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CAMBRIDGE -- Seeking to further Harvard’s success in educating leaders and developing and disseminating powerful ideas that advance the public interest around the world, David M. Rubenstein is giving $10 million to establish a fund for excellence at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
In making the announcement Wednesday, Kennedy School Dean David Ellwood said that a key component of the gift is $1 million earmarked for a loan forgiveness program to encourage talented students to pursue careers in public service.
In addition to the loan forgiveness program, the gift provides Dean Ellwood with considerable flexibility to enact a wide range of initiatives, including the recruitment and retention of extraordinary faculty, bold new teaching initiatives and major conferences for leaders from public and professional sectors. The gift will also be used to create a major scholarly award, honoring outstanding scholars from around the world for intellectual contributions that have powerful and influential lessons for public policy and leadership. Rubenstein has also given a second gift to the School to create a new classroom in honor of former Harvard professor Richard Neustadt.
The creation of the Richard Neustadt classroom in the Kennedy School’s Eliot Street building will provide space for greater interaction between students and faculty. Neustadt, who passed away this past year, was one of the School’s most beloved and accomplished professors. In honor of these generous gifts, the Eliot Street building will be renamed the David Rubenstein Building.
President Lawrence Summers said he was delighted to accept the gift. “We have increasingly seen talented people moving away from careers in the public sector, opting more often for fields that promise greater financial rewards. This gift will make a difference not just to students at Harvard but to the shape of our society for generations to come. I am very grateful to David Rubenstein for his generosity and his dedication to this important initiative.”
“The Kennedy School has played a leading national and international role in educating future public leaders, in convening current public leaders, and in developing solutions for public policy challenges,” said Rubenstein. “With this gift, I hope in a small way to help the Kennedy School to continue playing these roles, and to enhance its ability to pursue excellence in each role.”
A Co-Founder and a Managing Director of the Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest private equity firms, David Rubenstein has had a distinguished career in the realms of public affairs, law, and business, which solidified his deep commitment to serving society. Rubenstein served in the Carter Administration as Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy. He went on to become a partner in the Washington, D.C. law firm of Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge.
Rubenstein’s generosity reflects his confidence in the new leadership of the Kennedy School under Dean Ellwood, who assumed his new post in July. Ellwood has outlined a broad vision of excellence for the Kennedy School and has demonstrated a commitment to working closely with President Summers to heighten the School’s impact.
“David Rubenstein’s generous gift offers the School a challenge and a tremendous opportunity at a time when the world feels ever more troubled,” said Dean Ellwood. “The challenge is to achieve a new standard of excellence and influence so that the School’s contributions can be ever more significant. The opportunity is to use this gift to attract and reinforce the efforts of the finest students, faculty, and staff to train and support superb leaders who will act in the public interest and to generate the ideas that really matter. I am grateful for David’s faith and investment in the future of our School.”
“David Rubenstein served ably on my White House staff, and I am glad that he has decided to help the Kennedy School enhance its important educational and scholarly roles,” said former President Jimmy Carter. “I am pleased that his commitment to public service started in my Administration, and the Kennedy School should be proud to have his support and commitment.”
Carter’s chief domestic policy advisor and one time member of the School’s faculty, Stuart Eizenstat added, “I am delighted that David Rubenstein, who I have known and respected since our days together in the 1976 Jimmy Carter campaign and as my trusted deputy on the Carter White House Domestic Policy Staff, and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, have come together in such an important enterprise. David's great generosity will help strengthen the Kennedy School's enormous positive influence on public servants for generations to come, and therefore on good governance in the United States and the world and in the private sector. David is to be congratulated for his vision and the Kennedy School for putting that vision to practical use."
View the official announcement of the Rubenstein gift in the Forum:
Remarks from Pres. Summers & Dean Ellwood
Remarks from David Rubenstein