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Harvard Receives Largest Donation

Posted on June 15, 2015

CAMBRIDGE -- Harvard announced earlier this month that alumnus John A. Paulson, M.B.A. '80, founder and president of Paulson & Co., has made the largest gift in the University's history, a $400 million endowment to support the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). To honor his generosity, the School will be renamed the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Paulson's gift comes at a time of great opportunity for SEAS. Founded in 1847 as the Lawrence Scientific School, it later became the Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences and then, in 2007, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Since becoming a School, SEAS has added three undergraduate concentrations (biomedical engineering, mechanical engineering, and electrical engineering) and a master's program in computational science and engineering, the faculty has grown by nearly 30 percent, and course enrollment has increased by nearly 150 percent.

The School is also planning for expansion into Allston, where its scientists and engineers will occupy state-of-the-art research and teaching facilities within a campus anchored by science and adjacent to Harvard Business School (HBS) and the Harvard Innovation Lab (i-lab). In Allston, SEAS will be at the center of a community of entrepreneurs and innovators in an emerging research enterprise zone.

"John Paulson's extraordinary gift will enable the growth and ensure the strength of engineerin and applied sciences at Harvard for the benefit of generations to come," said Drew Faust, president of Harvard University and Lincoln Professor of History. "His appreciation of the importance of SEAS to faculty, students, and Schools across the University has motivated a historic act of generosity that will change Harvard and enhance our impact on the world beyond."

Paulson graduated from Harvard Business School with high distinction in 1980. He founded the hedge fund Paulson & Co. in 1994 with $2 million and one employee. Today the company, which specializes in alternative investments, manages more than $19 billion and employs more than 125 people worldwide.

The donation adds to the endowment at Harvard, which is already over $36.4 billion at the end of fiscal 2014, and the largest of all universities in the world.

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