Saturday, December 01, 2007


It's very funny considering how my life is going, but it may surprise you to know that philanthropy hasn't always been my bag. In fact, it's pretty safe to say I never really gave a shit. When I was in college, I was the social chair and the rush chair... facts that probably don't surprise you. I planned parties. I judged women in .4 seconds. When the time for the sorority philanthropy rolled around, I conveniently had something else to do. I did not toss watermelons, cook chili or whatever other bullshit there was to raise money for charity. I did do the Dance Marathon my senior year, but that was only because I was sleeping with someone on the committee. Who was sleeping with someone else - but... I digress.

Point is, me and philanthropy don't really make sense. Not like ham and eggs, or Will Farrell and the jazz flute. So, imagine my surprise when Northwestern University called and asked to profile me for their annual report of donors.

Now, I will start by saying I am not a big donor. Not at all. I think maybe that at my age I donate at all is a big plus. I'm not quite sure why the development office creams their pants about me, but they do. Actually, I do know. One of college roommates works in the office. In fact, many of them read this blog. Hello, NU. I apologize for using the words Northwestern Development and "creams their pants" in the same sentence. Go Cats!

Okay, so Northwestern sent out this photographer... Jeff Gartin for those of you who'd like to know. We did a whole glamour shot photo shoot. We did all this stuff outside by my car. With lights. And umbrella things. My neighbors must have loved that. My profile picture is from this shoot. NU interviewed me for the donor spotlight. Wrote a whole big long thing.

So a couple months later, the annual report came. I found my page. I laughed out loud. For a long time.

A. They made me seem awfully adult. I mean, they somehow make partying and not having a real career seem totally normal.

B. I still managed to reference things mildly inappropriate.

C. They used the term "service and philanthropy." That's what got me. Ha! If the other co-hosts of Halloween pumkin gut wrestling could see me now.

So, here... reprinted from Northwestern for your reading pleasure. I will say, if you're an NU alum, you should really throw them a bone. You get glamour shots!

“If I think of a period in my life that has shaped who I am, what I do with my life, who I go to for advice … it’s my four years at Northwestern,” says Courtney Relihan Bugler.

As a theatre major in the School of Communication and as a member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority, Bugler became acquainted with a diverse group of friends. “What I gained at Northwestern was exposure to many different people I would not have met otherwise. Some of my best friends in the world are the ones I met through Northwestern. And then there are all the stories that go along with them! My favorites ones … those probably wouldn’t be appropriate for print!”

Following graduation, Bugler took a circuitous path to pursue her love for performing arts. While working in Los Angeles as an event planner, she kept her theatre skills honed by producing a review for Northwestern in her free time. She then served a stint working as an activities director on cruise ships, before returning to her native Illinois where fellow alumna Megan McTavish (Communication 71) hired her to write for ABC Television’s All My Children — the daytime soap opera created by alumna Agnes Nixon (Communication 44).

Now that she’s back in the industry she loves, Bugler uses her free time to advocate for young women with breast cancer — a disease with which she was diagnosed a few weeks after her 29th birthday. She originally received care at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, then completed her treatment in Atlanta, where she relocated with her husband, Alan, for his new job. She is currently training to become a crisis counselor for the Y-Me National Breast Cancer Organization. In October 2007, with two Northwestern friends by her side, she participated in the Breast Cancer 3-Day walk benefiting Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Bugler’s life experiences inspire her service and philanthropy. “I’ve been very fortunate, and I feel it is my duty to support others in pursuing similar opportunities that were available to me,” she says. “Why wouldn’t we, as alumni, give what we can to provide other students the same opportunities?”

Bugler has supported the School of Communication Annual Fund, the Theatre/Interpretation Center, and the Student Life Gift Fund — all areas in which she participated while at Northwestern. “Giving to the areas of Northwestern that influenced me the most is my note of thanks and appreciation.”

Freaking hysterical.

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