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Pritzker Gift Bolsters Public Interest Law at Northwestern

$1 million challenge gift to establish post-graduate fellowship program

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September 20, 2013 | by Hilary Hurd Anyaso

CHICAGO --- The Jay Pritzker Foundation has made a $1 million gift to Northwestern University School of Law to establish the Jay A. Pritzker Fellowship Program. Dan Pritzker, JD ’86, and Karen Pritzker are trustees of the Jay Pritzker Foundation. 

A challenge designed to inspire additional gifts in support of public interest law at Northwestern, the program will fully match gifts of $25,000 from donors, creating annual stipends of $50,000 for students who will pursue public interest law careers. 

Named after Dan Pritzker’s father, who graduated from the School of Law in 1947, the program will provide post-graduate public interest fellowships. Several fellows will be selected annually over a three-year period, with preference given to talented students who demonstrate financial need. 

“Northwestern Law students are passionate about serving the public good,” said Dan Pritzker. “These fellowships can make a tangible difference in the lives of many, benefiting not only the graduates, but the communities they are committed to serving.”

Over the past several years, Northwestern Law has made significant investments in strengthening its public interest law program, including its Law and Social Policy Concentration, a growing pro bono program and a generous Loan Repayment Assistance Program. With the addition of the Pritzker Fellowship Program, the Law School is helping to address a challenging job market for entry-level public interest lawyers. 

“So many of our students see the impact that public interest law can have on the well-being of their communities and society,” said Daniel B. Rodriguez, dean and Harold Washington Professor at the School of Law. “Dan and Karen’s generous gift to establish this program enables our graduates to immediately begin serving their communities, regardless of financial constraints.”

Dan and Karen Pritzker have also supported the law school’s Center on Wrongful Convictions, the Bienen School of Music’s jazz studies program, and the School of Education and Social Policy’s Center for Talent Development, serving gifted students and their families.