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Stephen Schwarzman ’69:
a mogul rivals Rhodes

In 1969, Stephen Schwarzman got turned down for a Rhodes Scholarship. Forty-four years later, the Wall Street tycoon is funding a scholarship to rival the Rhodes—in China.

Beginning in 2016, 200 Schwarzman Scholars will be chosen annually from around the world to study in Schwarzman College at Tsinghua University in Beijing. Schwarzman, the founder of Blackstone Equity, will donate $100 million of his personal fortune (worth $6.5 billion, according to Forbes) toward a $300 million endowment. Announcing the fund in Beijing on April 21, he said he has already raised another $100 million in what “represents one of the largest single gifts to education in the world and one of the largest philanthropic gifts ever in China,” the New York Times reports.

“When Cecil J. Rhodes created the Rhodes Scholarship program in 1902 to promote international understanding, Europe was at the center of gravity for the world’s economy, and the United States, the British Empire and Germany were the world’s most influential global players,” Schwarzman says in a press release. Now, “China is no longer an elective course, it’s core curriculum.”

The Times suggests that Schwarzman and other donors stand to reap business benefits from their gifts to Tsinghua, one of China’s leading universities and alma mater of many political leaders. But Schwarzman tells the Times: “This is a private thing by me, it’s not a Blackstone initiative.”

The scholarship has other Yale ties as well: Robert A. M. Stern ’65MArch, dean of the School of Architecture, will design the new Schwarzman College. And the fund’s Academic Advisory Council includes two members of the Yale faculty and administration: Michael Cappello, a professor of pediatrics and director of the Yale World Fellows Program, and Jane Edwards, Yale College’s dean of international and professional experience.

Filed under Stephen Schwarzman, Rhodes scholarship, China, Robert A. M. Stern, Michael Cappello, Jane Edwards
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