Category Archives: Purple Pride

World War II Midshipmen’s School at NU

As World War II raged in Europe, Northwestern University was one of three schools to open a Midshipmen’s School to train Naval officers. By 1945, more than 25,000 men had graduated from the school.

Rev. Robert Wilch graduated in 1943 and looked back fondly on the time he spent training for the Navy on Northwestern’s Chicago campus. Hear his memories in this 2009 interview, featuring archival footage of the Midshipmen’s School at NU. Read more

NU has a long history of naval training on campus, as one of the six original Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps units was established on campus in 1926 and remains today. Last Friday, current NROTC students honored alumni who gave their lives in war.

On this Veterans Day, we honor and remember all the courageous men and women–past and present–who served our country in the military. Thank you for your service.

Northwestern Homecoming Weekend 2013

Any Northwestern students, alumni, faculty, staff or fans who participated in Homecoming 2013 festivities would agree that it was one of the most exciting weekends on campus in a very long time. With two ESPN sports shows broadcasting live from campus and a night game at Ryan Field between the No. 16 Wildcats and the No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes, the Purple Pride and football buzz on campus far exceeded anything Northwestern had previously experienced at Homecoming, making the annual parade, pep rally and alumni reunion events extra special for the hundreds of alumni who returned to campus.

The excitement reached its pre-game pinnacle Saturday morning, when ESPN’s College GameDay went on the air live from the Evanston campus lakefront. Swooping overhead camera shots showed television audiences the scope of diehard school spirit exhibited by ‘Cats fans, as throngs of purple-clad people had lined up at 4 a.m. to get a prime spot near the show’s elaborate lakefront stage and set. Wildcat fans crafted clever signs–a staple of College GameDay broadcasts–and USA Today quickly proclaimed NU’s signage as “the best week so far.” See more photos from the GameDay experience and watch the video below to witness the sea of purple that assembled for the occasion.

The game time atmosphere at Ryan Field was electric on Saturday night, and not just because a massive thunderstorm had blown through in the hours leading up to kickoff. A sell out crowd of NU and OSU fans were pumped for the prime time matchup that was broadcast nationally on ABC. Both teams played hard, and the ‘Cats held their own for the majority of the heart-pounding game, but a few bad breaks in the fourth quarter ensured victory for OSU.

The Wildcats and their fans had nothing to be ashamed of, however, as the team proved its mettle against the powerful and still-undefeated Buckeyes. Relive the excitement of the game with NU Sports’ storify recap of social media posts from the game. The ‘Cats will look to win their first Big Ten game next weekend at Wisconsin, which will be broadcast on ESPN2 and regionally on ABC at 2:30 p.m. CT.

Check out our coverage of the rest of the weekend’s Homecoming festivities by following the links below.

A Night (Game) to Remember: NU vs. OSU in ’04

Nine years ago today, something extraordinary happened at Ryan Field. A Northwestern football team that was off to a rocky 1-3 start faced the No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes under the lights at Ryan Field.

And we won.

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Wildcats that day. Evanston was overrun with visiting fans in scarlet and gray, and the “Cardiac ‘Cats” let the Buckeyes rally for 10 points in the last nine minutes of the game to force overtime. But when OSU kicker Mike Nugent’s field goal attempt sailed wide right, the Wildcats pounced on their second chance.

Quarterback Brett Basanez and running back Noah Herron keyed a thrilling drive that ended with Herron running the ball into the end zone, sealing NU’s first victory over OSU since 1971. Ryan Field went up for grabs as students rushed the field in a Purple Pride-fueled fit of ecstasy.

NU has not defeated OSU since that fateful game, but the Buckeyes return to Ryan Field Saturday night. The highly anticipated Homecoming weekend match-up between two undefeated teams will be televised on ABC and features a pregame visit from ESPN College GameDay. Will history repeat? You don’t want to miss this.

Read a post-game report of the 2004 game that was then the most-watched college football game ever broadcast on ESPN2 and deemed an “ESPN Instant Classic.” Relive the excitement of the upset with the video below.

Hear the heart-racing call of the winning touchdown from student radio station WNUR.

Watch Herron share his recollections from the game, and share your memories in the comments below!

Loving Northwestern All Over Again

For the past week, more than 200 students served as peer advisers to the incoming freshmen class and transfer students. After a week of training, the PAs spent the duration of Wildcat Welcome making new students feel at home at Northwestern: helping them move into their residence halls, answering questions about college life and shepherding them to numerous orientation events and activities.

Orko Manna, a 19-year-old Medill sophomore from Libertyville, Ill., reflects on his experience as a first-time peer adviser.

Orko MannaLast spring, I wanted to be a peer adviser because I enjoy mentoring people and I absolutely love Northwestern. But over the course of the past two weeks, I realized being a PA is more than just being a leader for new students and a cheery person wearing free t-shirts.

Being a PA reminded me of how much I love Northwestern.

It is often said that a PA is a new student’s first impression of Northwestern—someone who will set the tone for the next four (or three, two, etc. for transfer students) years. One of our goals is to get them excited about Northwestern, its people and everything it has to offer. But, ultimately, I think it does something much greater than that. Being a PA has re-energized my own passion for this school. It’s hard to describe or explain, but the past several days have reminded me of the day I found out I was accepted to Northwestern. When the moment came, there was such a rush of exhilaration and joy that I could hardly contain myself. I was smiling uncontrollably. I had options, but I knew NU was the place for me.

As my freshman year went on, I went through many emotions. Sometimes when you’re thinking about classes, extracurricular activities, friends, family and basically everything else in the world, it’s hard to remember that feeling of joy and pure happiness. I rediscovered that feeling during PA Camp and Wildcat Welcome. Being surrounded by the most amazing Northwestern students and leaders—who are now good friends of mine—it’s hard to think of a time when I was happier. PA Camp was wonderful because all the peer advisers spend a week preparing for Wildcat Welcome and forging a connection to one another. Our biggest connection? We all love Northwestern.

Wildcat Welcome came immediately after camp, and it was a blast because of the new students. They are truly exceptional. I can only really speak for the freshman and transfers in my PA group and those I have met in my residence hall, but I can tell they are pretty special. Watching the students in my group get excited about this amazing place—from the academic opportunities to the lakefill to the city of Chicago—reminded me of why I was so excited about Northwestern.

Even though Wildcat Welcome is over and I am no longer wearing those snazzy peer adviser t-shirts, my experiences with other peer advisers, new students, and NU faculty and staff will stay with me forever. Their passion and interest makes me even more passionate and interested in everything I am doing.

As I begin my sophomore year, I can’t wait to see my students do great things on campus. It’s hard to believe that I was in the same place they are just one year ago. So much has changed, and definitely for the better. Good luck to everyone on the start of a new academic year, and GO ‘CATS!

PA Group

Spread Far the Fame…

NU Class of 2017

The newest batch of Wildcats has arrived, and the start of classes is just around the corner. It’s the perfect time to proudly launch our new blog — Life in Purple — where we hope to present the people, places, events, news and stories of Northwestern in a fresh and engaging way.

But we need your help! Northwestern is your community, and these are your stories. We need you to share all the special things that are happening here, and we want to tell some of these stories in your voice.

Is someone in your residence hall doing something really cool in their free time? Are you taking a class that’s changing your perspective? Are you spending winter break in a unique way? Do you know a Northwestern alum who is making a difference? What do you love about Northwestern? We want to know! Send your ideas and story tips to

Spread the word, thanks for reading and Go ‘Cats!