The biggest events on campus and in Evanston during the Class of 2020’s time at Northwestern

Graduation Issue

Over the past four years, the Class of 2020 has lived through a number of memorable events on campus and in Evanston. From the Chicago Cubs World Series win and election of President Donald Trump within months after the majority of students in the class began their time at NU to the coronavirus pandemic upending Spring Quarter and commencement ceremonies, students have experienced a lot from start to finish.

As we near virtual commencement ceremonies, we’re taking a look back on some of the biggest stories of the past four years:


Nov. 3, 2016: Northwestern, Evanston rejoice after Cubs’ World Series win

Nov. 9, 2016: Students express shock, fear after Donald Trump wins presidential election

Communication senior Hale McSharry addresses students gathered at the Lakefill. The student-organized event aimed to provide a space where students could express opinions and comfort one another as the election drew to a close. (Daily file photo by Colin Boyle)


Jan. 12, 2017: Evanston police release video showing 2015 arrest of NU graduate student

Feb. 10, 2017: Hundreds gather on campus to protest against President Trump’s travel ban

Students, faculty, staff and Evanston residents gather at Technological Institute to protest President Donald Trump’s executive order barring citizens of certain Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl addressed protesters and urged them to continue to resist Trump’s executive order. (Daily file photo by Maytham al-Zayer)

April 5, 2017: Steve Hagerty claims victory in Evanston mayoral race

April 21, 2017: Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity suspended from campus until Fall Quarter 2018


Jan. 11, 2018: Provost Holloway alerts Faculty Senate about upcoming budget deficit

March 14, 2018: Reports of man with a gun on campus determined to be a swatting incident

May 3, 2018: Fifty years after Bursar’s Office Takeover, students demand University action on black student experience, departmentalization

Banners urging University action in commemoration of the Bursar’s Office Takeover hang outside the Multicultural Center. In May, students released a list of 47 demands for improvement in black student experiences, departmentalization efforts and the campus dining transition. (Daily file photo by Colin Boyle)

May 21, 2018: A Wildcat wedding: Meghan Markle, Prince Harry tie the knot in lavish ceremony


Jan. 17, 2019: Students at town hall demand administrators force Kanazawa off campus

Jan. 28, 2019: Students dodge frostbite as NU cancels classes

March 13, 2019: Parents of Northwestern student implicated in high-profile college admissions cheating scandal

June 3, 2019: Patricia Telles-Irvin, vice president for student affairs, dies at 63

October 27, 2019: ‘F—k John Evans’ painted on The Rock, denouncing University’s failure to remove founder’s name from campus buildings

Passersby view the Rock, which was painted Homecoming weekend and criticized Northwestern’s inaction following student demands to remove University founder John Evans’ name from campus buildings. (Daily file photo by Joshua Irvine)

Dec. 13, 2019: University Police issuing citations to some students involved in Jeff Sessions protest


Jan. 21, 2020: Provost Jonathan Holloway officially leaving NU, announced as incoming Rutgers president

Feb. 20, 2020: Board of Trustees rejects Fossil Free divestment proposal

An Advisory Committee on Investment Responsibility meeting in Guild Lounge. Students expressed concerns at the time over the lack of a trustee decision on Fossil Free Northwestern’s divestment proposal. (Daily file photo by Emma Edmund)

March 4, 2020: University cancels Dance Marathon 2020 following “uncertainty surrounding COVID-19”

March 13, 2020: Northwestern announces first confirmed case of COVID-19, Kellogg Global Hub employee tested positive

April 23, 2020: Armed with petition, Class of 2020 demands that University commit to postponing in-person commencement