Citadel CEO Kenneth Griffin just received a huge award from his alma mater, Harvard University. In honor of his generous $150 million dollar endowment, the university’s financial aid office will now bear his name. Ken Griffin’s fortunes have changed for the better since he graduated in 89 with a degree in economics. He is now one of the richest hedge fund managers in the country and has amassed a personal fortune of $6.5 billion. He also operates one of the largest financial corporations in the world.
A reception was held at the Brattle Street Office to formally thank Ken Griffin for his needy contribution. Surrounded by university officials, family and alumni, he expressed his appreciation for the award. In 2004, a program was initiated to help students and eliminate the need for parental financial aid contributions. “Harvard literally changed my life,” said Griffin, while standing alongside Harvard President Dr. Drew Faust. The funding is helping over 60% of students. “I want students to have the best possible experience,” says Griffin.
Griffin’s gift will go a long way. Now more than 600 undergraduate scholarships will be made available. “This is a godsend to our program,” says Financial Aid Director Sally Donohue.” Now we can bring more students in solely on merit without taking into considerations the student’s ability to pay. Although Griffin has donated every year, this is his largest donation to date. “I am so proud of Ken and all he’s done for our students. His leadership and guidance has been invaluable,” says Dr. Michael D. Smith Dean of Arts and Sciences.
While attending Harvard, Griffin made his first million as an investor. His hard work paid off and within two years of graduating, he founded Citadel with $4 million. Today the company holds more than $25 billion in investment capital. Griffin has also been on the Forbes 500 list four time. He was one of the youngest self-made millionaires. And even at the tender age of 46, he’s made more money that he could ever spend.
Griffin still thinks about the days when he thought his company wasn’t going to make it. “The banking crisis did a lot of good, strong companies in,” says Griffin. “We were very lucky to have come out alright.” He went on to say that he’s hoping that his endowment will help all the students at Harvard. He doesn’t want to see families stretched to the limit to keep their kids in school.