Columbia Business School announced today that it has received a gift of $25 million from alumnus Leon G. Cooperman to support the construction of new facilities in Manhattanville. The chairman and CEO of Omega Advisors and a member of Columbia Business School’s Board of Overseers, Cooperman says “I strongly believe that it is my moral imperative to give others the opportunity to pursue the American Dream, and I actively support institutions that gave me such opportunities.”
The gift is the second major donation in support of the future Columbia Business School campus, which will be part of Columbia University’s expansion just north of its Morningside Campus. Henry R. Kravis made headlines when he pledged $100 million to the project in October 2010.
In 2007, Cooperman established the Leon G. Cooperman ’67 Scholarship Challenge, which helped to create more than 40 need-based scholarships at the School. Under the Challenge, Cooperman provided half of the funding for each new scholarship created.
He also initiated the Leon Cooperman Scholarship in 2000 to support students with financial need, with preference to graduates of New York City public schools. In addition, he endowed the Leon Cooperman Professorship of Finance and Economics in 1995, a chair held by Professor Geert Bekaert since 2000. Cooperman and his wife, Toby, have taken the Giving Pledge advocated by Warren Buffett MS ’51 and Bill Gates, committing to give half of their wealth to charity.
“Leon Cooperman’s generosity toward the Business School has given students the key to a door that would otherwise have been closed to them,” said Dean Glenn Hubbard of Columbia Business School. “Now, he is making sure that these world-class students have facilities that meet their needs. With this extraordinary gift, Columbia Business School will not just transition to a new home, it will thrive there.”
The Manhattanville Campus will reflect the fast-paced, high-tech, and highly social character of business in the 21st century. It will also help to broaden Columbia Business School’s various community engagement programs, such as the Columbia Community Business Program, which provides guidance and support to entrepreneurs in West Harlem, as well as several student-run programs that focus on community outreach.
“The educational needs of leaders and entrepreneurs have evolved,” says Cooperman, “And the new Manhattanville facilities will support Columbia Business School’s commitment to preparing the business leaders of tomorrow.”