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A $25 million gift—and a new name for the HGS tower

Yale’s skyline is dominated by buildings named Sterling, Harkness, Kline, and Whitney—honoring people who gave money to the university in the hundreds of millions of 2015 dollars. These namesakes are being joined now by someone who has made Yale billions of dollars richer—longtime chief investment officer David Swensen ’80PhD.

The university announced today that Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin ’78 have given $25 million toward the restoration of the Hall of Graduate Studies. Per their request, Yale has agreed that the 14-story HGS tower will be christened the David Swensen Tower in honor of the prodigious money manager, a Graduate School alumnus.

As we wrote in a profile of Swensen back in 2005, Yale’s endowment performance had earned it $7.8 billion more than if it had performed as well as an average university endowment during the 20 years he had been there. That number is surely bigger now that the endowment has roared back from the setbacks of the Great Recession to a new high of $23.9 billion as of last June 30.

Rausing and Baldwin’s gift will support the restoration of HGS and its transformation into a home for several small humanities departments. In 2011, Rausing and Baldwin gave $25 million to launch the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage at Yale’s West Campus. And in 2002, Rausing and Joseph Koerner ’80 gave $10 million to establish the Henry Koerner Center for Retired Faculty.


The Yale Alumni Magazine is published by Yale Alumni Publications Inc., an alumni-based nonprofit that is not run by Yale University. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration.

Filed under David Swensen, Graduate School
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