Billionaire David Rubenstein to Depart Harvard Corporation Next Month


Billionaire and philanthropist David M. Rubenstein will step down from the Harvard Corporation — the University’s highest governing body — at the end of June after six years on the board, top Harvard administrators announced Wednesday.

The Corporation instituted term limits as part of a sweeping set of reforms in 2010, but Rubenstein — who became a member of the board in 2017 — will step down with six years remaining on his term.

His departure from the Corporation comes as he is concluding the first year of his term as chair of the University of Chicago’s board of trustees.

Outgoing University President Lawrence S. Bacow, President-elect Claudine Gay, and Harvard Corporation Senior Fellow Penny S. Pritzker ’81 thanked Rubenstein for his contributions to University in a joint email to Harvard affiliates Wednesday afternoon.


“We are deeply grateful to David for his leadership and service — to Harvard and to higher education more generally,” they wrote.

The search for Rubenstein’s replacement on the Corporation will “begin soon,” they added.

Rubenstein joined the Corporation as one of the co-chairs of a University-wide capital campaign that hauled in a record-breaking $9.6 billion.

A co-founder and co-chairman of the private equity firm the Carlyle Group, Rubenstein served as a major donor to Harvard for years, making several multi-million donations to the Harvard Kennedy School.

Most recently, Rubenstein made a gift late last year to support the establishment of Harvard’s first University-wide conference center, which will also serve as a welcome area for its future Enterprise Research Campus in Allston. The conference center will bear his name as the David Rubenstein Treehouse.

Rubenstein, with decades of experience running a private equity firm, made the Corporation more financially savvy when he joined the board in 2017. His departure, however, comes as the University is gearing up for its next capital campaign.

During his tenure on the board, Rubenstein participated in two presidential searches, serving on the committees that selected Bacow in 2018 and Gay late last year.

In an article in the Harvard Gazette — a University-run news publication — Pritzker said that Rubenstein “brought a remarkable range of qualities and experience to the Corporation.”

“He is one of a kind,” Pritzker said. “We will miss his many contributions to the Corporation, but I’m confident that Harvard will continue to benefit from his perspective and counsel.”

Rubenstein told the Gazette that his time on the Corporation was a “wonderful and memorable chapter of my engagement with Harvard.”

“Working with this group of smart, dedicated colleagues to advance the university’s essential mission has been both an education and a pleasure,” Rubenstein said.

Despite his departure from the board, Rubenstein will remain involved with Harvard, according to the Gazette article. He will continue to serve as the founding chair of the Global Advisory Council, a group of prominent alumni who advise the University president about international engagements, and as chair of the Kennedy School Dean’s Executive Board.

“I look forward to continuing my relationship with Harvard in other ways, and to helping support the university’s work at the leading edge of research, education, and opportunity,” he said.

—Staff writer Miles J. Herszenhorn can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @mherszenhorn.

—Staff writer Claire Yuan can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @claireyuan33.