Northwestern announces new economics center, global primary care center


Photo courtesy of Northwestern Now

Patrick and Shirley Ryan. The new economics and global primary care centers are part of a $480 million gift from the Ryan family from September 2021.

Northwestern announced a new economics center and primary care center as part of a 2021 gift from Patrick Ryan (Kellogg ’59) and Shirley Ryan (Weinberg ’61).

The Morton Schapiro Center for Applied Economics will be named after former University President Morton Schapiro. Schapiro served as University president from 2009 to 2022 and taught economics classes during his tenure.

“With this gift, we wish to honor Morty’s commitment to the field of economics and the strong legacy he will leave at Northwestern,” Patrick Ryan said in a Sept. 16 news release. “As president, Morty led Northwestern through one of its most transformative and sustained periods of academic growth.”

The center will feature advanced computing and allow for an increase in research. The University’s economics department is currently ranked eighth in the nation, according to U.S. News. Economics is the most popular major for undergraduate students at the NU.

“I’m forever grateful to Pat and Shirley Ryan and their family for their unmatched generosity during my time at Northwestern,” Schapiro said. “I’m especially touched by this wonderful gift toward a field that’s of such importance to me as a researcher.”

The Ryan family’s gift, announced in September 2021, totaled $480 million — the largest donation in University history. The donation will also fund the new Ryan Family Center for Global Primary Care.

The center will increase NU’s capacity for primary care patients, allow for more disease prevention research and focus on collaborating with partner institutions in underresourced countries. The center will also support Feinberg students and trainees in their international projects on primary care research.

“With this visionary gift, the Ryans are putting Northwestern’s faculty in a position to help reinvent primary care on a global scale,” University President Michael Schill said in a Wednesday news release. “This represents one of our most urgent directives as an institution, one with as far-reaching effects as anything undertaken as a university like ours.”

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