By MAAB President Nupur Ghoshal, ’01 PhD, ’03 MD
Autumn is a time for reflection, and this year that coincided perfectly with Alumni Weekend festivities in Chicago. As you all know, fall in Chicago is a sight to behold, and the ability to reconnect with med school classmates back at our old stomping grounds makes the season even better. Although I could not experience all of the weekend’s activities, the events I did attend provided me with the opportunity to reflect on my time at Feinberg and what the Northwestern community means to me.
The weekend kicked off on Thursday, October 12 with a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI). It was a wonderful reception that offered attendees the chance to look back on the thought leaders whose efforts culminated in the creation of the ODI. In an effort to realize their goals moving forward, ODI announced a new $10 million fundraising initiative. After this special celebration ended, I connected with a small group of alumni at dinner and continued the fellowship late into the evening.
Friday was a full day of programming that started with alumni checking in and picking up their itineraries, tickets, and, most importantly, their NU swag. The day’s programming included many opportunities for alumni to reacquaint themselves with the campus through tours and the Mentoring Lunch with Feinberg Students and Fellow Alumni, where we shared a meal and discussed our experiences at Feinberg with current med students. My table ran the gamut of neurologists who are retired, in academia, or in private practice. It was a perfect microcosm of our field, and the students’ questions were spot on. They expressed interest in our chosen career path, and we provided some guidance to help them navigate their future. After the exhilarating lunch conversation, I made my way over to the Drake Hotel for the Women in Medicine Tea, which has become a signature Alumni Weekend event over the past several years. The panelists were amazing, openly sharing their own career experiences, challenges, and successes, as well as lessons learned. The Tea ended with the audience joining in on the rich conversation during the Q&A session. Back on campus, the Conversations with the Dean session quickly shifted to the Celebrate in Chicago Dinner. After the dean’s opening remarks, I had the privilege of recognizing each of the reunion class years present. Let me tell you, the enthusiasm in the room was palpable, and the competitiveness among the alumni to demonstrate said enthusiasm was true to form for a group of reunited gunners. I particularly enjoyed introducing the newly-formed Half Century Club, which recognizes alumni who are greater than 50 years out of med school. It was delightful to see this vibrant group in person among us.
Much like Friday, Saturday was also jam-packed with a number of activities. The Pancakes and Perspectives Breakfast gave students another opportunity for networking and finding a mentor. I was joined by members of the Alumni Board to have a working meeting to review our activities to date and brainstorm about what more we can bring to students and alumni in the new year. Next, I had the pleasure of attending the Commitment to Scholarships Luncheon, where I was able to see the talent and excellence of the current student body firsthand. In the evening during the Founders Society Reception, I mingled with a range of different Alumni Weekend attendees, from alumni who have given back to Feinberg in very meaningful ways to a second-generation alumna in the making. The night ended with an assortment of reunion dinners, including one dedicated to the Half Century Club, which I attended. I thoroughly appreciated being among this prestigious group, discussing their experiences at the medical school and how their careers took off after their time at Feinberg.
Alumni Weekend offers a means by which we can reconnect with one another and the school that is our common touch point, as well as reflect on what it means to be a Feinberg alum. I encourage you to attend the next Alumni Weekend so you too can reconnect with Feinberg and reflect on your time on this beautiful campus in this phenomenal city.