Last week I returned to my old haunts in Evanston, Illinois, to Northwestern University and the Medill School of Journalism, where I was honored with an Alumni Achievement Award. The honor meant a lot to me, as did the warm welcome I received from the faculty and students at Medill.
I also got to attend a football game at Ryan Field (it was Dyche Stadium when I was there), and witness a thrilling last-minute victory over the
All that was great... but the best part of the visit was getting to meet some of the students, who turned out in large numbers for all of my public events. For some reason, they all seemed a lot younger than the students I remember from 1970... but just as bright.
I had forgotten what a pretty town Evanston is, especially in autumn. The city has changed a lot since I was last there, however, as has the campus. A LOT of new buildings, everywhere. Fisk and Harris and University were still there, I was pleased to see, but surrounded on all sides by big modern buildings I don't remember. Deering looked unchanged, though. And Tech... where I took Bergen Evans' introduction to literature...
A lot of memories. I would have loved to wander the campus a little more and wallow in nostalgia, but alas, I could not walk a block beyond the hotel without being stopped for half a dozen selfies, so I had to put that plan aside.
(I was saddened to see that Evanston has lost all of its old movie theatres. The Varsity, the Valenica, the Evanston up by the stadium, the Coronet down by the Main Street newsstand... gone, every one of them. What a loss).
My thanks to Dean Hamm, President Shapiro, Beth Moellers, the gang at the Nerd Bar, and everyone else who helped to make my visit so special.