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Northwestern Announces $3.75 Billion Campaign

Fundraising campaign to address society’s challenges and prepare global leaders

Northwestern University today (March 14, 2014) will announce a $3.75 billion fundraising initiative called “We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern.”

“This monumental campaign seeks to amplify Northwestern’s local and global impact — in everything from breakthrough research discoveries to innovations in creative expression to preparing the global leaders of tomorrow,” said Northwestern President Morton Schapiro. “We will unite as a university community to build an even better Northwestern and to address society’s most critical challenges.”

We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern is a University-wide, multiyear effort that will support initiatives across all of Northwestern’s schools, as well as Northwestern Medicine and a range of University units and programs. Gifts will fund new and renovated facilities on the Evanston and Chicago campuses; endowed professorships; student scholarships and fellowships; laboratories and research support; new academic centers and institutes; curriculum expansion and academic program support; global initiatives; and other areas that will solidify Northwestern’s position among the world’s leading research universities.  

The University has already raised $1.52 billion toward the Campaign goal, Schapiro said.

The Campaign has a second goal to broaden the University’s base of annual support among alumni, parents and friends — as reflected by 140,995 donors making a gift during the Campaign. A total of 85,832 donors have made a gift during the early phase of the Campaign.

“This Campaign will help realize our transformative strategic plan, ‘Northwestern Will,’ which we launched in 2011,” Schapiro said. “The extraordinary early support for the Campaign reflects how well our bold vision for the future is resonating with our alumni, parents and friends.”

“The Campaign is called ‘We Will,’ because it connects directly with the strategic plan name, and it reflects the strong confidence we have in Northwestern and all that we are poised to accomplish,” Schapiro said.

The Campaign aims to secure resources to implement the four priorities that stem from the University’s strategic plan:

• Discovery and Creativity (Target of $1.2 billion). Expanding Northwestern’s research enterprise and creative platforms by investing in facilities for biomedical research, innovation and entrepreneurship, performance and collaborative learning. Also, attracting and retaining top researchers and faculty through endowed professorships. Some of the major initiatives include:

  • New biomedical research building on the Chicago campus
  • New global hub for Kellogg School of Management and the department of economics on the Evanston campus
  • Endowment for the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern
  • Endowment for the International Institute for Nanotechnology

            • Student Experience (Target of $1.163 billion). Increasing financial aid for undergraduate, graduate and professional students in order to attract the best students, regardless of their financial resources. At the same time, broadening students’ academic perspectives through experiential learning and solving real-world problems. Some of the major initiatives include:

  • Office of Undergraduate Research
  • Good Neighbor, Great University Scholarship Program
  • Fellowships for graduate students
  • University Career Services

            • Campus and Community (Target of $1.162 billion). Inspiring students who are committed to serving their communities while creating connections through shared traditions and activities in the arts, athletics and academics. Some of the major initiatives include:

  • New lakefront athletics and recreation complex on the Evanston campus
  • Deering Library renovation and transformation
  • New visitors center on the Evanston campus
  • New music and communication building on the Evanston campus

            • Global Connections (Target of $225 million). Expanding the curricula and programs that advance understanding of other languages, cultures and systems. Also, providing additional opportunities for students to study and do research abroad, and strengthening Northwestern’s initiatives in its local communities and in other countries. Some of the major initiatives include:

  • Scholarships for international students
  • Department of Asian languages and cultures
  • Study abroad programs
  • The Northwestern Academy for Chicago Public Schools

"Our strategic plan builds on Northwestern’s core attributes: our entrepreneurial and pioneering spirit; interdisciplinary collaboration; an energetic community of students, scholars and alumni; a dual passion for research and teaching; and an intense desire to put ideas into practice for the greater good,” Schapiro said. “We now have an opportunity to use these considerable strengths to help solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges and prepare our remarkable students to be the visionary leaders that the world needs.”

The Campaign Steering Committee is led by Campaign Co-Chairs Neil Bluhm, Chris and Courtney Combe, Adam Karr, Lanny and Sharon Martin, and Patrick and Shirley Welsh Ryan. (See attached for more information about the committee members.)

Northwestern today unveiled new leadership gifts to the Campaign, including:

  • A $40 million unrestricted gift from alumni Mark and Kimbra Walter. The University intends to use the gift to fund initiatives pertaining to We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern, including significant support for Northwestern Athletics and Recreation, as well as scholarships for the School of Law.
  • Gifts totaling $25 million from the Querrey Simpson Charitable Foundation in support of the University’s innovative, interdisciplinary research efforts applying nanotechnology to regenerative medicine. In recognition of the gift, the Institute for BioNanotechnology in Medicine (IBNAM) will be renamed the Louis A. Simpson and Kimberly K. Querrey Institute for BioNanotechnology in Medicine.

Established in 2000, the institute draws clinicians, scientists and engineers from across the University to work together on the challenges of regenerative nanomedicine: using nanoscale technology or materials to seek ways to repair, replace or regenerate tissues or organs and to improve human health.

  • A $15 million gift from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation to fund multiple initiatives including undergraduate and graduate scholarships, launching an immersion journalism program focused on issues of social justice and advancing the field of reconstruction and restorative surgery to assist men and women seriously wounded in combat.
  • A $7.5 million gift from the Shaw family to the Program in Plant Biology and Conservation, a collaboration between Northwestern and the Chicago Botanic Garden. The gift will fund fellowships for graduate students in the program, which was launched by Northwestern’s Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences in 2005 to address a critical shortage of botanists and plant conservationists.

“The generosity of these benefactors exemplifies the tremendous support that Northwestern continues to receive from alumni, parents and friends,” said Chris Combe, Campaign Steering Committee co-chair. “We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern seeks to build on the best of Northwestern and expand our extraordinary work on an even broader and deeper scale. While the Campaign sets ambitious goals for Northwestern, we are confident that we will reach them.”

Adam Karr, participation co-chair of the Campaign Steering Committee, noted that annual giving will play an important role in the Campaign. “We seek to involve more of our alumni in annual support of the University. Every gift to the University, regardless of size, will help us meet not just our fundraising goals, but also signal the broad support of the University,” Karr said.

We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern aims to raise more than twice the $1.55 billion received during the University’s last major fundraising effort, which took place from 1998 to 2003.

More information on the Campaign is available at