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$150-Million Gift to Harvard Primarily Will Support Financial Aid

Harvard University announced on Wednesday a $150-million gift from an alumnus that will be used primarily for financial aid for students at Harvard College, the university’s main undergraduate division. The gift, from Kenneth Griffin, a 1989 graduate who founded the Citadel hedge-fund and financial-services company, is the largest in the college’s history, Harvard said.

The gift comes as the university marks the 10th anniversary of the Harvard Financial Aid Initiative, which seeks to make the college more accessible to students of all backgrounds. Drew Gilpin Faust, president of Harvard University, praised Mr. Griffin’s “extraordinary philanthropy,” saying it was “opening Harvard’s gates wider to the most talented students in the world, no matter their economic circumstances.”

Mr. Griffin has long been a leader in financial-aid initiatives at Harvard. In 1999 he established a scholarship named in honor of his grandfather, Wayne R. Gratz. He also served on a financial-aid task force of the Faculty of Arts and Science.

His new gift will establish 200 scholarships that will carry his name, the university said. It will also provide matching funds to inspire other gifts to create 600 additional scholarships. The gift also includes $10-million to establish a Griffin professorship of business administration at Harvard Business School. Harvard College’s financial-aid office and its director’s title are also being renamed for Mr. Griffin.

“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 with The New York Times. He said he had begun considering a significant gift to Harvard several years ago as his 25th class reunion approached. Conversations with another alumnus—Lloyd C. Blankfein, chief executive of Goldman Sachs—helped him focus on financial aid as an issue, he said. “I take my hat off to Lloyd for engaging with me and thinking about this gift.”

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