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Professors Eli Finkel, Nicholas Pearce deliver keynotes at 2019 ‘A Day With Northwestern’

photo of Nicholas Pearce and reporter
The day culminated with Kellogg professor Nicholas Pearce ’10 MS, ’12 PhD, sharing insights from his new book, “The Purpose Path.”

Northwestern University psychologist Eli Finkel delivered the opening  keynote for this year’s “A Day With Northwestern” (ADWN), discussing the historical shifts in the institution of marriage in America.

Celebrating 50 years, “A Day With Northwestern” drew more than 300 guests on Saturday. Over the years the event has drawn thousands of alumni, students, parents and friends for presentations and lectures on timely topics from prominent Northwestern faculty and alumni.

Finkel ’97, author of “The All-or-Nothing Marriage: How the Best Marriages Work” and professor of psychology in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, discussed what a modern marriage looks like.

He disputed the notions that couples are systematically asking more and more of marriage than in the past and that marriage is systematically getting worse.

“You hear about the skyrocketing divorce rates, but when you look at it a little more closely, it turns out the story is not really one of systematic decline, it’s more one of divergence,” said Finkel, who also is a professor of management and organizations at the Kellogg School of Management. “It’s true that the average marriage has been getting a little bit worse over time, but the best marriages have actually been getting better.

“I build the case in the book, that, in fact, the best marriages today may well be the best marriages we’ve seen anywhere,” he added.

The day culminated with Nicholas Pearce ’10 MS, ’12 PhD, clinical associate professor of management and organizations at Kellogg, delivering the closing keynote, “The Purpose Path: Connecting Your Soul With Your Role.” He shared insights from his new book, “The Purpose Path,” exploring how people can find the inspiration to pursue more than just a paycheck and ultimately fulfill their authentic life’s work.

“I’ve tried to put together a guidebook of sorts for whether you’re in your twenties on the front end of your life and career or if you’re in what is being called that ‘third third,’ the critical time in life past the age of 60,” Pearce said. “I have found a lot of people have really spent their lives and spent their energy chasing after definitions of success that really are not authentic to them. They have all the trappings of a ‘successful life well lived,’  yet at the same time, they feel trapped in their own lives. 

“My point is that we should strive to be successful in a way that is authentic to how we’re keeping score in life,” Pearce said. “Success is very much tailored to the individual based on the unique life’s work you have been assigned.”

Additional sessions throughout the day included: 

Supporting Language Development in Children with Developmental Delays: From Early Identification to Effective Intervention
Megan Roberts, the Jane Steiner Hoffman and Michael Hoffman Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders, School of Communication; principal investigator, Early Intervention Research Group

Global Collaboration in the Twenty-First Century: Lessons from the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster
Annelise Riles, associate provost for global affairs; executive director, Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs; professor of law; professor of anthropology
Hirokazu Miyazaki, the Kay Davis Professor of Anthropology, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences

Telling the Story of Medieval Africa: Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time
Kathleen Bickford Berzock, associate director of curatorial affairs, The Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art

Northwestern Then and Now: A Look through the Archives
Kevin Leonard ’77, ’82 MBA, university archivist, Northwestern University Libraries

Exploring Our Cosmic Future with the Hubble Space Telescope
David M. Meyer, professor of physics and astronomy, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences

Reshaping the Residential Experience
Brad Zakarian, director of residential academic initiatives, Northwestern Student Affairs

To view the recorded sessions, visit the ADWN website.

Topics: Alumni, Events
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