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Galvin Foundation Makes $6 Million Gift to Northwestern

Recital hall in new music building to be named for Mary B. Galvin

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February 4, 2013 | by Alan K. Cubbage
Recital hall
The 400-seat recital hall will be the premier showcase for music performances in Northwestern's new Music and Communication Building. It will feature a 50-foot high glass wall behind the stage, framing dramatic views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline.

EVANSTON, Ill. --- The Robert W. Galvin Foundation has made a $6 million gift in honor of Mary B. Galvin, a 1945 graduate of Northwestern University, in support of Northwestern’s Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music.

In recognition of the significant gift, Northwestern will name the recital hall in a new Music and Communication Building under construction on the Evanston campus the Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall. The 400-seat recital hall will be the premier showcase for music performances in the new building and will feature a 50-foot-high glass wall behind the stage, framing dramatic views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline.

The new building will be located on the lakefront at the south end of Northwestern’s Evanston campus. The signature building, designed by the distinguished architectural firm Goettsch Partners, will be the new home for the Bienen School of Music. It also will provide space for the School of Communication.

The Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall will be the site of student, faculty and guest artist performances, along with other University events. Kirkegaard Associates, the renowned acoustical design firm that created the acoustics for Northwestern’s Pick-Staiger Hall, will design the acoustics for the new hall. In addition, the hall will feature state-of-the-art video and sound equipment for recording performances.

“The recital hall will be the centerpiece of our new building,” said Toni-Marie Montgomery, dean of the Bienen School of Music. “Mrs. Galvin’s role as co-founder of the Stradivari Society, which has provided valuable and prestigious string instruments to world-class musicians such as Midori, Joshua Bell and Gil Shaham, makes the naming of this venue particularly meaningful. Mary studied violin as a child, and her love of music and understanding of the importance of early musical training is exemplified through her patronage of the Magical Strings of Youth program. Mrs. Galvin has made a significant impact on the careers of musicians worldwide. The Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall will serve as a source of inspiration and great pride for Bienen School students and faculty.

“We are extremely grateful for the support of the Galvin family and the Galvin Foundation, and we look forward to the gala opening of the Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall in 2015," Dean Montgomery added.

The Galvin family has long-standing connections to Northwestern. Robert W. Galvin, the former chairman and CEO of Motorola Inc., who died in 2011, received an honorary degree from Northwestern in 1992. His wife, Mary B. Galvin, received an undergraduate degree in communication from Northwestern in 1945. Christopher B. Galvin, who succeeded his father, Robert, as chairman and CEO at Motorola and who is a member of Northwestern’s Board of Trustees and the Dean’s Advisory Board of the Kellogg School of Management, received an undergraduate degree from Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences in 1973 and an MBA with distinction from Kellogg in 1977. His wife, Cynthia Galvin, received her undergraduate degree in 1978 from Northwestern.

Other members of the Galvin family also received degrees from Northwestern. Elizabeth Galvin, Mary Galvin's daughter-in-law, graduated from the Northwestern University School of Law in 1977. Dr. Philip Sheridan Jr., her nephew, received a degree from Kellogg in 1996. Betsy Sheridan Collins received an undergraduate degree from the School of Communication in 1973. And three of Mary Galvin's grandsons also received degrees from Northwestern: Brian Sullivan, an undergraduate degree from the School of Communication in 1993; Michael Meiners, an undergraduate degree from the School of Communication in 1996; and David Galvin, an MBA from Kellogg in 2011.

“The entire Galvin family is pleased to honor our mother and grandmother for her passionate contributions to the arts throughout the world over the past five decades and to support Northwestern’s outstanding music and communication programs,” said Chris Galvin. “Mary Galvin has been a global citizen in the arts. She served on the boards of the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera and Joffrey Ballet in the U.S. Mom encouraged Motorola Inc. to provide sponsorship for one of the Japanese tours of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra 20 years ago, and she originated the idea for a China event. She then personally presented one of her Stradivari-sponsored violinists in a private concert she hosted in Beijing for the Presidents of China Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao a few days before their transition of power in 2002."

“This new building will be an important addition to the Northwestern campus,” said Northwestern President Morton Schapiro. “The building aligns with the goals of our strategic plan to offer the Northwestern community and residents of Evanston and surrounding areas an array of educational and cultural opportunities. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Mary Galvin in the past few years and, given her love of music, it’s very appropriate that we are naming the music recital hall in her honor.”

Construction on the new Music and Communication Building began in June 2012 and is expected to be completed in fall 2015. The five-story building will include classrooms, teaching labs, academic faculty offices, teaching studios for choral, opera, piano and voice faculty, practice rooms, student lounges and administrative offices. In addition to the Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall, the building will include the Carol and David McClintock Choral Rehearsal/Recital Room and an opera rehearsal room/black box theater.

The fifth floor of the new building will serve as a new south campus home for the School of Communication administration, providing the dean’s office and faculty members with new offices. Space in the new building will enable the School of Communication to unite on one floor the faculty in the department of theatre and the department of performance studies.

“The decision to build this new home for the Bienen School of Music was an important step by the Northwestern University Board of Trustees, and we very much appreciate the commitment of Chris Galvin, who is a trustee, and the other members of his family,” said William Osborn, chairman of Northwestern’s Board of Trustees. “Our music school plays an important role in the Chicago music community, and this new facility will enhance that.”

The building design emphasizes a sustainable approach throughout, with a minimum goal of achieving LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The project will also include a new arts green to the west of the building that will consist of a 120-foot-wide, pedestrian-friendly green space. This dramatic gateway to the new building and the fine arts area will provide a major open space amenity that can become a focal point for special events and recreation. The green space will improve pedestrian safety while still allowing vehicular access to the current buildings.