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Sunday, June 7, 2015

The latest at Harvard: $$$ Endowments 101

“There is nothing more important to improve humanity than education,” said John A. Paulson MBA '80. Harvard's announcement that Paulson had pledged $400 million for the endowment of the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) comes in the midst of Harvard University's capital campaign to raise $6.5 billion to expand the aspirations of the university as a whole, and in the light of other sizable donations made to the different schools, including (and most recently) Gerald L. Chan's $350 million donation to the Harvard School of Public Health, now named T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Harvard President Drew Faust wrote in her email announcement to the students,
"I am delighted to announce that John A. Paulson MBA ’80 has pledged $400 million to support the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). Since its establishment in 2007, the School has grown its intellectual profile, supported groundbreaking research and teaching, and emerged as a powerful connector of faculty and students across the University. This unprecedented gift will advance each of those efforts as we further develop plans for expansion into new spaces in Allston."

With the donation of the largest singular amount of money given to Harvard comes the honor of having the school re-named, and SEAS (as well as the deanship of SEAS) will be re-dubbed the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

But this event brings to the surface bigger questions in our community:
1) How much does it cost to have Harvard owe you a building?
2) How much do we have to donate as alumni to guarantee all of the future generations of our family line admittance to Harvard?
3) Is there a price tag on every deanship and every professorial title? (if so, I want in)

And then the more basic questions floating around the student bubble:
1) Do we have to address every dean by their full title? It's bad enough everyone expects us to remember middle initials here... "Yes, I think that the answer to that question is quite complicated, Edgerley Family Dean of FAS Michael D. Smith!"
2) Does any of this money go to financial aid or reducing tuition costs? Because every year, tuition seems to creep up...

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