Ellison Leaves Harvard in Lurch Over Donation
Harvard University has been left in the lurch by Larry Ellison, chairman of software group Oracle, who has failed to make good on a $115 million donation 10 months after academics believed they could count on the money.
The Ellison Institute for World Health, which was gearing up to employ a staff of 130 by the summer of 2007, has been put on hold. Twenty research fellows and five top academics had been all but appointed, while three senior managerial staff who had been hired, have now been dismissed.
The planned Ellison Institute, which was to study and disseminate ways to assess health policies around the world, would have marked a big increase in philanthropic support by Ellison, estimated by Forbes to be the world’s 15th richest man with $16 billion in net assets.
It would also have marked Ellison’s second foray into global health, an area of increasing interest to wealthy businessmen led by Bill Gates, the head of Microsoft, who last week said he would step down in 2008 to devote himself principally to philanthropy.
Prof. Christopher Murray, head of Harvard’s Global Health Initiative, who was set to run the new institute, confirmed on Tuesday that he was still awaiting $115 million first promised by Ellison in March 2005 and set to be paid last September. He said: “I remain hopeful that Ellison will follow through on his commitments.”
A spokesman for Ellison at Oracle refused to comment Tuesday. Read more…