The second largest gift in the university's history will fund scholarships for third- and fourth-year students in economics through the Odyssey Scholarship Program, stipends and research support for graduate students, and new and ongoing research by faculty, as well as efforts to boost the profile of the Economics Department. The funds also will be used to the launch the Kenneth C. Griffin Applied Economics Research Incubator, which will focus on new strategies aimed at strengthening the understanding and impact of economics. In recognition of the gift, the department will be renamed the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics.
The gift brings Griffin's total support for UChicago's Economics Department to nearly $150 million. The largest gift in UChicago history is a $300 million gift from alumnus David Booth and his family in 2008 to name the university's Booth School of Business.
"This extremely generous commitment will immeasurably benefit the Economics Department, as well as work in social sciences across campus," said Amanda Woodward, interim dean of the Division of the Social Sciences. "Given our culture of 'low walls' between disciplines, and the vitality and importance of economic approaches across fields, this gift will have broad influence across the university."
"The University of Chicago has transformed our understanding of economics," said Griffin, founder and CEO of Citadel, one of the world's largest alternative asset managers. "Over the past century, the faculty and students have challenged the status quo to produce pioneering research and path-breaking ideas, which have been recognized by the twenty-nine Nobel prizes in the field of economics awarded to individuals associated with the university. I am proud to support the extraordinary work of the Economics Department and a university so fundamentally committed to free expression, fierce debate, and intellectual pursuit. The culture of rigorous questioning and open discourse at the University of Chicago has opened minds to ideas that have changed the world."