UCLA B-School Gets $100 Million Gift

UCLA Anderson Dean Judy Olian (left) with benefactor Marion Anderson

UCLA Anderson Dean Judy Olian (left) with benefactor Marion Anderson

UCLA’s Anderson School of Management today (May 14) announced the largest gift in its history: $100 million from long-time supporter Marion Anderson. The pledge by Anderson, wife of the late John Anderson for whom the school is named, is the sixth largest ever to a business school.

The school said that the majority of the donation–some $60 million–will be used to establish an endowment to support priorities such as student financial aid and fellowships, faculty and research funding, and program innovations to prepare future graduates for leadership positions. The remaining $40 million will provide seed funding for a new building with what the school called “technology-enhanced classrooms and spaces that connect students with faculty and alumni.” The new building also will house research centers and faculty.

With the most recent gift, the Andersons have donated $142 million to UCLA’s business school which was named after Marion’s husband in 1987 in recognition of the first gift from them. A self-made entrepreneur, John Anderson was the son of a barber in Minneapolis, where he sold popcorn in front of his father’s shop as a boy. The valedictorian of his high school class, Anderson arrived in Los Angeles in 1936 with a hockey scholarship to UCLA. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration at UCLA in 1940 and and then earned an MBA from Harvard Business School.

With his MBA in hand, Anderson eventually founded Topa Equities, which owns and operates numerous businesses involved in agriculture, insurance, real estate, beverage distribution and automotive dealerships. He died a billionaire in 2011 at the age of 93. The Andersons’ two sons graduated from UCLA, William from the law school and John from the business school.


The gift is the second $100 million pledge to a California business school this year. In early April, billionaire philanthropist Ernest Rady gave UC-San Diego’s Rady School of Management $100 million to help attract high-caliber faculty to the school that already was named for him. Only three other donors to business schools have given more than $142 million, the largest being a $300 million pledge in 1997 to the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business from alumnus David Booth.

Anderson’s donation comes at a crucial time for the school and Dean Judy Olian. Nearly two years ago, Dean Olian won approval to turn the school’s full-time MBA program into a self-supporting program. Its executive MBA programs, the part-time MBA program, and a Master’s in Financial Engineering already had been self-supporting. In a video conversation between Olian and Marion Anderson, Anderson made it clear that part of the reason for her gift was the school’s self-supporting decision. “I’m hoping this will motivate enough people to also give,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what the size of the gift is so long as they do make a gift.”

“We are eternally grateful for Marion’s extraordinary generosity, which raises to new heights her commitment to UCLA Anderson and to the entire campus,” said UCLA Chancellor Gene Block in a statement. “Marion’s most recent gift will enhance learning opportunities for generations of students and support scholarship by faculty who are leaders in their fields. As UCLA Anderson expands its reach and distinctions, Marion’s gift provides the resources — both financial and physical — to realize an ambitious vision.”

Largest Gifts To Business Schools


School Amount Donor Year
Chicago’s Booth School of Business $300 million David Booth 1997
Michigan’s Ross School of Business $200 million Stephen Ross 2004, 2013
Stanford Graduate School of Business $150 million Robert & Dorothy King 2011
UCLA Anderson School of Management $142 million John & Marion Anderson 1987, 2011, 2015
Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business $122 million David Tepper 2004, 2013
Stanford Graduate School of Business $105 million Philip Knight 2006
UC-San Diego $100 million Ernest Rady 2015
Columbia Business School $100 million Ronald Perelman 2013
Columbia Business School $100 million Henry Kravis 2010
Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School $80 million David Atkinson 2010
Florida’s Warrington College of Business $75 million Al & Judy Warrington 2014
Hawaii’s Shidler College of Business $69 million Jay Shidler 2014
Virginia’s Darden School of Business $62 million Frank Batten 1999
Northeastern’s D’Amore-McKim School $60 million Richard D’Amore & Alan McKim 2012
Thunderbird School of Management $60 million Sam & Rita Garvin 2004
Boston University’s Questrom School $50 million Allen & Kelli Questrom 2015
Tennessee’s Haslam College of Business $50 million Jim Haslam & family 2014
Georgia Tech’s Scheller College $50 million Ernest Scheller 2012
Harvard Business School $50 million Tata Group 2010
Yale School of Management $50 million Ned Evans 2010
Arizona State’s Carey School of Business $50 million William Carey 2003
Texas’ McCombs School of Business $50 million Red McCombs 2000
Arkansas’ Walton College of Business $50 million The Walton Family 1998

Source: AACSB

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