Lorraine Morton

Alumni News

Only a Life of Service is a Life Worthwhile

A new documentary captures the storied life of SESP alumna Lorraine Hairston Morton (MS42), Evanston’s first African-American mayor and longtime public school educator.

Morton, who spoke at the premiere of Lorraine H. Morton: A Life Worthwhile at Northwestern University’s Segal Visitor’s Center, passed away on Sept. 8, 2018, three months shy of her 100th birthday.

“I only did what my mother and father told me,” Morton told Dino Robinson, founder of the Shorefront Legacy Center, which commissioned the project. “As he was dying my father said, ‘Only a life of service is a life worthwhile.’”

Using recent interviews and archival images, the documentary by Shorefront Films traces Morton’s journey from Winston Salem, N.C. to Evanston. Morton, the youngest of 10 children, gracefully navigated the societal constructs of Jim Crow, desegregation, and governmental relationships.

An irrepressible optimist, Morton often said that things simply “happened” to her, and points out the accomplishments of others—black and white—who, with her, fought for open housing, desegregation, and a better Evanston.

In 2014, Morton donated her papers to Northwestern, a trove of letters, newspaper clippings, speech texts and campaign materials documenting her years of service in Evanston.

She fondly recalled living with five black female students in a boarding house on Lake Street, during a time when African-American students could not live on campus.

Evanston, Northwestern, and the world have changed, insisted Morton, who said she chose “not to wallow in the injustices and negatives of the past” but to stay focused on improving the present. She added that she came to Evanston for an education and that Northwestern provided her with a good one.

“I never had a bad experience at the University,” Morton said in 2014. “I always remembered why I was here. A university is more than just courses. It widens your mind. Northwestern opened another horizon for me. It opened doors.”

Watch the film at

Fulbright Winners Embrace Teaching Abroad

tiffany wong

Tiffany Wong

Fannie Koltun

Fannie Koltun

Tsu-Ann (Suzanne) Chen

Tsu-Ann (Suzanne) Chen

Globe-trotting scholars Tiffany Wong (BS18), Fannie Koltun (BS18), and Tsu-Ann (Suzanne) Chen (BS17) received Fulbright U.S. Student Program Fellowships to teach English in Macau, Spain, and South Korea, respectively.

Northwestern consistently ranks among the top Fulbright-producing research institutions in the country. At least one SESP student or alum has received a Fulbright every year since 2000.

Wong, who majored in learning and organizational change, helped peers—often English language learners—at Northwestern University’s Writing Place and mentored low-income and/or first-generation Northwestern first-years through the Compass program.

Koltun was a founding member of Allow Good Northwestern, a studentrun education and philanthropy program. She also was a Jumpstart Corps member, where she helped implement a supplemental literacy program at a local preschool that served children from low-income families with learning and behavioral challenges.

Chen studied learning sciences and collaborated with Shirin Vossoughi, assistant professor of learning sciences, on research involving after school tinkering settings just prior to leaving for South Korea.

wong sisters

SESPLove: A Wong Family Tradition

Helen Wong (BS05) of Chicago is director and senior counsel of Fintech and Payments at Discover Financial Services where she provides strategic advice on payments and financial technology issues, including mobile payments, emerging payment and commerce platforms, and cryptocurrencies. Helen is the oldest of three sisters; all are SESP alums living in Chicago: Jane Wong (BS10) is a senior manager at Walgreens. Anne Wong (BS12) is a project manager at the Illinois chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, leading their childhood vaccination program.

Our Alumni


Dale Berman (BS55) of North Aurora, Ill, is serving his fourth and final term through 2021 as mayor of North Aurora. He celebrated his 60th wedding anniversary in August.

Patricia Matusek Kenning (BS51), longtime resident of Littleton, Colo., was invited to record an interview for the archives of the Littleton Historical and Cultural Museum.


Patrick Bresnan (MSEd62) of Los Gatos, Calif., is the author of the college-level textbook Awakening: An Introduction to the History of Eastern Thought. Bresnan also created a companion website for the text.

Roberta Lee Brenner Gold (BS68) of Encino, Calif., is a patient advocate for the Council on Patient Safety in Women’s Health Care. Previously she worked with the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative as a task force member developing educational materials for the 2016 California Toolkit: Improving the Health Care Response to Venous Thromboembolism in Pregnancy.

Sally Becker (BS67) of Chicago, a former educator and broadcast journalist, retired as president of the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation in Evansville, Indiana and moved to Chicago to be close to her daughter and to renew her connection with the broad Northwestern community.

Nancy Moran (BS60) of Des Plaines, a retired elementary school teacher, volunteers with The Saints, a performing arts organization that helps more than 100 non-profit theaters, including Northwestern.


Stephen J. Gill (MS74, PhD76) of Ann Arbor, Mich., is co-owner of and has co-authored a new book, Minds at Work: Managing for Success in the Knowledge Economy.

Dan Miller (BS70) of Roselle, Ill., runs the website Education-Related Quotes for students, parents, and educators.

Jerry Schulz (MSEd74) of Milwaukee, who retired from the Milwaukee Public Schools, is an adjunct instructor at several colleges and the author of Managing the New Tools in K–12 Teaching and Learning: How Technology Can Enable School Improvement.


Marguerite DeHuszar Allen (MSEd90) of Evanston, is a visiting scholar at the Buffet Institute of Global Studies who is teaching a course on Law and Literature. A Fulbright Research Scholar to Hungary in 2008, she has since published articles concerning French-Hungarian diplomatic relationships prior to World War I, her father’s World War II Military Intelligence Diary and the Holocaust in Hungary.

Eric Brown (MSEd99) of Chicago, a biology teacher at Evanston Township High School, won a second term on the executive committee of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest union. He will serve on the governing body that oversees and establishes policy for the union’s three million members.

Wendy Vergoz (BS90) of Indianapolis received a Creative Renewal Arts Fellowship from the Arts Council of Indianapolis and an Individual Artist Grant from the Indiana Arts Commission. She teaches writing at Marian University in Indianapolis and a writing workshop at the Unleavened Bread Cafe for women survivors of incarceration, domestic violence, and drug addiction.

Kimberly Ann Johnson (BS97) of Solana Beach, Calif., a birth doula and somatic sex educator wrote The Fourth Trimester: A Postpartum Guide to Healing Your Body, Balancing Your Emotions and Restoring Your Vitality (Shambhala, 2017). She is the founder of women’s health hub,


Susanna Calkins (MSHE05) of Highland Park, Ill., directs the faculty initiatives at the Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching at Northwestern and writes the award-winning Lucy Campion historical mysteries series. The first in her new series, Murder Knocks Twice, set in 1929 Chicago, will launch in Spring 2019.

Brooke Dierkhising (MSEd04) of Minneapolis is the author of Many Ways to See the Sun: Nature Meditation for Children and the Adults Who Love Them, which includes activities for strengthening connections with nature and practicing mindfulness.

Amy (Carr) MacCrindle (MSEd08) of Crystal Lake, Ill., is director of literacy for a K–12 district in the suburbs of Chicago.

Nancy George Dunham (MSEd05) of Fairfax Station, Va., is an academic program analyst at George Mason University and an MBA admissions auxiliary application reader with the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Katie Eimers (MSEd08) of Durham, N.C., was named associate dean for administration at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine where she oversees all administrative practices, the offices of human resources, information technology and space planning.

Christine Leung Good (MSLOC09) relocated from San Francisco to Chicago to become chief of strategy and portfolio at Chicago International Charter School.

Kathy Zebracki Jefson (BS00) of Chicago was elected to the board of directors of the American Spinal Injury Association. Zebracki, chief of psychology at Shriners Hospitals for Children Chicago and adjunct associate professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, also serves on the board of the American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine.

Janet Olivo (MSLOC09) of Chicago is global inclusion and diversity partner at Groupon.


Lorato Anderson (MSHE16) of Santa Cruz, Calif., is graduate coordinator for the Politics and Latin American and Latino Students program at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Lauren Mimms-Bockmier (MSHE15) of Chicago is manager of corporate and foundation relations at Action for Healthy Kids.

Renata Figueiredo (MSLOC13) of São Paulo, Brazil, is a manager at Integration Consulting. Stanley Fong (MSLOC15) of Singapore, launched his own business, Learn, Grow, and Lead.

Scott Gerson (BS18) of Kensington, Maryland is planning youth summits and workshops, as well as organizing USA and World Games, for Special Olympics International. Michael Kosko (MSEd15) of Chicago is STEM Initiatives Manager for Chicago Public Schools and a doctoral student in urban education leadership at the University of Illinois, Chicago.

Kathy McGroarty-Torres (MSEd17) of Evanston is teaching in a dual-language kindergarten class at the Dr. Bessie Rhodes School of Global Studies in Evanston/Skokie District 65. Bessie Rhodes is is transitioning its entire curriculum to bilingual learning.

Kristine McKinney (MSLOC13) of St. Paul, Minn. leads professional development activities across 11 U.S. offices and in Munich, Germany as the chief professional development officer for the law firm Fish & Robertson.

Ann Merrell (MSHE16) of Park Ridge is assistant director of the Collegiate Scholars Program at the University of Chicago, a program that prepares Chicago Public Schools’ students to enter and succeed at top colleges and universities.

Rohan Prakash (BS17) of Cupertino, Calif., received a five-year fellowship from the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation.

Aireale Joi Rodgers (BS14) of Los Angeles joined the Urban Education Policy doctoral program at the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California. Her research focuses on affecting pedagogical and institutional change at white-serving institutions of higher education as it relates to equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Sadia Sindhu (MSHE12) of Evanston was promoted to director of the Civic Leadership Academy at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy.

Lindsey Pfleger Taylor (MSHE14) of Park Ridge, Ill. is academic program manager for the undergraduate business and science programs at Northwestern’s School of Professional Studies.