Northern Illinois University

NIU Office of Public Affairs

News Release

Contact: Tom Parisi, NIU Office of Public Affairs
(815) 753-3635

April 21, 2008

Due date for memorial ideas is April 29

Committee begins to establish requirements, criteria

DeKalb, Ill. — While continuing to encourage suggestions from the Northern Illinois University community, the Memorial Committee has begun to establish requirements and criteria for a fitting permanent memorial to victims of the Feb. 14 tragedy on campus.

Suggestions for a memorial can be sent via e-mail to The due date for submissions is April 29.

“We’re looking for concepts that can be expressed in a sentence or two,” said committee co-chair Michael Malone, NIU vice president for university advancement.

“So far we’ve seen a number of creative suggestions, ranging from a peaceful garden to lighting or fountain displays to works of art,” he added.

“We want to hear from everyone who has a suggestion,” added former NIU Provost Lynne Waldeland, co-chair of the committee. “Every voice will be heard, and every idea considered.”

At its first meeting earlier this month, the committee began to identify possible requirements for the memorial. Committee members were then polled on the topic in a subsequent survey. They generally agree that the memorial must be accessible, fundable through private donations, in keeping with long-term plans for the physical development of campus and completed or substantially completed by Feb. 14, 2009—the 1-year anniversary of the tragedy.

Additionally, the committee is working to establish a specific set of criteria that would be used to further assess concepts that meet all of the requirements. Most committee members believe the memorial should be appropriate and dignified, have meaning well into the future, reflect the entire NIU community and create an inviting and special place.

“We’ll be further refining the requirements and criteria,” Malone said. “In order to be viable, proposed memorials must meet all of the requirements. Then we'll apply the criteria to help us weigh the relative merits of each viable option.”

The Memorial Committee boasts more than 30 members, including NIU students, faculty, administrators, alumni and staff as well as victim advocates and members of the Sycamore and DeKalb communities.

Bob Gleeson and Diana Robinson of the NIU Center for Governmental Studies have volunteered to facilitate the process of developing recommendations. They bring extensive experience and specialized professional expertise in working to bring large groups to consensus.

At the committee’s next meeting, Gleeson and Robinson will utilize a process known as ‘hoshin affinity analysis,’ whereby every idea will be considered in an interactive, orderly and equitable fashion. By using this process, the group facilitators can distill, sort, prioritize and archive each idea.

The Memorial Committee is acting as an advisory board to President John Peters. He has asked the committee to provide a summary report by the end of May. The recommendations will provide a platform from which the university can develop specific plans for a fitting tribute.

The Memorial Committee is not examining issues related to the future of Cole Hall, however. Those issues are being addressed separately by various campus groups.