October 18, 2010

Tata ’59 Gives $50 Million to Harvard Business School; Largest International Gift in School History

Print More

The University’s most generous international donor has matched his 2008 multimillion donation to Cornell with an equal gift to Harvard Business School, Harvard announced Thursday.

Indian philanthropist and businessman Ratan Tata’s ’59 Education and Development Trust gave $50 million to H.B.S., the largest donation it has ever received, to support construction of a new academic and residential facility on the school’s Boston campus, according to a press release.

Tata attended the H.B.S. management program after his time at Cornell, and described the latest donation as a chance to support the studies of a new generation of students.

“We are pleased that this gift will support the school’s educational mission to mold the next generation of global business leaders,” Tata said in a statement.

The Harvard donation comes two years after Tata’s company donated $50 million to Cornell, which Vice President for Alumni Affairs and Development Charles Phlegar said was the largest international donation in the University’s history.

“It was a very big gift and very unique,” Phlegar said, noting that Tata had previously  made several other, smaller donations to Cornell.

The money allowed for the establishment of scholarships for international students and supported agricultural and nutritional projects conducted by Cornell in India.

Tata remains an active member of the Cornell community, according to Phlegar, serving on the Board of Trustees and advising President David Skorton in matters of international involvement, particularly regarding projects connected to India.

Phlegar lauded the expansion of Tata’s support to include H.B.S. He said he was unaware of the Trust’s giving such major support to other American universities besides these two, and was glad that American higher education would benefit from such support.

“He’s one of the most generous people I’ve ever met in my entire life,” he said of Tata. “From my perspective and the University’s, [the donation to Harvard] is a wonderful thing. [Tata] is continuing his pattern of giving, and it will benefit not only Harvard but the whole country.”­­­

Original Author: Eliza LaJoie