Welsh-Ryan Arena is an 8,117-seat multi-purpose arena in Evanston, Illinois. The arena opened in 1952 as McGaw Memorial Hall located to the north of Ryan Field on the athletic campus, and also contains the stadium's field house. The arena hosted the 1956 NCAA Final Four. Patten Gymnasium, formerly located on the main campus at Northwestern, hosted the first NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament in 1939 and was later torn down in order to build the Technological Institute in its place, which was completed in 1942. A smaller Patten Gymnasium was built to the north of the original site, which still stands and is mostly used for student recreation, intramural sports, and club sports.
McGaw Memorial Hall was named by benefactor Foster McGaw for his father, the Rev. Francis McGaw, a Presbyterian minister who had died in Kenya ten years prior. The arena itself was renamed following the 1982-83 renovations in honor of lead benefactor Patrick G. Ryan, president of the board of trustees, and his wife's parents, Mr. & Mrs. Robert J. Welsh Sr.
Opposing fans often outnumber Wildcat fans at men's basketball games, most notably in games against the Wisconsin Badgers, when commentators refer to the arena as "Kohl Center South."