Alumnae of Northwestern University
The Alumnae of Northwestern University, originally called the Associate Alumnae, was founded in 1916. Its purpose was “to further projects of interest to the women of the University and to promote friendly intercourse between alumnae of all departments.” Through their current programs - continuing education classes, NU Day, and WAA-MU patrons - the Alumnae raise funds to provide a variety of fellowships and grants to the University's students and faculty.
The organization consists of women who have been enrolled in a degree granting program at Northwestern University and who are no longer undergraduates. The Board of Directors includes the elected officers and alumnae who have been accepted into membership.
In its early history the Alumnae worked with other organizations such as the Women's Athletic Association and the University Guild to raise money for the Women's Building Fund. Ultimately these funds supported the erection of Scott Hall, dedicated in 1940, in which the Alumnae were provided with a library. Since 1946 the Alumnae have organized a patron's night at the WAA-MU Show with profits directed to the scholarship program. The Alumnae fellowship program, which now provides full-tuition fellowships for female graduate students, has its origin in an early student loan fund and the annual scholarship program for undergraduates that began in 1962.
In 1965 the Alumnae held the first Woman's Day, a day of lectures and programs for the community at large. In 1977 the title was changed to NU Day which is held annually in the fall. Each year at NU Day an outstanding alumna receives the Alumnae of Northwestern University award.
The Alumnae's Continuing Education program offers non-credit courses to the community at large taught by the University's full-time faculty. Funds generated by these courses comprise the major support for fellowships and for the Gifts and Grants program. The Gifts and Grants program funds special projects of faculty members and departments, such as academic conferences and lectures, special laboratory equipment, and special research.
In 1990 the Alumnae celebrated its 75th Anniversary with a week-long series of programs that included NU-Day and a benefit concert. In 1991, as a result of the 75th Anniversary fundraising campaign, the Alumnae initiated two new grants: the Alumnae Grant for Curricular Development and the Alumnae Grant for Academic Enrichment. The Curricular Development Grant enables a faculty member to develop a new course to enhance the undergraduate curriculum while the Academic Enrichment Award brings to the campus distinguished scholars and artists.