In honor of the 100th anniversary of its Shakespeare Garden, Northwestern University has donated $100,000 to the Garden Club of Evanston, whose members have been maintaining it for the past century.

In a letter to its members, the club’s president, Claudia Lane, said the gift will “bring to life our dreams for the garden’s future, enhancing its beauty and the enjoyment of visitors for the next 100 years.”

Representatives of the club and the university, she said, agreed that the funds will be used for “the installation of a new irrigation system, handsome stone benches to replace the wooden benches on the east entrance, and lighting to enhance the garden and promote the safety of visitors.”

Nim Chinniah, the university’s executive vice president, said Northwestern is “delighted to be in partnership with the Evanston Garden Club. We look forward to the next hundred years and express our deep appreciation to the countless volunteers who have helped make the Shakespeare Garden at Northwestern University the special place that it is today.”

The garden was founded in 1915 as the first major project of the club that was founded that year as well. One of the driving forces in establishing the garden was Mrs. Daniel Burnham, wife of the noted landscape architect and city planner who was instrumental in developing the early plans for the City of Chicago.

The garden itself was designed by Jens Jensen, a leading landscape architect of the time who was associated with the development of many Chicago gardens at the beginning of the last century.

A portion of the garden as it looks today.

Earlier this month, the eastern segment of Garrett Place, which leads visitors to the garden, was given the honorary name of Shakespeare Garden Founders Way by the Evanston City Council.

Northwestern President Morton Schapiro hailed the garden as “a treasured spot on the Northwestern campus for a century and remains so today.”

He added: “We’re very pleased to further strengthen our partnership with the Garden Club of Evanston in this centennial year of the Garden’s founding.”

Related story:

Garrett Place segment gets a new name

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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  1. Nice that NU has the money

    I guess people think it is nice that NU [really students] has money to give out like this.

    I'm sure students don't mind paying more in tuition to keep up a garden few of them and probably only a few in Evanston, even know exists.

    Maybe NU can make more gifts to the Evanston schools to "grow minds" instead of flowers.

    1. Wake up and smell the roses!
      I’m sure NU’s endowment, not tuition, can cover this gift. NU does things for/contributes to Evanston schools. Could NU do more? Sure, but be grateful for pleasant gifts like this!

      1. Learn something about Endowments
        People should learn more about Endowments instead of assuming they can just be used for whatever someone’s whim is.
        Most are restricted for certain uses—building, designated faculty ‘chairs’, etc..
        Students periodically protest that the Endowment should be used to lower tuition and probably support the political cause du jour.
        Gifts like this probably do mean they come from tuition increases [or do people think that is not high enough?] or from grants from the government—though Evanstonians seem to think that is free money off the “money tree”—NOT !

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