Transformational Gifts in the Life of the Medical School

Today's Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine reflects the vision, commitment, and investment of some of the Chicago area's most generous and ardent philanthropists.

The transforming gifts described in this section, spanning two centuries and continuing in perpetuity, have helped shape the course of our medical school. These philanthropic investments in facilities and programs allow us to "dream big" and pursue excellence in research, teaching, and clinical care each day.

We are forever grateful for the partnership and foresight of these extraordinary donors. We also are indebted to the many individuals, corporations, and foundations that continue to support Feinberg's greatest aspiration—to have a palpable impact on the health of humankind.

The Walter S. and Lucienne Driskill Graduate Training Program in Life Sciences
The Walter S. and Lucienne Driskill Foundation

In December 2011, the medical school received a $10 million gift from the Walter S. and Lucienne Driskill Foundation to endow and name the Walter S. and Lucienne Driskill Graduate Training Program in Life Sciences. The the Walter S. and Lucienne Driskill Foundation gift supports continued recruitment and training of highly-competitive, dual-degree MD-PhD graduate students pursuing their training in basic or clinical research in the life sciences. Walter Driskill and his wife, Lucienne, established the Driskill Foundation in 1986 to advance medical research and develop programs for abused and orphaned children. The Great Depression made a deep impression on Walter, who, as a teenager, sometimes went barefoot because his family could not afford to buy him shoes. This and other challenging experiences drove him to excel in all aspects of his life—as a college football player, a World War II Navy war hero, and an entrepreneur in the beer importing business. This success and the altruism of the Driskills lead to the creation of the foundation. Walter died of cancer in 1998 and Lucienne passed away in 2009, but the board of directors makes sure the good works of the foundation continue around the country and at Feinberg. In 2010, the Division of Hematology/Oncology at Feinberg received a $5 million commitment from the foundation for the establishment of the Walter S. and Lucienne Driskill Immunotherapy Research Program and Fellowship Fund. The Division of Rheumatology also received a $975,000 gift to support fellowship training.


Campaign Northwestern

In August 2003, Northwestern University's five-year fundraising campaign, Campaign Northwestern, culminated in more than $1.55 billion in gifts and commitments, surpassing the original goal of $1 billion. Thanks to the tremendous generosity and participation of more than 17,000 alumni, faculty, friends, corporations, and foundations, Feinberg raised $522.8 million during the campaign, far exceeding its $400 million campaign goal. The medical school's campaign focused on four strategic priorities—facilities, endowment for faculty and research, programmatic support, and medical education and student support. At the close of the campaign, the school tallied $111.2 million for facilities; $172.1 million toward endowment support for faculty and research; $88.9 million to further programs at the school; and $15.4 million for medical education and student support. Unrestricted support totaled $135.2 million. Sixteen new endowed professorships were created through donor generosity during the campaign. A named professorship is reserved for the most distinguished members of our faculty, signifying academic excellence and prestige for the donor, professorship holder, and the department or division at Feinberg.


Montgomery Ward Memorial
Mr. A. Montgomery and Mrs. Elizabeth Ward

Montgomery Ward BuildingMrs. Elizabeth Ward chose to memorialize her husband A. Montgomery Ward, the pioneer Chicago catalog retailer who died in 1913, by contributing a transformational gift toward the construction of the first building on Northwestern's Chicago campus. This building would house the medical and dental schools. The Montgomery Ward Memorial was dedicated in 1926. The building continues to be considered the gateway to the medical school campus. Its lobby—with its ornate, painted ceiling and bas-relief—features the recently refurbished portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Ward, as well as a portrait of Reuben Feinberg and his brothers Samuel, Louis, and Bernard.


Morton Medical Research Building
Mrs. Margaret G. Morton

Mrs. Margaret Gray Morton, a class of 1939 School of Education alumna, made a gift to construct and endow a hospital in memory of her husband, Joy Morton, founder of the Morton Salt Company. A neurosurgical hospital was proposed, but restrictions on building during World War II prevented the immediate execution of her wish. After the war, the runaway costs became prohibitive. With the consent of heirs and the courts, it was finally decided to construct a building devoted primarily to research. The seven-story Morton Medical Research Building articulates with the south wing of the Montgomery Ward Memorial Building. Dedicated in September 1955, it was the first new medical facility built by the University since the completion of the Ward Building in 1926.


Searle Medical Research Building
The Searle Family

In May 1965, a 15-story research building was dedicated and named for John G. Searle, chair of the Board of Trustees of Northwestern University, who was the principal private donor. The Searle Medical Research Building extends from the east wing of the Ward Building to Superior Street, and also connects with the east wing of the Morton Building. This building, devoted largely to research laboratory space, increased research space on the campus by nearly 50 percent.

The Searle family has continued to have a vital impact on the medical school's research enterprise. In 2005, Northwestern received a major grant from The Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust to attract outstanding researchers in genetics and molecular medicine, the neurosciences and functional imaging, as well as bioengineering and advanced medicine. This gift was in addition to a grant to the Chicago Biomedical Consortium, a collaboration among Northwestern, the University of Chicago, and the University of Illinois at Chicago that aims to support and stimulate innovative, multi-institutional collaborations in research and education and to enable the Chicago area to become a leader in the biomedical sciences. The Searle Leadership Fund in the Life Sciences was created by the Searles to recruit nationally recognized biomedical scientists who will have an unusually strong impact on Northwestern's research reputation in the international community and maximize synergies within the Northwestern research community. Together these grants have enabled Chicago to begin to transform itself into an important biomedical center.


The McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University
Mr. Foster G. and Mrs. Mary McGaw

In 1973, the Northwestern University Medical Center was renamed the McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University ("McGaw") in recognition of a transformative gift to the University from Foster G. and Mary McGaw. Foster McGaw was the founder and guiding force behind the American Hospital Supply Corporation. With the benefit of the McGaws' generous gift, the member institutions have flourished into a great academic medical center comprising Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, the new Prentice Women's Hospital, the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Children's Memorial Hospital, and the Jesse Brown VA Hospital. Today, the McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University's global and principal function is to sponsor, organize, coordinate, and supervise the graduate medical education (GME) programs and activities maintained by the members. With more than 1,000 trainees in 78 ACGME-accredited residency and fellowship programs, the Northwestern McGaw consortium is one of the largest GME sponsors in the country—a laudable achievement made possible in part by the great generosity and foresight of Mr. and Mrs. McGaw.


Tarry Research and Education Building
Dr. George and Mrs. Edwina Tarry

Tarry Research Building

George Tarry, MD, an esteemed medical school faculty member for nearly 40 years, and his wife, Edwina, left a legacy at Northwestern that will continue to impact Feinberg students, faculty, alumni, and staff. Mrs. Tarry completed her graduate studies in education at Northwestern and was always supportive of Dr. Tarry's work at the medical school. Over the years, the Tarrys made gifts that culminated in the leadership gift to name and construct the 16-floor Tarry Research and Education Building, which opened its doors in 1990. The Tarry Building was the first major research investment in a quarter century, and added as much modern research space as the original campus complex had collectively. The building houses important space for education including student laboratories and the Traisman Student Center. The new facility energized the growth of the school's research enterprise. Within six years, the medical school's research funding grew by 88 percent, more than double the rate of growth for medical schools nationwide.


Naming of the Ken and Ruth Davee Department of Neurology and Clinical Neurological Sciences
The Davee Foundation

The Department of Neurology set an exciting precedent in May 1999 when it gained the distinction of being the first named department at the medical school. The Ken and Ruth Davee Department of Neurology and Clinical Neurological Sciences was made possible through a transforming gift of endowment from The Davee Foundation. The department name honors both the memory of alumna Ruth Dunbar Davee's late husband Ken, a Chicago philanthropist who died in 1998, and the Davees' longstanding, generous support of programs at Northwestern.


Naming of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
The Joseph & Bessie Feinberg Foundation

Feinberg School of Medicine

The late Reuben Feinberg, who died in 2002, was instrumental in directing gifts from the Joseph & Bessie Feinberg Foundation to Northwestern University Medical School, which resulted in the school being renamed Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. The Feinberg brothers Bernard, Louis, Samuel, and Reuben created the Joseph & Bessie Feinberg Foundation to honor their parents. Over the years, the Foundation also has funded and named leading research institutes at the medical school, including the Feinberg Cardiovascular Research Institute and the Frances Evelyn Feinberg Clinical Neuroscience Research Institute. The Feinberg Foundation continues to be an important philanthropic partner in the school's efforts to increase its impact and prominence as part of a great academic medical center.


Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Center
Ms. Ann Lurie

Robert H. Lurie Medical Research CenterIn April 2005, the medical school dedicated the new, 12-story Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Center, adding more than 200,000 net square feet of research space. Chicago philanthropist Ann Lurie made the leadership gift to Campaign Northwestern to name the building in honor of her late husband, Robert H. Lurie. Among other notable commitments, the Patrick and Shirley Ryan family and Northwestern Memorial Hospital also made leadership gifts to help construct the building. The facility, located at the southeast corner of Superior Street and Fairbanks Court, is designed to encourage basic, clinical, and translational researchers to collaborate across disciplines, creating the potential for novel solutions to scientific challenges. Investigators associated with the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, as well as scientists in the areas of genetics and molecular medicine, neurosciences, bioengineering and advanced medicine, and infectious diseases are conducting research in the building.

In 1990, the Luries made a commitment to endow the cancer center, and in October 1991, the Cancer Center was dedicated as the Robert H. Lurie Cancer Center of Northwestern University. This title was modified in 1998, when the National Cancer Institute (NCI) awarded the Cancer Center the highly competitive "comprehensive" designation—reflecting the Cancer Center's dedication to the highest standards of cancer research, patient care, prevention, and education.

In addition to these transformational gifts, Ms. Lurie recently pledged an extraordinary commitment to Children's Memorial Hospital to help establish a new, world-class medical center devoted exclusively to the care of children. The gift, which is the largest in the hospital's 125-year history, will be used to help create the new hospital on Northwestern's Chicago campus and to enhance its pediatric research initiatives. When the hospital opens in 2012 it will be named Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago in honor of Ann Lurie and in recognition of the gift.


University Endowment

The Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine’s Endowment is approximately $1.877 billion (as of November 2014). This sustains the continued education and research done though the medical school.

Learn more about the Endowment via the Northwestern University Investment Office site. For information about giving to Feinberg through the Endowment, visit the Giving site.