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Oct 01, 2013 09:31 AM EDT

Yale Receives $250 Million in Donation; Largest Gift in 312-Year History

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Yale University has received its largest donation in its 312-year history. The $250 million donation was given by the former Franklin Resources Inc chairman, Charles B. Johnson.

Johnson, 80, is an alumnus (1954 graduate) of the University. He retired in June as chairman of Franklin Resources, the parent company of Franklin Templeton Investments.

"This is an extraordinary commitment from one of Yale's most loyal alumni," university President Peter Salovey said in an official statement. "It builds on Charlie's long history of generosity to Yale."Charlie has already done so much to shape our international and athletics programs ... I am thrilled that this gift brings us to within $80 million of the funds needed to break ground on two new residential colleges."

Johnson, of Hillsborough, Calif., is one of the richest people in the world. According to Courant, he has been named the 74th wealthiest person in the country by Forbes, with a net worth of $5.6 billion as of last month.

Johnson has previously supported renovation of the Yale Bowl and helped establish the Johnson Center for the Study of American Diplomacy.

"Yale is unsurpassed in the quality of its undergraduate education, and I strongly support Rick Levin's and Peter Salovey's shared goal to make that extraordinary experience available to more students than ever before," Johnson said in an official statement. "I hope my commitment will inspire other alumni, parents, and friends to complete the funding for the construction of these colleges."

The university officials welcome donation.

According to Reuters, the amount is just $80 million short of the funding it requires to begin construction on two new residential colleges. Inauguration of these buildings could increase the undergraduate student population by about 15 percent (800 students), from 5,300 to more than 6,000.

Salovey said that the university has not expanded since 1969.

 "And since that time, the number of applicants has more than quadrupled," Salovey said in a letter to Yale students, faculty and alumni. "Every year, there are far more deserving applicants than we can admit. By growing the size of Yale College by a modest amount ... we will provide more outstanding young women and men with access to our outstanding faculty."

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