Harvard University announced today that alumnus Kenneth Griffin AB '89,
founder and chief executive officer of Citadel, has made the largest
gift in Harvard College history. The $150 million gift is principally
focused on supporting Harvard's financial aid program, which Griffin
described as "an investment in the next generation of leaders as we
continue to break down barriers to an outstanding education."
Griffin's gift, which will impact as many as 800 undergraduates every
This year also marks the 10th anniversary of the Harvard Financial Aid
Initiative (HFAI), a groundbreaking effort to make the College more
accessible to outstanding students around the world. HFAI ensures that
qualified students of all backgrounds have access to a Harvard
education, underpinning Harvard's need-blind admission policy. The Class
of 2017 has 431 HFAI recipients, more than any previous freshman class.
Griffin, who will celebrate his 25th Harvard College class reunion in
May, has long been a leader in financial aid initiatives at Harvard. In
1999, in his 10th reunion year, Griffin established a scholarship named
in honor of his grandfather, Wayne R. Gratz. He also served on the
Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) Financial Aid Task Force, which
approved a new financial aid case statement for the College and focused
on raising support from alumni. HFAI launched during this period.
"Ken Griffin's extraordinary philanthropy is opening Harvard's gates
wider to the most talented students in the world, no matter their
economic circumstances," said Drew Gilpin Faust, presdent of Harvard
University and Lincoln Professor of History. "Harvard is more accessible
than ever before, and, with an increased focus on teaching, learning,
and research across the University, we are better prepared to educate
young scholars in all areas of academic inquiry."
Faust added that Griffin's investment in financial aid will ensure
HFAI's continued success and create a more vibrant educational
environment for all Harvard students.
"It is extremely important that students of all backgrounds have the
opportunity to challenge themselves, learn to solve complex problems,
and ultimately better our world," said Griffin, who started his career
as an investor from his Cabot House dorm room. "My goal with this gift
is to help ensure that Harvard's need-blind admission policy continues,
and that our nation's best and brightest have continued access to this
"Ken's astounding philanthropic leadership has set financial aid-one of
the most important priorities of the College's capital campaign-on a
lasting foundation," said Michael D. Smith, FAS dean and John H. Finley,
Jr. Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences. "Ken's gift will help
us sustain our revolutionary financial aid program and ensure that once
a student is admitted to Harvard College, cost of attendance is never a
barrier. It will impact the lives of students and their families, now
and for generations to come."
While the cost of higher education has increased nationally, Harvard
remains firmly committed to a need-blind admission policy that meets
every student's demonstrated need through financial aid. Since 2007,
Harvard's budget for undergraduate financial aid has increased by 88
percent, so that today:
In recognition of Griffin's generosity and commitment to Harvard's
financial aid program, the Harvard College Office of Financial Aid will
be renamed the Griffin Financial Aid Office, and the head of that office
will be known as the Griffin Director of Financial Aid.
Griffin's gift includes $10 million to establish a professorship at
Harvard Business School (HBS). The new Griffin Professorship of Business
Administration will support an outstanding faculty member who excels in
teaching and the case method, and who generates the field-based
intellectual capital that advances the practice of management. HBS Dean
Nitin Nohria expressed his appreciation for Griffin's gift. "Our faculty
are at the core of our mission of educating leaders who make a
difference in the world. Ken's gift will help us achieve that," he said.
Faust also praised Griffin's decision to establish an HBS professorship,
underscoring what she termed "our shared belief in the importance of
attracting both world-class students and unparalleled faculty in each of
Griffin earned a bachelor's degree in economics in 1989. He founded
Citadel in 1990, and the firm has grown into one of the most successful
financial institutions in the world.
Griffin is an active supporter of various boards, including the Chicago
Public Education Fund, the Economic Club of Chicago, and the Art
Institute of Chicago.
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