History fans celebrate after University receives huge donation

by Catherine Zhang

source: chicagobusiness

History fanatics across campus rejoiced at the announcement of a $5.6 million donation made by Nicholas and Eleanor Chabraja to Northwestern University in late January, a large portion of which will go to the Center for Historical Studies.

Hayley Landman, a sophomore American Studies major, applauded the contribution, citing the Chabraja Center as “a huge part of my Northwestern experience [and] one of the defining features of it.”

Nicholas Chabraja, a 1967 graduate of the School of Law, and his wife Eleanor, donated $5.6 million to Northwestern University earlier this month in a gift that was part of the university’s “We Will” fundraising campaign, an addition predicted to expand existing fellowship programs as well as fund a new fellows program for post-graduate students.

The Chabraja Center includes an undergraduate fellows program, created in honor of Richard Leopold, a member of the University’s Department of History, as well as a graduate fellows program.

Landman, a Leopold fellow, helps an urban historian with a project about slum development. She said her involvement in the research project has been a “great way to get your feet wet in historical research… [and] a really great way to see what that looks like if I want to pursue it.”

Sarah Maza, the director of the Chabraja Center, thanked Chabraja for his generosity, stating that his donation was important and touching because “he remembered the discipline that he loved as an undergraduate.”

She added that the funding would help attract unique professors, because “one of the things that appeals to them in the department is that there is this organization that…organizes intellectual life and connects with constituencies on campus.”

Maza also said that the donation would help fund the Center’s increased involvement with different University groups, such as the Holocaust Educational Foundation, the Center for African American History, and the Classical Traditions Initiative.

Additionally, the gift will support existing collaborations with Queen Mary University in London and with Hong Kong University.

Graduate fellow Keith Rathbone said that the continued support would help “promote historical debate here within the Center, within the History Department, within the Northwestern community, [and] within the Evanston community.”

Alex Hobson, another graduate fellow, said the generous contribution would allow more undergraduates “the opportunity to work with the scholar in a very intimate way” as well as let the Center “expand the collaboration they have with other universities.”

Aside from the Center for Historical Studies, the Chabrajas’ gift contributes to the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences’ annual fund, the School of Law annual fund and more.

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