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Northwestern Receives Record-Breaking $480M Gift


Northwestern University announced Tuesday that it has received $480 million — the largest single gift in its history. The multi-million-dollar donation by billionaire philanthropist couple Patrick and Shirley Ryan will advance research, educational programs, and athletics at the university.

The generous contribution is the capstone in the university’s “We Will” campaign that crossed the $6 billion mark in June. Several areas, including financial aid, research, and facilities, will benefit.

The historic gift will “support educational and research initiatives in the fields of applied microeconomics, business, digital medicine, neuroscience and global health, as well as translational research,” the school explained.

Advancing Education and Research

The funding will support medical research and clinical innovation at the university’s Feinberg School of Medicine, including interactive digital applications and an accessible library of diverse health data sets. A new neuroscience institute and five new biomedical initiatives are also in the planning stages.

Northwestern will assist students, trainees, and scientists with the necessary resources to develop new and improved health analytics aligned with its research and educational mission. 

“It is imaginative support like this that accelerates the pace of discovery for some of society’s most important health issues. We are very grateful for the Ryan family’s commitment to the science of medicine,” Dean at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Eric Neilson, said.

The Kellogg School of Management, which is ranked as one of the top 10 business schools in the world, and the Center for Applied Microeconomics will also benefit from the funds.

Support for Athletics

The donation will also contribute to the renovation of Northwestern’s 47,000-seat football stadium. 

The school plans to upgrade the venue, making it more environmentally sustainable with all modern amenities. The upgraded stadium will also be brought up to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, making it accessible to all spectators. 

Further, the multi-year construction process will also create multiple jobs and bring increased revenue for the Evanston community, the school said.

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