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Underpinning Public Service

9.10.15


The University today announced a $15-million gift, from Eric M. Mindich ’88 and Stacey Mindich, to support public-service-oriented experiential learning in undergraduate courses and a fellowship program for College students interested in public service.

According to the announcement, the gift supports the Mindich Program in Engaged Scholarship, which will underwrite development of the public-service components of more than a dozen new College courses, and the Mindich Service Fellows Program, which will provide up to 75 undergraduate summer stipends for service activities, beginning next summer. The latter is an important option for students whose financial aid requires a contribution from summer earnings—a requirement that often precludes low-paid or unpaid service experiences. Sally C. Donahue, director of financial aid, said that for returning students, the summer-earnings obligation currently averages $2,500. 

In the announcement, President Drew Faust said the gift “will encourage and enable more of our students to explore public service in both summer activities and academic work, and to understand the importance of public service in shaping the kind of world we hope to build.” Harvard College dean Rakesh Khurana commented, “At a time when we as a society are tackling urgent and pervasive social issues, this gift will enable our students and our faculty to address these problems through rigorous academic research and hands-on experience.”

In recognition of the gift, Phillips Brooks House, the center for undergraduate public-service work, will be renamed Phillips Brooks House Center for Public Service and Engaged Scholarship; it will administer the new curricular program and fellowships.

Eric Mindich is chief executive of Eton Park Capital Management, a hedge fund he founded in 2004 with a then-unprecedented initial funding of $3.5 billion, according to an industry newsletter. He previously worked for 15 years at Goldman Sachs, where, according to his biography, he became the youngest partner in history at age 27. He is a trustee and chair of the investment committee at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (where his colleagues include Danielle S. Allen, professor of government and director of Harvard’s Safra Center for Ethics, and Sarah E. Thomas, University Librarian and vice president for the Harvard Library); president of the Lincoln Center Theater board of directors; and a trustee of Mount Sinai Medical Center and the Horace Mann School.

Stacey Mindich’s biography describes her as a Tony Award-winning theatrical producer (Hedwig and the Angry Inch, among other productions), with a particular interest in musicals. She is co-chair of New York City Center. She was previously a senior editor of Town & Country, following several earlier positions as a journalist.

Read the news announcement here.

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