Northwestern music building gets $6M gift

A $6 million gift to Northwestern University's Bienen School of Music will go toward the school's $117 million, 152,000-square foot Music and Communication Building, which is under construction on the Evanston lakefront and scheduled to open in fall 2015.

The Robert W. Galvin Foundation has made the contribution in honor of Mary B. Galvin, who received an undergraduate degree from Northwestern in 1945 and has been an active supporter of the arts in Chicago and around the world for decades.

The building's showcase performance space will be named the Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall. The 400-seat room will face Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline, with a 50-foot glass wall behind the stage.

“I really do see the recital hall as being the gem, the signature piece of the new building,” said music school Dean Toni-Marie Montgomery.

For the Galvin family — which founded Motorola and led it until 2003 — the recital hall seemed an ideal naming opportunity.

“When I saw the design of the recital hall with the 50-foot window with the backdrop of the Chicago skyline, I said this has to be where we say ‘ thank you' to Mary Galvin for all she did for musicians,” said Christopher B. Galvin, her son. He succeeded his father, Robert W. Galvin, as chairman and CEO of Motorola; Robert W. Galvin died in 2011 at age 89.

Mary Galvin, 89, is a co-founder of the Stradivari Society, which lends violins to young artists. She has served on the boards of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Joffrey Ballet and the Kennedy Center in Washington, according to Northwestern.

In addition to the Galvin Recital Hall, the new music building will contain the Carol and David McClintock Choral Rehearsal/Recital Room, thanks to a $3 million contribution from the McClintocks, Montgomery said.

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