BEIJING (AP) — Wall Street tycoon Stephen A. Schwarzman helped break ground Thursday on a college building in Beijing that will house a $300 million scholarship program bearing his name that is intended to rival the prestigious Rhodes Scholarships.
Accompanied by Chinese government and university officials, the founder of the private equity firm Blackstone turned a shovel at a ceremonial event on the campus of Tsinghua University. The first class of Schwarzman Scholars will study there in 2016.
Schwarzman said he's setting up the program to train a new generation of global leaders with better understanding of China as the world's geopolitics shift to the rising power.
"China is going to be, what I call it, a core curriculum for any educated person, any person who wants to be the global leader of their field," he said.
China has welcomed the endowed program, which is the largest philanthropic gift with foreign money in China's history. Beijing sees it as a nod to the country's growing clout and hopes it will boost Tsinghua University's standing among the world's higher learning institutions.
The $300 million endowment will allow 200 students each year to take part in a one-year master's program at Tsinghua — all expenses paid — in public policy, economics and business, international relations or engineering. Forty-five percent of the students would come from the United States, 20 percent from China and the rest from other parts of the world, and the classes would be taught in English, Schwarzman said.
Economist David Daokui Li, also dean of Schwarzman Scholars, said the program would be academically independent. "We should have free discussions and clashes of ideas with no restriction," Li said.
Schwarzman has personally contributed $100 million to the program and is leading a campaign that has raised $160 million toward the $200 million goal.
He dismissed any suggestion that the gift is to advance his business interests in China. "If that were my objective, there would be a cheaper way to do it than putting up $100 million," he said. "We already enjoy great relationship here in China."
China Investment Corp., China's main sovereign wealth fund, is an investor in Blackstone Corp.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
A federal civil rights lawsuit filed by a Los Alamos Police Detective against his former employers has been settled for $600,000.
A few tips on how to prevent thieves from taking your stuff over Winter Break, a look at the right to die trial, and other stories with Matt Mauro, Elizabeth Mauro and weather with Meteorologist Kristen Van Dyke.
NMFOG says government agency cannot bar someone from access to information just because it does not like what that person says about the agency.
Some Cleveland High School students say a traffic plan for getting them out of school forces them to take a dangerous and tricky left turn onto a 55 mph road, something parents and staff don't have to do.
An emotional mother is still waiting for answers about what happened to her missing daughter.
The federal jury weighing a life or death sentence for convicted killer John McCluskey has announced it couldn't reach a decision.