Two Northwestern alumni give record-breaking gift to the university

Alumni Patrick and Shirley Ryan give $480 million to Northwestern —  largest gift in school’s history

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Northwestern University received a $480 million gift from alumni Patrick and Shirley Ryan, marking the largest single gift in the school’s history.

“It's astounding and I'm sure it was well beyond the university’s wildest dreams,” Kathleen Hagerty, provost of Northwestern University, told WBBM Newsradio.

According to the university, the gift from the Ryan family will accelerate breakthroughs in biomedical, economics and business research and enable the school to redevelop Ryan Field and construct a best-in-class venue for the Northwestern community.

“I am immensely grateful to Pat and Shirley Ryan and their family for their extraordinary generosity and leadership over many years, which has propelled Northwestern to new heights as a leading research university,” Northwestern President Morton Schapiro said in a statement. “The Ryan Family’s new gift will have a profound and lasting impact on faculty and student opportunities, including research and discovery. Additionally, our student-athletes, coaches, fans and the community will benefit from their support of Northwestern Athletics and Recreation for many years to come.”

The transformative gift pushed the “We Will” Campaign for Northwestern over the $6 billion mark, making it one of the largest fundraising campaigns in the history of higher education.

The “We Will” Campaign, which started in 2014, raised $6.1 billion from 174,380 donors.