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Columbia Business School has received a further $100m gift towards the construction of its Manhattanville campus in New York. The pledge comes from billionaire businessman Ronald Perelman, chairman and chief executive of MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings, after whom a building on the new campus will be named the Ronald O. Perelman Center for Business Innovation.

Though a graduate of the Wharton school at the University of Pennsylvania, Mr Perelman has been a member of the Columbia Business School’s Board of Overseers since 1994.

This is the second time the school has received such a large gift as part of the Manhattanville construction project. In 2010, Henry Kravis, co-founder of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, and at the time co-chair of the Board of Overseers, pledged an initial $100m. The total cost of the New York business school project is expected to be $600m and dean Glenn Hubbard says the school has already raised $460m.

Mr Perelman, who is well-known for his philanthropy, says business has been completely transformed since he graduated from Wharton in 1966. “Business leaders are becoming more and more important. You have global economics and geo-political activities are being driven by business leaders.”

“Most of the world’s big problems are about management and leadership,” adds Prof Hubbard.

The building on the Manhattanville campus will be designed to encourage a more integrated curriculum, according to dean Glenn Hubbard. It will be designed by New York architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro and will be situated opposite the Henry R. Kravis Building.

Mr Perelman praises Columbia as one of the world’s great business schools. “I think it is incumbent on me to do something in education in New York, in the city where I live and which I love,” says Mr Perelman. “I think sometimes we take it [Columbia University] for granted because it is just round the corner.”

Prof Hubbard says the Manhattanville campus will be open in 2017-2018. “Right now there’s a great hole in the ground.”

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Harvard receives $50m from Len Blavatnik

Len Blavatnik, the billionaire music and media entrepreneur, has given Harvard University $50m to help convert biochemical research into medical therapies and promote entrepreneurship at the University. The gift has been given through the Blavatnik Family Foundation.

Mr Blavatnik, who graduated from Harvard Business School in 1989, has been active in endowing arts and science projects in both the US and UK. In 2010, he committed £75m to establish the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford.

Mr Blavatnik said he hoped the establishment of Blavatnik Biomedical Accelerator would help develop closer links between the science departs and the business school. “By increasing the collaborative efforts between Harvard Business School and Harvard’s scientific community, we will empower the next generation of life science entrepreneurs and provide a further catalyst for innovation and research development.”

Part of the gift will be used to create the Blavatnik Fellowship in Life Science Entrepreneurship at HBS, to give MBA students experience in entrepreneurial activities in the life science.

The accelerator will be housed in Harvard’s Office of Technology Development.

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