Why a Northern Illinois University blogger on Patch? I ask: Why not?
I started my journalism career in Geneva more than two decades ago. I now live in Batavia and work in media and public relations at NIU. When I was offered the opportunity to blog for Geneva Patch, I knew I had to jump at the chance.
After all, our public university is just up the road, a straight shot west. We even share the same main drag (Route 38), although what Genevans call State Street becomes Lincoln Highway in DeKalb. We at NIU like to think that, for Genevans and residents of the western suburbs, NIU is the local university.
It’s the place that many young people in the Tri-Cities choose to pursue their college educations—and where working professionals choose to upgrade their credentials. We offer more than 60 undergraduate majors, nearly 90 master’s degrees and specializations and more than 20 areas of study leading to doctoral degrees.
NIU also is a major research university, and for faculty and student researchers, the suburbs often provide our living-learning laboratory.
Our students, once they graduate, tend to stay in the area, contributing to the local economy and their communities. In Geneva, Batavia and St. Charles, you’ll find NIU alumni in all walks of life, from local teachers and principals to attorneys and accountants.
Take, for example, Mary McKittrick, Geneva’s city administrator. She is a graduate of NIU’s acclaimed Master of Public Administration (MPA) program. It was an educated guess on my part that McKittrick went to NIU, since the MPA program here produces about one-third of all Illinois city managers. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks that program third in the country in the specialty field of city management and urban policy.
Rob Wicinski, Geneva High School science teacher and varsity football coach, also is an NIU alum. Not that long ago, he starred on the gridiron at NIU, where he was an all-conference Huskie linebacker, while his wife, Gina, who is now a school nurse, was a Huskie standout on the volleyball court.
NIU also is home to a number of current standout student-athletes who hail from Geneva. The Wicinskis’ oldest daughter, Lauren, has followed in their footsteps and is making a name for herself as one of the nation’s elite volleyball players. Other prominent NIU athletes from Geneva include Patrick Schiller, Michael Santacaterina and Frank Boenzi, all members of the Huskie football team.
Students from your community also are academic leaders at NIU. Geneva native Nora Lindvall was recently named as the university’s 2011 Student Lincoln Laureate, an annual honor reserved for the university’s top senior.
Oh, and the 2010 Lincoln Laureate? Well, that was Kate Green of, you guessed it, Geneva, IL.
If you have any NIU-Geneva, Batavia or St. Charles connections you’d like to share, please drop me a note at email@example.com. I hope to use this blog space from time to time to report news from NIU that will be interesting and important to Geneva Patch readers.
Patch is a great community asset, and its audience is growing every day.
Why wouldn’t NIU want to be part of it?
Tom Parisi works in the Office of Media and Public Relations at Northern Illinois University.