New York City Michael Bloomberg has become the first person to donate more than $1 billion to a single US university, the Associated Press reported.
The gift that put him over the top is a new $350 million donation to his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, the AP reported. Some $250 million of the donation is for expanding interdisciplinary research on a variety of issues, including individualized health care delivery, sustainability of water resources and the science of learning.
"I know of no other institution that can make a bigger difference in lives around the world through its groundbreaking research – especially in the field of public health," Bloomberg said in a statement released by the university on Saturday, according to the AP.
The remaining $100 million will be spent on funding 2,600 need-based scholarships for undergraduate students over the next 10 years, according to the AP.
At Hopkins, Bloomberg transformed himself from a mediocre high-school student to a campus star, becoming the president of his fraternity, his senior class and the council overseeing Greek life, the New York Times reported.
“It’s the first time that I ever headed something,” he told the New York Times. “The first time I got a chance to pull people together.”
Bloomberg first started donating to his college in 1965, a year after he graduated with a bachelor's degree in engineering, the AP reported. His first gift was $5, but over a lifetime of giving, his donations have added up to just more than $1.11 billion.
"Johns Hopkins University has been an important part of my life since I first set foot on campus more than five decades ago," Bloomberg said in the statement. "Each dollar I have given has been well-spent improving the institution and, just as importantly, making its education available to students who might otherwise not be able to afford it."
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