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Alumni Association

The Alumni Connection

The official blog of the NIU Alumni Association


This past year was a great one for our NIU athletics. All told, NIU won four MAC Championships. With football, men's tennis, men's soccer, and volleyball all bringing titles back to DeKalb there was plenty to celebrate.

To cap off such a strong year the student athletes celebrated with a lip dub through the Convocation Center. Way to go student athletes, you deserve the celebrate!

Alumni prep for future at professional seminar

Wednesday, April 11 2012 03:00:40 PM

On Saturday, March 31, the NIU Alumni Association hosted a full day professional seminar at NIU’s Naperville campus. The seminar, “What Color is Your Parachute? Connecting Life Circles for Well-Being” featured John E. Nelson, author and life coach, and was sponsored by the NIU Alumni Association and Verizon Wireless, in partnership with the NIU MBA Program.

Over 60 alumni and graduate students participated in three separate sessions, “Traits and Roles,” “Ages and Values,” and “Experiences and Life Story.” Nelson says, “Whether you’re beginning, changing, or retiring from your career, there are six key elements that drive success and happiness.” In this seminar participants discovered what those key elements were for them and put them on “One Piece of Paper” to create a map for their best career and life.

John E. Nelson is a speaker and coach on the topics of life planning, well-being, and core values. He co-authored, with Richard Bolles, the best-selling, award-winning book: What Color Is Your Parachute? For Retirement. Nelson’s model for life stage planning is the Well-Being Model, and it has been adopted for employees of the federal government, AARP, Fortune “100 Best Companies to Work For,” and others.

Participants interacted in the sessions, comparing life stories and writing down their perceived roles and values. Nelson related these described traits and experiences to career choices and life changes. He spoke about the key to staying on track by identifying motivating values, and using them as a guide throughout one’s career and life transitions.

Participants were engaged, excited, and overwhelmingly positive about their experiences from the day. They liked having the graduate student / alumni interaction, hearing such a dynamic speaker, connecting their life circles relating to careers and life transitions, and taking home one of the What Color is Your Parachute? books.

Special price on White Sox ticekts for alumni

Friday, March 23 2012 11:19:49 AM

Catch a game on the south side this season with our special alumni rates!

The Chicago White Sox are offering NIU alumni, staff, and students discounted tickets for eight games this season. With tickets as low as $7 there's no reason to miss the action at U.S. Cellular Field this season.


Retired NIU professor a world-class angler

Friday, March 09 2012 10:35:29 AM

The Daily Chronicle in DeKalb recently ran a great story about a retired NIU professor who has set more than 150 fishing world records over the past 40 years.

Leonard Kouba, professor emeritus of geography, has traveled the world as he chases the globe's largest fish. His travels have taken him from Thailand, where he caught a 46-inch striped catfish, to West Africa, where he snagged a 210-pound tarpon.

"I've just had this strong desire to see everything," Kouba told the Daily Chronicle.

It's a great story about the former NIU professor, who set a different record of his own at NIU. Kouba was the first professor of geography to win the Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award, taking the prize back in 1972.


NIU professor: Facebook predicts job success

Tuesday, February 21 2012 04:24:21 PM

Facebook can help you land a job but a new study by NIU Professor Don Kleumper has found that it can also predict how well you will do in the position.

Kleumper, a professor of management at NIU, and a team of researchers found that a user's social footprint on Facebook can serve as a strong predictor of his or her personality.

“In five or 10 minutes, our raters could look at the tone of a subject’s wall post, note the number of friends they have, peruse their photos to see how social they were and assess their tastes in books and music. It’s a very rich source of information,” said Kluemper, who himself uses Facebook to keep in touch with friends.


More than 150 attended our Networking Night

Monday, February 13 2012 01:50:35 PM

NIU Today ran a nice story about our Career Resources Networking Night held on February 9. More than 150 alumni, staff and students made the trip to the NIU Naperville campus for the event and spent the evening networking and listening to to Lindsey Pollak, a global spokesperson for LinkedIn.

"Programs like this are a key differentiator for NIU," said NIU Career Services spokesperson Brandon Lagana. "A major reason students choose to go to college is to help them in jobs and economic security. NIU engages students starting in their freshman year and follows them all the way through as graduate students and alumni."

If you couldn't make it to the networking night be sure to sign up for our professional seminar on March 31. The seminar will feature published author and life coach, John E. Nelson, who will offer helpful, practical advice to help you plan for a prosperous, healthy, and happy future.

Both the networking night and professional seminar are sponsored by Verizon Wireless.

We've all seen them (and hopefully avoided them): bike messengers are part of the modern urban landscape. NIU sociology professor Jeffrey Kidder has recently published a study of the distinctive subculture. A former courier himself, Kidder knows what it's like to risk life and limb to make rush deliveries (everything from legal documents to a dress for a model to a vial of blood for the Red Cross) in downtown traffic.

In Urban Flow: Bike Messengers and the City, he introduces readers to the daredevil profession and, through interviews with and observations of messengers, shows how many become acclimated to the danger and highly devoted to the job in spite of consistently low wages.

From a sociological perspective, the bike messenger culture presents an interesting case study for Kidder, whose research interests include the intersection of cultural and urban sociology, and who is particularly interested in how people find meaning in their everyday lives.

"For a lot of people, work is drudgery," said Kidder. "I'm interested in studying what can make work enjoyable and why, for some people, it becomes an essential part of their identity. On paper, a bike courier job sounds terrible, but messengers talk about it like it's the best job ever."

Kidder says that part of the appeal comes from how messengers "look upon traffic as a puzzle that needs to be solved. Their work becomes a very creative and sometimes even artistic enterprise. Those elements are missing from many jobs today."

Though the risky profession may not appeal to everyone, Kidder believes it has a lot to teach us: "They find a great deal of satisfaction in what they do on and off the job. So I think messengers can teach us about work in general. It's not always about what you're paid."


Wheeler Coleman named NIU trustee

Monday, January 09 2012 10:32:04 AM

Last month, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn announced the appointment of Wheeler G. Coleman to the Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees.

Coleman is a 1983 graduate of NIU's computer science program. He is currently vice president and chief technology officer at Health Care Service Corporation, the fourth largest health insurance company in the United States and the nation’s largest customer-owned health insurer.

A member of the NIU Alumni Association Board of Directors since 2010, Coleman said that he feels a debt of gratitude to his alma mater.

"Northern changed my life. I got a great education and developed some skills that allowed me to be very successful in the business world," Coleman said. "I am elated to join a group of people who are working to ensure that we are moving in the right direction for our students and trying to take NIU to the next level."

The Huskies are in the Bowl!

Sunday, December 04 2011 05:01:04 PM

Our MAC Champion Huskies are going bowling!

The NIU football team will be playing in the Bowl on January 8 in Mobile, Alabama. You won't want to miss this chance to cheer on your Huskies as they play Arkansas State. And of course, the NIU Alumni Association will be there to give our alumni a great bowl experience.

We will host a great pregame reception for all our alumni who travel to the game. If you can't make it to the game we will also host watch parties in major cities across the country so our Huskie faithful can cheer on their alma mater.


The Huskies are MAC champions!

Friday, December 02 2011 10:32:41 PM

With a last second 33-yard field goal our Huskies won the MAC Championship 23-20 over Ohio University!

What a great job by our football team! Early turnovers and a stagnant offense left our Huskies in a 20-0 deficit after the first half. A furious comeback, and some big plays on both sides of the ball sealed the win, secured our first conference championship since 1983!

Head over to for all the postgame info on the big win and be sure to check back here at this weekend as we find out where our Huskies are headed for their bowl game!
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