Harvard University Receives Largest Gift In School’s History

Plus: The School of Public Health will change its name.

Photo by Olga Khvan

Photo by Olga Khvan

Harvard University announced Monday that the School of Public Health (HSPH) received a $350 million gift from the The Morningside Foundation, which was established by the family of the late Mr. T.H. Chan. HSPH will change its name to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“The field of public health drives discoveries that lead to healthier, longer, more productive lives. This extraordinary gift from the Chan family will enable Harvard’s School of Public Health to tackle intractable health problems and to translate rigorous research into action and policy worldwide,” said Harvard University president Drew Faust in a statement. “The Chan family’s generosity sends a signal to the world: this is the public health moment. We are honored by this gift; it will inspire a new generation of public health leaders.”

The gift is the largest in Harvard’s 378-year history. Julio Frenk, dean of the HSPH, says the gift will support a wide range of projects.

[The gift] will support students and faculty whose works are dedicated to slowing and reversing four global health threats: old and new pandemics ranging from malaria to Ebola to obesity and cancer; harmful physical and social environments ranging from air and water pollution to the impact of gun violence and tobacco; poverty and humanitarian crises, including war and natural disasters; and failing health systems around the globe, which make healthcare unaffordable, inefficient, and inaccessible to many.

“The Chan family’s transformational gift will help us empower current and new generations of talented and diverse students and faculty to address the complex health threats challenging the US and the world,” Frenk said in a statement. “Their commitment to education and their belief in the power of public health is an inspiration, and their generosity will ensure we have the resources to continue to develop the most innovative solutions that will enable millions of people to live longer and healthier lives, now and in the future.”

Dr. Gerald Chen, a spokeman for The Morningside Foundation, earned his master’s and doctorate degrees from HSPH in the late-70s. His father, Mr. T.H. Chan, visited the school when Gerald was a student. Reps for Harvard say that its fitting then that a gift from the family’s foundation be given to HSPH in honor of Mr. T.H. Chan.

“On behalf of my mother and my brothers, I want to express how pleased we are that the legacy of our late father can be honored by this gift to HSPH. He was a generous man who was a staunch supporter of education. He also wanted to support scientific research to alleviate human suffering. He would be very pleased with this gift today and all the good works that this gift will enable,” Chan said in a statement.