A taste of NU’s next president

Kirsten Salyer

Morton Schapiro Comes to NU from Daily Northwestern on Vimeo.

During a question-and-answer session after future University President Morton Schapiro’s speech to the Northwestern community at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall Tuesday, Weinberg senior Paul David Shrader asked if Schapiro would become the cliché university president, one whom students see twice – at convocation and at graduation.

Schapiro was quick to interrupt.

“Forget that,” he said.

In addition to the speech, the current Williams College president’s first public appearance on NU’s campus since being named University President Henry Bienen’s successor Dec. 16 included a reception at Norris University Center, dinner in the Allison Hall dining room and a fireside chat at Shepard Residential College.

“The dinner at the dorm and the fireside chat are going to be the beginning of a regular thing, not just show-and-tell for my first week,” Schapiro said.

Despite NU’s student body being about five times the size of Williams’, he said personal interaction with students will be a priority when he replaces Bienen in September.

“I love the faculty, I love the townspeople, but there’s nothing like the students,” he said.

Schapiro also outlined his plans to improve the university’s “access and affordability” by creating a diverse academic community that prepares students to compete in the struggling economy and an increasingly globalized society.

“In order to educate anyone – undergraduates, graduates, whomever – you have to prepare them for a global world,” he said. “It’s a scary world, but we’re not properly doing our job as educators unless we prepare them for that world.”

SESP junior Shari Lewis came to see Schapiro speak “on a whim” and said she was optimistic of what Schapiro’s leadership would do for NU’s reputation.

“I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what I’ll be doing in the future,” she said. “With him as a president, I think Northwestern will only get better.”

In addition to highlighting his goals for the university, Schapiro joked about some personal reasons he feels welcome at NU. For one, NU has properly spelled his name with a “c”