Stanford University receives $1.1 billion from venture capitalist for school on climate change

The Hoover Tower rises above Stanford University in this aerial photo in Stanford, California, U.S., January 13, 2017. REUTERS/Noah Berger

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May 4 (Reuters) – Stanford University has received $1.1 billion, its biggest ever donation, from venture capitalist John Doerr to fund a new school focused on climate change, fueling a debate over the issue whether the donations of billionaires are enough to fight the climate crisis.

“Stanford’s first new school in 70 years will launch this fall as the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability, recognizing a $1.1 billion gift from John and (his wife) Ann Doerr, the largest in the university history,” the California university said in a statement Wednesday.

“Climate and sustainability are going to be the new computer science,” Doerr told The New York Times in an interview published Wednesday. He made his estimated fortune of over $11 billion by investing in technology companies such as Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) and Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O).

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Doerris is among a list of billionaires like Jeff Bezos and Michael Bloomberg, who in recent years have donated money to fight climate change.

Some experts have said that the climate crisis should not depend on the charity of billionaires and that governments must put in place proper tax systems to ensure that billionaires pay their fair share. Read more

The donation is the largest ever made to a university for the establishment of a new school and the second largest donation to an academic institution, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Arun Majumdar, who advised the administrations of former US President Barack Obama and President Joe Biden on energy issues, has been named the inaugural dean of the school which will open in the fall.

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Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; Editing by Richard Chang

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Teresa H. Sadler