Inauguration speeches through NU history

    As Morton Schapiro delivers his inauguration speech and is officially sworn in as Northwestern’s sixteenth president, he follows a long history of presidents who have addressed the university. Times have changed, but tradition is still an important part of the school, whose past leaders’ remarks on taking office both hold relevance today and yet can provide stark contrast in the issues of the era.

    The University’s first president, Clark Hinman (name sound familiar?) took office in 1854 with little ceremony surrounding his inauguration. Through the years, longer addresses and more celebrations have been instated, culminating in the huge inauguration of Schapiro that features symposiums, guest speakers, an official ceremony and a concert in Welsh-Ryan Arena. ¬†Though he probably won’t address issues like the integration of women into the university or “Yankee emigrants” starting new colleges, Schapiro faces many of the same issues as past presidents, like how the university will incorporate cultural diversity and interact with the surrounding community.

    Click on the grey dots on the timeline to see what former leaders had to say as they took the helm of the university.

    Photos and text courtesy of Northwestern University Archives. Production by Ryan Reid / North by Northwestern.


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