Another Big Give for International Studies, This Time at Johns Hopkins

Jeff Aronson and his wife Shari recently gave $10 million to Johns Hopkins University to create an international studies center called the Aronson Center for International Studies. According to the school, the center will "promote ties between the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C., and the undergraduate international studies program at the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences in Baltimore." The gift will also provide the support for two professors— an Aronson Distinguished Professor, and the Aronson Professor.

We've seen quite a handful of gifts related to international policy and international relations in the past year or so. I recently wrote about a former U.S. ambassador to Singapore who, along with his wife and daughter, gave $20 million to Florida International University to beef up the school's international and public affairs program. I also wrote about a big Dartmouth gift helping international students become global leaders.


While STEM continues to captivate a certain cadre of funders, others are recognizing that competing in a globalized world starts with understanding how to navigate a changing landscape, and the Aronsons' gift to Johns Hopkins is a good example of this. Not only is Aronson an alumnus of Johns Hopkins, but the couple's two daughers went to the school, too. Aronson has also been a school trustee since 2006, and has chaired the board of trustees since 2012.

In many cases, those involved on an institution's board are more likely to give, even more so when they're in leadership positions on that board, as Aronson is. What's more, the school is in the midst of a $4.5 billion campaign, which launched publicly in 2013. We often see people in Aronson's position give at the start of a campaign, in order to lead by example and motivate others to give.

It's also worth knowing a thing or two about the family. Aronson is a cofounder and managing principal of Centerbridge Partners L.P., an investment management firm, which posted assets of over $20 billion in a recent year. While it's unclear how much Aronson is worth, he's certainly got a chunk of money to his name, and the couple's charitable vehicle, the Aronson Family Foundation, held more than $100 million in assets recently. Education is a large interest of the foundation. What's more, Shari Aronson is a member of the Washington-Baltimore Program in Social Policy Advisory Board at the Krieger School.