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Combe Gives $16 Million to Northwestern University

October 4, 2013

To help boost school of management, athletics.

A $16 million gift from Northwestern University alumnus and trustee Christopher Combe and his wife, Courtney Combe, will strongly boost the momentum of Northwestern athletics and help secure sustained leadership of the department, according to the universirt. The Combes’ gift also will be used to enhance the Kellogg School of Management’s focus on social entrepreneurship and sustainable solutions to global problems.

The Combes’ gift will be divided in the following ways:
  • $10 million will endow the vice president position in the department of athletics and recreation, ensuring the department’s long-term stability and providing funds for the vice president to seed important projects and address new opportunities. In recognition of the gift, the position will be named in honor of Chris and Courtney Combe.
  • $5 million will endow the new Combe Family Impact Scholars Program at Kellogg, allowing an elite group of Kellogg students to learn how they can change our world positively through the application of business practices. The program, part of the Kellogg Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative, will offer intensive academic and experiential learning opportunities and enable the scholars to create and engage in high-impact social entrepreneurial ventures that reflect their vision for developing sustainable solutions to global societal and environmental challenges.
  • $1 million will endow the Combe Family Impact Award at Kellogg, a highly selective award inspired by alumnus and One Acre Fund cofounder Andrew Youn (’06). The award provides Kellogg students with grants to launch promising ventures in social entrepreneurship -- seed funding that can make all the difference in enabling young businesses to thrive.
“Chris and Courtney Combe are an integral part of the Northwestern family and have given generously to the University over the years,” Northwestern President Morton Schapiro said. “This visionary gift demonstrates their appreciation for Northwestern athletics at a very exciting time in its history, as well as their strong belief in what Kellogg can do to address and solve world issues.”

Mr. Combe is chairman and CEO of Combe Incorporated, a White Plains, N.Y.-based private, family-held company that places in Happi's Top 50 list. Founded in 1949, Combe Incorporated manufactures and markets health and personal care products including Just For Men haircolor products, Vagisil feminine care products, Sea-Bond denture products and Brylcreem, Aqua Velva and Lectric Shave men’s personal grooming products.

Mr. Combe received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Northwestern in 1970. He has been a member of Northwestern’s Board of Trustees since 1997 and of the University’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences Board of Visitors since 1981. Mr. Combe also has been director of Northwestern’s Alumni Admissions Council for Westchester County, N.Y., since 1975 and served on his class reunion committees.

Since 1987, Mrs. Combe has been a member of the Women’s Board of Northwestern. Ivan D. Combe, Mr. Combe’s father and the founder of Combe Incorporated, received undergraduate and law degrees from Northwestern and was a member of the first Northwestern men’s tennis team to win the Big 10 championship. A number of other members of the Combe family also are Northwestern graduates.

A steadfast supporter of Northwestern through the years, Mr. Combe made his first gift to Northwestern, an annual fund contribution of $100, in 1975. Since then, the Combe family has made significant gifts in support of numerous areas of the University, establishing the Ivan D. Combe Family Endowed Fund for Excellence in Business Programs, the Combe Family Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach and the Combe Family Endowed Scholarship Fund for varsity tennis players. Additional gifts to Northwestern athletics have named the University’s indoor tennis center, as well as a main scoreboard, six individual scoreboards and six sets of bleachers at the Vandy Christie Tennis Center.