Citadel's Griffin gives Harvard $150 million

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Citadel founder Kenneth C. Griffin

Harvard University received a $150 million donation from alumnus Kenneth Griffin, the 45-year-old founder and CEO of Citadel Advisors LLC, mainly to support financial aid.

The gift is the largest in the history of Harvard College, the university's undergraduate school that was established in 1636, the school said Wednesday.

Harvard President Drew Faust has expanded the college's financial-aid program so that families with annual incomes of $180,000 or less pay no more than 10% of their incomes for their child to attend. Twenty percent of undergraduates' families pay nothing, according to the Cambridge, Mass.-based school's website. Mr. Griffin's gift will provide funds for as many as 800 students annually, the university said in the statement. About $10 million of Mr. Griffin's gift also will support a professorship in business administration at Harvard Business School.

“Ken Griffin's extraordinary philanthropy is opening Harvard's gates wider to the most talented students in the world, no matter their economic circumstances,” Mr. Faust said in the statement.

Mr. Griffin graduated with a degree in economics from Harvard, and is vice chairman of the Chicago Public Education Fund. He also is co-founder of the Kenneth and Anne Griffin Foundation, which has pledged more than $100 million since 1999 to support education, health care and the arts, according to the foundation's website.

Harvard officials said in September they are beginning a fundraising effort to raise $6.5 billion by 2018.

Harvard's $32.7 billion endowment makes it the world's wealthiest school. It raised $792.3 million in the year ended June, the most in the U.S. after Stanford University, according to a report this month by the Council for Aid to Education. Almost 60% of schools said they raised more in 2013 than the previous year.