kgWe’d heard that there was going to be a super big announcement tomorrow in Low Rotunda. We figured that it had to do with money. We didn’t know it was going to be this much money: according to the Wall Street Journal, media mogul John Kluge (the minority scholarship guy, Forbes’ #25) is forking over between $400 and $600 million, which pretty much takes care of that whole financial aid drive. By Bwog’s rough calculations, that leaves Columbia a little over halfway to its goal of $4 billion for the capital campaign and dwarfs Jerome Greene’s $200 million “largest private gift ever” of last March.

Full WSJ article after the jump.



Kluge Plans to Donate

At Least $400 Million

To Columbia University


April 10, 2007 7:47 p.m.

Columbia University is expected to announce Wednesday a gift of at least

$400 million, possibly as much as $600 million, from media entrepreneur John

W. Kluge, according to two people familiar with the donation. It is among

the largest single gifts to higher education. The amount will depend on the

eventual value of Mr. Kluge’s estate at the time of his death.

Mr. Kluge, 92 years old, has earmarked the gift for undergraduate and

graduate financial aid, according to these people. That is consistent with

his past record of giving to the Manhattan-based university. In 1993, he

pledged $60 million to provide financial aid through the Kluge Scholars

program to minority students at Columbia, and in 2000 he gave $25 million to

subsidize junior-faculty salaries. Over the years, his giving to Columbia

has totaled more than $110 million. A Columbia spokeswoman declined to


It is believed to be the largest single gift in the history of Columbia,

which recently announced a $4 billion fund-raising campaign emphasizing

financial aid and endowed faculty across its campuses. A year ago, the

university received a gift of over $200 million from Dawn Greene and the

Jerome L. Greene Foundation to create the Jerome L. Greene Science Center

for Mind, Brain and Behavior.

A German immigrant, Mr. Kluge attended Columbia on an academic scholarship,

graduating in 1937. One person who knows him says he has always felt

grateful to Columbia for that aid, and believes that helping students today

is an extension of the support received by earlier generations of European


Mr. Kluge began building his entertainment empire in 1947 with the

acquisition of a radio station in Silver Spring, Md. It later grew to

include television stations, outdoor advertising, cellular telephone

properties and even the Ice Capades and Harlem Globetrotters.

Mr. Kluge was one of the first media entrepreneurs to demonstrate that a

group of independent TV stations could make millions of dollars, according

to the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago. His Metromedia Inc.

pioneered independent-station operations through the 1960s and 1970s. In

1986, Mr. Kluge agreed to sell seven Metromedia TV stations for nearly $2

billion to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

Write to Sally Beatty at