed Northeastern officials and even quality-checked room installations. Voda was particularly impressed by the work of Edwin Mijares, a senior majoring in Finance and Accounting who found a window that had been incorrectly caulked. “I’m telling you, this kid dove into details,” Voda said. “I sent his paper up to our main office, and our two lead guys for quality want to meet him.”

Kevin Voda, the general superintendent with Weis Builders, was happy to oblige—and then took it a step further by offering a handful of students exclusive access to the site and his operations for their operations analysis papers. “The students jumped all over it,” Voda said.



From marketing to accounting to quality control, 10 students submerged themselves in The Nest, producing analysis papers that impressed both Voda and Delaney. “This was an actual operations analysis,” said Delaney, a Northeastern alumnus who repeated the project with his Spring 2016 class. “It gave students the opportunity to see how big projects are managed.”

Mijares plans to go into banking—far from any construction site—but he still valued the

experience working with Voda and watching how he solved problems and conflicts. “I’m hoping to take these management skills and people skills and apply them when I start working in the banking industry,” he said. John Gomez, a senior majoring in Finance, focused his project on the interface between Northeastern, Weis and American Campus Communities, the company that will manage all assets of the property and operations. How would they communicate about students who break the rules? Or students who drop out of their classes? His conclusion: “They have this under control. I really did nitpick. I was trying to find something they hadn’t covered, but they were very thorough.” With only a couple of semesters left before he graduates, Gomez does not plan to move into The Nest, but he knows someone who might be a good candidate in a couple of years. “I would feel comfortable encouraging my sister to stay at The Nest,” he said. “Seeing the type of quality and thought process that goes into making the space great for students—it doesn’t get better than that.”

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From the field to the classroom

Career journey brings Luis Ortiz back to Northeastern By Brenda Young


hen Luis Ortiz graduated from Northeastern Illinois University, one of his first calls to the field took him back to his family’s roots in Puerto Rico.

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n the wake of a hurricane that battered the island where his parents grew up, Ortiz departed his American Red Cross office in downtown Chicago and set up shop in a room above a beauty parlor in San Juan that served as the Red Cross response headquarters. Ortiz spent the summer assessing the damage, providing services and assuring safe housing, food and furnishings for displaced residents. “I was there with these blank vouchers,” said Ortiz, who earned his Bachelor of Arts degree

accomplished social worker back in Chicago, where he was born and raised, but he also is a well-liked and well-respected instructor in Northeastern’s Social Work program. Beginning this academic year, he also is now an adviser in the new Social Work master’s program. (Read the story below for more on the master’s program.) “That job at the Red Cross really prepared me because it was my first real job after graduating from Northeastern and it started me off in my career,” Ortiz said. It’s that kind of hands-on experience that Ortiz brings into Northeastern’s classrooms on the Main Campus and at El Centro, where he’s often spotted practicing his hobby: photography. After three years with the Red Cross, Ortiz went on to work as a program director for the Pilsen Little Village Community Mental

During his time at Pilsen Little Village Community Mental Health Center, Ortiz provided crisis intervention and case management services. Later as its program director, he supervised a staff of 110 and coordinated all of the agency’s programs, such as an emergency housing shelter for men, women and families and a community living arrangement housing program for the mentally ill. It was here that he met Jade Stanley, who now serves as chair of Northeastern’s Social Work program. “Luis has a strong connection to the Chicago community, particularly in Pilsen, Humboldt Park, Logan Square and Lincoln Park,” Stanley said. “This connection provided him with the ability to learn a lot about individuals, families and groups from these communities as well as the professionals and key stakeholders. Luis’ knowledge and skills were a perfect fit for our program.”

“I was like a surveyor. The people were crying and emotionally upset, and I was there to help.” Health Center (now Pilsen Wellness Center) and also coordinated a volunteer service program for Casa Aztlan, a communitybased settlement house program in Pilsen. In time, Ortiz founded his own agency, Pro Health Advocates, which is a state-licensed substance abuse and domestic violence counseling center based in Cicero.

in Sociology in 1977. “I was like a surveyor. The people were crying and emotionally upset, and I was there to help.” Ortiz looks back on that time in his life as the true start of his journey into the social work profession. Now, decades later, his life has come full circle. Ortiz is not only an

Students say they have formed personal and professional connections with Ortiz, who has been an instructor at Northeastern for almost 10 years. Benjamin Mendoza, a senior Social Work major, said Ortiz’s role as a program adviser helped him when he decided to declare his major.

Social Work adds Master’s Program


ictor Gaskins never attended Northeastern Illinois University, not even for a single class. Yet he’s one of the University’s biggest fans. “What can I say? I love Northeastern,” Gaskins said.

With good reason: Gaskins is a program administrator with St. Leonard’s Ministries, a Chicago social service provider that helps with residential, case management and employment services for men and women who have been released from prison and need help rebuilding their lives. In nine years of work with St. Leonard’s, Gaskins estimated he has hired between 25 and 30 interns from Northeastern—far more than from any other Chicago-area university. He may need to make room for more. 12


Northeastern launched a Social Work master’s program in Fall 2016—and Gaskins, who has several undergraduate degrees, said the new program just might entice him to go back into the classroom for his first master’s degree. “The most dedicated and eager-to-learn students come from Northeastern,” Gaskins said. The expansion of the Social Work program is the result of years of hard work and preparation by Jade Stanley, chair of the department that serves more than 400 undergraduates. Upon completion of their bachelor’s degree, as many as three-quarters of graduates pursue a master’s degree, Stanley estimated, which could boost their annual salary by up to $10,000. “We would prepare our students, and then they would go to other universities. We knew we could do that work here,” Stanley said. “We

By Mike Hines

know our students well, and I’m excited because of the potential and the possibility.” So is Troy Harden, who was hired at the beginning of the year to direct the master’s program. “We will develop professionals who have a serious commitment to justice, social change and high ethical standards that can serve our city, state and region,” said Harden, who has a long history in research and field work in Chicago communities. “We will have a local and global presence.” Northeastern’s Social Work program has earned a solid reputation in Chicago and beyond for developing graduates who are prepared for hands-on work with diverse communities. “We know that our students are going back to their community to do work on behalf of their families and individuals,” Stanley said. “We have a

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“I came to an open house and I went up to him,” said Mendoza, who transferred from Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills. “I was feeling a bit lost as to whether or not I wanted to major in Social Work, but he made me feel comfortable. After our conversation, I knew then that Social Work would be what I wanted to do.” Ortiz, who earned a master’s degree in health and human services administration from Roosevelt University, is considered the “go-to” person in the Social Work department. When there is a need for a guest speaker for a class or ideas for workshops, Ortiz calls upon his resources to help fill the void. Alfonso Trevino Jr., who earned his bachelor’s degree in Social Work in May, can attest to

uniqueness that other universities might not have. We don’t have to teach them certain things. They know it; they lived it. It’s raw. It’s real.” The Master’s of Social Work program will provide the opportunity for increased specialization in the field, whether it’s direct practice, clinical work or advocacy and leadership work in the field. It also will open up students’ eligibility for licensure. “I was excited to hear about the new master’s program,” said Eddie Bocanegra, a 2012 graduate who went on to earn international attention—and even White House recognition— for his Urban Warriors program that connects combat veterans with at-risk teens to help each group deal with their shared stresses. “Northeastern is already producing these students. Why not have a master’s program and start competing with other institutions?”

this. The former president of Northeastern’s chapter of the Alliance of Student Social Workers said Ortiz was one of the key players who helped in the club’s fundraising initiatives. “He was just a good resource,” Trevino said. “I remember one time, we needed to print a poster board for an event, and he was like, ‘I have a connection. Here’s the place and tell them I sent you, and they will give you a discount.’ He has so many established friendships and connections and allies in the community that were really instrumental in our fundraising successes.” Stanley likes to call Ortiz an “old-school practitioner and educator.”

and willingness to be involved in aspects of our Social Work program, both on the Main Campus and at El Centro.” Ortiz, who teaches courses on policy, research and cross-cultural analysis, knows that it all comes back to the students and ensuring that what they learn can be applied in the field— whether they are called to a homeless shelter or the aftermath of a hurricane. “When I teach, I want the students to leave with something,” he said. “So if I am teaching policy, I want them to walk away having learned something about policy, so they can share the knowledge and apply it.”

“His reply is always, ‘Old school is the best school,’ ” Stanley said. “This show of warmth demonstrates to me Luis’s ability

his master’s degree. Now executive director of the YMCA of Metro Chicago’s Youth Safety and Violence Prevention Initiative, Bocanegra serves as a supervisor and mentor for interns and workers just entering the field. When they ask about grad school, he now can provide them with an exciting new option: Northeastern. “I can tell which students take the gloves off and are in the fight, in the trenches,” Bocanegra said. “Northeastern students and graduates are inclusive in terms of the work they do. I believe in leadership, and I believe in how Northeastern goes about addressing these issues.”

That wasn’t an option for Bocanegra, who moved on to the University of Chicago to earn

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Meet Daniel Goodwin, the man behind the historic contribution By Mike Hines

Question: How successful has Daniel L. Goodwin been since he graduated from Northeastern Illinois University? Answer: So successful that describing his accomplishments as merely “successful� is utterly inadequate.


oodwin is chairman and CEO of The Inland Real Estate Group of Companies, a multibillion-dollar real estate and financial organization headquartered on a 13-acre campus in Oak Brook, Illinois. He is frequently recognized by his peers for his business acumen and philanthropy. Most recently in October

2015, Goodwin provided an unprecedented commitment to Northeastern with a grant of $1 million, plus up to $1.5 million for an additional matching challenge over the next three years.

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“This is the culmination of a lifetime of commitment to Northeastern,” Goodwin said. Northeastern reciprocated with a historic gesture: The University officially dedicated the Daniel L. Goodwin College of Education on January 26, 2016, with a rally on the Main Campus that began as a formal affair and escalated into a pom-pom-waving, foot-stomping celebration attended by students, faculty, staff, friends and family. “I am greatly honored that Northeastern Illinois University has named its College of Education after me,” Goodwin said. “Northeastern is a special place with unique opportunities. The University makes achieving a college degree affordable and provides multiple opportunities for a diverse student body to adapt their education to individual lifestyles.” Few people know that better than Goodwin, whose ties to Northeastern run deep. A former Chicago Public Schools science teacher, Goodwin was a member of the first freshman class to attend Northeastern at the St. Louis Avenue campus. He was the first president of the Northeastern student government, and the first alumnus to be awarded an honorary doctorate by Northeastern. He was the first and only alumnus to serve on the Board of Governors of Illinois State Colleges and Universities. He was the first person to commit to a multimillion-dollar gift to the University. Goodwin was also the first chairman of the Northeastern Board of Trustees, serving as chairman from 1996 to 2006. We checked in with Goodwin to find out more about his memories as a student, his experience as a teacher and his life outside the corporate boardroom.

Q: What was Northeastern like when you attended? A: It was a small commuter college of fewer than 2,000 students. The

faculty and students worked closely together and we all knew each other. Even though you could major in a variety of fields, virtually all of these students wanted to be professional educators.

Q: What was your most rewarding experience as a Northeastern student? A: My most rewarding experiences were serving as president of the

student government and forming the student book exchange. However, my day-to-day experiences as a student were the highlights—the classes were challenging, the faculty was motivated, and the attitude of the students made the University feel like a friendly club.

Q: Was there a professor who inspired you? A: There were many outstanding faculty members, and it is hard to

single anyone out, but Dr. Thomas Farr taught Political Science and made me aware of society’s real issues and the contradictions of political behavior. Dr. Duke Fredrick made history come alive. There were at least a dozen faculty members who increased my horizons. Believe it or not, I looked forward to going to class every day.



Daniel L. Goodwin poses wth President Sharon Hahs, Goldie and student leaders after the college dedication ceremony on January 26, 2016.

Q: Why did you choose to go into teaching? A: I became a teacher because I am motivated by helping others

comprehend new concepts. Nothing is more rewarding to me than being able to simplify difficult concepts and see that look of understanding in a student’s face.

Q: What were you like as a teacher? A: As a teacher, I was not only concerned with conveying facts in their

own right, but I was even more concerned with experiencing conceptual breakthroughs with students. I generally used a variation of the Socratic Method in which we would use the facts the students learned to answer a series of questions that I would ask in order to help them reach their own conclusions, especially in social sciences. With regard to the sciences, I would use a similar approach, but the conclusions and answers are less subjective. In the sciences there is such a thing as a right answer. By using the scientific method, I would lead students to use their observations to reach verifiable conclusions.

Q: You have connected with Northeastern on multiple levels. What is your favorite or most rewarding role? A: Serving as student government president was an enriching experience,

and serving as chairman of the Board of Trustees allowed me to work with the University at a different level. I am grateful to have received an honorary doctorate from Northeastern and the President’s Meritorious Service Award, but most importantly my satisfaction has come from helping the University grow and provide high-quality education for a diverse student body with many first-generation college students.

Q: What was your inspiration for making this gift? A: I made this gift to the University and included the matching grant in order to build the NEIU Foundation, and to motivate alumni to provide meaningful endowments that will give the University additional funds to experiment with bold initiatives in education.

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Q: What is your advice to today’s students? A: My advice to students is to find an endeavor about which you can be

passionate. There are few things more important than finding an occupation in life that you enjoy. Having a passion for things is a gift. It doesn’t matter what it is—going on to higher education, climbing the corporate ladder, raising a family, being involved in professional sports, becoming an educator. My advice is, if you are passionate about a lifestyle and a career, pursue your dreams. Success is a byproduct of doing what you love.

Q: How do you motivate others? A: I believe motivation is contagious, and someone who demonstrates

passion and excitement can inspire others to achieve great things. I find life to be very exciting, and I try to transmit that feeling of excitement and opportunity to others.

Q: How do you define success? A: Success means different things to different people. To me, success is not simply accomplishing your goals. To paraphrase George Washington Carver, success is measured not only by the level that you have reached in life, but by the obstacles you had to overcome to get there.

Q: What do you do for fun? A: For fun, I serve on the boards of several charities and civic

associations, which allows me to work with wonderful people. I also like the out-of-doors, fishing and competitive games. Most importantly, if you are passionate about what you are doing, every day is fun!

Q: During the official dedication ceremony in January, you mentioned a very special New Year’s Eve tradition that you share with other Northeastern alumni. Can you share details? A: I am part of a group of 10 alumni that get together for dinner several times a year and on every New Year’s Eve. All five couples, who married each other, are Northeastern graduates who all became teachers in the Chicago area.

“Northeastern is a special place with unique opportunities. The University makes achieving a college degree affordable and provides multiple opportunities for a diverse student body to adapt their education to individual lifestyles.”

Can we count you in? Daniel L. Goodwin has issued a challenge to Northeastern Illinois University’s alumni, friends and donors—the Goodwin Gift Challenge, to be exact. “I want to incite a feeling for alumni that we have entered a new era, an era of increasing contributions in keeping up with other successful universities,” Goodwin said at the rally to rename the College of Education. Goodwin gave $1 million to Northeastern in 2014. Now he has challenged alumni and friends to raise $500,000 every year in 2016, 2017 and 2018. When they do, Goodwin will give $500,000 for each of those years for a total matching challenge of $1.5 million. Donors have an opportunity to identify their gifts, no matter the designation within the NEIU Foundation, as counting toward the Goodwin Gift Challenge in the annual race to reach $500,000. Goodwin’s total commitment of $2.5 million will be distributed three ways: • To endow the Daniel L. Goodwin College of Education Scholarship Fund to benefit undergraduate and graduate students. • To endow the Daniel L. Goodwin Dean’s Program Fund to purchase teaching materials and other resources to enhance student learning, support faculty development, establish graduate fellowships and graduate assistantships, and to enhance the Daniel L. Goodwin College of Education’s programs. • To establish the Daniel L. Goodwin Distinguished Lecture Series Fund to provide expendable support to hire well-respected individuals to deliver instruction in conferences, seminars and major lectures. During the January rally, Goodwin College Dean Maureen Gillette pointed out that the scholarship fund endowment alone will generate about $30,000 for student scholarships every year. “Mr. Goodwin is creating a permanent resource for our students,” she said. “Students: Mr. Goodwin is looking you right in the eye and saying, ‘Work hard. Focus on your studies. Be your best self.’ And through this scholarship fund, he will be there for you now and in the future.”

How to Give 1. Visit 2. Choose to give any amount, to any designation 3. Check the “Count me in!” box, and your gift will count toward the $500,000 goal to meet the Goodwin Gift Challenge

DANIEL L. GOODWIN Chairman and CEO, The Inland Real Estate Group

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for Education

Oscar Ramírez never had a Latino teacher growing up. Not in grade school, not in middle school and not in high school. Nunca.. That all changed when Ramírez, the son of Guatemalan immigrants, enrolled at Northeastern Illinois University. “I suddenly had Latino teachers,” Ramírez said. “I would visit my professors during office hours and talk to them. They opened my mind and made me believe I can do anything.” They were right. Now on the verge of earning his bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education with a focus on History, Ramírez served as a summer intern in the Washington, D.C., office of one of the most prominent Latino figures in the nation (and also a Northeastern alumnus)— Congressman Luis Gutiérrez. “Northeastern has been a vehicle for me to connect with my own identity and my own community,” said Ramírez, who enrolled at Northeastern in 2011 after graduating from Lake View High School in Chicago. “There are mentors everywhere.”


Ramírez’s transformation into a man of action began when he arrived at Northeastern. At about the same time, Ramírez also started volunteering at the Albany Park Community Center just south of the University’s Main Campus. Though he grew up in Albany Park, Ramírez said volunteering as a youth leader opened his eyes to the greater triumphs and struggles of his community.

By Mike Hines

A Mission

Once he earns his bachelor’s degree, Ramírez plans to pursue graduate school and eventually enroll in a Ph.D. program in Education Policy to influence policy in a manner that expands opportunities for Latino youth in culturally and linguistically responsive ways.


With the appreciation also came frustration as Ramírez witnessed firsthand the realities of socioeconomic disparity and education inequities. Then, a realization: The wellbeing of Ramírez’s community was his responsibility as well. Rather than being the student searching for a teacher who understood his culture and his issues, Ramírez decided he would become that teacher. “Oscar is an excellent student and critical thinker,” said his adviser, Associate Professor Isaura Pulido. “As a child of immigrant parents who worked very hard to provide Oscar opportunities, it is no surprise he brings a strong work ethic to his schoolwork and extracurricular activities.” Ramírez entered Northeastern’s McNair Scholars Program, which prepares students for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities. He traveled to El Salvador to meet aspiring doctoral students and learn about their research projects, and in turn hosted them at Northeastern. And, of course, he took a summer internship with Congressman Guitérrez. Pulido saw a spark in Ramírez from the very first time he took one of her classes, Philosophical and Historical Foundations of Education. Ramírez developed a research paper on the politics of bilingual education that required him to not only summarize the research but also to analyze it and “speak back” to the body of literature. “Oscar made valuable contributions to class in ways that expanded our understandings of the readings and made us think about issues the authors failed to consider,” Pulido said. “These were substantial contributions on his part that shifted his classmates’ notions of who holds knowledge, who constructs knowledge and whose knowledge is valued.” Indeed, that was only the beginning. “I want to see that I’m making a change,” Ramírez said. “I want to be someone who has the power to make changes.”

Ramírez spoke with his professors, and with leaders in Albany Park, and the lessons and messages mingled in his mind. Ramírez began to learn and appreciate the history of the Latino community, Central America and Guatemala. “Little by little, I started submerging myself in the community and started falling in love with my community,” Ramírez said. “I just started appreciating it more than I ever had.”

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Education Adds Up Scholarships help propel math student toward dream to teach By Brenda Young

Carly Hall has always loved math, and she’s been very good at it. But it wasn’t until the summer before her senior year, standing in front of a room full of incoming freshmen, that the University Honors Program Scholar would discover her passion: teaching. In the summer of 2015, Hall and 10 other students served as peer tutors in intermediate algebra courses for firstyear incoming freshmen in the three-week English and Math Enrichment, Readiness and Growth Experience (EMERGE) Program. The session was designed to help students strengthen their math skills as they prepared for college. “I enjoyed every single day of the EMERGE Program,” said Hall, a Mathematics major who graduated in May 2016. “That sparked me. I didn’t want it to end.”



Hall, a Prospect High School graduate, excelled in the three calculus-level courses she took at William Rainey Harper College in Palatine. After completing her associate degree, Hall decided to pursue Mathematics at Northeastern, where her academic star shined brightly. Hall won a prestigious Phi Theta Kappa scholarship, enrolled in the University Honors Program and earned an internship with the Student Center for Science Engagement. As an Honors Scholar, Hall was required to complete a senior project that represents outstanding undergraduate achievement and the culmination of the Honors Scholar curriculum. The work on her thesis was supported by the Brommel-ManganielloWohl Scholarship, which is awarded to a University Honors Program Scholar in recognition of outstanding potential to

succeed in graduate-level studies based on the scholar’s research endeavors. “Her thesis is about 120 pages long,” said Assistant Professor of Mathematics Joseph Hibdon, who also was Hall’s thesis adviser. “That’s very impressive and almost the equivalent of some Ph.D. Mathematics theses. I think it’s great.” Hall plans to pursue a master’s degree in Mathematics with an emphasis in math education. She wants to become a community college math teacher and eventually earn a Ph.D. and become a full professor. “I look forward to continuing my education and staying active with teaching and internships,” she said. “It’s been like second nature to me to just keep on going.”

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JENNIFER BLAIR Master’s Linguistics student and Program Specialist, Nontraditional Degree Programs

MARGE BLAIR (B.A.’67 Elementary Education, Mathematics; M.S. ’69 Mathematics) JIM BLAIR (M.A.T. ’68 English, Literature)

Northeastern Legacy

The Blair Family In 1965, Marge Csakai and Jim Blair took a Creative Writing class at Northeastern Illinois University. The teacher was none other than Pulitzer Prize winner Gwendolyn Brooks, who three years later also was appointed poet laureate of Illinois, but that exciting fact is a mere footnote in their family story. Four years after taking the class together, Marge and Jim were married—and each had earned their degrees. “It was quite an experience,” Jim said. “It was a confluence of important events in our lives.” Both went on to teach at Northeastern—Developmental Mathematics for Marge and Communication, Media and Theatre for Jim, who is now retired. One of their daughters, Jennifer, followed in her parents’ footsteps and now works at Northeastern as a program specialist in the Nontraditional Degree Programs. Naturally, she’s also taking classes and is on the verge of earning her third master’s degree—but her first from Northeastern—in Linguistics. Marge and Jim’s other daughter, Kimberly, also took graduate-level classes at Northeastern and now lives in Michigan. “My whole experience at Northeastern has been wonderful,” Jim said. It’s kind of a family thing.

Not pictured: Kimberly Blair


Office of the President 5500 N. St. Louis Avenue Chicago, IL 60625

Neiu weekend September 16-17

Click your heels together three times and say, “There’s no place like Northeastern.” Bring the family to sway to the music, picnic on the Commons, win the bag toss, get fancied up to celebrate incredible alumni, and most importantly, add your voice to support Northeastern.

Highlights Include: • Fall Fest outdoor concert • Alumni and Family Picnic • Golden Gala Alumni Awards Dinner

NEIU Magazine Fall 2016  
NEIU Magazine Fall 2016