David Tepper Giving Carnegie Mellon a $67 Million Gift

David Tepper Giving Carnegie Mellon a $67 Million Gift

A century ago, giants of America’s Gilded Age started the educational institutions that later became Carnegie Mellon University.

On Friday, Carnegie Mellon will announce a major gift from a product of a new gilded age, the hedge fund billionaire David A. Tepper.

Mr. Tepper has given the school $ 67 million, bringing his total giving to Carnegie Mellon in the last decade to more than $ 125 million.

“Carnegie Mellon tied everything together for me and gave me a great foundation,” said Mr. Tepper, founder of Appaloosa Management and a graduate of the university’s b usiness school. “My earlier gifts were a payback to the university, and this is a continuation of that.”

The donation to Carnegie Mellon comes amid a spate of mammoth gifts to universities during the past year: Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York announced a $ 350 million pledge to Johns Hopkins. The mutual fund billionaire Charles B. Johnson donated $ 250 million to Yale. The real estate developer Stephen M. Ross unveiled a $ 200 million gift to the University of Michigan. And Frank H. McCourt Jr., a real estate developer, has given $ 100 million to Georgetown.

“The tremendous wealth creation in this country has inured to the benefit of higher education,” said Patrick Rooney, associate dean for academic affairs and research at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. “Inherent in these major gifts is a deep pride and sense of ownership that these donors take in their alma maters.”

Mr. Tepper hopes that his gift will help improve Carnegie Mellon’s reputation and rankings. It will create a new academic hub on the university’s Pittsburgh campus to be called the David A. Tepper Quadrangle.

The money will also help finance the construction of a 300,000-square-foot building that will be home to the university’s Tepper School of Business. And it will provide a new welcome center and improved facilities, including larger classrooms, a fitness center and a cafe.

The announcement of the donation is to come on the same day as the formal installation of Carnegie Mellon’s new president, Subra Suresh, who assumed his post in July. In an interview, Mr. Suresh, an engineer and scientist, extolled the school’s reputation as a hotbed of innovation.

“This will enhance the entrepreneurship that already exists on campus,” said Mr. Subresh, who served as director of the National Science Foundation from 2010 to 2013.

Mr. Tepper, 56, the son of an accountant and schoolteacher, grew up middle class in Pittsburgh. He attended the University of Pittsburgh and earned his graduate degree in business from Carnegie Mellon. He started Appaloosa in 1993 after a stint at Goldman Sachs, where he helped run high-yield bond trading.

Based in Short Hills, N.J., Appaloosa has $ 20 billion in assets under management, making it one of the world’s largest hedge funds. In 2012, Mr. Tepper earned $ 2.2 billion, which, according to Institutional Investor’s Alpha, made him the country’s highest paid hedge-fund manager.

In 2009, Mr. Tepper made an estimated $ 4 billion with big, contrarian bets on the battered shares of Bank of America and Citigroup. That same year, he purchased an ownership stake in the Pittsburgh Steelers football team.

After Mr. Tepper gave Carnegie Mellon’s business school $ 55 million in 2004, it was renamed after him.

The university was started by Andrew Carnegie in 1900 as the Carnegie Technical Schools. In 1967, that school, which had become the Carnegie Institute of Technology, merged with the Mellon Institute, a nearby institution founded by Andrew W. Mellon and Richard B. Mellon.

Distinguishing himself from the school’s original benefactor, Mr. Tepper noted that Mr. Carnegie became philanthropic in the later stage of his career.

“I’m still young,” Mr. Tepper said. “These days I think you’re seeing people become conscious of giving back a little earlier.”



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