North Central College - Naperville, IL

President's Message

It was a great year for North Central College.

Who could have predicted that the 12 months after the completion of the College’s record Preparing for a New Century Capital Campaign would be the most financially successful in the College’s 143-year history?

Or that nearly a century after its construction by some of the same Evangelical Christians who founded North Central, the old Grace Evangelical Church, with its 24,000 square feet of usable space, would become part of the campus?

Or that in 2003-04, one of our students, Zachary Pratt ’05, would become North Central’s first Goldwater Scholar, and a recent alumna, Michelle LaGroue ’02, would be selected as Miss Illinois?

We knew, thanks to the wonderful lead gift of Mimi Flickinger ’55 Rolland and her husband, Ian, that the renovated Boilerhouse would open this fall, but who could have foreseen what a fabulous addition to our community — an instant success, perfect in scale for the campus and the neighborhood — the Rolland Center Boilerhouse Café would be?

We knew, because of the unprecedented philanthropy of Dr. Myron Wentz ’63 last fall, that we would be taking a giant step forward on one of the College’s long-term building projects in the years to come. But who anticipated, with the addition of the old Grace Church, that his contribution would become the “naming gift” for a new music hall/fine arts facility, bringing the College tantalizingly close to realizing a dream that was here before I became president almost 14 years ago?

North Central’s alumni director, David Columbus ’92, perhaps reflecting his heritage as one of Coach Al Carius’ talented cross country runners, has made “Cardinal Pride” an oft-repeated theme for alumni, and the campus as a whole.

Raised in a household where “pride goeth before a fall” was a mantra, I have always been ambivalent about celebrating great achievements — modesty is a virtue. But even as I  feel deep pride in … and gratitude for … the accomplishments of the men and women of North Central College — students, faculty and staff — and our trustees, alumni, community and benefactors, I think the real message of Cardinal Pride is what all of you should feel.

Together, as this Annual Report makes clear, we are fulfilling the promise this historic College first made seven generations ago. Together, we are not only being recognized as one of U.S. News & World Reports’ best colleges, but also its “best values.”

Together, we are upgrading a 19th century campus — brick by brick — to meet 21st century standards and needs, without losing the human scale, character and virtues that have always defined North Central’s distinctiveness.

Together, we are on the verge of a glorious new era for the arts and sciences and our educational program. In short, in your association with North Central College, you have much of which to be proud, particularly after the year we have just experienced.

But Cardinal Pride is not about boasting. It’s a quiet pride, rooted in confidence, but also a belief that from those to whom more has been given, more is expected. It’s about being grateful, and honoring those who got us here by working harder, and giving back, to help those who will follow.

I can think of no better symbol for that kind of pride than Dr. Paul Schwab ’53, a Life Trustee of the College, who died on Oct. 25. A distinguished physician and psychiatrist, Paul’s quarter-century of service as a trustee was a quiet but powerful witness for his high standards, moral principles, personal kindness, and love for students, faculty and staff of the College … and both his belief in the goodness of his alma mater and his unwavering commitment to its greatness.

In thanking everyone whose name is listed in this report, and all of our faculty and staff for your contributions to a remarkable year for North Central College, I thank you also for honoring the vision of this College that Paul Schwab’s life embodied … a vision in which we can all take Cardinal Pride.

Harold R. Wilde

North Central Now, December 2004