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Liaison for Community Relations to Retire

Lucile Krasnow brought Northwestern, Evanston closer together

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Lucile Krasnow, who worked for 15 years as Northwestern University’s industrious, affable liaison with Evanston city government, school districts and business and community groups, announced that she will retire in spring 2015.

As special assistant for community relations, Krasnow provided invaluable assistance to Northwestern in representing the University to Evanston civic and business leaders. She also provided advice and counsel on how to create opportunities for joint initiatives with the Evanston community.

Northwestern Executive Vice President Nim Chinniah said the University will begin the search process to identify her successor soon.

The position was created for Krasnow, who was the first community liaison with the city of Evanston. Among the goals was to create a healthier sense of shared objectives between the University and the city as well as to create projects that provide mutual benefits.

“I am passionate about Evanston, and I’m devoted to the University,” Krasnow observed, “and so proud of what we have accomplished together to bring the two closer over the years. I’m a resident. My children grew up here. I’m embedded in this community.”

In recognition of her important role at the University, Chinniah said, “Lucile has seen the University and community through significant changes. She has worked tirelessly to build a sense of partnership and collaboration. I am deeply grateful for her many contributions.”

One of Krasnow’s most enduring achievements is the partnership office she helped create with Evanston Township High School (ETHS) that resulted in Northwestern posting a full-time representative at ETHS in 2012 to increase collaboration on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) issues and enhance learning opportunities at the high school.

The position, funded by Northwestern, is designed to strengthen the relationship between the University and the high school. It is part of Northwestern President Morton Schapiro’s Good Neighbor, Great University Initiative. This project has been hugely successful and has created a model for other universities and cities.

Krasnow also oversaw a study on the economic impact of the University on Evanston; established a system to respond to resident interests, concerns and complaints; worked with students to enhance safety off campus, including development of emergency phones, and worked with Northwestern and city officials to create an enhanced fiber optic network throughout the city.

In summarizing her successes, Krasnow said she most wanted “to emphasize the role of bridging the town-gown relationships and representing Northwestern to all of the not-for-profits, school districts, city of Evanston officials and business community leaders -- basically being seen as the ambassador of the University, bringing together so many aspects of the community and the University.”

Krasnow, who started working at Northwestern in November 1999, has lived in Evanston for 36 years with her husband and raised two children who attended Evanston public schools. She has volunteered for dozens of organizations, including serving as president of the Evanston Chamber of Commerce for two years.

In her time serving as the University’s liaison with the city of Evanston, the community at large, not-for-profit organizations and schools and businesses, Krasnow served on dozens of community, University and student boards and committees to better link the University with the greater community. She also served as co-chair of Northwestern’s United Way campaign for more than 10 years.

She helped develop a system for increasing the University’s monetary contributions and service to dozens of not-for-profits in the city. She also assisted in partnering with the city of Evanston on many important initiatives, which mutually benefited the city and the University.

For example, Krasnow developed the concept of partnering with community agencies to provide child care for children of Northwestern faculty, staff and students. The first partnership was developed more than 10 years ago with the McGaw YMCA Children’s Center. Since that time, the University has expanded child care partnerships with other organizations in Evanston and in Chicago, providing child care for hundreds of University families.

Among Krasnow’s other accomplishments, she:

  • Designed community meetings with neighbors, city officials and staff, student affairs and University Police to better serve off-campus neighborhoods and improve University-neighborhood relationships.

  • Created a program to donate computers from campus to not-for-profits all over metropolitan Chicago.

  • Worked with students to create Campus Kitchens and Big Bite Nite, two programs that have been sustained for more than a decade. Campus Kitchens is devoted to fighting hunger and was launched with a grant from the Sodexo Foundation. Students and other volunteers utilize leftover food from residence hall cafeterias to deliver tens of thousands of meals to needy Evanston residents each year. More than 2,000 students attend Big Bite Nite each fall to sample foods from more than 30 Evanston restaurants.

  • Created the Volunteer Recognition Program, which gives special recognition to outstanding volunteers throughout the community. This program was first developed a decade ago to herald the volunteer work of Northwestern students and was expanded to include ETHS students and community residents at large. The office of Community Relations partners with the city of Evanston, ETHS and the Evanston Community Foundation in this celebration. She also created the first city volunteer website to better accommodate both the need for volunteers throughout Evanston and the interest of residents to volunteer.

  • Coordinated University student participation in the U.S. Census, developing a comprehensive program to insure that students would be counted. In the two census takings that occurred in the last 15 years, as a result of the Northwestern effort to make sure that students living on campus are counted (98 percent), the city has realized more than $75 million in state and federal dollars.

  • Initiated a camp scholarship program in 2003 for University coaches to provide scholarships in their summer camps for children who would otherwise never have the opportunity to attend camp or receive professional training in a sport. More than 750 such scholarships have been awarded to Evanston children.

  • Initiated the Kits and Cats @ NU program in which, twice a year, 100 local high schools students, many of whom might be the first in their family to consider attending college, visit Northwestern for a full day of tours and programs.

Krasnow is especially proud of helping enhance Northwestern’s reputation for providing volunteers to work in the community, and her office has worked prolifically to help expand those opportunities and programs.

Krasnow earned a B.A. at the University of Michigan and an M.A. -- in Community Organization -- at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration.

“I am confident that the future will bring even more opportunities for a productive relationship and collaboration between Evanston and this world-class University,” Krasnow said. “I have been honored to bring the community and Northwestern together in a variety of ways.”

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