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HBS Gets $12 Million Toward Scholarships for First-Generation Students

Posted by Chioma Isiadinso

Two graduates of Harvard Business School’s MBA class of 1992, Jeannie and Jonathan Lavine, have donated $12.5 million to the school, the largest donation toward scholarship aid in HBS history.

Out of the $12.5 million, $10 million will go to the Lavine Family Fellowship Challenge Fund, which will match scholarship donations. An additional $500,000 will go to the HBS Fund.

Finally, $1 million each will go toward creating two scholarships, the Lavine Family Fellowship and the Herbert J. Bachelor Fellowship.

The latter fellowship is named in honor of Jeannie’s father, who was a first-generation college student and received his MBA from HBS in 1968. While attending Harvard College, Bachelor worked a full-time job and took on significant debt.

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“It was his dream to have his own children be able to attend college without the stress of holding down a job or the added burden of student debt upon graduation,” said Jeannie.

“He was able to make that dream come true for my siblings and me, and Jonathan and I would like to pay that forward and give other people the same opportunity, especially those who are the first in their family to attend college.”

Accordingly, the Lavines have said that when possible, the scholarships they’re funding should go to first-generation college students.

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HBS’s dean, Nitin Nohria, highlighted the impact of the Lavines’ gift. “For many students, being admitted to Harvard Business School becomes a reality only when they know there is financial support available to make it possible for them to attend,” he said.

HBS Professor Felix Oberholzer-Gee, Senior Associate Dean of the MBA program, echoed these comments, saying that “these gifts are the lifeblood of the institution.”

Jeannie and Jonathan Lavine met at HBS in 1990. After receiving their MBAs, Jeannie worked at Boston Consulting Group while Jonathan joined McKinsey. Jonathan went on to become a co-managing partner at Bain Capital.

The two have previously created a scholarship fund for Harvard undergraduates and have donated to Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. They have also funded several financial aid programs at Columbia University, where Jonathan is vice chair of the Board of Trustees.

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With their latest donation, they continue their dedication to supporting education. “We’re proud to support the work of great academic institutions, because we know first-hand the impact they can have on the world,” Jonathan Lavine commented.

He also summarized the couple’s interest in funding scholarships specifically: “There is no greater way to improve someone’s future than giving them access to high quality, postsecondary education.”

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