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Endowments and Foundations

Hedge fund founder gives record sum to Cambridge University

David Harding
David Harding

David Harding, the billionaire founder of hedge fund firm Winton Group, donated 100 million ($131 million) to the University of Cambridge, the biggest single private gift to a U.K. college from a British philanthropist.

More than three-quarters of the money from Mr. Harding and his wife will provide full scholarships for about 100 distinguished doctoral students, the university said Tuesday in a statement. The rest will support undergraduate students at Britain's second-oldest university.

"Claudia and I are very happy to make this gift to Cambridge to help to attract future generations of the world's outstanding students to research and study there," Mr. Harding said in the statement.

The gift is a significant sum for U.K. philanthropy, representing more than 10% of new money that universities across the country raised in the 2016-'17 academic year. And it comes as the U.K.'s pending divorce from the European Union threatens funding for academic institutions. The nation's universities collectively received 767 million a year on average from 2007 to 2017, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Mr. Harding, who previously gave 20 million to Cambridge's physics department, graduated from the school in 1982.