CHICAGO (February 21, 2018) – Colonel (IL) Jennifer N. Pritzker, IL ARNG (Retired), through TAWANI Foundation, has committed $10 million to Loyola University Chicago in honor of her mother, Audrey G. Ratner, an educator, philanthropist and Loyola alumna.
Funding from the multiyear gift will support endowment funds in six areas across the university. A component of the agreement matches further fundraising in several areas so that the potential impact of the gift could exceed $15 million.
The Audrey G. Ratner Endowments will fund scholarships and stipends for students who are veterans or children of veterans, Loyola’s ROTC students and students studying to be teachers. The gift will also establish an endowed fund for program support at Loyola’s Hillel House, and to create a fund to foster study on dyslexia and other reading disorders in Loyola’s School of Education. A President’s Innovation Fund will provide preliminary funding for innovative projects and programs.
“We are immensely grateful to Jennifer Pritzker and the TAWANI Foundation for this generous and visionary gift,” said Jo Ann Rooney, president of Loyola. “The Audrey Ratner Endowments create, sustain and grow opportunities and strong programming for generations of students across Loyola–our veterans, our cadets, and our future teachers and reading specialists, among many others—and will provide new insights and approaches to reading disorders. It also pays eloquent tribute to the legacy of Audrey Ratner, who has worked endlessly as an educator and philanthropist to ensure access to quality education for those who experience economic and other challenges.”
Loyola has a robust legacy of serving military students, veterans and families. The University hosts the largest ROTC program in the Midwest. The Loyola Rambler Battalion covers ROTC programming for five other colleges and universities in Chicago in addition to Loyola. Loyola has been named as one of the 2016 Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News and World Report and designated as a 2017 Military Friendly Institution. Loyola’s School of Education is among the top schools in Illinois for teacher preparation and graduate study for teachers, educational specialists, school psychologists and administrators. Loyola’s Hillel House has an active student board at Loyola and offers a vibrant array of programming within the multicultural faith ministries at the university.
Audrey Ratner graduated with honors from Loyola in 1978, having earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education. Mrs. Ratner is a lifelong champion and supporter of access to education. She taught fourth grade at the Francis Parker School where she helped implement several new academic approaches such as; the Gillingham method of reading for junior kindergarten through fifth grade. She also serves as trustee emeritus. In addition to her teaching at the Francis Parker School, Mrs. Ratner was also a teacher for a residential unit at the Jewish Children’s Bureau of Chicago. She served on the visiting committee to the Department of Far Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago. She also served as a member of the Women’s Division of the Jewish Federation of Chicago and, after relocating to Cleveland in 1980, on committees of the Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland.
In 2008, Mrs. Ratner’s daughter, Karen Pritzker, established the Audrey G. Ratner Professorship in Learning Development at the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity.
Mrs. Ratner has provided generous financial support to student scholarships and the School of Education at Loyola. She is the recipient of the Heart of Loyola Award, presented to women and men who exemplify the core values of Jesuit education in service to others.
“My mother and I graduated from Loyola as adult undergraduate students—she was a busy mom and I was in the military,” said Pritzker, who is also CEO and president of TAWANI Enterprises. “We both respect Loyola’s mission to educate students of all backgrounds and ages. We both believe that education is the great equalizer in a democratic society and everyone, should have access to high-quality education and funding to provide them with the resources and opportunities to succeed. My mother worked tirelessly to level the playing field for economically disadvantaged students and improve outcomes for children with learning disabilities, dyslexia and ADHD.”
Pritzker, an esteemed historian, businesswoman and investor, developer and philanthropist, is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago with a B.A. in History. She is passionate about restoration, preservation and property management. Pritzker founded TAWANI Enterprises, an investment group specializing in the development, investment, management and preservation of real estate properties in the Chicago area. Pritzker represents more than six companies under the TAWANI brand, including the Stone Heritage Collection, the Pritzker Military Museum & Library, the TAWANI Foundation and the Pritzker Military Foundation. She is also responsible for the total restoration of the historic Monroe Building.
Pritzker has been honored with several awards for architectural excellence and preservation, and received an Honorary Doctorate of Military Science from Norwich University in 2007. She is also the 2012 recipient of the Loyola University Chicago Damen Award, and the 2016 recipient of the U.S. Department of Defense Spirit of Hope Award, to name a few.
Before TAWANI, Pritzker served in the military for numerous years. She enlistment in the U.S. Army as a private in 1974, where she served with the 82nd Airborne Division. She continued to serve on active duty until 1985, where she rose to the rank of captain serving with the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, KY and VII Corps in the Federal Republic of Germany. She then served in the U.S. Army Reserve and the Illinois Army National Guard until her retirement in March 2001. She retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and received an honorary promotion to full Colonel in the Illinois Army National Guard. She has been honored with more than 20 military awards, including the Meritorious Service Medal and Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, among several others.
Pritzker is also founder and chair of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library, president and founder of the TAWANI Foundation, and president and founder of the Pritzker Military Foundation. She serves as a governing member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a member of the Visiting Committee to the Library at The University of Chicago and a member of the Leadership Council for the Program in Human Sexuality at the University of Minnesota.
Loyola University is a leader in reaching out to veterans, adult students, and to students from all backgrounds with an educational model that is service-oriented and respects individual differences. For more information about Loyola University, visit https://www.luc.edu. For more information about TAWANI Foundation, visit http://www.tawanifoundation.org.
About Loyola University Chicago
Founded in 1870, Loyola University Chicago is one of the nation’s largest Jesuit, Catholic universities, with more than 16,600 students. Nearly 11,500 undergraduates call Loyola home. The University has four campuses: three in the greater Chicago area and one in Rome, Italy, as well as course locations in Saigon-Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Vernon Hills, Illinois (Cuneo Mansion and Gardens); and a Retreat and Ecology Campus in Woodstock, Illinois. The University features 13 schools, colleges, and institutes, including the Quinlan School of Business, Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, Stritch School of Medicine, College of Arts and Sciences, School of Communication, School of Continuing and Professional Studies, School of Education, School of Law, School of Social Work, Graduate School, Institute of Pastoral Studies, Institute of Environmental Sustainability, and Arrupe College of Loyola University Chicago. Ranked a top national university by U.S. News & World Report, Loyola is also among a select group of universities recognized for community service and engagement by prestigious national organizations like the Carnegie Foundation and the Corporation for National and Community Service. To learn more about Loyola, visit LUC.edu, “like” us at Facebook.com/LoyolaChicago, or follow us on Twitter via @LoyolaChicago or @LoyolaNewsroom.
About TAWANI Enterprises
TAWANI Enterprises, headquartered in Chicago, is an investment group specializing in the development, investment, management and preservation of real estate properties in the Chicago area. The company represents a diversified portfolio of iconic brands, such as Stone Heritage Collection, a luxury group of historic Bed & Breakfast properties and unique event spaces, the Pritzker Military Museum & Library, the TAWANI Foundation and the Pritzker Military Foundation. Properties under the Stone Heritage Collection includes Stone Terrace, Stone Porch by the Lake, Lang House, The Emil Bach House, Mayne Stage and The Lincoln Way Inn. For more information, visit https://www.tawanienterprises.com.
Note to editors: A biography on Audrey G. Ratner is attached. Pictures and interviews are available upon request.
Audrey G. Ratner Biography
Audrey G. Ratner graduated with honors from Loyola University of Chicago in 1978 with a bachelor’s degree in education. Ratner is a lifelong champion and supporter of access to education. She has provided generous financial support to student scholarships and the School of Education at Loyola. Ratner is the recipient of the Heart of Loyola Award, presented to women and men who exemplify the core values of Jesuit education in service to others. She was on the Visiting Committee to the Department of Far Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago.
Ratner was a teacher for many years at Francis W. Parker School where she taught middle school language arts and the Gillingham method of reading for junior kindergarten through fifth grade. She also served on the Education Council and Curriculum Committee of the middle school, where she helped create new approaches to academic procedures. While at Francis W. Parker, Ratner was a member of the Francis W. Parker School board of trustees and now serves as trustee emeritus. Ratner and her family are major contributors to the Francis W. Parker School.
Ratner was also a teacher for a residential unit at the Jewish Children’s Bureau of Chicago.
Ratner has extensive volunteer experience. She has served on the governing board of the Chicago Symphony. In Oberlin, Ohio, Ratner formed and led the World Politics Discussion Group as part of the adult education program of the University of Chicago.
Ratner relocated to Cleveland in 1980, where she currently serves on the board of trustees of the Musical Arts Association of The Cleveland Orchestra and is a member of its Executive, Education and Nominating & Governance Committees. She was a founding member of a committee that introduced a special program to the Cleveland Public Schools which utilized Cleveland Orchestra musicians to bring classical music into the classroom.
Ratner is an adviser to The Ratner School, where she works with groups in Cleveland to improve the local public school system. Ratner has also been involved in Breakthrough Schools in Cleveland, the Ginn Academy, The Hawken School and Laurel School.
Ratner has served on several committees of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, including the Russian Resettlement Committee and the budget committee. Ratner and her family are founding members of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Ratner served on the board of directors of John Carroll University for 31 years, where she was a member of the student affairs committee, the nominating committee and the governance committee, and currently serves as director emeritus.
In 2008, Ratner’s daughter, Karen Pritzker, established the “Audrey G. Ratner Professorship in Learning Development at the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity.” Ratner is also active in the International Dyslexia Association of Northern Ohio.