Nicholas Pritzker came to America from Russia in 1881 at the age of 10. He taught himself English, got a law degree, and went into business. His sons built on the family holdings, and in 1957 they bought a hotel near Los Angeles—which they subsequently expanded into the Hyatt hotel chain. In addition to many national philanthropic achievements like the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the Pritzkers have placed many philanthropic crowns on the head of their Chicago motherland.
In 1996, Robert Pritzker made a $60 million challenge grant that revitalized Chicago’s Illinois Institute of Technology. The family backed the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago, the Pritzker Institute of Biomedical Science and Engineering at Illinois Tech, Pritzker College Prep charter school, and the Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park. The Pritzker Military Library, the A. N. Pritzker Elementary School, the Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo, the Pritzker Legal Research Center at Northwestern University, the University of Chicago’s Urban Education Institute, and other institutions are also their handiwork.
- Robert Pritzker obituary, nytimes.com/2011/10/31/business/robert-a-pritzker-dies-at-85-family-conglomerate-included-hyatt.html