The gift is the largest in the history of Harvard College, the university’s undergraduate school that was established in 1636, the school said yesterday in an e-mailed statement.
Harvard President Drew Faust has expanded the college’s financial-aid program so that families with annual incomes of $180,000 or less pay no more than 10 percent of their incomes for their child to attend. Twenty percent of undergraduates’ families pay nothing, according to the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based school’s website. Griffin’s gift will provide funds for as many as 800 students annually, the university said in the statement.
“Ken Griffin’s extraordinary philanthropy is opening Harvard’s gates wider to the most talented students in the world, no matter their economic circumstances,” Faust said in the statement.
Griffin graduated with a degree in economics from Harvard College, and is vice chairman of the Chicago Public Education Fund. He also co-founder of the Kenneth and Anne Griffin Foundation, which has pledged more than $100 million since 1999 to support education, health care and the arts, according to the foundation’s website.
About $10 million of Griffin’s gift will support a professorship in business administration at Harvard Business School. Harvard said in September that it is beginning a fundraising effort, called a capital campaign, to raise $6.5 billion by 2018.
The campaign will let the university expand research and teaching in engineering, the arts and humanities, along with the fields of energy, neuroscience and stem cell research, Harvard Provost Alan Garber said last year. Dormitories are also being renovated and construction that stalled after the financial crisis that began in 2008 is resuming.
As of September, Harvard had doubled its investment in financial aid since 2007, according to Faust. About 60 percent of undergraduates pay an average of $12,000 to attend.
Harvard’s $32.7 billion endowment makes it the world’s wealthiest school. It raised $792.3 million in the year ended June, the most in the U.S. after Stanford University, according to a report this month by the Council for Aid to Education.
Almost 60 percent of schools said they raised more in 2013 than the previous year. Contributions for current operations increased 6.9 percent, and gifts for capital purposes rose 12.4 percent.
While the current fiscal year still has more than four months left, the “bellwethers for giving” in higher education are positive, Ann Kaplan, director of the council’s survey, said in a statement.
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