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Weinberg Gift for Garden, Professorship

October 9, 2007 | by Alan K. Cubbage

EVANSTON, Ill.--- An historic quiet spot on Northwestern's Evanston campus has been significantly enhanced and a new endowed professorship has been created at the University, thanks to a gift from David, Richard and Jack Weinberg in memory of their mother, Marjorie G. Weinberg (WCAS50).

Recently rededicated as the Marjorie Weinberg Garden, the area has been extensively landscaped, with new benches and new limestone paving stones leading to it. The garden is located on the south side of Deering Meadow on a small hill that overlooks the meadow.

In addition, the gift has funded a new endowed chair, the Weinberg Family Distinguished Professorship of Life Sciences. The chair will support a faculty member in the fields of biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology, chemistry or neurobiology and physiology.

The garden is named in honor of Marjorie Weinberg, the late mother of David, Richard, and Jack, and the late wife of Judd A. Weinberg (EB47), a life member of Northwestern's board of trustees. Both Judd and Marjorie Weinberg attended Northwestern at the same time, although the couple did not meet until after they had left the campus.

"We're very pleased to continue our family's support of Northwestern and particularly pleased to support the improvements to this garden," said David Weinberg. "The future is being forged every day in Northwestern's laboratories and classrooms and elsewhere in less formal settings on campus. In a more tangible and immediate way, we hope the Marjorie Weinberg Garden will be a place where members of the University community gather together. We are proud to have our name associated with Northwestern."

David, Richard and Jack Weinberg live in the Chicago area with their families, and serve on a variety of civic institutions while pursuing their careers. David is chairman and chief executive officer of Judd Enterprises, Inc., the family's holding company and represents the family's interests on a number of private, corporate boards and has served as chairman of the board of the Ravinia Festival, and chairman of the education committee of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago. He is also a trustee of Northwestern, serving as chair of the medical affairs committee and a vice-chair of the board.

Richard has been involved in the family's real estate investments and is a producer of musical theater and has served as president of the Chicago Chapter of the American Jewish Committee. Jack is a developer and operator of real estate and serves as chairman of the board of Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, which was founded by Marjorie Weinberg's father, David Gottlieb. Jack is also a director of the Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois and has served as president of the Glencoe Park District.

The Weinberg family has been a longtime supporter of Northwestern. In 1998, Judd Weinberg and the Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg Family Foundation made a major gift to help endow Northwestern's College of Arts and Sciences, which was named the Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. At that time, modest improvements were made to the garden area and it was named in honor of the Weinberg family.

The family also has made a gift to the medical school to establish the Weinberg Medical Informatics Training Center, a computerized training center for the University's medical students. They also made a gift to the Campaign for Scholarships to establish three endowed scholarships. The Weinberg family also has supported the School of Speech, the Donald P. Jacobs Chair at the Kellogg School of Management, and the Arnold R. and Edna F. Weber Scholarship Fund.

"We very much appreciate all that the Weinberg family has done for Northwestern," said University President Henry S. Bienen. "This latest gift will further strengthen the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences by providing a new professorship in an important area for the University. In addition, the gift allows us to greatly enhance a treasured spot on campus."

The garden area is a shady, secluded nook between University Hall and Deering Meadow in one of the oldest parts of campus. While trees on three sides now flank it, it once was a more open site and served as a natural elevated area on which a speaker's platform was erected for ceremonies in the meadow.

In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower received an honorary doctor of laws degree and spoke to a throng seated in the meadow as part of the World Council of Churches convocation that was held at Northwestern that summer. The limestone steps that led to the platform still remain in the small hill leading to the garden. Northwestern's landscape architect, Ann Ziegelmaier, incorporated them in her design for the new garden. A new walkway of similar limestone paving blocks leads to the garden from the walkway near University Hall.

The design also pays tribute to another historic spot on Northwestern's campus, the Shakespeare Garden. The curved, semicircular benches in Weinberg Garden echo those in the Shakespeare Garden in a much larger scale and different garden setting. Ziegelmaier also incorporated a new border design for the circular bench that includes ivy, oak leaves, acorns and scroll shapes similar to those on the Arch that graces the main entrance to the Evanston campus.

Newly planted in the garden are evergreens, shade-loving ornamentals, shrubs, perennials and ivy ground cover for year-round interest. Select areas are enhanced with annual flowers and spring bulbs for seasonal interest.

The end result is a significantly enhanced quiet space that allows the visitor to rest in the shade on the new benches while overlooking Deering Meadow, often the site of more active recreation.

"This was always a lovely spot, one of my favorites on the Evanston campus, and it looks even better now," said University Archivist Patrick Quinn.

Topics: University News