Northwestern President Plans Departure


Morton Schapiro, who has been president of Northwestern University since 2009, announced yesterday that he will end his tenure at the end of August 2022.

In a news release, Northwestern touted increases in sponsored research activity, faculty with major national academy memberships, fundraising, construction projects and rankings during Schapiro’s tenure. He wants to reach $1 billion in annual sponsored research funding and improve diversity and inclusion before he departs.

“We have a chance to make the university more diverse and more inclusive than ever before,” Schapiro said in a statement. “And, after we put the finishing touches on our We Will fundraising campaign, we soon will begin laying the groundwork for the next one. All this is necessary to ensure Northwestern’s success in perpetuity.”

Northwestern noted that its undergraduate acceptance rate is 7 percent, down from 27 percent when Schapiro took over. Applications increased from about 25,000 to just over 39,000.

In 2019, Northwestern enrolled just under 8,700 undergraduates and 14,000 graduate students, according to federal data.

The university provided a comparison of demographics between when Schapiro took over and the Class of 2024. The student body went from 6 percent Black to 10 percent and from 7 percent Latinx to 16 percent. First-generation students went from 9 percent to 13 percent, and students eligible for Pell Grants went from 12 percent to 21 percent.

The percentage of Northwestern students from Chicago Public Schools went from 3 percent to 6 percent.

Schapiro is credited with establishing a Good Neighbor Fund in 2015, committing $1 million annually over five years to Northwestern’s home, the city of Evanston, Ill., located to the north of Chicago. The fund “was expanded into a $1.5 million effort to address racial equity in Chicago and Evanston,” according to Northwestern’s news release.

Northwestern announced a campaign to raise $3.75 billion in 2014, met the goal almost two years early and upped it to $5 billion. It’s exceeded that higher goal.

The university’s endowment was valued at $5.8 billion in 2009. It is now $12.2 billion.

Northwestern had the 13th-largest endowment in the U.S. at the end of the 2020 fiscal year, according to an annual tally from the National Association of College and University Business Officers. It had the ninth-largest endowment in the country at the end of 2009.

Before taking the Northwestern presidency, Schapiro was president of Williams College in Massachusetts for nine years.

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