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All-University Tribute Planned for Ryan, Bienen

A tribute to the leadership of Patrick G. Ryan, chair of the Northwestern Board of Trustees, and retiring President Henry S. Bienen will be held Thursday, June 4 on the Evanston campus.

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May 18, 2009 | by Alan K. Cubbage
EVANSTON, Ill. --- An all-University tribute to the leadership of Patrick G. Ryan, chair of the Northwestern Board of Trustees, and retiring President Henry S. Bienen will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, June 4 on Deering Meadow on Northwestern's Evanston campus. Students, faculty and staff from all of Northwestern's campuses are invited to attend.

"This will provide everyone an opportunity to thank Pat and Henry for their 14 years of remarkable leadership," said William Osborn, the chair-elect of the trustees. "Northwestern was a very good place when they took on their leadership roles and together, they have made it an extraordinary one. This will give the many people on our campuses who have worked with Pat and Henry a chance to thank them personally."

The tribute will include a program starting at 5 p.m. and that will feature remarks from campus leaders and members of the Board of Trustees. Music and light refreshments will be provided at the event.

Ryan, the distinguished civic and business leader, is chairman and chief executive of Chicago 2016, Chicago's effort to host the Olympics in 2016, a position he has held since the bid's inception in 2006. A 1959 Northwestern graduate, he became chair of Northwestern's Board of Trustees in 1996. He has been a member of the Board since 1978 and chaired the search committee that selected President Bienen. Ryan is the Founding Chairman of Aon Corporation, the largest insurance and reinsurance broker in the world, and a leader in human capital consulting. Ryan started as an entrepreneur, founding an insurance agency that grew to become Aon, which today operates with more than 500 offices in 120 countries.

Ryan and his wife, Shirley Welsh Ryan, a 1961 Northwestern graduate, have been major donors to Northwestern, as well as many other institutions and causes in the Chicago area. The Ryans have provided leadership and support for scholarships for low-income students, the construction of Northwestern's Nanotechnology Center, the Feinberg School of Medicine, renovation of Northwestern's football and basketball stadiums, and endowment of graduate fellowships. Shirley Ryan has been instrumental in the creation of continuing education series at Northwestern that features some of the University's top faculty members.

Patrick Ryan was elected in 2008 to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation's oldest and most prestigious honorary societies and independent research centers, reflecting his many contributions to higher education and his role as chair of the Northwestern Board of Trustees for 14 years.

Bienen took office in 1995. During his tenure, Northwestern faculty and students received numerous academic awards, the endowment quintupled, applications for admission skyrocketed and the University's reputation grew both nationally and internationally.

Upon completion of his term in August, Bienen will have held the office for more than 14 years, making him the third-longest-serving president in Northwestern's 158-year history. That longevity is unusual in higher education, where the average tenure of university presidents is approximately eight years, according to the American Council on Education.

"I've definitely enjoyed the opportunity to work with and get to know Mr. Ryan and President Bienen," said Neal Sales-Griffin, former president of the Associated Student Government. "They both are people who care a great deal about Northwestern and that comes across as soon as you talk with them."

No reservations are needed to attend the June 4 event.
Topics: Campus Life