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Baruch College Gets $30M Gift from Investment Banker Alumnus

By Noah Hurowitz | September 28, 2016 11:58am
 Financier Austin Marxe donated $30 million to Baruch's School for Public and International Affairs.
Financier Austin Marxe donated $30 million to Baruch's School for Public and International Affairs.
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KIPS BAY — A Wall Street investment banker announced plans to donate $30 million to Baruch College, with the gift set to dramatically expand financial aid and faculty support services, according to a college spokesman.

Baruch alumnus Austin Marxe, 76, is set to bequeath the funds to the college’s international and public affairs school, which will be be renamed in his honor as the Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs, he said Monday.

The gift will allow the school, which serves about 1,000 students, to expand by as much as 25 percent over the next few years, according to David Birdsell, dean of the newly named Marxe school.

It will also boost the number of graduate-student assistantships and fellowships, as well as establishing six new endowed faculty chairs.

“This is really a transformational gift,” Birdsell said. “The work that our faculty and students will be able to do because of this is work that makes communities vibrant and what makes cities work.”

The gift from Marxe, founder of the AWM Investment Company, is the largest donation ever to Baruch and the second largest in the history of the CUNY system, according to a spokeswoman.

Baruch will disburse the cash in a three-pronged effort to increase financial aid and fellowships for students, faculty and administrative infrastructure, as well as events, Birdsell explained.

Full-time tuition for undergraduate, in-state students is currently $3,165 per semester, and tuition for graduate students pursuing a master's degree is $5,065 per semester, according to Baruch's website.

Marxe, who was born in The Bronx and grew up in Queens, graduated from Baruch in 1965 after taking night classes and hustling his way through a hodgepodge of bookkeeping jobs at bars, restaurants and hotels around the city, according to a press release.

He used his degree in accounting from Baruch to work his way up the ladder on Wall Street, and he currently sits as president and managing director of his firm.

Marxe credited Baruch with helping him make it to where he is now.

"Clearly without my education and credentials from Baruch College, no one would have hired me,” he said. “My hope is that this gift will allow the school to produce the next generation of policy leaders who are committed to improving the world.”