Categories & Search ↓

Alumni Focus

When Dad Spoke To Alum In a Dream, She Listened Writer Beth Schaefer teaches at NLU, founded a publisher and even a fake university

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 5.16.21 PMWhat does it mean when a deceased parent appears to you in a dream, but you can’t hear the words they’re saying?

NLU alum Beth Schaefer divined the meaning right away. Her dad was telling her that even though she had a career going in corporate writing, she could no longer silence her creativity, which was trying to emerge, writes Rick Kogan in the Chicago Tribune.

Schaefer, who earned her M.S. in Written Communication degree from National Louis last year and now teaches in the program,  grew up in a gifted family. With her mother an actress and a vocalist on Chicago’s club scene and her dad a fiction and poetry writer, the arts and creativity colored her universe. Schaefer herself had taken to the stage as an award-winning singer-songwriter earlier in her career. Continue reading »

Alum Receives Golden Apple’s Principal Award Christine Adler, Lincolnshire principal, accepts the Stanley Golder award



National Louis University alum Christine Adler, Ed.D., accepts the Stanley Golder award from the Golden Apple Foundation. Adler is principal at Laura Sprague School in Lincolnshire, a northern suburb of Chicago.

At a gala ceremony on Friday evening, NLU alum Christine Adler, Ed.D., received the Stanley C. Golder Award, given annually by the Golden Apple Foundation to a principal who shows exemplary leadership.

Adler, principal of Laura Sprague School, an early childhood-grade 2 school in Lincolnshire, Illinois, was selected because of her advocacy of unique teacher styles, creation of bilingual services and embrace of multiculturism, along with her passion and support to help students excel to meet their potential, the foundation said. Continue reading »

Alum Will Lead Sherwin-Williams, An $11 Billion Company John Morikis will become CEO of the paint company on Jan. 1

-fca6d470ec7e5265Sherwin-Williams Co., a Cleveland-based paint manufacturer and retailer, has named John G. Morikis, 52, its ninth CEO, according to  Morikis, a native of Lake Station, Indiana, attained his M.S. in Management and Development of Human Resources from National Louis University in 1989.

Morikis started as a management trainee in the company’s Paint Stores division in 1984, and worked his way up. He has been president and COO since 2006 at Sherwin-Williams, which was founded in 1866–exactly 20 years before NLU’s founding in 1886.

Of the fact he rose through the ranks, Morikis said, “I think that gives me terrific perspective. I’m not asking anyone in the company to do anything I haven’t done.”

During Morikis’ nine years as president and COO,  the company grew from $7.8 billion to more than $11 billion in revenues last year. The company has 4,100 stores in North America and 5,000 employees.

For details, see reporter Janet H. Cho’s article for The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

To learn more about NLU’s M.S. in Human Resources Management and Development, click here. 

Music-Loving Alum Turned Passion Into Profession Assistant band director enhanced his music leadership skills at NLU

3 - CopyBefore Willie Snipes Jr.  came to NLU to earn his  M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision in 2010, he made history at the college where he obtained his bachelor’s degree. He was the first recipient of a degree in music from Miles College in Fairfield, Alabama. Today he is still bringing music to his (first) alma mater.

Snipes’ interest in music came at an early age, which helped him to stay focused and out of trouble while he was growing up. From then on, music played a key role in the trajectory of his life. Continue reading »

REACH Awards Given to Five Alumni for Refusing To Accept Status Quo They've worked, against the odds, to make things better

reach-gala113National Louis went all out when it awarded five alumni its Reach Award at the Field Museum on May 19. The gala Reach reception, dinner and awards ceremony took place under the watchful gaze of “Sue,” the most complete Tyrannosaurus rex ever discovered.

But it hasn’t always been gourmet food and fancy place settings for the five honorees. They have persevered in the real world to make things better for local people and  communities. Continue reading »

Alum Writes Personalized Books To Help Special-Needs Students In creating a resource for her special-needs child, she extended the same support to others



Heather McCarthy, right, an NLU alum, is starting with her friend and colleague Kate Ryan a company that makes personalized books for special-needs children. The books will help the children communicate their conditions to teachers and fellow students.

By Nicholas A. Love

Heather McCarthy ’08, M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, is partnering with her friend and colleague at Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School to write personalized picture books for children with special needs.

It is not unusual for McCarthy, a language arts teacher, to turn to books when needing a solution. This hardcover problem solving began as a book she wrote to help her daughter communicate special needs with teachers and peers at school. That book soon multiplied into a collaboration between McCarthy and others to make books available to any school-age child with special needs, ranging from rare conditions, like the rare metabolic disorder her children have, to common conditions like food allergies. Continue reading »

Three Rockford-area National Louis Alums Win Golden Apples Laurie Mayer, Amy Orvis and James Schoepski win prestigious teaching awards


goldenapplerockfordlogoWhen the Golden Apple Foundation of Rockford handed out its 2015 Golden Apple awards on March 12, three National Louis University alums got surprises when foundation officials walked into their classrooms to present them with the coveted teaching awards. They were followed by reporters and the teachers’ family members.

The three alums are:

  • Laurie Meyer, a sixth-grade English literature and sixth- through eighth-grade Spanish teacher at Willowbrook Middle School in South Beloit. She has a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction and teaching and learning assessment from National Louis University. Read news story
  • Amy Orvis, a seventh- and eighth-grade social studies and language arts teacher at Rockford School District’s Maria Montessori School at Thurgood Marshall. She holds a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from National Louis University. Read news story
  • James Schoepski, a ninth- through 12-grade social studies at Belvidere High School.
    He has a master’s degree in education from National Louis University. Read news story


GED to Ph.D. Alum Honored For Work with Homeless Geri Palmer, Ph.D., received African American Treasure Award


By Nicholas A. Love150226-african-american-treasures-geraldine-palmer-001-L

National Louis University alumna Geraldine Palmer ‘12, Ph.D. in Community Psychology, was recognized as an African-American Community Treasure at the 16th Annual African American History Month Celebration, presented by Dorothy A. Brown, Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County.

Palmer is the Executive Director of South Suburban PADS, an overnight, emergency shelter network in Chicago’s south suburbs. A woman who defied the odds and went from GED to Ph.D., she brings life experience to her leadership at PADS, in addition to her 21 years of professional nonprofit experience.

She leverages the same wealth of experience for Chicagoland and left her mark at a number of housing and supportive service organizations. Not only at work in the trenches, she is an adjunct faculty member at Adler University in Chicago and has authored articles on housing policy and homelessness.

Palmer works tirelessly to alleviate problems related to homelessness because she knows what it’s like to struggle. A determined worker with a mind far from accolades, she accepted her award with humble dignity.

“I just do what I do, so it’s always a surprise when I receive an award for it.”

Taking Stock During Black History Month Higher Education Plays a Role in Realizing Two Families' Dreams



Akilah Bradford explores life possibilities with her high-school-aged daughter, and tells her not to limit herself.


Kimberly Michaelson, from left, Kathy Broome, Michael Cobb and Georgia Bozeday.

History isn’t shaped only by wars and political leaders. It’s also about the choices individuals make to change life for themselves and their families.

Each of us, by choosing to get a bachelor’s or advanced degree and pursue a career in our chosen field, is staking a claim for a life we want. We to set higher possibilities for our children’s generation. And taken together, we are a force that shapes societies, cities and economies.

In honor of Black History Month, we asked two African-American National Louis University alumnae to reflect on how the past and present, and their experiences at NLU, shaped their lives and those of their families. Continue reading »

California Alum Presents Early Literacy Program To Students


By Ayn Keneman, Ed.D.


Mary Kay Moskal, Ph.D., an NLU alum, returned to present a talk on early literacy to students.

Early Childhood students of NLU’s Ayn Keneman, Ed.D., were treated to a session with  Mary Kay Moskal, Ph.D., on early literacy assessment. Moskal is from the Kalmanovitz School of Education at Saint Mary’s College of California. NLU’s Early Childhood students are all in schools as part of the practicum undergraduate course.

Continue reading »