Schapiro warms to NU community at inauguration

Staff reports

As former Northwestern President Henry Bienen placed the clanking and shining Chain of Office over Northwestern President Morton Schapiro’s neck, NU’s presidency was officially transferred.

“I’ll wear this to breakfast, lunch, football games – this is mine!” Schapiro said, smiling.

Along with Schapiro’s family, friends and colleagues, Northwestern administrators, staff, professors, alumni and students welcomed NU’s 16th president in regal fashion Friday afternoon. The inauguration ceremony, held in the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion due to inclement weather, was filled with the requisite pomp, circumstance and grandeur heralding a “new chapter in Northwestern’s history,” said William A. Osborn, chairman of NU’s board of trustees.

“This is so much fun,” Schapiro said before beginning his speech. “I highly recommend it.”

While Schapiro said his first few weeks at NU have involved a lot of listening rather than talking, he presented ideas based on his knowledge of higher education that could be applied to NU.

He discussed diversity – making NU an inclusive campus – but acknowledged it doesn’t happen overnight.

“People don’t want to be tolerated,” he said. “They want to be full members of a community.”

In his speech, Schapiro touched a personal note, thanking his thesis advisor, co-author, mentor and family, all of whom were in attendance.

Schapiro went on to emphasize sustainability, drawing on his experiences living in the United States and traveling to Asia and Africa.

Throughout his speech, Schapiro was enthused by his own words, gesturing and pointing his finger in the air to punctuate his points.

“We can applaud…what makes us proud,” he said. “But we must never, never be complacent.”