Longtime supporters of Northwestern University athletics Mitchell and Valerie Slotnick have made a $5 million gift to Athletics and Recreation.

In recognition of the family’s generosity, Northwestern will name the atrium of Ryan Fieldhouse the Mitchell and Valerie Slotnick Family Atrium. When construction is complete, Ryan Fieldhouse, within the new Lakefront Athletics and Recreation Complex, will provide one of the most versatile practice, competition and recreation venues in the nation.

“We thank Mitchell and Valerie, their sons Jay and Barry, and Barry’s wife, Natalie, for their generosity,” said Northwestern President Morton Schapiro. “The Slotnick family has strong ties to Northwestern and a deep appreciation of how the new Lakefront Athletics and Recreation Complex will help unify and contribute to the well-being of the entire University.”

The Lakefront Athletics and Recreation Complex will enhance significantly the student-athlete experience at Northwestern as well as provide facilities that will accommodate intercollegiate, club and intramural sports; recreational activities; and major University-wide events.

“The Slotnick family’s remarkable support will help us integrate the daily activities of our student-athletes seamlessly with the rest of the University community,” said Jim Phillips, vice president for athletics and recreation. “Their gift will assist in creating a truly world-class facility that will offer our young men and women the best academic, medical, professional development, and athletic support in the nation. All Wildcats are grateful for the Slotnicks’ lifelong dedication and generosity. Their family is woven into the fabric of Northwestern.”

Mitchell Slotnick arrived as a student at Northwestern in 1959, attracted by the academic reputation of the University.

“While we have always supported Northwestern, which provided an outstanding education to Barry and me, our involvement with athletics began as a way for Jay, our special needs son, to feel a part of this great University,” said Mitchell Slotnick. “As our involvement has continued, we have also appreciated that the concept of a student-athlete also committed to community service is the essence of the program under Jim Phillips and the coaches.”

“The Slotnick family is very proud to support the Lakefront Athletics and Recreation Complex for the more than 500 student-athletes and the entire Wildcat family,” he said.

In addition to helping to fund the new athletics and recreation complex, the Slotnicks’ gift will support sports performance, football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, golf and the Wildcat Excellence Fund, an unrestricted athletics fund that supports the areas of greatest need.

This is the Slotnicks’ most recent gift to We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern, a $3.75 billion University-wide fundraising initiative to support Northwestern’s strategic ambitions. Previous gifts have supported summer internship programs at the Kellogg School of Management, in addition to Athletics and Recreation.

The Slotnicks have long been benefactors of Northwestern. Mitchell Slotnick received bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Kellogg and is a charter member of Northwestern Athletics’ Otto Graham Society. His son Barry Slotnick graduated from Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences in 1993 and received an MBA from Kellogg in 2000. Barry and Natalie have also become members of the Otto Graham Society.

Mitchell and Valerie Slotnick live in Northbrook, Illinois, with their son Jay and are owners of Ridgebrook Travel, Ltd./Omni Tours. As founders of Educational Tours, Inc., the couple has been recognized as national leaders in student travel. Mitchell Slotnick was previously a management consultant, notably with PepsiCo, and an accounting professor.

Barry and Natalie Slotnick reside in Glencoe, Illinois, with their children Ben and Carly. Barry is owner and president of Varisport, Inc., an athletic training product company and producer of the UltraSlide slide boards, located in Northbrook. Barry and Natalie Slotnick have been key supporters of the Wildcats’ Sports Performance priorities.

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