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Ryan Family Caps Off Campaign with Extraordinary Gift

The largest single gift in University history concludes the record-breaking “We Will” Campaign.

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Patrick G. ’59, ’09 H and Shirley W. Ryan ’61, ’19 H.Image: Photo courtesy of the Ryan family

Winter 2022

The Patrick G. ’59, ’09 H and Shirley W. Ryan ’61, ’19 H Family has given the largest single gift in University history to conclude the record-breaking “We Will” Campaign. The $480 million gift will accelerate breakthroughs in biomedical, economics and business research and enable Northwestern to construct a best-in-class athletics venue for the University community.

“Our family has long been committed to supporting areas of strategic importance to Northwestern — from the arts, humanities and sciences to basic research and clinical care,” Pat Ryan says. “Our philanthropy also has focused on helping our undergraduate, graduate and professional school students to reach their full potential regardless of their financial circumstances.” 

The new gift will support several areas of the Feinberg School of Medicine, including the creation of the Ryan Family Digital Health Fund, which will focus on digital medicine technologies to improve human health. The fund will facilitate the development of an interactive digital application to assist parents in employing sensor programs for measuring neuromotor performance in infants as well as support the curation of a sustainable and accessible library of diverse and unique health datasets.

The gift also will create a new institute that will dramatically advance Northwestern’s distinctive scholarship in the field of neuroscience. Additionally, the Ryan Family Catalyst Fund will facilitate promising medical research by scholars who have the potential to make an important impact on human disease.

Further, the Ryans’ gift will endow the existing Institute for Global Health, to be renamed the Robert J. Havey, MD Institute for Global Health in honor of Robert J. Havey ’80 MD, ’83 GME, ’84 GME — the institute’s deputy director and clinical professor of general internal medicine and geriatrics at Feinberg — and establish the Ryan Family Center for Global Primary Care within that institute. 

“Northwestern’s world-class scientists and innovative and interdisciplinary approach to research have tremendous potential to advance treatments and tools that can improve the lives of people in the U.S. and globally,” Shirley Ryan says. 

In addition to supporting human health, the Ryans’ gift will endow a Center for Applied Microeconomics, solidifying Northwestern’s leadership position in economics while fueling research with the capacity for significant social and policy impact. The gift will benefit the Kellogg School of Management as well.

The Ryans’ gift also includes the lead gift for the redevelopment of Ryan Field to create an enhanced game-day experience for students, alumni, fans and the surrounding community. An important goal of the project is to exceed Americans with Disabilities Act requirements and make the stadium exceptionally accessible and welcoming to all attendees. “Shirley and I believe in the power of sports to develop the whole person — mind, body and soul for all students,” Pat Ryan says.

The Ryans were already the largest benefactors in Northwestern’s history before this new gift. They have made broad and deep philanthropic investments across the University, supporting academic programs, students, research and teaching, and facilities. In addition to Ryan Field, they have made possible campus athletics landmarks such as Ryan Fieldhouse and Welsh-Ryan Arena. They also have created prominent academic facilities, including Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Hall, the home of the International Institute for Nanotechnology; lab and research space within the Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Center (Chicago campus); and the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center for the Musical Arts.

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