(Associated Press) Billionaire philanthropist George Soros has committed $500 million to a private liberal arts college in New York, which the school called a “transformational” gift that would be among the largest ever given to higher education in the United States.
“This is the most historic moment since the college’s founding in 1860,” Bard College President Leon Botstein said Thursday in the announcement.
In addition to the pledge from the 90-year-old investor, the school announced it raised $250 million for its endowment and plans to raise another $250 million over the next five years.
The money will establish a new $1 billion endowment that will support “the college’s full array of student financial aid, faculty, and program,” the school said, adding it will also “enable the college to sustain its mission and to grow its international profile.”
Soros said in the announcement Thursday that “Bard has had an outsized impact, setting the standard in liberal arts education in prisons, in high school age students, and in the arts and in its international work.”
Last year, the investor announced he would give $1 billion to establish the Open Society University Network to integrate teaching and research across higher education institutions worldwide, a plan Soros called the “most important and most enduring project” of his life.
Bard College, located about 90 miles north of New York City, is one of the founding partners of the network along with Soros’ Central European University in Austria.