Monday, August 07, 2006

Northwestern University -- August 2002

With my sister and other relatives living in the Chicago area, I visit the Windy City on a roughly annual basis. One thing I always try to do is get to the Evanston campus of Northwestern University.

Northwestern is one of the most paradoxical universities in the nation, in my view. It is an academic powerhouse, ranked No. 12 for overall undergraduate education by U.S. News & World Report, for example.

Yet, I expect many would agree that the facilities are not up to what would be expected for such a great institution. Much of the campus is beautiful, modern, or both. But, as you'll see in a photo below, some departments and programs are located in old houses across the street from the core campus. Even on the main campus, some buildings are not state of the art. Part of the problem may have to do with space -- being on the lakeshore, there is a physical limitation of land. In fact, the Evanston history page linked above notes that, "In the 1960s Northwestern expanded its property by constructing a 74-acre landfill, altering the Lake Michigan shoreline." I've also been told that some buildings have been designated as historic sites, thus preventing their removal or renovation.

With my background introduction now out of the way, here are some shots of the Northwestern campus. What better place to start than this gate, the symbolic, if not literal, entrance to the campus?

The campus also contains what, to my untrained eye, looks to be Gothic architecture.

The Department of Statistics, shown next, is but one of a row of house-based academic units spanning along Sheridan Road (another being the Institute for Policy Research).

Finally, as can be seen throughout this blog, many of my campus visits have a sports tie-in. When the above photos were taken in August 2002, collegiate competition would have been on summer vacation. I've visited Northwestern a couple of times since then, however, and during my May 2006 trip, I took in some softball action, photos of which are shown on my softball blog. Northwestern ended up finishing second in the nation at the 2006 NCAA Women's College World Series.