Billionaire George Roberts Gives Claremont McKenna $50 Million

George Roberts, the billionaire co- founder and co-chief executive officer of KKR & Co. (KKR), gave $50 million to Claremont McKenna College.

The gift from Roberts adds to Claremont McKenna’s recent fundraising campaign, which surpassed $600 million with the donation. The university, based in Claremont, California, said it will name a new three-floor athletic facility The Roberts Pavilion, which can also be configured to seat 2,000 people for community events.

“Claremont McKenna College teaches leadership; George Roberts lives it at the highest standard,” Harry McMahon, chairman of the university’s board of trustees, said in a statement today. “His entrepreneurial zeal and vision for making the college the best it can be has been one of our greatest blessings.”

Roberts graduated from the university in 1966, one year before his cousin, Henry Kravis. In 1976, the two started the leveraged-buyout firm KKR with a partner from Bear Stearns & Co., Jerome Kohlberg. New York-based KKR, which has at three different points held the title of pulling off the biggest LBO in history, today oversees $66 billion of assets.

$4.3 Billion

Almost all of Roberts’s fortune derives from KKR profits, giving him a net worth of $4.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He and Kravis received $94 million each in pay and cash dividends in 2011, about 30 percent more than a year earlier, according to regulatory filings. Roberts works in the firm’s offices in Menlo Park, California, while Kravis is based in KKR’s Manhattan headquarters.

Claremont McKenna last year opened The Kravis Center, an academic building named for Kravis, 68, and his wife. The school also houses the Kravis Leadership Institute. In 2010, Kravis pledged $100 million to Columbia Business School, where he earned a master’s in business administration in 1969, to help fund its campus expansion.

Roberts, 69, has already helped fund two of Claremont McKenna’s academic buildings, both named after him, as well as the Roberts Environmental Center, the university said.

“We have a great community here,” Roberts said in the statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Devin Banerjee in New York at dbanerjee2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Staiti in Boston at cstaiti@bloomberg.net

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