Citadel's Griffin Donates $125M To University Of Chicago's Economics Program

Nov 1 2017 | 8:46pm ET

Citadel founder Ken Griffin has agreed to donate $125 million to the University of Chicago in what will be the second-largest gift in the school’s history.

The donation will be aimed at providing financial aid to students in the university’s famous economics department, as well as expand research and faculty, the school said in a statement. It will also be used to launch an applied economics research incubator, which will focus on new strategies to strengthen the understanding and impact of economics.

Griffin has been a trustee of the university since 2014. A multi-billionaire who made his fortune in the hedge fund industry, Griffin is no stranger to large bequests – he gave $150 million to Harvard three years ago and is also an active supporter of the arts, health, and poverty reduction initiatives.

There is no small irony in Griffin’s donation to the what’s known in the industry as the “Chicago School” of macroeconomics. Hedge funds depend on inefficient markets in which to generate alpha for their investors, while the University of Chicago’s economics program, home to Milton Friedman, Eugene Fama and a total of 27 other Nobel laureates, traditionally subscribes to the efficient markets hypothesis. 

The gift will come through Griffin’s charitable fund, the statement said, and Chicago’s economics program will be renamed the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics. The gift brings to nearly $150 million in donations Griffin has made to the university.

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