Ask new Northern Illinois University president Doug Baker what the ace up his sleeve is, and he will say it’s the more than 150,000 alumni in the Chicago area that he would like to be involved in NIU student career success.
However, at Wednesday evening’s Chicago White Sox game vs. Detroit, it was Baker who was the ace, throwing out the ceremonial first pitch as part of the NIU Alumni Association’s NIU Night at U.S. Cellular Field.
Later in the evening he tweeted, “Move over Chris Sale, here comes the new ace from @NIULive! Thanks to @WhiteSox for the first pitch opportunity,” along with a photo showing off his blazing fastball.
One of the priorities of Baker’s presidency is engaging alumni and actively involving them with students. Wednesday night’s event at “The Cell” brought these groups together in a more social setting.
Two bus loads of students made the trip from DeKalb, and the university sold out its allotment of 1,000 tickets. Many additional NIU fans purchased tickets on their own.
“I saw a lot of cardinal and black out there tonight,” Baker said of the prevalence of NIU fans in attendance wearing Huskie team colors. “I enjoyed interacting with members of the university community and alumni, and their input is valuable as we continue to move NIU forward.”
During the evening, the president spent time with current and prospective students, student leadership and summer scholars, NIU Foundation donors, as well as alumni and friends of the university.
“I am really excited about invigorating our alumni base, and moving forward, I see great opportunities for interactions and partnerships between NIU, our students and our alums,” he added. “We need help from our alumni who have gone before to assist our current students to find career success upon graduation.”