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Big Gifts Fuel Big Plans for 3 Institutions

September 23, 2021

Several institutions have announced exceptionally large gifts from donors.

The Patrick and Shirley Ryan family donated $480 million to Northwestern University, marking the largest gift in the university’s history. The funds will be used to bolster athletics, educational initiatives in business and applied microeconomics, and promising research in the medical sciences, including digital medicine, neuroscience and global health.

Rice University received a $100 million grant from the Moody Foundation, matching the largest gift in its history, to build a new student center designed by British architect David Adjaye. The gift will also be used to create endowments that “support student opportunity and success,” according to a press release.

And Penny Pritzker, a former U.S. secretary of commerce, donated $100 million to the Department of Economics at Harvard University. Her gift will help create a new home for the department and support faculty, graduate students and undergraduates in pursuing “dynamic new approaches to teaching, research, and collaboration within the department and across the university,” a press release said.

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