Schwarzman Scholars Marks First Year

April 21, 2014

Elite international scholarship program successfully raises $275 million and increases endowment target to $350 million

Opens Beijing and New York offices and makes key hires

One year ago today, Blackstone founder Stephen A. Schwarzman announced a $100 million personal gift and $200 million fundraising campaign to build and endow Schwarzman Scholars, an elite international scholarship program at Tsinghua University in Beijing. Inspired by the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship, Schwarzman Scholars is designed to educate future world leaders about China. Each year, 200 students from around the world will complete coursework for a one-year Master’s degree at Schwarzman College, an academic and residential building dedicated to the program. Announced at China’s Great Hall of the People, the program received messages of support from American President Barack Obama, Chinese President Xi Jinping, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong, and former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

Considerable progress has been made during the past year, and the program is on track to welcome the first class of Schwarzman Scholars in 2016. $275 million has been raised since the announcement ceremony one year ago, offices have been opened in New York and Beijing, curriculum preparation, faculty and staff hiring are all well underway, construction at the Schwarzman College site is on schedule and many important partnerships and relationships have been formed.

“With the support of our distinguished Advisory Board, world-class Academic Advisory Council and the commitment of our generous donors, the program is on track to welcome the first class of Schwarzman Scholars in 2016,” said the program’s founder, Stephen A. Schwarzman. “The care and attention that is going into each aspect of the program’s development will help ensure that it fulfills its mission of educating future leaders who can forge stronger, more constructive ties between nations. We are grateful for the tremendous generosity of our donors and the invaluable support of our advisors who have contributed substantial time, energy and capital to this important project.”

“The Schwarzman Scholars program is extremely fortunate to have the support from China’s top leadership, exemplified by the gracious congratulatory letter written by President Xi Jinping and by the unwavering support of Vice Premier Liu Yandong,” said Tsinghua University President Chen Jining. “The Schwarzman Scholars program is at the forefront of China’s educational reforms and is setting the standard for the future of China’s higher education. The entire Tsinghua community is grateful for the strong support of the program’s donors and advisors, especially the personal dedication of founding donor Steve Schwarzman, and for the hard work of the full Schwarzman Scholars team.”

Due to the success of the fundraising effort so far, the program announced today that it is raising its fundraising goal from $300 million to $350 million. The Schwarzman Scholars endowment will be the largest philanthropic effort undertaken in China’s history from largely international donors. Major donors include Cornerstone Partner BP and Founding Partners the Chan Soon-Shiong Family Foundation, the Dalio Foundation, Delta Air Lines, Glencore, and EMC Corporation. New donors in recent months include Bosch, the Dow Chemical Company and the Whirlpool Corporation.

Last October, a groundbreaking ceremony was held as construction began at the future site of Schwarzman College. Once completed, Schwarzman College will be the first academic building in China with both LEED Gold and China Green Building Label 2-Star certification. The College, designed to recall both the traditional residential colleges at Oxford, Cambridge Harvard and Yale and the courtyard houses of ancient China, will also feature high-performance air and water filtration systems and special food safety procedures and controls. The excavation and pouring of the building’s foundation is complete and construction is scheduled to begin in May.

This year the program opened its U.S. office in New York City, which among other administrative functions will serve as the admissions hub for international candidates when admissions open in the fall of 2015. A temporary office has been established in Beijing while program offices at Schwarzman College are constructed.

In anticipation of the admissions season, Schwarzman Scholars has partnered with the Institute of International Education, which administers the Fulbright program and other leading scholarship programs, to develop an international application process and implement the most effective recruitment practices. Schwarzman Scholars is planning an intensive campus outreach and social media campaign to develop awareness of the program and attract the highest quality candidates from around the world.

Schwarzman Scholars is fortunate to have a distinguished Advisory Board and Academic Advisory Council. The Academic Advisory Council is comprised of academic leaders from top schools including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Duke, Stanford and Oxford. The Academic Advisory Council is tasked with helping develop the various program areas and curriculum with an eye toward ensuring that each component of the program is of a high enough caliber to appeal to the world’s top students. Course development is underway in three disciplines: (Public Policy, International Relations, and Economics & Business). The Council has convened regularly in Beijing and New York since the program’s announcement.

Tremendous focus has also been placed on the extracurricular elements of the program that will occur outside the classroom. During their year in Beijing, students will be given the unique opportunity to have direct and open interaction with visiting scholars, public officials, leaders of industry, artists and luminaries. Outside the classroom, students will undertake numerous cultural excursions throughout China, be paired with peers at Tsinghua University, participate in internships, charitable work and develop relationships with mentors from the local community. This will afford Schwarzman Scholars invaluable insights into how China’s dynamic economic and political development is informed by its history, culture, and people.

The program has hired several faculty members and key members of its administrative team. In March, Schwarzman Scholars named Julian Chang as Associate Dean of Student Life. Chang joins from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, where he served as the Executive Director of the Rajawali Foundation Institute for Asia. During his tenure, Chang co-founded the annual “China Goes Global” conference and led an international team studying the investment activity of Chinese enterprises. Chang joins Schwarzman Scholars Dean, David Daokui Li and Executive Dean, David Pan at Schwarzman College in Beijing. The Beijing office has made several key hires in major offices including administration, and academic affairs. Schwarzman Scholars is also in the midst of its search for the New York-based Executive Director position and has attracted many high caliber candidates.

In an effort to build a strong faculty base, the program has recruited a group of leading scholars from Tsinghua University who will teach courses across the three disciplines. They will be joined by visiting professors from leading institutions around the world.

Schwarzman Scholars is also pleased to announce today that former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, a Schwarzman Scholars Honorary Advisory Board member, will visit Tsinghua University next week. During her visit, Dr. Rice will tour the future site of Schwarzman College, meet with Dean Li, and be briefed on the progress of preparations so far. Dr. Rice will also lead a student town hall focused on the critical role of educational exchanges.

About Schwarzman Scholars:

Schwarzman Scholars was inspired by the Rhodes Scholarship, which was founded in 1902 to promote international understanding and peace, and is designed to meet the challenges of the 21st century and beyond. Blackstone Co-Founder Stephen A. Schwarzman personally contributed $100 million to the program and is leading a fundraising campaign to raise an additional $250 million from private sources to endow the program in perpetuity. The endowment will support 200 scholars annually from the U.S., China and around the world for a one-year Master’s Degree program at Tsinghua University in Beijing, one of China’s most prestigious universities and an indispensable base for the country’s scientific and technological research. Scholars chosen for this highly selective program will live in Beijing for a year of study and cultural immersion, attending lectures, traveling, and developing a better understanding of China. Admissions will open in the fall of 2015, with the first class of students in residence by the summer of 2016. Learn more at

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Christine Anderson

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