Northwestern University (NU) is a private research university based in Evanston, Illinois, United States, with other campuses located in Chicago and Doha, Qatar, and academic programs and facilities in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, California. Along with its selective undergraduate programs, Northwestern is known for its highly ranked Kellogg School of Management, Pritzker School of Law, Feinberg School of Medicine, and Medill School of Journalism.
The University’s former and present faculty and alumni include 16 Nobel Prize laureates, 38 Pulitzer Prize winners, 6 MacArthur Genius Fellows, 16 Rhodes Scholars, 65 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and two Supreme Court Justices. Northwestern’s School of Communication is a leading producer of Academy Award, Emmy Award and Tony Award-winning actors, actresses, playwrights, writers and directors.
Northwestern was founded in 1851 by John Evans, for whom the city of Evanston is named, and eight other lawyers, businessmen and Methodist leaders. Its founding purpose was to serve the Northwest Territory, an area that today includes the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and parts of Minnesota.
The University is a founding member of the Big Ten Conference and remains the only private university in the conference. The Northwestern Wildcats compete in 19 intercollegiate sports in the NCAA’s Division.
The foundation of Northwestern University is traceable to a meeting on May 31, 1850 of nine prominent Chicago businessmen, Methodist leaders and attorneys who had formed the idea of establishing a university to serve what had once been known as the Northwest Territory. On January 28, 1851, the Illinois General Assembly granted a charter to the Trustees of the North-Western University, making it the first chartered university in Illinois.
Northwestern fielded its first intercollegiate football team in 1882, later becoming a founding member of the Big Ten Conference. In the 1870s and 1880s, Northwestern affiliated itself with already existing schools of law, medicine, and dentistry in Chicago. Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law is the oldest law school in Chicago.
Northwestern’s Chicago campus is located in the city’s Streeterville neighborhood. The Chicago campus is home to the medical school and affiliated hospitals, the law school, the part-time MBA program, and the School of Professional Studies, which offers evening and weekend courses for working adults.
Northwestern is privately owned and is governed by an appointed Board of Trustees. The board, composed of 70 members and as of 2011 chaired by William A. Osborn ’69, delegates its power to an elected president to serve as the chief executive officer of the university.
Northwestern University is composed of 12 schools and colleges. The faculty for each school consists of the dean of the school and the instructional faculty. Faculty are responsible for teaching, research, advising students, and serving on committees. Each school’s admission requirements, degree requirements, courses of study, and disciplinary and degree recommendations are determined by the voting members of that school’s faculty
In 2003, Northwestern finished a five-year capital campaign that raised $1.55 billion, $550 million more than its goal. In 2007, the university sold its royalty interest in the pain relief drug Lyrica for $700 million, a drug developed at Northwestern by Richard Bruce Silverman (for whom Silverman Hall was named), who is the John Evans Professor of Chemistry. This was the largest such sale in history, the proceeds of which were added to the endowment.
In 2014, Northwestern announced the “We Will Campaign” with a fundraising goal of $3.75 billion. As of February 28, 2017, the university has received $3.31 billion towards its goal.