Founder of Citadel pledges $150 million to Harvard, its largest gift ever

Stefanie Botelho's picture
Friday, February 21, 2014

When the billionaire hedge fund manager Kenneth C. Griffin was a sophomore at Harvard, he was betting on convertible bonds in his dorm room — thanks to a satellite dish he had hooked up on the roof — while his fellow students were going to classes.

Twenty-eight years later, that formative experience will be paying dividends for his alma mater.

Mr. Griffin said on Wednesday that he was donating $150 million to Harvard College, the biggest single gift to the college ever. The money will largely go the college’s financial aid program as Harvard seeks to blunt criticism that higher education has become the province of the 1 percent. (The estimated annual cost of attending Harvard College is nearly $60,000, according to the College Board.)

“This was an opportunity to make a statement about Harvard as one of the most important higher education institutions in the world,” Mr. Griffin said in an interview.

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