The Harvard Business School Class of 1961 celebrated its 25th reunion over the Columbus Day weekend with a record-setting gift to the school of $2.75 million.
Approximately 75 percent of the 650-member class participated in this year's gift, which will serve to endow the Class of 1961 Professorship in Entrepreneurship.
Carey Goodson, the director of the Harvard Business School Fund, said she was pleased with the level of participation by the 1961 alumni, which she said was "extremely high."
In addition, certain members of the Class of 1961 are also negotiating with the B-School to endow a second, separate chair, Goodson said.
The previous record for a class gift was $1.8 million, given by the class of 1960 for its 25th reunion last year. That gift was also used to endow a professorship in enterpreneurship.
The Class of 1961 was particularly well-suited to give such a large gift. According to a profile compiled from the class' 25th reunion yearbook, 63 percent of the class earns more than $100,000 a year. Its graduates head seven Fortune Magazine-listed companies.
Although the gift specifically endows a professorship, the fund will be used for programs aimed at "furthering the study of entrepreneurship," until the dean of the Business School selects someone to occupy the chair, Goodson said.
The gift came as the result of a year-long fundraising campaign. Similar campaigns had been aimed at each previous year's 25th reunion class, although never with the same success.
The 25th reunion class is traditionally the only one that makes its contribution as a whole rather than on an individual basis.
Goodson said she was optimistic that this year's gift can be matched next year. "It sets a new precedent that upcoming 25th reunion classes will pay attention to," she said.
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