Pritzker family donates $30 million to BioSci division

By Tim Miller

The Pritzker family marked its 100th anniversary in business with a $30 million donation to the University’s Biological Sciences division and its eponymous Pritzker Medical School. The gift was announced on June 5 and was a part of the Chicago Initiative, the University’s capital campaign.

“We have long supported the University and the medical school that bears our name, and we chose to make this new gift for two reasons,” said Thomas Pritzker, J.D./M.B.A.’76, and member of the executive committee of the Board of Trustees and the board of the Pritzker Foundation. “The first is our longstanding pride in the University’s advancement of human knowledge, especially in medical research and the training of many of the nation’s leading physicians and scientists, and in the important work they have done to help improve the lives of so many. The second is our sincere belief that with our support and that of other like-minded people, the University will continue to be the best place to invest in future discoveries.”

The Biological Sciences Division currently plans to use the gift to hire new faculty members in biomedical research, called Pritzker scholars in honor of their endowers. These scientists will focus on the most promising areas of research and treatment, according to James Madara, who becomes dean of the Biological Sciences division July 1.

“Scientific discovery is advancing more rapidly than ever, especially at the interface between the biological sciences and the physical and social sciences,” Madara said. “From the neurosciences to genetics to cancer biology, important and far-reaching discoveries are changing the face of medicine. This very generous and wise gift from the Pritzker family will help us speed up that process. It will lead to discoveries and new therapies that will enable us to provide better care now and well into the future.”

This is not the first gift that the Pritzker family has made to the University, though it is the largest in University history. The Pritzkers have also made donations to the Law School, the South Asian Studies program, and to the Astronomy and Astrophysics program.

“I am extremely grateful to the Pritzker family for this magnificent gift. It comes at a very important moment in the history of science and a very important moment in the history of the University. By providing this gift now, the Pritzkers will build on a long tradition of biomedical research at the University, ensuring the benefits of that research for generations to come,” said President Don Michael Randel.

Nicholas Pritzker, founder of the family law firm Pritzker and Pritzker, came to the United States in 1881 from Kiev, in what is now the Ukraine. This gift marks the centennial of the firm’s founding. Robert, Thomas, Nicholas, and Penny Pritzker serve on the Pritzker Foundation’s board of directors.