Ex-Trump adviser gives $188M to Oxford University for new AI center

PHOTO:Stephen A. Schwarzman, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Blackstone, pictured during a panel session on the first day of the 49th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in this Jan. 22, 2019 file photo.PlayGian Ehrenzeller/EPA via Shutterstock, FILE
WATCH News headlines today: Sept. 16, 2019

The world-renowned University of Oxford has received the single biggest philanthropic donation in its history from a former adviser to President Donald Trump.

Stephen Schwarzman donated 150 million pounds (more than $188 million) to Oxford to fund a revamped humanities hub and an institute that will focus on research into ethics and artificial intelligence.

Schwarzman, a private equity billionaire and chief executive of the firm Blackstone, told the BBC he was donating such a substantial amount of money because AI was "the issue of our age."

He previously made a donation of $350 million to the Schwarzman College of Computing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Schwarzman grew up in Huntingdon Valley in Pennsylvania and attended Harvard before going on to work at Morgan Stanley. He served on President Trump's Business Council in 2017.

Professor Louise Richardson, Vice Chancellor of the University of Oxford, said: “This generous donation marks a significant endorsement in the value of the Humanities in the 21st century and in Oxford university as the world leader in the field. The new Schwarzman Center will…enable Oxford to remain at the forefront of both research and teaching while demonstrating the critical role the Humanities will play in helping human society navigate the technological changes of the 21st century.”

Schwarzman, who was estimated last year by Forbes to have a net worth of around $12.4 billion, was not a student at Oxford but was enthralled by its beauty when he visited as a teenager in 1963, telling the Guardian newspaper: “I vividly remember going to Oxford because I’d never seen anything like it.

"The beauty and the ancient characters of the buildings made a huge impression on me, so that was one factor," he said. "But the second thing was the excellence of the areas that this project is involved with, and the fit between what Oxford is doing and the values that they have been part of developing for western civilization and the need to apply those core values to this rapidly growing area of technology.”

The British government said it was a "globally significant" investment in Britain.