Northwestern University
Dean Blount's Blog
  The Chicago alumni hosted a terrific welcome event for me at the Lyric Opera house.
  The Chicago alumni hosted a terrific welcome event for me at the Lyric Opera house.
   

Deepening Purple Ties
October 20, 2010

Last week ended with a whirlwind of activity—the Chicago alumni hosted a terrific welcome event for me at the Lyric Opera house on Thursday. More than 500 alumni attended with standing room only. We all enjoyed a performance of "Toreador Song" from the opera Carmen, I shared a few words and people connected over hors d'œuvres and desserts well into the night. The enthusiasm of the crowd for Kellogg and our next chapter together was so gratifying. Several alumni came up to me or wrote afterward—commenting on how much they enjoyed the event and want to engage as we work to take the school forward into its second century. What a powerful testament the turn-out was to the energy and vibrance of the Kellogg spirit. 

I started off this week on the east coast—I am just back from visits with some CEO alumni. I met Doug Conant ’76, CEO of Campbell Soup, at his offices (and even enjoyed a lunch of Campbell's soup with him). I also met Bill McDermott ’97, co-CEO of SAP. We talked a lot of about how technology will be changing the face of education in years to come. And Mike George ’85, CEO of QVC, gave a personal tour of their studios. It was very interesting to talk about their business model and watch the show in production—running live as it does each day. The real-time, data-based decision making that the show's producers must engage in fascinated me.

More than 500 alumni attended the event.  
More than 500 alumni attended the event.  

Across all of these meetings, I am amazed at the breadth of our alumni body and the richness of our experience base. In recent weeks, many alumni have asked how I plan to strengthen our alumni network over the years to come. And I answer back, "With your help . . ." You see, in my mind, the heart of the network is not club events, software systems, or even good parties. While these things all matter, the heart of the network is the relationships that we individually build with each other. All that our network is and will be is the individual connections that we as alumni have with each other in the name of Kellogg. In this sense, it truly can only be as strong as the sum of the parts. So to build a more robust Kellogg network, we each need to invest in building our own piece of it—we each need to expand and deepen our "purple" ties. 

I welcome your comments, feedback and ideas at sallyblount@kellogg.northwestern.edu

 

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