Board Chairman and Family Donate $5 Million to BU

Contact: Nancy Sterling, 617-348-1811 |

(Boston) – Boston University Board of Trustees Chairman Alan Leventhal and his wife, Sherry, today donated $5 million to Boston University as the seed money for a $15 million Fund for Leadership and Innovation. The $5 million is a unique challenge gift designed to be matched by additional funds totaling $10 million to be raised by members of the Board of Trustees and friends of the university.

The $15 million Fund for Leadership and Innovation will be available to the future president to utilize within any school, unit, or center of excellence. Monies could be allocated for faculty, scholarship, research, or capital expenditures, such as constructing new buildings or improving existing facilities. The fund’s dollars will be expendable rather than endowed in order to give the new president maximum flexibility to fund his or her top priorities for the institution.

“As Chairman of the Board, I feel a strong responsibility to make a significant contribution to the university, one that will allow BU to take advantage of as-yet unidentified future opportunities,” said Leventhal. “We have made great progress, and in order for that to continue, we need to provide the next president with the resources to fund his or her vision for a world-class university.”

Leventhal and his wife explored many different ways to make their commitment to BU, including funding a group of professorships across a field of schools in order to attract new talent, creating a scholarship fund for undergraduate students or a fund for graduate fellows, all of which build upon the university’s academic strengths. However, the Leventhals noted that there is no history at Boston University of providing substantial unrestricted monies for a set of university-wide presidential initiatives. The Leventhals also see their gift as a “challenge match” to obtain additional pledges to the Fund for Leadership and Innovation in the near future.

“In my many years in academia, I am unaware of a new president being provided with such an innovative funding opportunity,” said Dr. Aram V. Chobanian, President ad interim of Boston University. “I am certain that my successor will find unique ways to utilize this fund to enhance and invigorate our first-class university.”

Boston University, with an enrollment of more than 29,000 in its 17 schools and colleges, is the fourth-largest independent university in the United States. The university offers an exceptional grounding in the liberal arts, a broad range of programs in the arts, sciences, engineering, and professional areas, and state-of-the-art facilities for teaching and research.