ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON – Philanthropist George Soros has pledged a $500 million challenge grant endowment, among the largest ever made to higher education in the country, to set the stage for a $1 billion endowment drive.
Bard announced it has raised an additional $250 million from supporters, including trustees, alumni, and friends, and will raise another $250 million over the next five years.
“Bard has played an innovative and progressive role in American education without any historical wealth; it will continue to do so with this new and highly competitive endowment, to ensure equity in financial aid, reform the relationship between higher education and secondary education, promote international education, and defend the arts, the humanities and basic science as the essence of liberal arts,” said College President Leon Botstein.
Bard is recognized for its excellence in undergraduate education and liberal arts curriculum, its emphasis on the arts, and civic engagement. Over the last four decades, the college has created initiatives such as the Bard Early Colleges, the Bard Prison Initiative, and international partnerships such as Al-Quds Bard and the American University of Central Asia, all of which broaden access to higher education for underserved communities.
College officials said Soros’s visionary support of Bard’s role as one of two founding partners of the new Open Society University Network, a global network of educational institutions created with the Central European University in partnership with Soros’s Open Society Foundations, has permitted the college to expand and strengthen its network of domestic and international partnerships.
“Bard has had an outsized impact, setting the standard in liberal arts education in prisons, in high school age students, and in the arts and in its international work,” said Soros.
School officials said this endowment pledge from Soros, along with Bard’s matching contributions, will endow the college’s full array of student financial aid, faculty, and programs; enable the college to sustain its mission and to grow its international profile, and begin its endowment drive with $750 million.