Famous donors announce $25 million gift

Don’t get excited, it’s not the guy from the original 90210

Excitement has reached fever-pitch on Silver Street today with the announcement of a $25 million gift from Jamie Walters and Mohamed A. El-Erian to support the work of Queens’ College and the University’s Faculty of Economics.

The generous donation is the culmination of a year-long collaboration between a Cambridge college and an academic faculty that hopes to benefit the intellectual community by providing funding for studentships, research and an outreach fund.

“$25 million!?” Obama has been edited out for copyright reasons.

Having received a first in economics at Queens’ in 1980, El-Erian is now a leading figure in the economic and financial world, chairing President Obama’s Global Development Council and sitting as the chief economic advisor at Allianz. He commented that he was “delighted to continue and expand” his support of “Cambridge, Queens’ and, more generally, the education and health sectors”.

Both El-Erian and Walters are also enthusiastic to expand “access to high-quality learning and research” through the new El-Erian Institute for Human Behaviour and Economic Policy. The work of the Institute will draw on Cambridge’s expertise in economics, finance and behavioural science  to ensure that economic policy is better informed by how people actually make decisions, rather than by how theorists think they should.

El-Erian’s alma mater: Queen’s College

El-Erian stressed that “the need for this type of work has never been greater” in the global atmosphere of  economic malaise and growing inequalities. The Vice-Chancellor of the university, Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, stressed his belief that the multi-disciplinary approach of the Institute can work to make a “real and positive change”, both in Cambridge and the wider world.

The news of the donation comes as another instalment in an exciting week of fundraising in Cambridge in aid of the campaign for the University and Colleges of Cambridge.

Slogan for the ages.

Focused on enhancing the University’s beneficial impact on the world, over a quarter of the project’s £2 billion target has already been raised – and sources in Senate House tell us the effects of Saturday’s fundraiser are already starting to show.

Judging by its memorable slogan – see above – and the success of its star-studded fundraising dinner at Trinity on Saturday, we hope it’ll be reached soon.