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Bienen, Ryan honored for their work at Northwestern

Clara Lingle

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Posted June 5, 1:05 a.m.

Outgoing President Henry Bienen and Board of Trustees Chairman Patrick Ryan were honored for their 14 years at Northwestern during a Thursday afternoon reception on Deering Meadow.

The two leaders reflected on their time and partnership at Northwestern–a community both said they’d come to regard as a family.

“I realize that for me the best thing about this job is the friends that I’ve met,” Bienen said. “I’ve always felt that feeling of cooperation, that sense of community…. It’s a feature of this place: that people want to succeed, they really want to build something great.”

Ryan, Weinberg ’59, agreed, calling his time at NU “something… that has changed my life.”

“NU is really a family to us,” Ryan said. “Wherever I go around the world, I meet NU people and we always have that special bond.”

More than 300 students and faculty gathered to pay tribute to Bienen and Ryan. The two-hour event featured food, a full band and five faculty and student speakers, including William Osborn, Kellogg ’73, who will serve as Ryan’s successor as chairman of the Board of Trustees spoke.

Bienen was inaugurated as NU’s president in 1995, coinciding with Ryan’s ascendance to chairman on the Board of Trustees. Ryan had served on the board since 1978 and was part of the selection committee that elected Bienen.

Osborn said the Bienen-Ryan partnership saw a rise in academic prestige and wealth for NU because of their commitment to the university.

“I think if you look at what’s happened to Northwestern over the ensuing years, it’s been remarkable,” Osborn said. “NU was enabled to create this era of excellence… and what great leaders we’ve had to drive us there, and very human in the way they’ve led.”

Former Associated Student Government president and SESP senior Neal Sales-Griffin said Bienen and Ryan’s legacies would be measured by the impact they had on students.

“It’s not just the new buildings, the increased accomplishments of our athletes, the higher standards for students,” Sales-Griffin said. “It’s a Northwestern where, under one banner, we speak every language, span across the globe but still stay connected and make an impact in every discipline imaginable.”

Bienen ended the event by expressing his confidence in his successor, incoming President Morton Schapiro.

“I’m confident the university under the new president Morton Schapiro and new Chairman of the Trustees Bill Osborn, (NU) will go from strength to strength,” he said. “That’s what it should do, that’s what I expect it to do, and that’s what we hope for. We look forward to the continued great success of Northwestern.”

Bienen will officially step down August 31, 2009.

Related:Bienen has tried to ‘reach out’Ryan made NU ‘better in every way’