HYDE PARK — Hedge fund manager Ken Griffin will donate $125 million to the University of Chicago, the second-largest gift in the schools’s history, officials said Wednesday.
Griffin, founder and CEO of Citadel Capital, through his Kenneth C. Griffin Charitable Fund, said the money will be used to support research into economics.
“Over the past century, the faculty and students have challenged the status quo to produce pioneering research and path-breaking ideas," producing 29 Nobel Prize winners in the field of economics, Griffin said.
“I am proud to support the extraordinary work of the Economics Department and a university so fundamentally committed to free expression, fierce debate and intellectual pursuit,” he said in a prepared statement.
Griffin is a graduate of Harvard University, but his children attend the university’s Laboratory School, and he joined the university’s board in 2014.
The university will use a portion of the gift to start the Kenneth C. Griffin Applied Economics Research Incubator, which will focus on understanding the impact of economics.
The gift also will be used to support scholarships and graduate students’ research and stipends in the Economics Department.
“The University of Chicago has a long history of groundbreaking and deeply impactful scholarship and education in the field of economics that continues today,” said university President Robert Zimmer. “This generous gift will enhance the scope and global impact of faculty research and support new access to the challenging intellectual environment that defines a University of Chicago education.”
The university said it expects the gift to benefit other departments as well by allowing more interdisciplinary research with other departments.
Griffin is worth about $8.5 billion, making him the richest man in Illinois, according to Forbes. He was ranked No. 52 on the magazine's 400 richest people in the United States.