Is there a billion bucks dwindling in your pocket? Harvard has the solution.
According to The Crimson, the student newspaper at Harvard, The Harvard Corporation, which bills itself as the “oldest corporation in the Western Hemisphere,” has listed the naming rights to Harvard Medical School for sale. The organization is requesting a small, unrestricted donation of $1 billion in exchange for the authority to affix your preferred moniker to the illustrious institution’s facade. Because, well, Harvard’s endowment could use a little more money!
Harvard set the price a decade ago, but this is the first report on the listing, according to the Crimson. Harvard declined to comment on its $1 billion price tag, but its previous sales history suggests it would welcome the payment.
In 2014, Harvard alumni Gerald L. Chan, a billionaire investor who runs the Morningside investment group with his brother Ronnie, gave an unrestricted $350 million to the university’s School of Public Health, the largest in its history, and renamed it in his honor. In 2015, billionaire hedge fund entrepreneur John A. Paulson donated $400 million to name Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, surpassing Chan’s generosity.
The Crimson notes that elite universities have won billions before. Venture capitalist John Doerr, who made his fortune investing in underdogs like Slack, Google, and Amazon, gave $1.1 billion to Stanford’s School of Sustainability last year, while billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg donated $1.8 billion to Johns Hopkins University to make its admissions process “need-blind”.
Thus, millionaires donating huge sums to their alma college is nothing new. However, the HMS offer appears to have been made for some time. No insult to Harvard Med, but with a decade-old price tag, should the West’s oldest firm consider selling its hot item?