Steven A. Schwarzman Gives Huge $150 Million Gift To Yale For Culture Center

A rendering of the Schwarzman Center. Photo: Rendering by Christopher Williams Architects LLC/Gregorio Vasquez.

Yale University received welcome news on Monday. Stephen A. Schwarzman, chairman, chief executive, and co-founder of asset management group, Blackstone, will be giving a tidy sum back to his alma mater—$150 million to be exact—to provide the university with a new performing arts center, according to the New York Times. This is one of the largest donations made to a cultural institution in the United States.

The money will be put towards transforming Commons, a 114-year-old limestone building at Yale where Mr. Schwarzman spent his mealtimes, mostly alone.

“Commons always had a big emotional impact on me,” he told the New York Times. “I did not know one person when I went and I was very lonely. I’ve always been interested in that building and what goes on there.”

The plan for the complex will incorporate existing buildings, such as Woolsey Hall (a 2,650 seat auditorium) and Memorial Hall, the space designed by Carrère and Hastings to celebrate Yale’s bicentennial, with the new Schwarzman Center—which will have brand-new venues for theater, music, lectures, and talks. The university plans to hire a full-time director to run the center, which is slated to open in 2020.

Last year, Schwarzman raked in $690 million at Blackstone, making him one of the highest paid CEOs, according to Business Insider. Of course, the king of private equity is no stranger to philanthropic donations—especially ones with his name attached to them. In 2008, Schwarzman donated $100 million to the New York Public Library, whose main branch was then rebranded The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. He also started a “Schwarzman Scholars” program at the Tsinghua University in Beijing, modeled after another noted philanthropist’s eponymous project: the Rhodes Scholarship.


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