Passion for purple spurs alumna to give back
Julie Lissner (J04) holds a special place for Northwestern in her heart—and in her wardrobe.
As a fifth reunion Leadership Giving co-chair last year, she donned impressive purple suede boots for the Homecoming tailgate and game. “I’m passionate about all things Northwestern,” says the Medill alumna. And that includes the color purple.
The current Young Alumni Leadership Council co-chair is a part of a long line of Northwestern graduates. Her father is an assistant professor at the Feinberg School of Medicine who attended the University for college and medical school. Her grandmother, her grandmother’s twin sister, her grandfather, and four cousins also attended Northwestern.
“It’s a treasured family tradition that runs up and down both sides of my family tree.”
If that weren’t enough purple pride to indulge one family, her mother and uncle participated in Northwestern’s summer Cherub program and she met her husband, Ryan Edlefsen (WCAS02), a former varsity tennis player, on Dillo Day. With all of the established familial connections she had with the University it was no wonder Medill was at the top of her list when deciding on a school.
“I always knew I wanted to go to law school. I thought Medill would be the best choice for undergraduate study because I specifically wanted to participate in the Medill Innocence Project,” says the current litigation attorney at Ulmer & Berne, LLP in Chicago.
The Project, which investigates possible miscarriages of justice, was an inspiration to Lissner.
“Having a journalism background develops the necessary analytical and writing skills to be a good attorney. As a journalist, you’re on a fact-finding mission, and, as a lawyer, you basically
do the same thing during a case’s discovery process.”
When Lissner is not practicing law, she volunteers for Northwestern and participates in regional events. This year, she is sitting on a recently created alumni-Trustee taskforce designed to increase alumni support, where her prior leadership as Reunion co-chair has proven to be invaluable.
Lissner also serves as a member of the Reunions Standing Committee, assisting in planning to improve reunion fundraising campaigns and programs. And of course, she gives to Northwestern every year.
"I am grateful for my undergrad experience and education," she says.
Given her dedication, it’s quite an understatement to say that Northwestern is more than just her alma mater.
But she still maintains, “It’s the best excuse to buy a new purple dress.”
—Lina Ramona Vitkauskas