Northwestern University has announced a gift of more than $100 million from alumna Roberta Buffett Elliott ('54) to create a multidisciplinary institute for global studies.
The largest single gift in the university's history will be used to create the Roberta Buffett Institute for Global Studies, which will apply a multidisciplinary approach to the study of important global issues, including the spread of democratic systems, economic development in poor countries, forced migrations and immigration policies, the emergence of new religious movements, and the impact of media and technology on society. Among other things, the funds will enable the university to create new professorships, expand a visiting scholars program, create a postdoctoral fellowship program, and provide students with travel grants and graduate fellowships. In addition, up to $20 million of the gift could be used to match gifts earmarked for scholarships for international students.
With her latest gift, the youngest sister of billionaire philanthropist Warren Buffett has given approximately $110 million to the university's $3.75 billion fundraising campaign. Her previous gifts enabled the school to expand the Center for International and Comparative Studies, now called the Roberta Buffett Center for International & Comparative Studies.
"Bertie's extraordinary commitment and her unprecedented generosity to Northwestern will fundamentally transform every corner of the university's global programming," said Northwestern president Morton Schapiro. "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."
"I'm very pleased to be able to support the important work that Northwestern does in international studies," said Elliott, who is funding the entire gift immediately so that the university can recruit a director for the institute and begin to implement its programs. "A better understanding of the world is critical in an increasingly global society, and the institute's research and support of academic programs will help reach that goal."