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Faculty Recognition Dinner celebrates award winners

More than 200 faculty members recognized for prestigious honors, as event is held for the first time since before the pandemic
In all, 252 Northwestern faculty members were recognized for 366 prestigious honors and awards garnered between January 2020 and March 2022. The dinner was the first held since January 2020, due to the pandemic. Photo by Bonnie Robinson

Northwestern paid tribute to members of the faculty who have brought distinction to the University by earning important external recognition from societies and agencies around the world.

President Michael Schill and Provost Kathleen Hagerty hosted the honorees at the Faculty Recognition Dinner on Oct. 24 at the Kellogg Global Hub.

In all, 252 faculty members were recognized for 366 prestigious honors and awards garnered between January 2020 and March 2022. (The recognition dinner was the first held since January 2020, due to the pandemic.) Honorees were selected by the multidisciplinary Faculty Honors Committee from faculty award recipients identified by deans and department chairs. Subgroups of the committee organized by academic area selected the most prestigious awards for recognition from their respective academic areas. 

President Schill kicked off the event by welcoming the honorees and other guests.

“I am honored to be here this evening to host, for the first time, some of the most outstanding members of our faculty in recognition of your tremendous achievements,” President Schill said. “I understand this is the largest dinner in recent memory. I have already had the opportunity to meet some of you in this room today, and I look forward to getting to know you — our exceptional faculty — from this evening on.”

Among the night’s honorees were elected fellows to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Education, the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies and the American Philosophical Society.

Several faculty members were recognized with Lifetime Achievement Awards, including from the National Sleep Foundation, the Library of Congress, the Society of Experimental Psychologists, the American Institute of Chemists and the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame.

Early career faculty who were recipients of honors including the New Horizons Prize from the Breakthrough Prize Foundation and CAREER Awards from the National Science Foundation also were among those honored.

“Your dedicated, innovative and impactful research is what drives Northwestern’s excellence — fueling collaboration, inspiring students and changing the world for the better,” Provost Hagerty said. As part of the program, she recognized the members of the Faculty Honors Committee.

Two faculty members, Dr. Elizabeth McNally of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Dean E. Patrick Johnson of the School of Communication, offered insightful perspectives on their own careers and Northwestern as a community.

McNally is a pioneer in the field of cardiology, specializing in caring for inherited forms of heart disease and identifying genes and mechanisms by which genetic defects lead to heart and muscle disease. She is the Elizabeth J. Ward Professor of Genetic Medicine, professor of medicine, biochemistry and molecular genetics and the director of the Center for Genetic Medicine. McNally spoke about the ascension of Northwestern University and its interdisciplinary culture throughout the academic community. She was recognized for her election as a member of the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Johnson is dean of the School of Communication and the Annenberg University Professor of Performance Studies and African American Studies. He is an internationally acclaimed scholar and artist whose pioneering research and artistry has greatly impacted African American studies, performance studies, and gender and sexuality studies. Johnson shared a captivating narrative about his own upbringing that implicitly illustrated the origins of his areas of research and performance. Johnson was recognized for his election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and Distinguished Scholar Award from the National Communication Association and the Frederick Douglass Medal from the University of Rochester.