Gift from Potocsnak Family Endows College Prep Program

Gift from Potocsnak Family Endows College Prep Program

Alexa exiting a CTA trainAcademy students like Alexa are prepared for highly selective colleges and universities.The Potocsnak family has made a new multimillion-dollar gift to Northwestern in honor of President Morton Schapiro, who concludes his tenure in August after 13 years at the University.

In tribute to Schapiro, the gift supports popular programs created during his presidency that help prepare area students for college and celebrate the profound impact high school teachers have on readying students for Northwestern.

A majority of the gift will endow Northwestern Academy for Chicago Public Schools, which will be named Morton Schapiro Northwestern Academy for Chicago Public Schools. The academy, established in 2013, is a free, multiyear college access and enrichment program for academically motivated high school students from diverse backgrounds.

The remainder of the gift will be used to endow the University’s Distinguished Secondary School Teacher Award program, which will be named the Morton Schapiro Distinguished Secondary School Teacher Award. Each year at Commencement, Northwestern honors five high school teachers whose personal and professional commitment has touched the Northwestern community.

Schapiro, a professor of economics, has modeled an active teaching and scholarly career that today is rare for a president of a large research university. Upon announcing his departure in March 2021, he noted that “teaching — and learning from — our students as well as our faculty and alumni may be the highlight of my time here.”

Led by Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy, the academy is designed for students from Chicago Public Schools (CPS) who have limited financial means and often would be among the first generation in their family to attend college. Students are prepared for highly selective colleges and universities through individualized and group experiences focused on academic enrichment, college counseling and leadership development.

Of the nearly 300 CPS students who have graduated from the academy, 285 have continued to four-year colleges or universities, including Northwestern.

Read the full story: Gift from Potocsnak family endows college prep program, high school teaching awards.


By Stephen Anzaldi
Last Modified: 9/29/22