Manhattan-based Hunter College announced on Monday that Hunter College High School has received a $1 million donation from health care investor and entrepreneur Martin Shkreli - the largest single donation in the high school’s 101-year history.
Shkreli's gift, to be managed by a new endowment fund in his name, will be put towards a variety of uses, including funding new technology and teaching resources for the school’s science and guidance programs. The endowment also aims to assist the high school in “supporting and expanding its reputation as one of the premier schools in New York City and the United States.”
Mr. Shkreli stated: “I owe so much of my success over the past 15 years to my time as a Hunter student. Beyond its great teachers and academics, Hunter encouraged me to think creatively and to challenge conventional wisdom. Hunter is a wonderful educational incubator and I’m hoping the endowment set up in my name will help train a new generation of students to stay ahead of the curve and also motivate them to always see around the corner.”
The donation is among the largest individual gifts ever made to a New York City public school. Hunter College High School (HCHS) is part of Hunter College, the flagship college of the City University of New York. Notably, among the nation’s top secondary schools, HCHS is the only New York City public high school not under control of New York City’s Department of Education.
“As Hunter’s President and a graduate of Hunter College High School myself, I know the critical difference a major gift like this can make in bringing positive change to campus,” stated Hunter College president Jennifer J. Raab. “We thank Martin Shkreli for his vision and his dedication to HCHS, and know that his generosity will only make a great school even better.”
“We’re thrilled by Martin’s donation, which will support a host of initiatives ensuring that Hunter stays in the vanguard of elite secondary schools in the country,” Dr. Tony Fisher, principal of HCHS, said in a statement. “Our students may also relate especially well to the gift, coming from someone who is not that many years removed from walking our school’s halls. We look forward to applying these funds in a way that reflects the passion and intellectual curiosity that drives our student body. We also want to offer special thanks to HCHS alumnus Matthew Blumenthal who did an expert job working with Martin to secure this unprecedented gift.”
The 31-year-old Shkreli was a student at HCHS from 1994-2000. After graduating from Baruch College in 2004, he went on to work at several major Wall St. hedge funds, including Cramer, Berkowitz & Co. and Intrepid Capital Management. In 2009, he established his own firm, MSMB and was named to Forbes’ magazine’s list of America’s top “30 Under 30” for finance.
In 2011, Shkreli formed Retrophin - a biotech company that had its successful IPO in 2013 on the NASDAQ exchange. Mr. Shkreli left Retrophin in 2014 and last week launched a new life sciences company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, which is currently developing a portfolio of new drug treatments for major medical conditions.
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