NIU’s Center for Governmental Studies Celebrates 50 Years in 2019

SAVE THE DATE: Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019
WHERE: NIU Holmes Student Center, main campus, DeKalb
SCHEDULE:  7:45 am-5:30 pm


For 50 years, Northern Illinois University’s (NIU) Center for Governmental Studies (CGS) has provided applied research, technical assistance, and public sector capacity-building services to our region, state, and beyond.  On Nov. 7, 2019, a one-day convening will be held at Holmes Student Center on NIU’s DeKalb campus to celebrate CGS’s five decades of generating and sharing knowledge with its many university and external partners and chart a course for the future. This celebration will not only highlight CGS's accomplishments, but also will be future-focused. Attendees will discover how to understand and harness the demographic, economic, environmental, and technological forces that are reshaping our world. 

Featuring a Dynamic Line-Up of Speakers and Panelists
including Neil Howe, Rebecca Ryan, NIU President Lisa Freeman
and NIU’s Anne Kaplan and Jim Banovetz!

NIU PRESIDENT LISA FREEMAN (8:30 am) will welcome attendees with observations on the day’s themes and NIU’s role in addressing them.

NEIL HOWE (8:45 am) – The opening keynote address will feature noted best-selling author Neil Howe, author of the 4th Turning and over a dozen other books on generations, demographic change, and fiscal policy. His address is titled “Generations and the Rhythm of History: What’s Ahead for our Lifestyles, Workstyles, and our Government.” Howe, an historian, economist, and demographer, is an authority on generations and social change in America. He will share the results of his research on generational cycles, or "turnings", in America, which reveal predictable social trends that recur throughout history. Dr. Howe’s insights will lay the foundation for an exploration of four priority areas affecting hundreds of Northern Illinois communities with which CGS has worked: new models and strategies to strengthen local economies; environmental stewardship and energy conservation; fiscal sustainability in civic organizations and local governments; and new and emerging community health challenges and resources. (Book purchase available on Registration Form)

NIU’S ANNE KAPLAN AND JIM BANOVETZ (noon) -  luncheon keynote address about the history of CGS by Anne Kaplan, Ph.D., NIU's Vice President of Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development; and Jim Banovetz, Ph.D., Professor and Director Emeritus of NIU’s Department of Public Administration.

REBECCA RYAN (3:15 pm) – The afternoon closing keynote "Future Perfect: Local Government’s Next 50 Years" features Rebecca Ryan, who brings humor to her presentations. As CGS celebrates 50 years, we pause to reminisce and look forward. What will the next 50 years bring? In this keynote, professional futurist Rebecca Ryan, APF, shares the three core issues that local government must get right to remain relevant for future generations. Bring your smart phones; this will be an interactive session! Rebecca Ryan is a futurist and economist who wrote the April 2019 cover story for PM Magazine and facilitated and authored The Next Big Things: The Future of Local Government while serving as the Alliance for Innovation’s Resident Futurist. Learn more at (Book purchase available on Registration Form)


Sessions will feature a subject matter expert who will frame the issues/challenges/opportunities and panelist respondents who will speak to the different facets of the issue and showcase effective practices aimed at managing change. Sessions will promote interaction between panelists and attendees to discover innovative solutions and suggestions for future partnerships with NIU. The event will explore four priority areas affecting hundreds of Northern Illinois communities with which CGS has worked:

  1. New models and strategies to strengthen local economies
  2. Environmental stewardship and energy conservation
  3. Fiscal sustainability in civic organizations and local governments
  4. New and emerging community health challenges and resources

CGS will use information from the day to inform its strategic priorities for the next three years, and learning communities will be created for those interested in continuing to formulate innovative and effective solutions. We hope you will join us in this day of celebration and idea exchange.  You will become better connected to like-minded stakeholders as we explore the complex challenges confronting our region and share successful approaches to navigating those challenges. Your participation will also help NIU determine where its research, technical assistance, and capacity-building resources are best targeted.

For details about conference sponsorships, please see the Sponsorship Form (PDF); or contact Dawn Peters at or (815) 753-0923 or Greg Kuhn at or (815) 753-2789.

ATTENDEE PARKING INSTRUCTIONS: Upon arrival on campus, proceed to the pay parking lot located at 201 Carroll Ave., DeKalb, IL (see map). Inform the attendant you are attending the CGS 50th Anniversary celebration by saying “CGS 50th” to receive complimentary parking. If the pay lot is full, you will receive a parking pass from the pay lot attendant to park in the yellow and blue floors of the parking garage (please do NOT park in any space marked “Reserved”) on Carroll Avenue.

Complete Conference Schedule and Registration Form - PDF

Online Registration

Conference Sponsor Acknowledgement

Register online now for Nov. 7 Conference

Conference Schedule,
Registration Form - PDF


Conference Sponsors


CGS Contact

Center for Governmental Studies

Northern Illinois University
148 North Third Street
DeKalb, Illinois 60115-2828

Phone: 815-753-1907
Fax:  815-753-7278