UNIVERSITY donations reached new heights yesterday after acclaimed hedge fund mogul John Paulson gave $400m (£261m) away to his alma mater Harvard.
The huge donation gives Harvard the upper hand in its longstanding rivalry with Yale, which just last month received a donation worth $140m from Blackstone founder Stephen Schwarzman.
Paulson, who runs hedge fund Paulson & Co, piled into derivatives known as credit default swaps, just as the world was about to experience the credit crunch.The move, in 2007, made his firm $15bn in one year, leaving Paulson a healthy $4bn pay packet. His personal fortune is now estimated to be $11.3bn.
But Paulson has always credited his success to the education he received at Harvard Business School. “There is nothing more important to improve humanity than education,” he said in a statement regarding the donation.
The money is earmarked for Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences which Paulson described as the “next frontier for Harvard” believing it will help “improve humanity.”
In a tribute to his generosity, Harvard announced it would be renaming the school, which boasts Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer and astronaut Stephanie Wilson as former graduates, to the Harvard John A Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.