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BAKER REPORT: Good things are happening

October 17, 2013
Doug Baker

Doug Baker

Good things continue to happen at Northern Illinois University. Last week, NIU was selected as one of just 16 institutions in the U.S. to be designated as an “Innovation and Economic Prosperity University” by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities for fostering entrepreneurship and developing external partnerships. It further affirms to students and their families that NIU is a leader in real-world higher education.

After a busy Homecoming weekend connecting with many alums, I continue to visit the many departments throughout campus. Our Bold Futures workshops are being held, taking aim at discovering the tremendous possibilities for NIU’s future. A Facebook group is created for each workshop so that participants can further the discussion outside the workshop. Many great ideas are surfacing that merit our attention, and we are empowering participants to pursue their implementation. Thank you to the more than 800 participants who have taken part in or signed up to participate in these important discussions.

Also this week, six-time Olympic medalist and international track and field legend Jackie Joyner-Kersee visited NIU and DeKalb to speak with various student, campus and community groups. What a great opportunity to hear her inspirational story and learn the value of perseverance.

If you’re not already planning to attend, I encourage you to stop by the Convocation Center Saturday for NIU’s annual STEMfest event, which celebrates innovations in science, technology, engineering and math. It runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and offers a great opportunity for a family educational outing that is open to the public and free to all participants. Many hands-on exhibits from NIU faculty, staff and students are available to interest children and young people in the exciting STEM fields.

This event is just one example of the engagement activities NIU is involved with in this region. We hope the increased awareness of the critical role the STEM fields play in our everyday lives will inspire more young people to pursue careers in these fields.