David Geffen Joins Henry R. Kravis in Support of Columbia Business School

Editor's note:

A version of this article was originally published by Columbia Business School.

September 21, 2021

Columbia Business School announced today that philanthropist and entertainment executive David Geffen joined Henry R. Kravis and other benefactors in support of its new facilities on Columbia University’s Manhattanville campus. 

Mr. Geffen, through the David Geffen Foundation, pledged $75 million to support the school’s new facilities currently under construction and scheduled to open to students in January 2022. In honor of his gift, one of two new Business School buildings will be named David Geffen Hall. The eight-story structure will house dedicated spaces for academic programming, study groups, and formal and impromptu meetings, serving as a conduit for student collaboration and networking. David Geffen Hall faces its architectural companion, located across a central square, Henry R. Kravis Hall, named in recognition of the essential support Mr. Kravis (BUS’69) provided for the Business School’s new home and his leadership as co-chair of the Business School’s board and in a variety of other capacities.

The two new buildings will double the school’s current square footage, allowing for the re-imagination of business education in dynamic, flexible and natural light-filled spaces designed to foster learning and collaboration.

“As we begin the new academic year and the return of students and faculty to all of our campuses, we could not be more pleased to be opening the two new Columbia Business School buildings in Manhattanville,” said Lee C. Bollinger, Columbia’s president and the Seth Low Professor of the University. “We're enormously grateful to David Geffen for his support of the school and his embrace of the adaptive and forward-looking approach to business education we are taking.”

The new facilities will strengthen the school’s use of cutting-edge approaches to prepare students to address the emerging challenges facing business and society in the 21st century.  Costis Maglaras, dean of Columbia Business School and the David and Lyn Silfen Professor of Business, have led the development of a curriculum prioritizing interdisciplinary collaboration across the university and beyond in areas including digital transformation, healthcare, climate change, and and the interface between business and society. Dean Maglaras also expanded entrepreneurship opportunities by strengthening partnerships with the university’s other schools, the New York tech community, and Business School alumni.

“Modern business is predicated on the expanded adoption of technology, data and advanced analytics alongside the fundamentals of traditional business education. Our new facilities on the Manhattanville campus reflect this reality, creating a truly collaborative and immersive business school experience that is unique to Columbia Business School,” said Dean Maglaras. “On behalf of the entire Columbia community, I want to offer my sincerest gratitude to David for his partnership, as well as to Henry for his longstanding and consummate support of the school.”

An entrepreneurial trailblazer of American music, film and popular culture, Mr. Geffen has made significant philanthropic contributions to a wide array of institutions and endeavors, including in the arts, culture, education, medicine, and civil liberties. His storied business career includes founding Asylum Records, Geffen Records, and Geffen Pictures, as well as co-founding DreamWorks Pictures with Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

“I’m proud to provide support for the Columbia Business School at this moment of opportunity and change,” Mr. Geffen said. “The school is among the best of its kind in the world, and will prepare future generations of business leaders.”

Mr. Kravis, the Co-Chairman and Co-CEO of KKR & Co. Inc., said, “I am delighted that David has joined with me and countless others to support Columbia’s expansion on the Manhattanville campus and to shape a new generation of business leaders. Columbia Business School’s new facilities will allow each of its students to harness the entrepreneurial spirit that thrives in all of us. I’m excited to walk through the front doors of the new buildings as a supporter but, more importantly, as a proud alumnus.”

Located nine blocks north of Columbia's historic Morningside Heights campus, Columbia’s Manhattanville campus in West Harlem is designed to bring together a diversity of academic disciplines to address the great questions facing society while welcoming the wider community to experience a shared space for civic life. The 17-acre campus is already home to the Lenfest Center for the Arts, the Forum, and the Jerome L. Greene Science Center, which houses the Zuckerman Institute for the study of the mind and brain.

David Geffen Hall and Henry R. Kravis Hall are designed by acclaimed architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with FXCollaborative and encompass approximately 492,000 square feet on the Manhattanville campus. From construction to the operation of the completed buildings, the school’s future home will strengthen ties to the surrounding community while having a minimal impact on the environment.