Northwestern University has announced a $110 million-plus renovation plan for Welsh-Ryan Arena, the home of the university's basketball, volleyball, and wrestling teams.
In addition to a leadership gift from alumni Patrick G. ('59) and Shirley Welsh ('61) Ryan — whose naming gift helped fund a renovation of the arena in the early 1980s — the university has received a commitment of $10 million from alumni Stephen R. ('70, MBA '74) and Susan K. ('70) Wilson for the project, as well as gifts from a number of other donors. When completed, the renovated arena and McGaw Memorial Hall, of which it is a part, will feature new seating; improved accessibility for the mobility-impaired; state-of-the-art lighting, audio, and video capabilities; additional court space; and new locker rooms and offices.
The Ryans have provided nearly $200 million to Northwestern, including support for academic programs, scholarships, the Feinberg School of Medicine, renovation of the football stadium and basketball arena, and construction of a Nanotechnology Center, the Ryan Center for the Musical Arts and the Ryan Fieldhouse. In addition to co-chairing the university's $3.75 billion fundraising campaign, the couple also provided a $25 million gift in 2015 to create ten new endowed professorships, eight of which have been matched to date, and have agreed to add to the Ryan Family Chair Challenge to endow an additional fifteen professorships.
The $10 million commitment from the Wilsons brings the family's total giving to Northwestern to more than $27 million, including $15 million in support of its lakefront athletics facilities.
"Welsh-Ryan Arena has been the site for many happy memories for our family, but we also are aware of the challenges that the building can create for persons who are mobility impaired," said Shirley Ryan. "This renovation will enable Welsh-Ryan to set a new standard for accessibility."