Harvard announced Monday that it has received its largest gift a history, a $350 million donation to benefit its School of Public Health.
The gift will come from the Morningside Foundation, which is led by Ronnie and Gerald Chan. The Chans are among Hong Kong’s wealthiest families, and control businesses such as the Hang Lung Group — a major Chinese real estate developer — and the private equity and venture capital firm the Morningside Group. Gerald Chan is an alumnus of Harvard’s School of Public Health.
“I’ve been around Harvard for 40 plus years now, and I really feel that the School of Public Health has a very unique voice,” Gerald Chan told the Harvard Crimson.
The school will be renamed for the Chan’s father, T.H. Chan, the first time Harvard will rename one of its schools for a donor.
The gift will specifically benefit four areas: pandemics, poverty and humanitarian crises, harmful environments and failing health systems. Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust said that the gift will remake the school’s funding structure, allowing it to provide more students with financial aid and expand its programming.
“It’s always been, as the whole field always is, under-resourced,” Faust said. “It’s overwhelmingly dependent on money from federal grants that are under threat.”
The gift is one of the largest donations in higher education of all time. Only six gifts, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, exceed it. This week’s Harvard gifts matches the size of a 2013 donation to the Johns Hopkins University by Michael Bloomberg.