Self-made hedge-fund billionaire gives record £100 MILLION to Cambridge University to boost numbers of poor and ethnic minority students
- David Harding, 57, made this landmark donation alongside his wife Claudia
- Around £79 million of gift will help boost number of postgraduates at Cambridge
- Fund will also increase number of students from under-represented background
A self-made billionaire has donated a record £100 million to Cambridge University in a bid to attract students from under-represented backgrounds.
David Harding, 57, made the landmark donation alongside his wife Claudia – and it is now the largest British donation ever to be made to an educational institution.
The majority of the gift, £79 million, will help boost the number of postgraduates at Mr Harding’s alma mater.
The Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholars Programme will fund the research of up to 100 PhD students at any one time. The funding will be available for students in any discipline from October.
David Harding, 57, made the landmark donation alongside his wife Claudia – and it is now the largest British donation ever to be made to an educational institution
Another £20 million is set to enhance ‘debt-free’ degrees which are handed to undergraduate students with the greatest financial need, the Times reported.
Mr Harding then donated £1 million to boost the number of applicants from low-income households or under-represented ethnic groups.
The 57-year-old is the founder and CEO of investment management firm Winton, which controls an estimated £20 billion in assets.
Mr Harding, who has a personal wealth of around £1 billion, made the donation on behalf of the David and Claudia Harding Foundation.
The charity has a ‘primary focus is on funding scientific research and education’ at Cambridge University and the Science Museum Group, of which his wife Claudia is a trustee.
Mr Harding told the Cambridge Independent: ‘Claudia and I are very happy to make this gift to Cambridge to help to attract future generations of the world’s outstanding students to research and study there.
‘Cambridge and other British centres of learning have down the ages contributed greatly to improvements in the human condition and can continue in future to address humanity’s great challenges.’
The majority of the gift, £79 million, will help boost the number of postgraduates at Mr Harding’s alma mater, Cambridge University (file photo)
The philanthropist graduated from St Catharine’s College, Cambridge in 1982 with a first class honours degree in natural sciences.
He then made his fortune as a hedge fund manager – first establishing alternative investment fund Adam, Harding and Lueck before going on to found Winton in 1997.
Now, twelve years on, Mr Harding remains chief executive officer of the firm.
St Catharine’s College will receive £25million of the gift to support postgraduate scholars.
Professor Sir Mark Welland, master of the college, said: ‘The admirable philanthropy of David and Claudia Harding will have a tremendous and permanent impact on St Catharine’s as well as the university as a whole.
‘We couldn’t be more honoured to receive this gift.’
Cambridge University received another landmark donation in 2000 when Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, gave £161 million ($210 million) to establish an grant for postgraduates.