‘Thousands Strong’ Event Promises Incredible Stories, Celebrity Guests

Event dates: November 18-20, 2020

Huskies help Huskies, but we also help neighbors and friends. We are innovators, artists, problem-solvers and changemakers. We are “thousands strong” and shaping the world together.

In celebration of our impact, Huskies the world over are invited to participate in the NIU Foundation “Thousands Strong” virtual events, Nov. 18-20.

Wednesday, Nov. 18 – Free Opening Night to be Emceed by “Chicago Fire” Star

From the comfort of your home, please join us on Wednesday, Nov. 18, as we commemorate all that makes NIU extraordinary in this virtual version of the NIU Foundation’s signature annual black-tie fundraising gala. Opening Night festivities will include an inspirational and entertaining lineup on YouTube Live, with NIU President Lisa Freeman and special celebrity emcee Joe Minoso, who plays firefighter Joe Cruz on the NBC drama “Chicago Fire.” Minoso’s unique NIU story and success in  theater and television since graduation make him an ideal as star for this tribute to Huskies’ success.

The night also promises an “all-star” line up of NIU scholarship recipients, world-class faculty members, successful alumni and special surprise guests.

This event, which borrows its name from a famous line of “Hail NIU,” the University’s alma mater, will honor the outstanding alumni and donors who help make NIU an engine for innovation, creativity and social mobility. It will provide hope and support for current and future NIU students who are facing barriers to education at such an uncertain time.

Generosity Sets Us Apart – Thursday, Nov. 19, and Friday, Nov. 20

On the following day, Thursday,  Nov. 19, the Huskie community will come together for an online day of giving, supporting the NIU Foundation’s incredible scholarship and fundraising opportunities. Gifts of all sizes will go a long way to helping ensure the next classes of Huskies have what they need to make the most of their time on campus.

In addition, over these three days, alumni and friends of the University will also have the opportunity to upload videos of themselves describing why they are proud to be among the “Thousands Strong” who represent NIU.

On Nov. 20, the NIU Alumni Association will select video submissions to  include in a special “Thousands Strong” highlight reel on its social media pages, which will also include some exciting celebrity messages.

‘Steadfast, Devoted, True,’ Huskies Are Here for One Another

In our 125th year, more than ever, we want to remember who we are. As Huskies, we are proud to blaze trails and pave the roads less travelled for those who will come next.

It is who we are. Huskies help Huskies.

Just ask graduating senior Morgan Cunningham, who is looking forward to getting a job in special education after she earns her degree. A grateful NIU Foundation scholarship recipient, Cunningham was touched last semester when an NIU instructor went so far as to lend her some professional clothes for an impromptu and much-needed work wardrobe.

“I didn’t even ask. She just did it,” Cunningham said. “She’s one of the most understanding, wonderful people I think I ever could have had the gift to meet.”

Similarly, after working in public health for the better part of a decade, Catherine Andrews returned to NIU to pursue her nursing degree. A recipient of an NIU Foundation’s scholarship, Andrews said going back to college after years in the workforce was s bit intimidating, but the experience she been able to garner in the college’s state-of-the-art facilities has made her confident in her decision.

“NIU’s nursing program is highly respected and competitive,” Andrews said. “The resources and equipment here are really impressive. Donors have contributed really great tools. There are state-of-the-art mannequins that talk and respire. You can run IVs on them; one mannequin gives birth to another mannequin. You get real hands-on experience.”

Our students could share thousands of stories of collaboration and assistance, and the impact these acts of kindness have had on their success. Our Opening Night festivities will feature more examples like these, from actual students who have benefitted from generosity of alumni like you. Don’t miss the chance to learn more about incredible student and alumni successes and the very real ways we are changing the world, one bright, determined student at a time.

Be a part of this special one-time event and change NIU history for the better from your favorite spot on the couch!