The Wall St. Journal reports that several large donors have postponed fulfilling or retracted their pledges in the wake of President Larry Summers’ resignation from the presidency of Harvard University after a protracted battle with the faculty. They include:
- $100 million from media mogul Mortimer Zuckerman to fund a neuroscience institute.
- $100 million from Richard A. Smith, a former member of Harvard’s governing board, to fund a 500,000-square-foot science complex.
- $75 million from David Rockefeller for study-abroad trips for every Harvard undergraduate in need of financial aid.
- $115 million gift pledge was retracted by Larry Ellison, Oracle’s chief executive.
According to the WSJ, Harvard has the largest endowment of any US university at $25.9 billion as of June 30, 2005. Still, the loss, or at best postponement of $390 million in pledges, some of it designated for high priority projects, hurts. Because Mr Summers was controversial, it is still difficult to assess whether his departure will hurt or help Harvard financially in the long term. However, in the short term, Harvard has clearly lost. Only time will tell whether that loss is temporary or permanent.