Stephen A. Schwarzman, the billionaire founder of investment giant Blackstone Group, has granted scholarships to a select group of students to attend Tsinghua University in Beijing.
The 111 winners of the grants will participate in a program inspired by the elite Rhodes scholarships, he tells the New York Times
. Rhodes scholarships are offered to non-British students to study at the University of Oxford.
Schwarzman’s goal is to establish a $450 million endowment that would fund up to 200 students every year: 45 percent from the United States, 20 percent from China and 35 percent from other countries, according to the newspaper.
About 3,000 students applied for the grants and that pool was winnowed down to 300 semifinalists who were interviewed in Beijing, Bangkok, London and New York. Schwarzman, who is estimated to have a personal net worth of $9.8 billion, conducted some of the interviews in London and New York.
He personally contributed $100 million to the scholarship fund and has raised another $275 million from foundations and corporations including BP, Dow Chemical and Credit Suisse, according to the NYT.
China’s government bought a $3 billion non-voting stake in Blackstone
in 2007, before the financial crisis swept across the globe and led to the bankruptcy of Schwarzman’s former employer, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. He founded Blackstone in 1985 with former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Peter G. Peterson, who oversees a foundation to promote fiscal responsibility.
Schwarzman created Schwarzman College in China to offer better networking opportunities for future leaders. The students will have access to some of the most influential people in the Chinese power structure, he said.
Noting that President Xi Jinping is a Tsinghua University alumnus, Schwarzman described the college as a place to “meet a lot of very well-connected, important people,” the NYT reported.
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