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NIU Web site aims to reconnect people

Commemorating its golden anniversary this academic year, the NIU College of Liberal Arts & Sciences today officially launched an interactive Web site that highlights the college’s achievements and allows faculty and alumni to reconnect and share favorite memories.

The golden anniversary Web site can be found at It features a brief history of the college, a listing of “points of pride,” a calendar of anniversary-related events throughout the year and a directory of alumni allowing former students to reconnect. Visitors also can share stories, photos and video with former faculty and classmates.

In coming weeks, the site will display photographs and profiles of the 50 inaugural recipients of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Golden Alumni Award. The award honors individuals who have distinguished themselves either in professional fields or through involvement in civic, cultural or charitable service.

“The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences boasts more than 70,000 alumni, including tens of thousands who live and work in the northern Illinois region,” said Christopher McCord, dean of the college, in a recent news release. “Many are leaders in their professions and communities. And this Web site serves as a virtual gathering place, where alumni can reconnect with the college, reflect upon their days at NIU and rekindle friendships with former classmates and faculty members.”

With 17 departments, two divisions, 33 degree programs and more than 6,000 students, Liberal Arts & Sciences is the largest of the university’s six undergraduate colleges. It boasts numerous graduate programs, including 10 at the doctoral level, as well as 10 research centers, ranging from the Center for Southeast Asian Studies to the Public Opinion Laboratory to the Institute for Nanoscience, Engineering and Technology.

Virtually all NIU students, regardless of their career choices, benefit from the college’s general education and service courses. Foundational training in a variety of subjects – be it communication, computer science, philosophy, mathematics, physics, chemistry or biology – is an essential part of professional development even in areas outside the college, such as accounting, engineering, nursing, education and law.

“In a university with a multipronged mission of education, research, outreach and engagement, liberal arts provides the foundation for everyone’s success,” McCord said. “The college also gives students the tools needed to adapt in an ever-changing world, where professions and technologies evolve rapidly. It’s no coincidence that our tagline is ‘learning for a lifetime.’

“A liberal education empowers students to become lifelong learners, which is necessary in most careers nowadays,” he said. “It’s also vital because we are more than just our careers. We hope for more out of our lives than our jobs, and a liberal education strives to produce well-rounded individuals who better understand and engage the world they live in.”

NIU’s public administration program, a division within the Department of Political Science, produces about one-third of all Illinois city managers. U.S. News & World Report ranks the program third nationally in the specialty field of city management and urban policy.

NIU Professor Douglas A. Klumpp and students in his organic chemistry laboratory class made a discovery that might help fight cancer. They found a simple method for preparing diarylalkyimidazoles, a class of compounds possessing promising activity against certain forms of cancer. The resulting research was published, with all enrolled students listed as co-authors, in the Journal of Organic Chemistry.

Department of Communication graduate student Andrew McCormick and undergraduate Steven Stein recently were awarded paid internships in Hollywood, arranged through the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Foundation. McCormick interned with the Post Group, one of the largest post-production houses in the world. Stein interned with the Cartoon Network.

The Foreign Language Residence Program is the oldest in the country, offering immersion in Chinese, French, German, Japanese and Spanish. In addition, the Department of Foreign Langauges & Literatures offers instruction in nine other languages, including Burmese, Indonesian, Khmer, Russian, Tagalog and Thai.

NIU’s Department of Geography is home to the oldest undergraduate program in meteorology in Illinois and one of the largest undergraduate-only meteorology programs in North America.

NIU’s History/Social Science Teacher Certification Program was recently judged one of the best in the nation by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

The NIU Department of Mathematical Sciences traditionally has been one of the country’s largest programs for certification of secondary mathematics teachers. The department also has one of the nation’s largest middle school mathematics endorsement programs.

The Department of Philosophy’s masters program is ranked second best in the nation in preparing graduate students for doctoral studies in philosophy.

More than 120 NIU Physics students have worked with faculty on Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory’s DZero collaboration, which conducts experiments using the world’s most powerful particle accelerator in order to identify and better understand the building blocks of nature.

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