Harvard: Buh-bye Larry and Buh-bye $115 Million

With the departure of Lawrence Summers this Friday from Harvard, also walking is the $115 million donation that Larry Ellison, founder and CEO of Oracle, had pledged. Apparently Summers and Ellison were well aquainted and Summers was the architect of this donation/program and with Summers leaving Harvard Ellison has reconsidered his donation. The largest donation Harvard would have ever gotten.

“It’s official,” said Oracle spokesman Bob Wynne. “The reason is the relationship he had with Larry Summers, who leaves this week. Larry Summers was the brainchild of this whole concept. With his departure, Larry (Ellison) reconsidered his decision.”

The donation would have been the biggest gift in Harvard’s history. The pledge was also the 10th-largest American charitable contribution in 2005, giving Ellison a spot as the seventh-most generous donor in the United States on a list published by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, even though he didn’t actually hand over a dime.


The agreement, which was never signed, also called for Ellison to consider donating $500 million more if an external review of the center was favorable.

Whoops. Oh well, easy come easy go.

Via Instapundit.

FILED UNDER: Education, Gender Issues, Science & Technology, US Politics, , ,
Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.


  1. legion says:

    Yowza! Talk about voting with your wallet…

  2. Mark says:

    If I were a university looking for a president, I would have to say hire Summers and try to get that donation for your school!

  3. Ugh says:

    The shallowness of Larry Ellison knows no bounds.

  4. Eneils Bailey says:

    Remember the whining group of feminists that started the downfall of Summers.
    Nice job girls, you’re so cute.

  5. Mark says:

    The shallowness of Larry Ellison knows no bounds.

    Or perhaps he was like most of people in thinking Summers got screwed by the PC Police within the Harvard faculty, and so he is demostrating his displeasure.

  6. Eneils Bailey says:

    Good point. I would not leave that kind of money in the hands of a PC group of people that are afraid to deal with a group of sniveling, immature feminists.
    Ellison had a personal relationship with Summers and confidence that his donation would be managed properly by him..

  7. Herb says:

    One is sadly mistaken if you thought Harvard was a School of Higher Learning. Anyone who screwed themselves into this corner and lost 115M in donations had to be the most stupid group anywhere.

    So much for “Higher Education”

  8. McGehee says:

    Herb, education and intelligence are not one and the same — and as this illustrates, can sometimes be mutually exclusive.

    It reminds me of a definition I once read:

    high brow n. One who is educated beyond one’s intelligence.

  9. Bithead says:

    Yeah, well… Welcome to the “Idiocy Has Consequences”. I suppose it’s time Harvard leanred that one.

    I’ve no sympathy for Harvard in this. I have no particular sympathy for Summers, either, except insofar as he got canned because of Harvard’s pursuit of leftist non-thought, and Summers tried to redirect them away from it, and learned that once someone… either an individual or a group… starts down that road, it’s not at all easy to move them off it. Summers paid for it with his job. It cost Harvard, in this case, $115m.

    Good. A few more like this, and there’ll be a few less like this.

  10. chris says:

    Seriously, have you ever seen Harvard’s endowement figures? This does them no harm; they earn $115 over night just on interest alone. Their CFO probably yawned and turned back to the spreadsheet on the computer.

  11. Steve Verdon says:

    they earn $115 over night just on interest alone.

    I’m calling bullshit on this number. While Harvard’s endowment is indeed huge, it is not that huge. Assuming 12%/year the amount of the endowment to earn $115 million overnight would have to several orders of magnitude larger than it actually is. So, no, I don’t think it was simply a yawn.

  12. Steve Verdon says:

    Further investigation indicates it was a significant donation.

    In 2004 Harvard’s operating budget was over $800 million for which the endowment paid a third.

    Each school within the University uses a combination of income from investments, gifts from fundraising efforts, and tuition to cover the cost of educating students.

    So I’d say this was an expensive loss for Harvard contrary to chris’ post.

  13. chris says:

    I read an endowment of $25.9 billion. It earned $2.8 billion in the last reported Fiscal Year. The University reported a 21% return on endowment investments. So I still say $115 million is a yawner for their CFO; probably earns that in a month. $115 million is chump change to their endowment is all I am saying. I am glad the guy pulled his money out.