Skip to main content
Northwestern University

From the Dean

Dean Sarah C. Mangelsdorf

Dean Sarah C. Mangelsdorf

It’s hard for me to believe, but I am well into my fifth year as dean of the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. Looking back, I can easily identify the highlights of my experience so far: celebrating the many honors our faculty and students receive, enjoying the moments of connection with alumni, and, of course, greeting new students in the fall and seeing off graduates in the spring.

What strikes me as most amazing is that mere weeks after I started here in the fall of 2008, our country and the world were thrown into financial crisis. Yet we have been in a rare position to continue to hire superb faculty, offer financial assistance to our students in need (Northwestern has increased financial aid by more than 40 percent in the last four years), supply our researchers with resources and facilities, and grow our infrastructure—all while many of our peer institutions experienced cutbacks, hiring freezes, suspended initiatives and other restrictive measures.

These improvements and benefits put our graduates at an advantage as they venture into the world. Thanks to the intellectual foundation they built at Weinberg, they are prepared to meet the challenges that await them. I am so proud to be able to say that with generous support from our family of alumni, we have upheld our commitment to our students in this way. Thank you!

I am also proud of the myriad accomplishments of our students and faculty. Last year, 21 students were awarded Fulbright fellowships and dozens garnered NIH and NSF fellowships. Every fall I’m delighted to preside over a Weinberg student awards ceremony at which we recognize some of our most outstanding undergraduate scholars for academic excellence and accomplishments in extracurricular and volunteer activities.

Our faculty has also been busy winning awards. Associate Professor of History and African American Studies Dylan Penningroth won a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant in October for his work on the history of the black family and community life, the ownership of property by slaves, and ideologies of slavery in the United States and Ghana. Chemists Tobin Marks and Sam Stupp were elected to the National Academy of Engineering. Political scientist Jamie Druckman and sociologist Steve Epstein won Guggenheim fellowships, physicist James Sauls was awarded the John Bardeen Prize, and visual artist Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle was named a USA Guthman Fellow. In addition, dozens of faculty members were elected fellows of professional associations such as the American Chemical Society, the American Physical Society and the Association for Psychological Science.

Attending lectures and events in my role as dean always gives me great pleasure. In October, I was particularly pleased to attend several events (including a performance by and conversation with cellist Yo-Yo Ma and dancer Damian Woetzel) during the Chicago Humanities Festival’s Evanston Day. This is the second year the festival has come to Evanston, and thanks to a generous gift from Dolores Kohl Kaplan, the day was renamed the “Morry and Dolores Kohl Kaplan Northwestern Day.” Dolores and her late husband Morry founded the Alice Kaplan Institute for Humanities at Weinberg College, and have steadfastly supported the humanities as a vital part of the college experience.

Finally, I was thrilled by the success of our Wildcat football team this year, which culminated in a victory over Mississippi State at the Gator Bowl on Jan. 1. I look forward to this spring, when our seven-time champion women’s lacrosse team will attempt yet another national title!

Sarah C. Mangelsdorf

Back to top