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Christopher B. Galvin Family Foundation gives $10.25 million to Northwestern

Gift supporting Kellogg, NUseeds Fund brings “We Will” Campaign total to more than $3 billion

Galvin family
Mary B. Galvin (foreground), Cynthia B. Galvin, Dawn Galvin Meiners and Christopher B. Galvin.

EVANSTON - A new $10.25 million gift from the Christopher B. Galvin Family Foundation has expanded upon the Galvin family tradition of giving to Northwestern University and pushed the University to a fundraising milestone achieved by few other universities.

RELATED: The Galvins’ gift brings total support for We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern to more than $3 billion. The “We Will” Campaign seeks to raise a total of $3.75 billion from 141,000 Northwestern supporters.

With this gift, the broader Galvin family — including alumni Christopher B. Galvin ’73, ’77 MBA, ’11 P, University trustee; his wife, Cynthia B. Galvin ’78, ’11 P; Chris’ mother, Mary B. Galvin ’45; and Chris’ sister, Dawn Galvin Meiners ’96 P, whose son Michael Meiners ’96 attended the School of Communication — and the Robert W. Galvin Foundation have contributed more than $18 million to Northwestern throughout the “We Will” Campaign.

“Through their meaningful and sustained support of their alma mater, Chris and Cindy Galvin and their family are helping to shape future entrepreneurial leaders for generations to come,” Northwestern President Morton Schapiro said. “I am so appreciative of the Galvin family’s generosity to Northwestern and the role they have played in helping us reach this important milestone in the ‘We Will’ Campaign.”

Of the Galvins’ latest gift, $10 million will provide unrestricted support to the Kellogg School of Management. The Galvins’ support helped Kellogg to surpass the $300 million mark in its Transforming Together fundraising campaign, through which it seeks to raise a total of $350 million. In recognition of the Galvins’ generosity, the first-floor design wing and the conference center in the Kellogg Global Hub, the school’s state-of-the-art facility slated to open in 2017, will be named for the Galvin family.

The remaining $250,000 of the gift will go to the NUseeds Fund, a venture capital fund that provides seed investments to help launch innovations and ventures created by Northwestern students.

“Our extended family members have earned 10 degrees from Northwestern across its various schools, so it’s played an important role in our education,” Chris Galvin said. “Northwestern also plays an important role in the city of Chicago, positively influencing people’s lives in our family and the community. That’s why we give.”

The family’s close ties with Northwestern began with Chris’ parents. Mary B. Galvin earned a degree in communication from the University in 1945, and her husband, the late Robert W. Galvin, former chairman and CEO of Motorola Inc., received an honorary degree from Northwestern in 1992.

Chris earned degrees from the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and Kellogg School of Management. Formerly, he fulfilled the roles of board chairman in both Cleversafe and NAVTEQ and chairman/CEO of Motorola Inc. Today the chairman, CEO and co-founder of Harrison Street Capital, LLC, Chris serves on the Kellogg Global Advisory Board and co-chairs the Chicago Regional Campaign Committee for the “We Will” Campaign. He served as an alumni trustee of Northwestern from 1980 to 1982, was re-elected to the board in 1988, was elected as a charter trustee in 1990, and has served in this capacity ever since. His wife, Cindy, who earned her degree in art theory and practice from Weinberg, owns design firm Bardes Interiors and MAZE Home Store. She has been a member of the Northwestern Women’s Board since 1981.

Many other family members — including the couple’s son, David Galvin ’11 MBA — are Northwestern alumni. 

Over the years, the Galvin family has supported the Bienen School of Music, Kellogg, NUseeds, The Garage, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and the renovation of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority house. The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center for the Musical Arts’s 400-seat performance space was named the Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall in recognition of a generous gift from the Robert W. Galvin Foundation and Dawn Galvin Meiners.

In addition to passing the $3 billion milestone, the Campaign also has reached more than 121,000 donors, marking significant progress toward its goal of 141,000 contributors.

The funds raised through the “We Will” Campaign are helping realize the transformational vision set forth in Northwestern’s strategic plan and solidify the University’s position among the world’s leading research universities. More information on We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern is available at

Topics: Gifts

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