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September 23, 2011

In Higher Education: Second Major Gift in a Month From Pittsburgh Mogul

The industrial magnate William S. Dietrich II will give $125-million to the University of Pittsburgh, a record for the school and among the largest by an individual to a U.S. public college, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Bloomberg report.

The donation comes less than two weeks after Mr. Dietrich, the 73-year-old former chairman of steel supplier Dietrich Industries, made an unrestricted $265-million pledge to Carnegie Mellon University, also in Pittsburgh. In both cases the schools will receive the money upon the donor's death.

Mr. Dietrich earned a doctorate in political science from the University of Pittsburgh and is a member of its board, which he chaired from 2001 to 2003. The university's School of Arts and Sciences will be name for Kenneth P. Dietrich, the donor's father.

In other higher-education news:

• Boston University has received the biggest gift in its history, $25-million from Dubai-based entrepreneur and philanthropist Rajen Kilachand, writes The Boston Globe.

The donation will support the university's year-old Honors College, which enrolls a select number of students to pursue multidisciplinary studies in the liberal arts and which will be renamed for his parents, Arvind and Chandan Nandlal Kilachand.

Mr. Kilachand, an alumnus of the institution's Graduate School of Management and a university trustee, heads the Dodsal Group, a multinational conglomerate with holdings in several industries.

• Harvard University's endowment gained 21 percent in value in the past year, continuing the fund's rebound from record losses in 2008, Bloomberg says.

Harvard's endowment, the biggest among the world's universities, stood at $32-billion as of June 30, up $4.4-billion from last year but still $4.9-billion shy of its 2008 peak

“We’ve done a lot of restructuring. We’re past the midpoint in the turnaround in this portfolio,” said Jane Mendillo, chief executive of Harvard Management, who took control of the school's investments two months before the market crash that sheared 27 percent from their value.