Ryan family makes largest donation in Northwestern history


Joshua Hoffman/Daily Senior Staffer

Ryan Field. The football stadium was renovated in 1997 using a Ryan family donation.

Isabel Funk, Assistant Campus Editor

Patrick Ryan (Kellogg ’59) and Shirley Ryan (Weinberg ’61) made the largest donation in Northwestern history, gifting $480 million to redevelop Ryan Field and contribute to biomedical, economic and business research, the University announced Wednesday.

The contribution pushed the “We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern” fundraising initiative over the $6 billion mark. That makes it one of the largest fundraisers in higher education history, according to a news release.

The donation will support the Feinberg School of Medicine through the Ryan Family Digital Health Fund, which will focus on digital medicine technologies. Over $2.8 billion of the “We Will” Campaign has been designated for Northwestern Medicine research, clinical innovation and education.

The contribution will also endow a Center for Applied Microeconomics and support the Kellogg School of Management. 

The donation will aid in the redevelopment of Ryan Field to exceed accessibility requirements set by the Americans with Disabilities Act. The renovations will also influence the environmental sustainability of the field.

The Ryan family has a long history of contributions to University athletic, medical and economic facilities as well as other areas at NU, including the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center for the Musical Arts, Ryan Fieldhouse and Welsh-Ryan Arena.

“The Ryan Family’s new gift will have a profound and lasting impact on faculty and student opportunities, including research and discovery,” University President Morton Shapiro said in the release. “Additionally, our student-athletes, coaches, fans and the community will benefit from their support of Northwestern Athletics and Recreation for many years to come.”

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Twitter: @isabeldfunk

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