David A. Tepper, whose name already adorns Carnegie Mellon University’s business school, has anted up again, giving the university a $67 million gift that will allow for allow the Tepper School of Business to build a new 295,000-square-foot home.
Founder of Appaloosa Management, a hedge fund that specializes in distressed debt, the 56-year-old Tepper has now committed more than $125 million in gifts to CMU in the past nine years. In 2004, he donated $55 million to rename the Graduate School of Industrial Administration. His latest gift, however, is the largest the university has ever received from a CMU graduate. It also makes Tepper one of the most generous supporters of management education in the world, though only a portion of the $67 million will go to the business school.
Son of an accountant and schoolteacher, Tepper grew up middle class in Pittsburgh. He attended the University of Pittsburgh and earned his graduate degree in business from Carnegie Mellon. He started Appaloosa in 1993 after a stint at Goldman Sachs, where he helped run high-yield bond trading. Appaloosa, based in Short Hills, N.J., now has $20 billion in assets under management, making it one of the world’s largest hedge funds and making him the highest paid hedge-fund manager in the U.S. In 2012, Tepper earned $2.2 billion, according to Institutional Investor’s Alpha.
BUSINESS SCHOOL WILL GET A NEW HOME AS A RESULT OF THE GIFT
The bulk of this latest gift to Carnegie Mellon will be used to create a new academic hub on campus that will be named the David A Tepper Quadrangle. The new Quad will represent the first expansion of the university’s north campus and will be located on a 4.5-acre site. The school said it will be designed to facilitate high levels of cross-campus collaboration and bring together interdisciplinary initiatives, including entrepreneurship and technology-enhanced learning. It also will also enable the university to leverage other highly ranked campus programs, such as business, engineering, computer science, energy, design and life sciences, to accelerate the transfer of new technologies into the marketplace, to create new integrated degree programs and to expand new research and education opportunities.
The Tepper Quadrangle represents an initial investment of $201 million by the university, which includes the new business school. The establishing gift by Tepper launches this expansion along Forbes Avenue in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood and will include a new university welcome center. The facility will also include many quality of life enhancements for students and faculty, including larger and better classrooms, meeting and collaboration spaces and a fitness center and café.
“There are natural intersections between the business school and the research and teaching taking place at each of the seven schools and colleges at Carnegie Mellon,” said Tepper Dean Robert M. Dammon in a statement. “The new home for the business school will enable us to enhance our undergraduate and graduate programs in business and economics, expand the possibilities for innovative research and interdisciplinary degrees, and allow us to offer a flexible technological framework that anticipates the needs of next-generation learning. The combined involvement of faculty, students, alumni and staff from across the CMU campus is a rare, powerful resource.”
Newly inaugurated CMU President Subra Suresh praised Tepper as a forward-thinking business leader and philanthropist. “David Tepper is a visionary, both as a businessman and a philanthropist, and we are grateful for his generous support of the university and the business school that bears his name,” said Suresh in a statement. “Carnegie Mellon’s culture is historically holistic, integrating research and learning among individual schools and academic disciplines. Our vision for the new Tepper Quadrangle builds on these strengths, creating new interdisciplinary interactions for learning and research and connecting innovation to the business community.”
“I’m excited by President Suresh’s and the university’s vision to make CMU the foremost entrepreneurial academic institution in the nation,” Tepper said. “CMU has a long history of providing the world with innovative thinkers and the establishment of a true hub for entrepreneurship will help create the next generation of global leaders. I’m particularly pleased to announce this gift on the day that CMU inaugurates President Suresh.”
The announcement of Tepper’s latest gift comes just days after CMU announced the Simon Initiative, a university-wide effort to accelerate the use of learning science and technology to improve student learning. More than 50 CMU faculty members are taking part in the initiative, which will harness CMU’s decades of learning data and research to improve educational outcomes for students everywhere. CMU also announced this week that its faculty and students created 36 startup companies this year, a record for the university.
Tepper currently serves on the university’s Board of Trustees and as a member of the Business Board of Advisors for the Tepper School of Business.