Published On: Sun, Apr 4th, 2021

George Soros Donates $500 Million to Bard College

This is one of the largest donations ever made to higher education.

George Soros Screen Shot from “Soros”

Philanthropist and long-time Bard supporter George Soros has pledged to donate $500 million to Bard College. This is one of the largest single donations ever made to a school.

Bard says that this endowment pledge from Mr. Soros, along with Bard’s matching contributions, will endow the College’s full array of student financial aid, faculty, and programs; enable the College to sustain its mission and to grow its international profile; and begin its endowment drive with $750 million.

“This is the most historic moment since the college’s founding in 1860,” said Bard College President Leon Botstein. “When this endowment drive is complete, Bard will have a $1 billion endowment, which will ensure its pioneering mission and its academic excellence for the future.”

“Bard has played an innovative and progressive role in American education without any historical wealth; it will continue to do so with this new and highly competitive endowment, to ensure equity in financial aid, reform the relationship between higher education and secondary education, promote international education, and defend the arts, the humanities and basic science as the essence of the liberal arts.”

Bard is widely recognized for its excellence in undergraduate education and rigorous liberal arts curriculum, its emphasis on the arts, and civic engagement. Over the last four decades, the College has created pioneering initiatives such as the Bard Early Colleges, the Bard Prison Initiative, and international partnerships such as Al-Quds Bard and the American University of Central Asia, all of which broaden access to higher education for underserved communities.

Bard College Commencement Saturday May 25, 2019, in the Town of Red Hook, N.Y. [Photo by Karl Rabe – from Bard web site]

The school described Mr. Soros’s support as visionary. It supports it as one of two founding partners of the new Open Society University Network, a global network of educational institutions created with the Central European University in partnership with Mr. Soros’s Open Society Foundations, has permitted the College to expand and strengthen the College’s path breaking network of domestic and international partnerships.

“Bard has had an outsized impact, setting the standard in liberal arts education in prisons, in high school age students, and in the arts and in its international work,” said Mr. Soros.

About Bard College
Founded in 1860, Bard College is a four-year residential college of the liberal arts and sciences located 90 miles north of New York City. With the addition of the Montgomery Place estate, Bard’s campus consists of nearly 1,000 parklike acres in the Hudson River Valley. It offers bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, and bachelor of music degrees, with majors in nearly 40 academic programs; graduate degrees in 11 programs; eight early colleges; and numerous dual-degree programs nationally and internationally.

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