The Supreme Court struck a symbolic blow to Harvard University this June by declaring its racial admissions preferences illegal. It remains to be seen what stratagems Harvard will use to try to continue engineering racial diversity. One thing is certain, however: the university will pay no price in reputation or in philanthropic support for the Court’s rebuke.
To understand just how confident Harvard can be in its irresistible appeal to donors, consider one of its recent windfalls. In April 2023, hedge-fund manager Kenneth Griffin bestowed $300 million on the university, close to the largest single donation in the institution’s history.
Griffin’s cumulative giving to the school now totals over $500 million, spread between the education, law, and business schools, as well as other entities. In exchange for this latest gift, Harvard renamed its graduate division the Kenneth C. Griffin Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
Business as usual, you may think; another billionaire plowing treasure into an institution whose values are, at best, in tension with American traditions and, at worst, antithetical to them. But Griffin is a conservative.