Contribution from Martins pushes lakeside athletic complex funding past $70 million

Joseph Diebold, Web Editor

A $15 million contribution from J. Landis (Lanny) (Weinberg ’68, JD ’73) and Sharon Martin pushed funding for Northwestern’s planned lakeside athletic complex over $70 million, the University announced today.

In honor of the contribution, which puts funding at nearly one-third of the $220 million total cost of the complex, NU will name the field for soccer and lacrosse at the new complex after the Martins. The University announced Dec. 30, two days before the football team’s victory over Mississippi State in the 2013 Gator Bowl, it had reached $55 million in donations for the project. 

In a University news release, Lanny Martin credited the bowl victory — NU’s first in 64 years — as the inspiration for the donation. 

“With the Wildcats’ breakthrough Gator Bowl victory, now is the right time to help Northwestern create a world-class athletics and recreation complex worthy of our Big Ten university and our student-athletes,” Lanny Martin said in the release. “Sharon and I couldn’t be more pleased to support Northwestern’s athletics program, which is such an asset for the entire Northwestern community.”

The field named after the Martins marks the third named section of the new complex. The main arena will be named Ryan Fieldhouse, commemorating the lead gift from Patrick Ryan (Weinberg ’59) and his wife Shirley Welsh Ryan (Weinberg ’61), and an indoor field will be dubbed Wilson Field in honor of a “significant” contribution from Stephen Wilson (Weinberg ’70, Kellogg ’74) and his wife Susan Wilson (Medill ’70).

— Joseph Diebold