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After $25M Gift, Ex-Aramark CEO, Wife Have Now Pledged $125M To U. Of C.

By Sam Cholke | March 9, 2017 1:09pm
 Joseph Neubauer and his wife, Jeanette Lerman-Neubauer, have committed more than $125 million to the University of Chicago.
Joseph Neubauer and his wife, Jeanette Lerman-Neubauer, have committed more than $125 million to the University of Chicago.
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University of Chicago/Dan Dry

HYDE PARK — The Neubauer Family Foundation on Thursday announced a $25 million gift to the University of Chicago, pushing its total contributions to the university to over $125 million.

The foundation run by Joseph Neubauer, chairman of the university’s board of trustees and former chairman of Aramark, and his wife, Jeanette Lerman-Neubauer, founder of the marketing firm J.P. Lerman & Co., announced the gift Monday to support doctoral students at the university.

“The most direct way to change the world for the better is to invest in human capital,” Neubauer said. “This gift is intended to enable the University of Chicago to recruit top academic talent at the Ph.D. level — future change agents who will graduate with both knowledge and purpose, intent on effecting substantive, lasting, positive improvement in their chosen fields.”

The university said the gift will be used to recruit Ph.D. candidates in the humanities, physical sciences and social sciences and will increase stipends for some students starting in the 2018-19 academic year.

“Recruiting the best doctoral students and ensuring that they can flourish and grow intellectually across a wide spectrum of inquiry is fundamental to the success of the university’s mission of research, education and impact,” said university President Robert Zimmer. “The Neubauers’ support for graduate education will help the university attract and support the outstanding students who will go on to become leaders in many fields of endeavor.”

Joseph Neubauer, a 1965 graduate of the university’s business school, and his wife have now contributed more than $125 million to the university, including founding the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society and numerous fellowship and endowed professorships for faculty.

The news comes as the university announces plans to expand its three-year fundraising campaign to $5 billion.

The campaign was launched in 2014 to raise $4.5 billion for the university and so far has raised $3.61 billion, according to the university.

Neubauer oversaw a recent meeting of the trustees that approved the expansion of the fundraising goal in part to expand funding for the Odyssey Scholarship Program, which helps undergraduate students replace loans with grants.

Neubauer, who went to work for Aramark in 1979, took the CEO in 1983 and was named chairman of the board a year later. He stepped down in 2014.
The university’s last major fundraising campaign from 2000-08 raised $2.38 billion, according to the university.