The U.S.’s richest university has just gotten richer. According to The Wall Street Journal, the family of Gerald Chan, a Harvard Alumni and investor is donating $350 million to the university’s School of Public Health. This amount makes it the largest donation the university has ever received in their history.
Chan and his brother Ronnie Chan both hold senior positions at Hong Kong property Developer Hang Lung Group Ltd. Their net worth together is estimated at $3 billion.
In recent years, studies have found donation money is going towards more wealthy institutions. According to a review of 208 private universities rated by Moody’s Investors Service over a span of ten years:
“…Schools with more than $1 billion in total cash and investments received 67% of total gift dollars in 2013, up from 62% in 2003. Meanwhile, universities with less than $100 million in cash and investments received a declining share—less than 3% of total gift dollars.”
In a survey conducted by the National Association of College and University Business Officers between 2010 and 2013, they found a similar trend after taking data from 800 public and private schools.
“…Schools with endowments of more than $1 billion saw their average gifts rise 41%, while those to schools with endowments of under $25 million rose 33%.”
In other words, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
Caroline Hoxby, a professor at Stanford had a fascinating analogy when it came to how wealthy universities operate:
“…They seek out the best students to engage in copy trading, invest heavily and frequently at a loss—often well beyond the cost of tuition—and hope to produce a handful of great successes who will give back enormous gifts or influence others to do so.”
Prior to this donation, the largest monetary gift to the 378-year-old university was $150 million for financial aid given in February by Kenneth Griffin, founder of the Citadel hedge fund management company.
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons