Stanford Univ. given $1.1 bil. for climate crisis school

Stanford University received $1.1 billion, its largest ever gift, from venture capitalist John Doerr to fund a new school focused on climate change, fueling a debate about whether billionaire donations are enough to combat the climate crisis.

“Stanford’s first new school in 70 years will launch this fall as the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability, recognizing a $1.1 billion gift from John and [his wife] Ann Doerr, the largest in the university’s history,” the California-based university said in a statement on May 4.

“Climate and sustainability is going to be the new computer science,” Doerr told the New York Times in an interview published May 4. He made his estimated fortune of over $11 billion investing in technology companies such as Alphabet Inc. and Inc.

Doerr is among a list of billionaires like Jeff Bezos and Michael Bloomberg, who in recent years have donated money to combat climate change.

Some experts have said the climate crisis should not depend on the charity of billionaires and that governments need to set up proper taxation systems to make sure billionaires pay their fair share.

The gift is the largest ever to a university for the establishment of a new school, and is the second largest gift to an academic institution, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.