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Northwestern University has received the largest single gift in the University’s history. The gift of more than $100 million from alumna Roberta Buffett Elliott will create the Roberta Buffett Institute for Global Studies, said Northwestern President Morton Schapiro.
Ms. Elliott’s gift is part of “We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern,” the University’s $3.75 billion fundraising campaign, and increases her total giving to the campaign to approximately $110 million. With this gift, the total amount raised for the campaign has surpassed $2 billion, marking a new Northwestern milestone for fundraising.
“Bertie’s extraordinary commitment and her unprecedented generosity to Northwestern will fundamentally transform every corner of the university’s global programming,” President Schapiro said. “In our conversations over the past several months, Bertie and her husband, David, expressed their appreciation for what Northwestern has already been doing in terms of its global outreach, while recognizing that the university could have a much greater impact on the world with expanded and new programs.”
Ms. Elliott decided to fund the entire gift immediately so that the university can begin recruiting the Institute’s founding director and implementing its programs. “Bertie was convinced we couldn’t wait any longer to get this Institute underway and that Northwestern was its perfect home,” President Schapiro added.
The Buffett Institute will take a multidisciplinary, problem-solving approach to advancing important global issues, such as the spread of democratic political systems, economic development in impoverished regions of the world, immigration policies and forced migrations, the impact of cultural exchanges on societies, global religious movements, and global communications, media and technology.
Ms. Elliott earned a degree in history and Phi Beta Kappa honors from Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences in 1954. While at Northwestern, she served on the staff of The Daily Northwestern and was a member of the Women’s Debate Team, YWCA and the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. Two of her grandchildren have graduated from Northwestern, and one is a current student.
Ms. Elliott has been a major supporter of international studies at Northwestern for many years. Her earlier gifts enabled the university to expand the Center for International and Comparative Studies, now called the Buffett Center. The Center supports 33 research centers, programs, working groups and funded projects across the University and has 218 affiliated faculty representing all of Northwestern’s schools.