Two new gifts from Northwestern University supporters are launching a major renovation of the East Lawn of the Norris University Center. Two couples — Trustee Frank Cohen ’95 and Julie Cohen and Ken Kahn and Jana Kahn (’25 P) — have each committed $3 million to the Evanston campus improvement project.
The East Lawn will be renamed in recognition of the Cohen family, and the space’s main plaza and pavilion will be named in honor of the Kahn family. Architecture firm SmithGroup has already begun the design phase of the renovation, which is projected for completion in summer 2024.
“I am thrilled by the launch of the East Lawn project, which was also very important to my predecessor, Morton Schapiro,” said Michael H. Schill, Northwestern’s 17th president. “The Cohen and Kahn families’ generosity will take this outdoor space to a whole new level and help shape the campus experience for students for many years to come.”
Prime location for community interaction
These gifts will help reimagine the East Lawn — an open field adjacent to Norris University Center, with stunning views of nearby Lake Michigan — as a prime location for student, faculty, staff and community interaction and collaboration on the Evanston campus. Early plans include the plaza and pavilion, which will accommodate events and seasonal activities; an outdoor restaurant and space for food vendors led by Compass Group, Northwestern’s food service partner; movable tables, chairs and umbrellas; a game terrace; and a lounge overlooking the lagoon.
“With this exciting transformation, the new space will be the perfect place for our Northwestern community to connect, engage, relax and recharge,” said Jeremy Schenk, Northwestern’s associate vice president for operations and services. “We are excited to partner with current students in the project’s development, as we want to design both space and programs that work for them.”