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The Northwestern University
Stamped Card First Day Ceremony

By Jay Bigalke

The 53rd stamped card in the United States Postal Service's Historic Preservation series was released April 28, 2001, in Evanston, Ill. The Northwestern University stamped card dedication ceremony lasted approximately a half hour, and was held in the Norris University Center on the Northwestern campus.

Danny Jackson, Area Vice President for the Great Lakes Region of the United States Postal Service, was the Master of Ceremonies. Honored guests included the postmaster of Evanston Ill., Michael G. Kobler, and Sheldon Gorovsky, manager for the Chicago Sales Center.

The Northwestern NROTC Color Guard performed the presentation of colors and student Elaine Batman of Northwestern University sang the national anthem.

Jackson then stated that he was a graduate of Stanford University, and joked that he would have applied to Northwestern but his Scholastic Aptitude Test scores weren't high enough. Stanford is much harder to get into than Northwestern.

He mentioned that Northwestern University was chosen to be on a stamped card out of approximately 5,000 applicants. He added that Evanston, the city in which the University is located, was named after the city's founder, John Evans. Jackson also noted that the University ships eight million pieces of mail annually and that equates to approximately two million dollars in revenues for the Postal Service.

Jackson continued by introducing Eugene Sunshine. Sunshine started his speech by speaking about the stamped cards image.

Eugene Sunshine, Senior Vice President, Business and Finance, Northwestern University, noted that the card depicts the tower of University Hall, which took three years to build at a cost of $125,000. Construction was completed in 1869 and it is the oldest building on campus.

Sunshine also stated that he spent a couple months practicing the correct pronunciation of "sesquicentennial." However, he still pronounced it incorrectly. He also said that he was impressed with the designer of the stamped card because it must have been a challenge to fit the words "Northwestern University" and "Sesquicentennial" onto an item that is literally the size of a postage stamp.

Mayor Lorraine Morton, a Northwestern University alumna, declared it was an honor for Northwestern University to be recognized by the Postal Service. She also responded to Jackson's comment about his SAT score, admitting that when she was admitted to the University, the Scholastic Aptitude Test did not exist.

"The Postal Service is proud to participate in Northwestern University's sesquicentennial celebration," said Postal Governor Einar V. Dyhrkopp (photo right). "Northwestern joins other notable institutions whose beautiful architecture and dedication to higher learning have been commemorated in the Historic Preservation series."

Halfway through his speech, Dyhrkopp stopped and departed from the prepared speech. He spoke about the mail service in the Chicago and how it ranks at the bottom. He personally pledged to help improve the service in this area and he stated that "You'd think we'd get [the delivery statistics] up at least one notch." He then noted how the cost of mailing a letter is still a really good deal. He cited that the Postal Service could carry a letter from Puerto Rico to Barrow Alaska in a reasonable amount of time for just thirty-four cents.

Dyhrkopp also used the ceremony to plug postal reform. He spoke of how the rising costs of gasoline, the power of electronic mail, and labor costs have put a tremendous amount of pressure on the Postal Service. Audience members could relate directly to the rising gas costs, as the price was $1.96 per gallon in Evanston. Dyhrkopp explained that the United Parcel Services and Federal Expresses of the world are able to increase their prices to compensate for rapid fluctuations in gasoline prices, while the Postal Services cannot make such adjustments to increase rates. He stated that it takes about two years to complete an entire rate increase. This would put the next rate increase in January 2003.

Danny Jackson stated that he was going to place his framed artwork of the stamped card design right next to his Stanford University diploma. Sunshine jokingly suggested that he place it over it.

After the ceremony the four speakers signed autographs, and sales were brisk for the stamped card. There were two different cancellations available at the ceremony, the traditional four-bar first day of issue cancellation and a pictorial cancellation that features five bars and a circle that has "Northwestern University STA." and "Sesquicentennial" along with the date and city (photo right - click for larger view).

The ceremony program handed out at the event was the second to feature the Postal Service's new generic format (view cover and program interior).

For more information on Northwestern University, please visit its web site at www.northwestern.com.

Jay Bigalke

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