Columbia Business School announced today (July 29) that two of its alumni have pledged $40 million to the school. Finance titans Arthur J. Samberg ’67 and Mario J. Gabelli ‘67, both members of the School’s Board of Overseers, agreed to commitments of $25 million and $15 million respectively toward the construction of Columbia’s new business school campus.
The gifts come on the heels of an $100 million pledge from Wharton alum Ronald O. Perelman only two months ago in May. Columbia Business School Dean Glenn Hubbard has now raised $500 million toward the $600 million cost for the school’s new Manhattanville campus which is not expected to open until early 2018. Since becoming dean of the business school in July of 2004, Hubbard has raised an extraordinary $770 million, making him one of the most successful academic fundraisers in history.
If anything, the ability of Columbia to raise such huge sums speaks volumes about the success and strength of its alumni, particularly in the financial arena. Almost all of the biggest gifts pulled in by Dean Hubbard have been from donors in the world of finance. Samberg made his big money in hedge funds and is currently the manager of Hawkes Financial Services LLC. Gabelli, founder, chairman and CEO of Gabelli Asset Management Co. Investors, is one of the world’s best known investors.
“I am extraordinarily grateful to accept these generous pledges,” said Hubbard in a statement. “Art and Mario’s decades-‐long involvement at the highest levels of the school’s leadership has helped put Columbia Business School at the forefront of management education. Thanks to their support, our new Manhattanville campus will feature classrooms of tomorrow and other cutting-edge innovations that will allow us to continue preparing the next generation of business leaders to confront the challenges of the 21st century economy.”
“If there is one thing I have learned throughout my career it is that having good ideas are important, but the execution of good ideas is most crucial,” said Samberg in a statement. “Columbia Business School recognizes this distinction, and as such they are working to construct a world-‐class facility that will enhance their ability to equip students with the knowledge and know-‐how to make a powerful impact on the world. I am proud to be a small part of these efforts and look forward to supporting their mission however I can.”
After graduating in 1967, Samberg joined Kidder Peabody as a securities analyst. In 1970, he was the first professional hired by Weiss Peck & Greer, a start-up investment management firm in New York; over the next 15 years, he grew with the company, earning a partnership and serving on the Management Committee. Next, as President of Dawson-Samberg Capital Management, Inc., Mr. Samberg established the first Pequot hedge fund. In 1999, Samberg spun off the Pequot funds and formed Pequot Capital Management, Inc., which grew to become the world’s largest hedge fund. This latest pledge is not his first major gift to Columbia.In 2002, Samberg endowed the Arthur J. Samberg Institute for Teaching Excellence at Columbia Business School, and in 2006, he donated another $25 million to the school.
“It is a fundamental tenet in our society that where you start in life on the ladder of opportunity should not dictate how high you can climb,” said Gabelli in a statement. “My parents did not have a formal education. But they understood how important it was for me to attend Columbia Business School. I am extremely grateful for these opportunities and I want to do my part to give back to a dynamic school that has always empowered the aspirations of countless young entrepreneurs and business leaders.”
The son of Italian immigrants, Gabelli went to Columbia for his MBA in the same year as Samberg–1965–after receiving his undergraduate degree on a scholarship from Fordham University. At Columbia, he was taught by Roger Murray, a noted value investing professor and co-author of the fifth edition of Security Analysis, The Graham & Dodd Value Investing Bible. Murray’s influence on Gabelli would prove profound: Gabelli became a leading proponent of the Graham-Dodd school of security analysis and pioneered the application of Graham and Dodd’s principles to the analysis of domestic, cash generating, franchise companies in a wide range of industries.