Northwestern University will name the recently opened music and communication building the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center for the Musical Arts to recognize their unprecedented generosity and longtime support of the arts at Northwestern and in the greater Chicago area, .

The building on the shore of Lake Michigan in Evanston is the home of the Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music and the theatre and performance studies departments and administrative offices of the School of Communication. The building will be formally dedicated Sept. 24.

The new music building.

“The philanthropy and service that Pat and Shirley have given to Northwestern have touched nearly every aspect of the University,” said President Morton Schapiro. “From scholarships for undergraduates to graduate fellowships to the highest level of support for our music, science, engineering, medicine and athletic programs, their generosity has transformed Northwestern. This recognition is especially appropriate because of the Ryans’ close friendship with President Emeritus Henry Bienen and his wife, Leigh.”

Designed by Chicago-based Goettsch Partners, the Ryan Center for the Musical Arts includes performance and rehearsal spaces, teaching studios, classrooms, practice rooms and faculty and administrative offices.

“The school’s state-of-the-art building does much more than replace long-outdated facilities. It effects a true cultural change for the Bienen School of Music, helping create a greater sense of collaboration among its programs,” said Dean Toni-Marie Montgomery. “With a facility matching its stellar reputation, the school now is poised for even greater achievements in the years ahead. We are grateful to Pat and Shirley for their tremendous support of the Bienen School.”

The new building’s top floor provides space for the theatre and performance studies departments and administrative offices of the School of Communication.

“As undergraduates and as proud alums, Shirley and I have appreciated greatly the tremendous impact that the School of Music has had on the interdisciplinary education offered by our beloved University,” said Pat Ryan. “We are honored by this recognition, and we look forward to enjoying the outstanding music that will soon fill this beautiful new building.”

Patrick G. Ryan is a 1959 Northwestern graduate. He received his undergraduate degree from what was then called the School of Business and now is named the Kellogg School of Management. Shirley Welsh Ryan is a 1961 Northwestern graduate. She received her undergraduate degree from what was then called the College of Arts and Sciences and is now named the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.

Over the course of their long association with Northwestern, the Ryans have become the University’s most generous benefactors, having provided leadership and support for academic programs, scholarships, the construction of Northwestern’s nanotechnology center, support for Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and renovation of Northwestern’s football and basketball stadiums. They also made the lead gift for Ryan Fieldhouse, a new multi-use athletics and recreational facility that will be located next to the shore of Lake Michigan at the north end of Northwestern’s Evanston campus.

An earlier leadership gift from the Ryans created scholarships for low-income students to attend Northwestern without taking out any student loans, which has enabled Northwestern to attract high-achieving low-income students with exceptional leadership potential. That gift also supported graduate fellowships and facilities on both the Evanston and Chicago campuses, as well as provided athletic scholarships for undergraduate students.

The Ryans are co-chairs for We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern, a $3.75 billion University-wide fundraising initiative designed to support Northwestern’s strategic ambitions.

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