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Judd Weinberg, trustee, alumnus and longtime benefactor, dies at 93

His generosity was recognized with the naming of Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences

Judd Weinberg, Northwestern University life trustee and alumnus, and one of the University’s most generous benefactors, died February 20. He was 93 years old.

Weinberg joined the University’s Board of Trustees in 1982 and was elected a life trustee in 1995. He received the Northwestern Alumni Medal — the highest honor given by the Northwestern Alumni Association — in 2000.

Judd Weinberg
Judd Weinberg

He served on the Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College Board of Visitors and the School of Communication National Advisory Council. His son, David, is also a University trustee, a former vice chair of the Board of Trustees and member of the Weinberg College Board of Visitors.

Transformative gift

In 1998, Weinberg and his family gave a major gift to the College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern. Their generosity was recognized with the naming of the College in their honor. 

“My father believed in the missions of a great research university: To discover new knowledge, and to train, motivate and empower the next generation of leaders,” David Weinberg said.

“Judd Weinberg was a valued friend and alumnus of the College and University,” said Adrian Randolph, dean of Weinberg College. “His transformative gift naming Northwestern’s Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences will continue to benefit our faculty members and students in meaningful ways. We are so grateful for the entire Weinberg family’s dedication and commitment to our institution.”

How to be a leader

Weinberg, a resident of Chicago, received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Northwestern’s School of Commerce, now the Kellogg School of Management, in 1947. While at Northwestern, he served as president of the social fraternity Phi Epsilon Pi and the Interfraternity Council. He was also co-chairman of the annual May Sing and a member of the men’s honorary society, Deru.

A 2011 Weinberg College magazine article said that the lasting lessons Weinberg took away from Northwestern concerned social skills: “How to get along with people, how to be a leader.” These skills would serve him well in his business career as an innovator and motivator of people.

Weinberg and his late wife, Marjorie, who also attended Northwestern, were both children of entrepreneurs. He would go on to join his wife’s family business, D. Gottlieb & Co., a leader in the game technology of the day — non-gambling pinball machines. According to the magazine article, his contribution, in the 1950s and ’60s, was to globalize the business, building his in-laws’ company into a market leader.

“My father was a wonderful boss,” David Weinberg said in the article. “Under his watch, the talented staff blossomed.”

In 1976, Weinberg sold the company to Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. He became a consultant to the movie company and a member of its board of directors. He also served as chairman of the executive committee of the financial services firm he founded, Judd Enterprises.

‘What a legacy he has left’

The Weinberg family has given generously to Northwestern. A gift to the Feinberg School of Medicine established the Weinberg Medical Informatics Training Center. The family has also supported the School of Communication, the Donald P. Jacobs Chair at the Kellogg School of Management, and the Arnold R. and Edna F. Weber Scholarship Fund. In 2007, Weinberg’s three sons dedicated the Marjorie Weinberg Garden, on the south side of Deering Meadow, in honor of their mother, who passed away in 1993. In addition, they funded an endowed chair, the Weinberg Family Distinguished Professorship of Life Sciences, were early supporters of the Louis A. Simpson and Kimberly K. Querrey Biomedical Research Center and endowed a postdoctoral position at the International Institute for Nanotechnology.

“Judd was a deeply esteemed and beloved member of Northwestern’s Board of Trustees for nearly 40 years,” said Lanny Martin, chair of Northwestern’s Board of Trustees. “He will be fondly missed, but his profound devotion and legacy to Northwestern will continue to be felt for generations to come.”​

“Judd Weinberg embodied the best of Northwestern,” said Northwestern President Morton Schapiro. “What a giant he was. What a life he led. What a legacy he has left.”

Weinberg was born April 7, 1926, in Chicago and graduated from the city’s Lakeview High School. He is survived by three sons — David (Lynne), Richard (Diane) and Jack (Sheila); eight grandchildren — Julia, Jane, and Jon (Lily) Weinberg; Melissa (Eric) Von Hoffmann; Rachael (Kevin) Pugh; Joshua Weinberg; Adam (Samantha) Weinberg; and Jason Weinberg; and six great-grandchildren — Joshua and Charles Swinney, Emmet and Otis Pugh, and Shaw and Astra Weinberg.

A funeral service was held Sunday, February 23, at North Shore Congregation Israel, followed by interment at Memorial Park Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences of Northwestern University, the Gottlieb Hospital Auxiliary, or the charity of your choice.