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    Medal of Honor Memories: Patience Vanderbush



    June 2, 2014


    Northwestern Medal of Honor All-Time Winners

    EVANSTON, Ill. - On Tuesday, June 3, Northwestern will unveil the school's 2014 winners of the Big Ten Medal Of Honor. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Conference's most prestigious award, which was first presented in 1915 to one student-athlete from the graduating class of each university who had attained the greatest proficiency in athletics and scholastic work. Big Ten schools currently feature more than 8,200 student-athletes, but only 24 earn this prestigious award on an annual basis. In the 99 years of the Medal of Honor, over 1,300 student-athletes have earned this distinction.

    In preparation for Tuesday's announcement, caught up with several former Wildcats winners and asked what it meant to them to be part of this exclusive group of Big Ten Conference student-athletes. Today we catch up with 1982 Medal of Honor recipient Patience Vanderbush, Academic All-American (1981-82) and member of NU Women's Basketball top ten all-time career rebounders.

    Name: Patience Vanderbush

    Graduation year: 1982

    College major: BA, English

    Current location: Durham, North Carolina

    Current occupation: I just retired this year from my professional activities and am exploring new ways to serve and contribute to my community. Right now I'm taking advantage of the additional time I have to pursue my avid interest in the Spanish language and the literatures of Spain and Latin America.

    In three paragraphs or less, tell us what you've been up to since you left Evanston:

    After graduating from NU in 1982, I taught high school English for one year at North Chicago Community High School. I gave birth to my son, Reed Vanderbush Murphy, in August of 1983 and am now the enormously proud mother of a 30-year-old adult.

    I attended graduate school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, earning master's degrees in both journalism (MA, 1987) and public health (MSPH, 1989). I began working as a medical writer for a clinical research organization in 1989. Along with a colleague, I co-founded a small medical writing business, CSR Consultants, Inc., in Chapel Hill, NC, in 1995, and I worked there for the next 19 years before retiring and dissolving the corporation at the end of 2013. I also began coaching girls' basketball at my son's high school, the Carolina Friends School (Durham, NC), in 1998 and coached there for 16 years before retiring after this past season.

    I am married to Rosalie Dominik (School of Education, 1983) whom I met at Northwestern.

    What was your personal athletic highlight during your time at Northwestern?

    I am most proud of the fact that my team won the Big Ten Tournament Championship each of my freshman (1979) and sophomore (1980) years. In 1982, my senior year, my team was selected to participate in the first ever NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament. While I'm proud of that accomplishment, I'm also proud of my teams' participation in the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) National Tournaments in 1979, 1980, and 1981.

    What is your favorite Northwestern sports memory as a spectator (either while you were in school or since)?

    I have enjoyed following the accomplishments of NU's outstanding women's softball and lacrosse teams over the years.

    What does the Big Ten Medal Of Honor mean to you?

    I'm proud to have been the recipient of an award that honors proficiency in both athletics and scholastic work. I worked very hard both as an athlete and as a student at Northwestern.

    What is your favorite non-sports memory of your time at Northwestern?

    I have so many fond memories of my days at Northwestern, even including the many, many hours I spent in the library. I realized even then what a joy and privilege it was to get to read and study great literature for hours on end. Whenever I return to campus, my walks down memory lane include visits to University Hall and Harris Hall, as well as walks along Sheridan Road (from Allison Hall up to Elder Hall) and the lakefill.

    Is there a person you met at Northwestern (teacher, coach, roommate, etc) that had a sizable effect on you as a person?

    I believe that a number of people I met at Northwestern--fellow students, roommates, dorm mates, basketball teammates, professors, and coaches--had a very significant, collective effect on my young self, broadening my intellectual, emotional, aesthetic and cultural perspectives and giving me a significant boost on my path of lifelong learning.

    In your opinion, what makes Northwestern University special?

    I can only speak to what was special about my experiences as a student and athlete at Northwestern: the great professors and courses in the College of Arts & Sciences, particularly in the Department of English; my incredibly talented, interesting, and geographically diverse fellow students (including student-athletes), some of whom are lifelong friends; and the opportunity to compete athletically in the Big Ten Conference.

    When was the last time you were on campus?

    I attended the NU women's sports reunion in the spring of 2008 and enjoyed the opportunity to see many of my former teammates, as well as to watch the current NU women's softball and lacrosse teams compete.

    How much purple is in your closet?

    Plenty, and it goes well with my white hair.


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