A few words about Jody Kretzmann and why he is so deserving of the first '66 Locomotive Award.
To put it in a single sentence, in the course of his career Jody has changed the way scholars, policy makers, and activists think about neighborhoods and communities, not only in America but worldwide, especially urban and rural communities which are struggling economically and politically.
With his longtime colleague, John McKnight, Jody founded the Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) Institute at Northwestern University. Since 1980, the ABCD Institute has worked with community leaders around the world to conduct research, produce materials, and otherwise support local residents and their allies to build stronger and healthier communities.
Before defining the asset-based strategies, Jody gained valuable community organizing experience registering voters in the American South and
Chicago’s West Side. These community organizing efforts led also to a range of electoral political work, including at the local level, with extensive policy contributions to the campaigns and administration of Harold Washington, Chicago’s first African American mayor; to the Illinois gubernatorial campaign of Dawn Clark Netsch; to the policy efforts of Barack Obama’s campaigns for President (2008, 2012).
Along with his civic, community, and political work, Jody has remained consistently committed to teaching. He founded and led, for some 20 years, a groundbreaking Urban Studies program for the Associated Colleges of the Midwest. Through this program hundreds of undergraduates spent a semester living and working in a Chicago neighborhood, experiencing, as Jody puts it, "the city as teacher”.
This program has been widely recognized as one of the earliest and most innovative "experience-based” experiments in higher education. One of Jody’s closest colleagues in the Urban Studies Program was John Fish, ’55, who went on to found with Jody’s assistance, Princeton Project 55, today known as Alumni Corps.
At Northwestern, Jody was twice selected to receive its "Teacher of the Year” award. He is married to (and often works with) Ingrid Christiansen, and together they have two children, Katie and Marcus.
I would be remiss if I did not say, with pride, that he introduced me to my wife, Sarah.
It is a great honor for our class and our classmates to present the First '66 Locomotive Award to Jody Kretzmann
L-R: Jody Kretzmann, T,R. Reid, Jim Merritt, Lanny Jones