The Alumnae Award recognizes a woman who has brought honor to Northwestern University through outstanding professional contributions in her field and who has attained national recognition. Established in 1976, the Alumnae Award has been presented every year to an alumna who has had a significant impact in her field of endeavor. Educators, journalists, doctors, scientists, and artists are included among The Alumnae’s roster of awardees.
Susan Page, Washington Bureau chief of USA Today, is the recipient of The Alumnae of Northwestern University’s 2019 Alumnae Award. Her book, The Mariarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty, published in April 2019, is a New York Times best seller. She is now working on a biography of Nancy Pelosi, titled Madam Speaker.
“The Alumnae of Northwestern University is proud to present the 2019 Alumnae Award to Susan Page,” say Alumnae Award committee co-chairs Mary Schuette and Susie Stein. “She joins a distinguished group of women from such diverse fields as business, education, music, medicine, science, theater, and public service, bringing honor to Northwestern University.”
Ms. Page’s career began when she got involved in journalism during her school years at Southeast High School in Wichita, Kansas. She received a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University, where she was editor-in-chief of The Daily Northwestern. She received a master’s degree from Columbia University, where she was a Pulitzer Fellow. Page has covered six White House administrations and 10 presidential elections, interviewed the nine past presidents (three after they left office), and reported from six continents and dozens of foreign countries. As a reporter – first for Newsday and then for USA Today – she drove to Three Mile Island hours after the nuclear mishap was reported, traveled across Southeast Asia to chronicle the exodus of Vietnamese boat people, and interviewed the physicist Stephen Hawking through his computerized voice.
“My debt to Northwestern is deep,” Page said. “As a journalist, I’ve been struck by the number of women in positions of leadership in my field who are also graduates of Northwestern – for instance, my fellow Washington Bureau chiefs Elizabeth Bumiller of The New York Times and Julie Pace of The Associated Press. I don’t think that’s an accident. My years in Evanston broadened my horizons in ways I couldn’t have imagined when I moved into Shepard Hall my freshman year – the first time I had ever spent a night outside my native state of Kansas. To return to Evanston to receive this award is an honor I will treasure.”
In a previous article about interviewing the presidents, Page noted: “Every president I’ve interviewed has been smart (in different ways), competitive, and driven. They’ve been suspicious of the reporters who cover them. By its nature, we have an adversarial relationship with those we cover. Every president has also been perplexing. With each of them, something remains hidden and mysterious. That’s a good reason to read history, and because of the benefit of hindsight and the disclosure of documents, we can take a fresh look at leaders.”
Page has won every journalism award given specifically for coverage of the White House She has served as president of the White House Correspondents Association and president of the Gridiron Club, the oldest association of journalists in Washington. She has been a juror for the Pulitzer Prizes and is a member of the Attorney General’s media advisory group. She received the Merriman Smith Memorial Award for presidential news coverage, the Aldo Beckman Memorial Award for journalistic excellence, the Gerald R Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting on the Presidency (twice), and the Sigma Delta Chi Distinguished Service Award for Washington Correspondence (shared). She is also the recipient of the American News Women’s Club 2017 Excellence in Journalism Award.
Susan Page will receive her award at a ceremony to be held at Evanston’s Orrington Hotel on Thursday, October 17, 2019, from 3:30-5:30 p.m. The public is invited.
The Alumnae of Northwestern University is an all-volunteer organization of women that raises funds for a wide range of projects to benefit the University, and shares the University’s academic resources with the community through its Continuing Education program, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary last year. Founded in 1916, The Alumnae has given more than $9 million to the University in the form of grants, fellowships, scholarships, and an endowed professorship, and has provided funds for special university projects and summer internships.
Michele Bresler, President and Public Relations Chair, The Alumnae of Northwestern University