The family of Gerald Chan, a Harvard-educated investor, is donating $350 million to the university’s School of Public Health, the largest gift in the 378-year history of the U.S.’s richest university. As the WSJ’s Douglas Belkin reports:
China, the world’s biggest exporter of foreign students to the U.S., has become a large source of donations for the Ivy League. In July, SOHO China Chief Executive Zhang Xin and her husband, Pan Shiyi, signed a $15 million gift agreement with Harvard University as part of their $100 million endowment to send underprivileged Chinese children to elite universities around the world.
In 2010, Lei Zhang, the founder and managing partner of Hillhouse Capital Management, said he would give $8,888,888 to Yale University, which marked the largest gift to the Yale School of Management by a graduate of the school.
Mr. Chan, born in Hong Kong, is a director of Hong Kong property developer Hang Lung Group Ltd.0010.HK -1.25%, where his brother Ronnie Chan serves as chairman. Together, they are ranked as the 17th richest in Hong Kong by Forbes in January with a net worth estimated at $3 billion.
At Harvard, he pursued graduate work in radiological physics and radiobiology in the 1970s. He said he is giving the money to the School of Public Health because a teacher there brought the life sciences alive. In 1984, he pivoted to investing and two years later founded Morningside Group, a private-equity and venture investment group focused on biotech, cancer research and technology in North America, Asia and Europe. It has successful investments in such companies as cancer-therapy firm Biovex and New York-listed Chinese online entertainment portal YY.com.