The Residential College Program End-Of-Year celebration was held on Thursday, June 2, from 4:30–6:00 p.m. in the Guild Lounge. An event which mingled students, faculty, and staff together, its guests were invited to enjoy appetizers and celebrated the many successes the residential colleges have seen over the last year. Brad Zakarin, Director of Residential Academic Initiatives, hosted the event and spoke to the crowd of his thanks for the hard work that has been done for the residential college program this year.
This reception also marked the inception of a brand new award - the T. William Heyck Award - to be given to Residential College (RC) fellows who are devoted to the spirit of his/her program. RC fellows are Northwestern faculty and staff who are actively engaged with students in the residential colleges by leading firesides, participating in various activities, and interacting with the students outside of classrooms. Thomas William Heyck, a Northwestern professor and scholar of British and Irish history, passed away last year on September 7. He was an avid supporter and one of the founders of the residential college program. The award honors both his memory and the immense contribution he made to the undergraduate experience throughout his life.
Heyck’s wife, Deni Heyck, was in attendance for the inaugural bestowal of this award. She commented on this award, calling it “a trip down memory lane.” She spoke of it as a way for their family to pay it forward, and sees the residential college program as a “vision and commitment for a community of engaged scholars” in a world that is so needing of community.
Vinzenz Unger, an Ayers Residential College fellow, and Rifka Cook, a Shepard Residential College fellow, were the inaugural recipients of this prestigious award. These fellows were chosen because they “exemplify Heyck’s vision of promoting community and advancing learning in the residential context.” They were presented with a plaque and $500 towards their research or academic accounts, and Zakarin applauded the significant donation of time they have given to this program.
Cook commented on her enjoyment of the residential college program because it allows her “to be closer to the students” and enjoys being a part of their lives. Cook has been a fellow of Shepard since 2009 and teaches Spanish 101, 115 and 121 at Northwestern in addition to leading a number of Shepard-only classes. She spoke on this award, “I feel blessed to be accepted among the students.”
Fellows were nominated by students in their residential colleges who felt that they have given a significant amount of time to the program. Anne Tan, an Ayers RC outgoing executive board member, helped nominate Unger because of the passion and engagement he has shown towards the students of Ayers RC. This is his first year as a fellow, but Tan described how he was the first to reach out to her in order to hold an Ayers fireside and dedicated these firesides to having in-depth discussions with the students.
Zakarin closed his remarks by noting the high amount of fellows nominated for the William Heyck Award, showing just how many students are recognizing the deep engagement of their faculty members, and the strength of the residential college program. A slideshow of pictures from the event can be found below.