Haas School of Business receives $4.4M gift to support 1st-generation immigrant students

Mark Unger/Staff

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UC Berkeley Haas School of Business alumnus Scott Galloway made a $4.4 million donation to the business school this spring, aimed at supporting students who are children of immigrants.

The first four fellowships created through Galloway’s donation, totaling $200,000, were granted to full-time MBA students this academic year, according to Haas School of Business spokesperson Kim Girard. The remainder of the donation was used to establish the Galloway Fellows Fund at the Haas School of Business. Rich Lyons, dean of Haas School of Business, said he expects future gifts made to students through this fund to be larger than the $50,000 awards that were distributed this year, adding that they will be spread evenly among graduate and undergraduate students.

Galloway himself was raised by a single immigrant mother. He went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in economics from UCLA and an MBA from Haas, and he described his donation to UC Berkeley as “overdue thanks to the taxpayers of California.”

“I was gifted with an almost free education,” he added.

Kira Mikityanskaya, one of the four recipients of the award this year, said that receiving the fellowship heavily influenced her decision to attend Haas.

“Coming from an immigrant family and sacrificing a lot … being able to receive support from someone who very clearly cares about the success of children from different countries was very meaningful,” she said.

In 2010, Galloway founded the business intelligence firm L2, which he sold in March, making his gift to the Haas School of Business possible. The donation marks Galloway’s fulfillment of the Founder’s Pledge — a nonbinding commitment made by campus alumni to “give back to Cal when they attain success,” according to the Founder’s Pledge website.

The Haas Financial Aid Office will work alongside specific degree programs to oversee the allocation of the fund, Girard said in an email. Galloway will meet annually with those who receive gifts from the donation.

Lyons emphasized the campus’s role as a public institution in serving immigrants, adding that while the fund is not focused on socioeconomic need, the correlation is significant. He added that offering affordable education keeps the campus competitive.

“(The United States) is without a doubt a less welcoming country to immigrants than it was five years ago,” Lyons said. “We want to keep great people coming to Berkeley.”

Galloway also made gifts to UCLA and New York University, where he serves as a professor marketing at the Stern School of Business. As with his donation to UC Berkeley, these donations will be earmarked for children of immigrants, Galloway said.

“I’m hoping that on a practical level, (for) a lot of kids who would struggle to either get to Cal or get through Cal, this eases their burden a little bit,” Galloway said. “And that it sends a signal to future and current immigrants that America is still the land of opportunity.”

Contact Olivia Nouriani at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @olivianouriani.