News and Announcements

Northern Star Alumni Hall of Fame

  • Friday, October 21st, 2016 at 5:30pm - 10pm
    Location: NIU Holmes Student Center Skyroom

Nominations for the Northern Star Alumni Awards Banquet Due July 1st.

E-mail sent by Kevin Sheldon, Monday, June 27th, 2016 @ 3:08pm

We are still looking for nominations for the upcoming Northern Star Alumni Awards Banquet to be held on Friday October 21st (Homecoming Weekend). Please see the attached file for all the details and be sure to get your nominations in by July 1st.


Kevin Sheldon
President, Northern Star Alumni
Class of 1980


Northern Star Alumni Awards Banquet October 21--We need your nominations!

E-mail sent by Kevin Sheldon, Saturday, June 4th, 2016 @ 3:30pm

Dear fellow alumni,

It's hard to believe two years have passed but it's time again for the Northern Star Alumni Awards Banquet which will be held in DeKalb on Friday October 21 (Homecoming weekend) and more details will follow.

In the meantime, we need your nominiations for the various awards that will be presented at the event.   Please review the various categories on the attached form and submit your nominations by July 1st.  

Here are the categories and each is explained on the attached form.

Rising Stars Award

Making A+ Difference Award

Star Innovators Award

Hall of Fame Award

You can type our your nominations on the form or print out the form and write them in.  Submit the form via email or regular mail to:

Maria Krull 
Northern Star
Campus Life Building, Suite 130
DeKalb, IL 60115

Let me know if you have any questions.  Thank you for supporting the Northern Star.

Kevin Sheldon
President, Northern Star Alumni
Class of 1980


NIU Journalism Department Slated for Cuts

E-mail sent by Kevin Sheldon, Wednesday, May 18th, 2016 @ 8:26am

Dear Fellow Star Alum,

NIU has been involved since 2014 in a process initiated by the current administration called "program prioritization". The goal is for each one of the more than 400 programs at NIU to be evaluated and to -- in the parlance of the administration -- align program resources better with NIU's priorities. If it sounds like nice way to say “cost cutting”, it is.  However, the administration is quick to point out that some programs will receive more resources.

As part of the process, all program directors had to write a report to be read by the appropriate task force -- either administrative or academic -- which would then assign one of five categories to the program.

The Northern Star was evaluated and put into what amounts to the "leave it alone" category, albeit with a recommendation to no longer charge us rent. Relatively speaking this should be interpreted as a victory.

Unfortunately, the journalism program did not fare as well and it was recommended for reduced resources. Here is the sum total of the task force's comments about the program:

"B.A./B.S. in Journalism: The narrative did not make a strong case for new faculty as the enrollment and graduation numbers are declining. This was not explained while it appears that there are job opportunities. The AcTF does recognize that the program benefits from foundation resources which many other programs do not have."

I have attached a letter from Communications Department Chair, Gary Burns that explains the situation in more detail. As you can see, the Journalism program has already had its share of cuts and already suffering. Any more cuts and there won't be a program anymore.

As alums, we have the ability to fight this. While the administration doesn't want a letter writing campaign, they have provided a place online (see link below) where we can express our opinions. If you feel that NIU deserves a strong Journalism program, I urge you to voice your opinion. This needs to be done by Monday, May 23rd. 

Best Regards,

Kevin Sheldon
President, Northern Star Alumni
Class of 1980


Northern Star Alumni Spring Get-Together Tomorrow!

E-mail sent by Kevin Sheldon, Wednesday, April 13th, 2016 @ 9:54am

We hope to see you in Chicago at our second annual "Spring Get-Together" tomorrow (April 14th) from 5:00pm to 8:00pm at The Windsor which is located at 160 E Huron, Chicago.

Appetizers will be provided and you just have to pay for your drinks. It will be a casual event designed for alums to meet and chat in the Chicago area. See the attachment for details.

If you didn't RSVP, don't worry.   Just show up and enjoy the fun!

Kevin Sheldon

REMINDER: Northern Star Alumni Spring Event

E-mail sent by Kevin Sheldon, Wednesday, March 30th, 2016 @ 11:38am

In case you missed our invite or haven't gotten around to registering, this is a reminder that the Northern Star Alumni will be holding its second annual "Spring Event" on from 5:00pm to 8:00pm at The Windsor which is located at 160 E Huron, Chicago. 

Appetizers will be provided and you just have to pay for your drinks. It will be a casual event designed for alums to meet and chat in the Chicago area. See the attachment for details.

We need to get a count to the restaurant by the end of this week (April 1) so please let us know if you can attend. You can do this by going to the event link below or by just responding to this email.

I hope to see you there!

Kevin Sheldon

Northern Star Alumni Spring Event

  • Thursday, April 14th, 2016 at 5pm - 8pm
    Location: The Windsor – 160 E. Huron Street – Chicago

    We know getting to DeKalb can be difficult for some so we are again holding a Northern Star…

    • 16 people attended

Northern Star Takes First Place at Illinois College Press Association Conference

E-mail sent by Kevin Sheldon, Monday, February 22nd, 2016 @ 10:30am

Congratulations to the Northern Star for taking first place for general excellence at the Illinois College Press Association (ICPA) conference held in Chicago this past weekend. The Star won out over formidable competition such as the Daily Illini (2nd Place), the Western Courier (3rd Place) and The Daily Northwestern (Honorable Mention).  

The Star won a total of 8 awards at the conference based on publications from the spring and fall 2015 semesters.  See the attached article for details. 

This is quite an achievement for the students as well as for advisers Shelley Hendricks and Maria Krull.  Well Done!


Fall 2015 Telescope

E-mail sent by Kevin Sheldon, Thursday, December 17th, 2015 @ 8:20am

Dear Fellow Northern Star Alum,

Attached you will find the fall 2015 edition of the Telescope (yes, it’s still fall!). In it you’ll find interesting articles about what’s going on at the Star as well as updates from fellow alums. 

Stay tuned for information about upcoming Star events. We plan to have another alumni get together in Chicago sometime in spring and we will be holding our Hall of Fame event during homecoming weekend. We’ll keep you updated once the dates are firmed up.

If you have any last minute donations to make, why not send a little something to the Star? A donation form can be found in the attached Telescope newsletter.

I hope you had/are having/or will have a wonderful holiday season!

Best Regards,

Kevin Sheldon
President, Northern Star Alumni
Class of 1980

Northern Star Tailgating: Homecoming vs Eastern Michigan (Saturday, Oct. 24th)

E-mail sent by Kevin Sheldon, Monday, October 19th, 2015 @ 11:19am

Dear fellow Star alum,

This is a reminder that if you're heading to the homecoming game this weekend, be sure to join the Northern Star in the tailgating area before the game between noon and 2pm.  Kickoff is at 2:30pm.

We will be located at the Stevenson Hall grass parking area. Just look for the Northern Star sign.

Go Huskies!

Kevin Sheldon
President, Northern Star Alumni

Click for an interesting Northern Star article about the history of Huskie Stadium.


Northern Star at Homecoming October 24th

E-mail sent by Kevin Sheldon, Tuesday, October 6th, 2015 @ 9:24pm

NIU will be holding its 109th homecoming celebration on October 24th with the Huskies hosting EASTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY. Game time is 2:30pm.

Join the fellow Northern Star alumni for taligating from noon to 2pm. We will be located in the Stevenson Hall grass parking area. Just look for the Northern Star sign.

Hope to see you there!

Northern Star Alumni Spring Get-Together

  • Thursday, April 30th, 2015 at 5:30pm - 11:30pm
    Location: Phil Stefani's 437 Rush

    WHO: Northern Star Alumni from all departments and all eras

    WHAT: Spring…

    • 43 people attended

Save the Date--April 30th, 2015

E-mail sent by Kevin Sheldon, Wednesday, February 11th, 2015 @ 8:37am

Dear fellow Star Alum., 

We know getting to DeKalb can be difficult for some so we thought it would be good to have a very informal alumni gathering for no apparent reason and do it in Chicago rather than in DeKalb.  The event will be held on April 30th from 5:30pm to ?? at Phil Stefani's 437 Rush which, believe it or not, is located at 437 N. Rush Street in Chicago.   Appetizers will be provided and you just have to pay for your drinks.

A reminder will be sent later and we'll need to get some idea of the number of people attending.  For now, just keep the date open.  See the attached for all the details.

We look forward to seeing you in Chicago this time.  It will be a great chance to get together with old friends.

Kevin Sheldon

President, Northern Star Alumni Association


End of Year Donations

E-mail sent by Kevin Sheldon, Thursday, December 11th, 2014 @ 3:59pm

Dear Fellow Northern Star Alum or Friend of the Star,

If you're like me, your thinking to yourself, "Wow, it's the end of the year and I've got this big pile of cash remaining and no place to put it".   OK, that's always been an elusive annual goal of mine, but seriously, if you're planning on making any year donations, why not the Northern Star?   Your donation will go directly to the Star and help a great organization that perhaps made a significant impact on you.

To make a donation, send a check made out to the "Northern Illinois University Foundation" to: 

Northern Star CLB 130
NIU Campus 
DeKalb, IL 60115
Attn.: Maria Krull

Your generosity will be greatly appreciated by the students an you'll receive an acknowledgment from NIU for tax purposes. 

Best wishes for the holiday season!

Kevin Sheldon
President, Northern Star Alumni


Northern Star Awards Banquet 2014

Posted by Kevin Sheldon, Tuesday, November 18th, 2014 @ 8:01am

  • The Northern Star Alumni Banquet was held on October 10th in the beautiful Sky Center Room on top of the Holmes Student Center. It was a full house that included time for alumni to see old friends, enjoy a good meal and listen to speeches from some very talented alums. The following day included a tour of the Star and tailgating at the homecoming game. In addition to the award ceremony, Tri Swine Omega (a Star group from the 60s) was resurrected with Mike Korcek (Class of 1970) inducting present day Star students into this exclusive organization. Photos of the event can be found by clicking on the photos tab above.

    A new format was introduced this year which added 3 award categories to the traditional Hall of Fame Award including Making A+ Difference, Star Innovators and Rising Stars. All of these awards serve as a way to keep recognize alumni and keep them actively involved in support of the Northern Star. The awards also encourage present Northern Star students to reach for excellence in their chosen career paths.

    Hall of Fame
    This award honors former students, former advisers, and friends of the Northern Star who have made significant impacts on the Northern Star, journalism and related fields, or who have otherwise achieved notoriety based in part on experience gained at the Northern Star.

    This year’s inductees were Caron Weil Blitz, Phil Jurik, Richard Nelson, David Oliveira, and Jason Schaumburg.

    Making A+ Difference
    The Making A+ Difference Award was designed to recognize alumni who have made a difference through charitable work, inventions or social programs. This award recognizes outstanding work outside or related to the recipients career.

    This year’s inductees were Jim Elliott, Jean Davidson Meister, and Vicki Quade.

    Star Innovators
    The Star Innovators Award recognizes alumni who make a difference in their career though innovations such as creating improvements or a new way of conducting their work to the betterment of the profession or industry.

    This year’s inductees were John Kariotis, David Lipien, Brendan Sullivan, and Jeffery Vogelsang.

    Rising Stars
    Alumni with five to fifteen years of professional experience who show outstanding promise in their field are recognized with this award.

    This year’s inductees were Greg Clemens, Marc Marin, David Moore and Carl Schweihs.

George Stoltz

Posted by Maria Krull, Monday, October 27th, 2014 @ 4:21pm

  • Dear Alumni, it is with sadness we are posting the message below sent to us by Chuck Shriver. George Stoltz graduated in 1962.

    Hi all,

    I don't how many of you have received the news, but - if not - I am sorry to have to inform you that our friend and Northern Star alum George Stoltz passed away this past week at his home in Florida. 

    After he retired about seven years ago, George and his wife, Sandy, sold their home in Barrington and embarked on a life-long dream. They became full-time RVers, travelling back and forth across and to most corners of  the continent, until they sold the RV and settled down in Florida. About a year ago, George was diagnosed with some kind of throat cancer. I really don't know a lot the details about the specific type. George and I e-mailed back and forth a great deal until about a month ago. Unfortunately, despite a valiant battle, it got the better of him.

    Sandy has informed me that George willed his body to science so his disease can be better understood, and there will be no obit. If you wish to send her condolences, her address is:

    Sandy Stoltz, 4112 South Canton Terrace, Inverness, FL 34452

    Another Northern Star alum has moved on. I guess we are to that point in our lives where this is going to happen more and more.

    I am reminded of the last couple of lines of a poem which must have been written by an old curmudgeon like me:

    "My memory shrinks, my hearing stinks, no sense of smell, I look like hell.

    The Golden Years have come at last. The Golden Years can kiss my ass."


    Chuck Shriver

Northern Star Alumni Banquet Registration (Deadline Sept. 30th) and Latest Edition of the Telescope

E-mail sent by Kevin Sheldon, Monday, September 8th, 2014 @ 2:10pm

We are very excited to be holding our Alumni Awards Banquet during homecoming weekend, October 10 and 11 and we look forward to seeing you there.  We've also completed our latest edition of the Telescope which you will find attached.   In it, you'll find the latest alumni news as well as what's happening at the Star.

The Alumni Awards Banquet will be held on Friday October 10
th at NIU’s Holmes Student Center Skyroom with cocktails starting at 7:00pm.  The cost is $40.00 and includes dinner and a cash bar.  We are also looking for alums to sponsor “starving students” by subsidizing the dinner expense for one or more Star’s students.   You are welcome to sponsor as many students as you wish and we're sure they’ll appreciate your generosity.

We have expanded the number of award categories beyond the traditional Hall of Fame Award in order to recognize the variety of talents our alums possess.  An explanation of the new award categories along with a list of this year's nominees are included in the attached Telescope newsletter. 

On Saturday, October 11th from 10:30am until Noon, you’ll be able to tour the Northern Star office and see the changes that have been made since you were a student. From 1:00pm to 4pm we will be tailgating outside Huskie Stadium before the 4pm kickoff of the homecoming game with NIU facing Central Michigan. At this time, we are not sure where we will be located so if you can’t find us, call Maria Krull at 815-757-0809. Please purchase your own game tickets online at the NIU website (

We have reserved a block of hotel rooms at the Holmes Student Center for a reduced rate of $79.00 per night. To reserve a room, call the Student Center Hotel at 815-753-1444 and mention the Northern Star.

To register for the Northern Star Awards Banquet weekend of events, please complete the attached registration form and return it by no later than September 30th to:

The Northern Star
Northern Illinois University
Campus Life Building, Suite 130
DeKalb, IL 60115
Attn: Maria Krull

Hope to see you in October!

Kevin Sheldon
Vice President, Northern Star Alumni

Save the Dates--October 10 & 11

Posted by Kevin Sheldon, Thursday, July 17th, 2014 @ 3:41pm

  • Save the Dates—October 10th and 11th!

    Save the dates for the first event of its kind--a new award program we're launching to recognize Northern Star alumni. If you're familiar with the past Hall of Fame event, this will be even better. We're expanding the program to include folks from young up-and-comers to those making a difference in the lives of others. 

    The Alumni Awards Banquet will be held during homecoming weekend with the Awards Banquet on Friday evening (October 10th) and a Star Tour on Saturday morning (October 11th).  We are also planning to reserve a tailgating spot for Saturday's game.

    Stay tuned for details on the festivities. For now, hold the dates!

    Hope to see you in October!

Telescope 2013

E-mail sent by Kevin Sheldon, Monday, December 9th, 2013 @ 5:45pm

Dear fellow Star Alums and friends of the Star,

I hope you are doing well and your 2013 has been a good one.

Attached you will find the latest Telescope issue for your reading enjoyment. In it you'll find good information about the Star including an excellent Q&A with new NIU President, Doug Baker.  Special thanks to Star Adviser and Alumni Board member Shelley Hendricks for putting it together.

The Telescope is published in the fall of each year. If you have any updates about yourself that you'd like to include in the next issue (Fall 2014), it's never too early to get them in.  Just send them to me by email at:

Please make it a point to go to our Northern Star Alumni website periodically for alumni news, events and even to view previous editions of the Telescope:  And don't forget to include the Star in any last minute charitable donations for 2013.  A form can be found in the attached Telescope. 

Best regards,

Kevin Sheldon
VP Northern Star Alumni

Former Star Editor and Past Star Alumni President, Barry Schrader, feels renewed optimism under new NIU President, Douglas Baker

Posted by Kevin Sheldon, Thursday, October 31st, 2013 @ 2:46pm

  • NIU image gets needed first aid

    Daily Chronicle: Tuesday, October 22, 2013



    By Barry Schrader, columnist

    Northern Illinois University defensive end Joe Windsor was wearing a T-shirt that said “Believe the Hype” when I met him during an exercise program for seniors last week. He explained that the shirt and slogan were from Nike, but I think it represents what is happening with a new leader today at Northern Illinois University.

    The campus has experienced corruption, shootings, administrative turmoil and a loss of morale in recent years, plus an enrollment downturn that affects the bottom line. But with the arrival of a new president, there seems to be an air of optimism around the institution. I have spent more time on campus the past three months in meetings, Lifelong Learning Institute classes, at rallies and even Homecoming than any time over the past five years. While there, one picks up a lot of scuttlebutt about the atmosphere and “communiversity” attitude.

    President Douglas Baker has jumped into his new position with a fervor and enthusiasm not seen in many years, but since he has just passed his first 100 days, it remains to be seen if he can make a lasting course change on the “Titanic,” as some called the university headed for the proverbial iceberg a year ago.

    The newspapers are reporting “sweeping changes” underway, with some new appointments and shifts in the upper echelon. When I was a student there 50 years ago, we had a very paternalistic administration of “suits” that ran things its way with little “shared governance” with faculty or student groups. I hope that has changed over the years.

    The community is mostly interested in three things when it comes to town and gown:Primary in people’s minds is the economic impact of this major employer, which has a total operating budget of $446 million and personnel costs of $225 million. The university employs about 3,800 people, not including students. Of course, the income for retail businesses, service providers and rental housing also is an outcome.

    Probably second is the safety and security of the surrounding neighborhoods. The hiring of a new police chief, who actually cooperates with other law enforcement agencies, is a big step. But the incidence of crime, including drug dealing and random shootings, still haunts the area.

    Then in third place, but equally significant, are the educational opportunities, cultural events and prestige of a first-class football program.

    How much of this can be placed on the back of a college president is hard to measure, but the buck stops at his desk, and his leadership during his first year will set the tone. The entrenched fiefdoms, political nepotism and “good old boys” network will be challenges that haven’t been tackled successfully by recent administrations.

    I see some positive signs that should help Baker succeed. One of the newest vice presidents, Bill Nicklas, comes from our surrounding municipalities with a thorough background in community relations. DeKalb’s new Mayor John Rey wants very much to be a partner with the university and not have an adversarial relationship. Over the years other mayors may have only seen the NIU president a scant few times a year, but Rey and Baker are in touch on almost a weekly basis so far.

    So the megaship is slowly turning a few degrees. Being an alumnus of NIU, I can only stand on the sidelines and hope for a win-win in the coming months.

    • Barry Schrader can be reached via email at or at P.O. Box 851, DeKalb, IL. 60115. His column appears every other Tuesday on this page.

Northern Star Alumni

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