By Mark McSherry — Former Baillie Gifford fund manager James Anderson has made a gift of $100 million to Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies’ Europe campus in Bologna, Italy.
Anderson recently left Edinburgh-based Baillie Gifford to become chairman of Swedish investment company Kinnevik AB.
Johns Hopkins said the gift will allow the university to expand its SAIS Europe campus in Bologna “into an international hub for research and collaboration, bringing together leading academics and practitioners around the world to train the next generation of international experts, offer multidisciplinary solutions to global problems, facilitate scientific and technological research on public policies, and work towards peace and democratic development.”
Edinburgh-based investor Anderson is the chair of the Johns Hopkins University SAIS Europe Advisory Council and a member of the university’s board of trustees. He is a 1981 SAIS Europe alumnus and longtime supporter of the school.
The $100 million gift is the largest-ever private contribution to a university in Italy.
“The gift from James and Morag Anderson is transformational,” said Ron Daniels, president of Johns Hopkins University.
“With it, SAIS Europe will further secure its role as a vibrant hub for scholarship, learning, and public policy at a critical juncture in global history.
“Among the most significant private philanthropic contributions ever made to higher education in Europe, it marks the Andersons’ belief in the unique role that universities can play in shaping and strengthening democratic society.
“Since our founding in 1876, the Johns Hopkins University has confronted society’s great challenges through research, discovery, and service to humanity.
“This gift allows us to continue to build on that rich tradition and expand the impact of America’s first research university on a global scale.”
Anderson said: “SAIS Europe has taught me that it is vital for leaders to think critically and imaginatively about complex problems that have no easy answers.
“I believe that it is essential to make it possible for the most talented and engaged students to study with our faculty and each other in Bologna regardless of their ability to pay for it, and to create opportunities to amplify Johns Hopkins’ impact across borders and oceans.
“I believe in the vision for the university and for SAIS Europe, and I hope others will join me in helping us realize our ambitions.”
SAIS Dean James Steinberg said: “SAIS is renowned for bringing together leading scholars and practitioners to devise innovative solutions to complex issues of the 21st century.
“The Andersons have now fueled our ambitious transformation to fulfill our vision for the future of SAIS Europe as the go-to institution for research, teaching, and public engagement on the pressing global challenges.
“It’s hard to imagine a more essential goal, nor a more critical time.”
SAIS Europe Director Michael Plummer said: “SAIS Europe has made significant contributions to international relations over the past 70 years, hosting some of the world’s most influential academics and practitioners, from Nobel Prize winners to prime ministers.
“This gift will allow us to build on this stellar tradition and make SAIS Europe in Bologna the top destination for the education of current and future global leaders, from Europe and across the globe, who seek to apply evidence-based, forward-looking analysis to pressing, multidimensional policy issues for the betterment of the world.
“There is no other school or university better prepared to seize the attendant opportunities for research and education than SAIS Europe and Johns Hopkins.”