Evanston philanthropist and preservationist Jennifer Pritzker is donating up to $2 million to a Canadian university to fund a faculty position focused on transgender studies.

The donation, half of which would be made to match other gifts, was made through Pritzker’s Tawani Foundation to the University of Victoria in British Columbia.

Aaron Devor, a sociology professor who founded Transgender Archives at the school, has been named inaugural chair of transgender studies, a position the Pritzker gift will support for five years, according to the university.

Pritzker, who came out as a transgender in 2013, previously donated $1.35 million to the University of California’s Palm Center to study the feasibility of service by transgender people in the military.

Her preservationist work is well known in Evanston, where she owns two bed-and-breakfast facilities that involved extensive renovation and preservation of Evanston residences. The latest, Stone Terrace, will officially open with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Jan. 29 at 1622 Forest Place.

It is less than a block away from Stone Porch, another B&B that was opened in 2014 at 300 Church St.

Pritzker is slated to be honored at the 11th annual Legendary Landmarks Celebration at the Hilton Chicago on March 7 for her “significant contributions in cultivating Chicago’s cultural heritage as the sustaining pivot of the city’s growth,” according to Bonnie McDonald, president and CEO of Landmarks Illinois.

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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