Foundation donates $50M

Yale educational programming related to China has received a boon, thanks to a pair of $25 million donations announced Thursday to establish the Maurice R. Greenberg Yale-China Initiative.

The donations, which stem from Greenberg’s family foundation and the Starr Foundation, are to fund an initiative that will provide funding for the World Fellows Program, a conference center for on-campus international executive education, as well as student funding for study at Yale and abroad. Although Greenberg, the former chairman and CEO of American International Group — the world’s largest insurance company — is not a Yale alumnus, he has been a “longtime supporter for Yale,” Yale President Richard Levin said.

“He’s been very intensely interested in China for a long time, and he sees Yale’s commitment to educating Chinese students as a natural area of support,” Levin said.

The gift is a recognition of the University’s work on collaborative efforts in China, said assistant secretary for international affairs Fawn Wang, who directs the Office of International Affairs’ efforts in China.

“It’s definitely a great thing,” Wang said. “It will certainly benefit the University’s China initiatives, and I think the big gift also proves that people like Mr. Greenberg recognize Yale’s efforts and collaborative efforts in China.”

The donation will provide for the financial support of Greenberg Scholars, who will include both Chinese students at Yale and students abroad in China. The gifts will also bolster financial resources for the expenses associated with world fellows from countries including China.

The University will also host senior government officials, university presidents, and the leaders of state-owned enterprises from China at the new Greenberg International Conference Center, which will be built funds from the foundation’s donation. In recent years, the University has hosted several executive education programs on campus for leaders from China.

Associate Vice President for Development Joan O’Neill said the gift, which was secured after discussions between Greenberg and Vice President for Development Inge Reichenbach, can be explained by Greenberg’s family connection to the University and AIG’s presence in China’s insurance market.

“In addition to his connection in terms of China, which has been an ongoing one, he is also a former parent of a Medical School student,” O’Neill said. “In terms of the area supported with his commitment, it is connected to his own personal and professional connections.”

Greenberg, who has retired from AIG, is currently the chairman and CEO of C.V. Starr & Company. In addition to serving as Chairman of the Starr Foundation, Greenberg is also the former chairman of the Asia Society and honorary vice chairman and director of the Council on Foreign Relations. Greenberg declined to comment for the story.

The Starr Foundation was set up in 1955 by the founder of AIG, Cornelius Vander Starr, who established his first insurance venture in Shanghai in 1919.

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