Largest Ever Alumni Gift Will Fund Construction of New Columbia Business School Manhattanville Campus
Alumnus Henry R. Kravis ’69, co-founder of leading global investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., has pledged $100 million to Columbia Business School (CBS), the largest gift in the school’s history, CBS announced yesterday. The funds will support construction of new business school facilities on several blocks of the former Manhattanville manufacturing zone north of Columbia’s main campus.
The business school’s two new buildings will encompass approximately 450,000 square feet, replacing 280,000 square feet of outdated facilities and resulting in a net additional 170,000 square feet. One of the two buildings will be named for Kravis in recognition of his generous gift. The search for an architect is currently in progress.
“The new facility will achieve the expansion of physical space that’s needed to support the growing breadth and complexity of scholarship at the school, reflecting the degree to which decisions about business and finance affect virtually every facet of modern life,” Columbia University President Lee Bollinger said at a ceremony yesterday to mark the unprecedented gift.
Kravis, considered a pioneer of the private equity industry, co-founded Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. in 1976 and has led its growth into a leading global investment firm. He also founded and heads the New York City Investment Fund, designed to create jobs and help sustain small inner-city businesses in New York.
In keeping with Kravis’s longstanding commitment to social entrepreneurism, the campus that his gift will help create for CBS is intended to broaden the school’s community engagement programs, the school reports. These include initiatives such as the Columbia Community Business Program, which provides guidance and support to entrepreneurs in West Harlem, as well as several student-run programs focused on community outreach.
“We’re not just constructing a building; we are building a community of entrepreneurs,” Kravis said. “Innovation and entrepreneurship at the business school will encourage and support innovation and entrepreneurship in the community,” he added.
The business school will join Columbia’s interdisciplinary Mind Brain Behavior Initiative as one of the first residents of the new Manhattanville campus. Other future planned residents in the campus project include Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs and the School of the Arts.