The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania announced today a $10 million gift from 1986 undergraduate alumnus Josh Harris and his wife Marjorie Harris to establish the Joshua J. Harris Alternative Investments Program.
This innovative new program will expand co-curricular opportunities for Wharton students in the field and bring together alumni and industry experts through events and dynamic programming. Mr. Harris is a co-founder, senior managing director, and director of Apollo Global Management, LLC, an alternative investment manager serving institutional investors worldwide.
Mr. and Mrs. Harris’ gift is a major contribution to Wharton’s More Than Ever fundraising and engagement campaign, which is part of the University-wide Campaign, The Power of Penn: Advancing Knowledge for Good. By helping to redesign and redefine finance education, the gift enhances a key Campaign priority for Wharton.
“Josh and Marjorie Harris’ extraordinary gift to the Harris Program will significantly expand student opportunities, advance new knowledge, and meaningfully engage the University community, which are key priorities for Penn,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann. “We are profoundly grateful to Josh and Marjorie for their visionary philanthropy that helps today’s Penn students lead in tomorrow’s complex world.”
The landmark gift extends Mr. and Mrs. Harris’ longstanding support for learning and excellence in finance at the School. They co-founded the Wharton Private Equity Professorship, currently held by Bilge Yilmaz, who is also Professor of Finance and will serve as faculty director of the Harris Program. Building on the foundation of curricular and co-curricular offerings in alternative investments, the Harris Program will bring together students, alumni, academics, and practitioners to expand this critical work. Mr. and Mrs. Harris’ generosity extends to support for Wharton’s international and domestic conferences, deepening alumni engagement, and expanding student programming in alternative investments.
“As an alternative investments trailblazer, Josh is a role model for our students and an incredible friend to the Wharton School,” said Dean Geoffrey Garrett. “His and Marjorie’s gift is a generous investment in students who seek a better understanding of the industry. It also reflects their deep commitment to Wharton and our ability to shape the future of finance. We’re sincerely grateful for their belief in the School and we couldn’t be happier to have this program carry the Harris name.”
“Wharton students continue to express a strong interest in alternative investments, and the Harris Program will provide unprecedented resources to enrich their understanding of the industry,” said Josh Harris. “I know first-hand that Wharton students are creative, entrepreneurial, and eager for new challenges—attributes that the great leaders of the industry possess. I look forward to the Harris Program inspiring our students to pursue transformative opportunities and develop into future leaders of the industry.”
Mr. Harris serves as a member of Wharton’s Board of Overseers. His and his wife’s other areas of giving to Wharton include the Harris Family Endowed Scholarship to support undergraduate Wharton students from the Washington, D.C. area and the Joshua J. Harris Professorship—a position currently held by former Dean Thomas S. Robertson, who also serves as Academic Director of the Jay H. Baker Retailing Center and Professor of Marketing.
Penn Athletics has also benefited from Mr. and Mrs. Harris’ giving. Inspired by Mr. Harris’ undergraduate experience as a member of Penn’s wrestling team, he and Mrs. Harris established the Joshua J. Harris Wrestling Assistant Coach Endowment and supported the Grapplers Fund for the University’s varsity wrestling program. Today Mr. Harris is the Managing Partner of the Philadelphia 76ers, Managing Member of the New Jersey Devils, and a General Partner of the Crystal Palace Football Club.