Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Ann Lurie, distinguished Chicago Philanthropist, dies at 79

Photo Courtesy to Northwestern University
Ann Lurie was a life trustee of Northwestern and gave over $60 million over the years.

Ann Lurie, a distinguished Chicago philanthropist with social service, health care institutions at Northwestern and globally, died Monday due to complications from a recent illness at 79. 

Born and raised in Florida, Lurie was recognized as one of the nation’s leading philanthropists, with her many gifts benefitting NU, the University of Michigan, the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, the Africa Infectious Disease Village Clinics, Inc. and more. 

Lurie and her late husband, Robert H. Lurie, both endowed the Robert H. Lurie Medical Center and Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at NU, driven by the exceptional quality of care Robert received undergoing colon cancer treatment at the University. 

In 2007, Lurie made a $100 million gift to the now Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, the largest of its kind ever received by the hospital. She said her experience as a critical care nurse, as well as a parent of six children who received treatment at the hospital, influenced her decision. 

“Ann was the most passionate and compassionate person I have ever known,” said Pat Magoon, former president and CEO of Lurie Children’s Hospital to Northwestern Now. “She cared deeply about improving the lives of others. In her heart, every child mattered, and no challenge was too big.”

Lurie’s dedication to health didn’t stop in Chicago. She founded and was president of Africa Infectious Disease Village Clinics, Inc., hospital aid for rural communities in Kenya, until its closure in 2012. She also founded the Mbirkani AIDs clinic in Kenya. She was awarded the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Award for Humanitarian Contributions to the Health of Humankind in 2009 for her work. 

Her generosity did not end there. In 2009, she established the Lurie Prize at the National Institutes of Health, an annual $100,000 award for a promising biomedical researcher. She also founded two professorships in oncology and breast cancer research at NU, as well as one in cancer cell biology at Lurie Children’s. 

“Our future depends on our children and the generations of children after them,” Lurie said in 2007. “I feel that we have an obligation to be supportive of advances in pediatric medical care that will ensure the health of those children.”

Lurie’s impact reached beyond the medical community. Lurie provided philanthropic support to the Greater Chicago Food Depository and endowed the Lurie Garden at Millennium Park. She also permanently endowed a Christmas party for the St. Vincent de Paul Center, a food distribution and social service center. 

“Ann had not only hundreds of admirers but hundreds of friends she cared about and who deeply cared about her and loved her,” Henry Bienen, NU president emeritus, told Northwestern Now. “Few people have made such a positive and extraordinary impact in Chicago, in the United States and in the wider world in the fields of education and health care and on the lives of thousands of people she knew and never knew. Ann Lurie was a national treasure.”

Lurie is survived by her husband Mark Muheim, her six children, 18 grandchildren and Muheim’s two sons. 

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @shreyasrin

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