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Harvard's Largest-Ever Gift Draws Ire20:26
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Unz's campaign, "Free Harvard, Fair Harvard" is fielding five candidates for the university's Board of Overseers. (Elise Amendola/AP)
Unz's campaign, "Free Harvard, Fair Harvard" is fielding five candidates for the university's Board of Overseers. (Elise Amendola/AP)
This article is more than 5 years old.

A $400 million gift is Harvard's largest to date and it has sparked a debate about the morality of giving to already-wealthy institutions.

A slew of commentators have criticized the mega-gift: Malcolm Gladwell tweeted mere hours after the news, "It came down to helping the poor or giving the world's richest university $400 million is doesn't need. Wise choice John!" Similarly, a Vox education writer and Harvard alumnus wrote, "Giving to Harvard is not an act of altruism. It's a gigantic, immoral waste of money."

But Harvard isn't the only institution receiving big gifts — it's just the one under fire.

Guests

Harry Lewis, interim dean of Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Gordon McKay professor of computer science. He tweets @HarryRoyLewis.

Walter M. Kimbrough, president of Dillard University. He tweets @HipHopPrez.

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Inside Higher Ed: An Obscene Use Of $400 Million

  • I have been a college president for over a decade now. During my career I’ve not shied away from using the bully pulpit to address a number of issues. This includes questioning obscene gifts wealthy individuals have given to obscenely wealthy universities that primarily serve an obscenely wealthy student body.

WBUR: Harvard Gets Its Largest-Ever Gift: $400 Million

  • The huge donation comes as the science school plans to expand into Allston where, Harvard said, “its scientists and engineers will occupy state-of-the-art research and teaching facilities.”

The Boston Globe: $400 Million Gift To Harvard Highlights Higher Ed Wealth Gap

  • If the wellspring of all college charity is alumni, no university has more elite or deeper pockets to tap. It didn’t have any trouble connecting with John Paulson, a Business School alum who literally makes billions of dollars in a good year. In remarks last week, Paulson said it was “an honor to be a long-term partner with Harvard.”

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