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Scholarships to Benefit Music and Engineering Students

Gifts from Peter and Adrienne Barris will support top artist-scholars and Chicago Public Schools grads.

music scholarship hero
Members of the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra perform in Shanghai Symphony Hall in 2018.Image: Todd Rosenberg

Fall 2021

A generous gift from University Trustee Peter Barris ’74 and Adrienne Barris will establish two endowed scholarships for undergraduates in Northwestern’s Bienen School of Music and McCormick School of Engineering. 

The Gus and Diane Chagares Music Scholarship will help the Bienen School attract top student musicians. The merit-based scholarship, named for Adrienne Barris’ parents, will provide recipients with full tuition and room and board. It also will be the first of its kind to include a stipend to offset additional expenses incurred by music students, including participation in summer music programs, instrument purchases and maintenance costs, and costs associated with audition trips.

“My parents shared a love of music,” Adrienne Barris says. “When I was a child, they would take me to the concerts at Northwestern’s Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, and my father was a clarinetist who played in a local orchestra for many years. This gift to the Bienen School of Music honors their memory.”

Increased merit aid for undergraduate and graduate performance majors is a top priority for the Bienen School. Scholarships allow the school to better compete with peer institutions in recruiting and retaining exceptional music students from around the world, across instruments, vocal ranges and other areas of study. 


“With this scholarship, we are giving more CPS students the opportunity ... to build brighter futures for themselves.” — Peter Barris

The Barrises were inspired to make a gift to the Bienen School after traveling with the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra as part of its first international tour, in Asia in 2018.

The couple’s latest philanthropy also includes an impactful gift in support of students who come to Northwestern from Chicago Public Schools — with a preference for those who will attend the McCormick School of Engineering, which seeks to recruit the best and brightest students, regardless of financial need. More CPS graduates have chosen to attend the University in recent years. The number of CPS alumni enrolled at Northwestern increased 152% from 210 students in the 2011–12 academic year to 529 students in 2019–20. Endowed scholarships help the University to maintain its commitment to attracting more public school students far into the future.

“With this scholarship, we are giving more CPS students the opportunity not only to attend Northwestern but to study at a top engineering program and to build brighter futures for themselves,” says Peter Barris, an alumnus of the McCormick School of Engineering who majored in electrical and computer engineering and now serves on the McCormick Advisory Council. He also is vice chair of the Northwestern Board of Trustees. The Barrises previously made a gift to the University to establish the Peter and Adrienne Barris Chair of Computer Science.

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