Northwestern Alumni Association names new director

Meghan Morris

After an extensive national search, the Northwestern Alumni Association named Joan Etten Krall (Communication ‘79) as its new executive director.

Etten Krall, who holds an RTVF and speech education double undergraduate degree and RTVF graduate degree, started the job Feb. 6. She will set the strategic direction for alumni programs, working with the dozens of different alumni groups and handling the day-to-day operations of NAA, said Catherine Stembridge, the associate vice president of alumni relations and development. Stembridge previously served as executive director, a position she started in 2000.

“Northwestern truly changed my life,” Etten Krall said. “When I came to Northwestern I got a global perspective, and my time here opened so many doors.”

After graduation, she worked in advertising and sales broadcasting in the television industry. She was the president of the Cable Television & Communications Association of Illinois for 15 years, where her duties included fundraising and lobbying in Illinois and Washington, D.C.

Etten Krall has a long history of involvement in the NU community, having served with multiple organizations since graduation. She was co-founder of the Council of One Hundred, president for the Alumni Board of Directors for what is now the School of Communication, vice-president for the NU Club of Chicago and chair of the Reunion Committee for her fifth, tenth and twenty-fifth class reunions. In 1996, she received the NAA Alumni Service Award.

Etten Krall also has a background in fundraising. Most recently, she started and ran a political fundraising business for both Democrats and Republicans in Illinois.

“She comes with great enthusiasm,” Stembridge said. “That attitude is coupled with experience in multiple areas of the alumni associations. I’m looking forward to working with her.”

After decades volunteering with various NU organizations, Etten Krall said she looks forward to joining the NAA full-time.

“Since the day I walked out of Northwestern I’ve been a dedicated volunteer,” she said. “It’s so enjoyable and refreshing to be around like-minded people, and I’ve always found that in the Northwestern community.”

She said she recommends recent graduates stay connected with NU to both hold onto and make new connections.

“(Graduation) is not a final chapter,” Etten Krall said. “It’s not a closing; it’s a beginning. You will find a second and a third life at Northwestern if you stay involved in many areas.”

[email protected]