Why I love Fisk Hall

Fisk Hall was built in 1898. Photo by Litong Cao

When prospective students think of Northwestern, they probably picture the glass building on the edge of Lake Michigan, the grandiose Weber Arch or even the Hogwartsian Deering Library. They don’t think of the 121-year-old Fisk Hall. But I do, and here’s why.

At first, it’s underwhelming. It’s home base for cherubs. It’s also where you meet people who you’ll remember and even keep in touch with for the rest of your life.

Daniel Burnham, a renowned Chicago architect known for building the first “skyscraper” also designed Fisk Hall. The building is charming and full of history just like the program itself. When guest speakers visit our home and talk about their impressive careers in journalism, they seem to always say, “I was in your seat not too long ago.”

Hearing that phrase speaker after speaker, I wonder what legend sat in my seat. How many brilliant minds walked across the stage, shaking while reading their personal narrative piece just like I did?

Fisk 217 auditorium. Photo by Litong Cao

Fisk 217 is the auditorium where most of the lectures are held and most of the memories are made. Fisk 217 is where you find out instructor John Kupetz – legendary for his plethora of green-pen edits – has a sweet side, and how loud water bottles can be when they drop. It’s where you will learn more than you ever thought you could in five weeks, and I promise you will feel dozens of hand cramps from writing so many notes.

The sprint down the stairs to turn in your first article on time to finally turning in your last story are just some of the many memories that make Fisk, Fisk. I promise you when you talk to cherubs who attended the program after the late ‘50s, one building comes to mind: Fisk Hall.

Every cherub knows how special this building this, even with the creaky seats and potentially antiquated classrooms on the third floor.

It’s where it all started for us.