Because Hamilton Goes Big
Democratic presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg received an honorary Doctor of Laws from Hamilton College for his work to make higher education more affordable for qualified students from moderate- and low-income families.
The degree was conferred December 6 in New York City at the College’s 22nd Annual 1812 Leadership Circle Weekend, which recognizes Hamilton’s most dedicated and generous alumni, parents, and friends. Bloomberg was presented for the degree by Hamilton Life Trustee Jeff Little, a 1971 graduate of the College and co-chair of the Because Hamilton capital campaign.
After acknowledging Bloomberg’s career achievements, Little said Hamilton was awarding the degree to the entrepreneur, former mayor, and presidential candidate for “your philanthropy and the moral leadership you provide to ensure access to college for qualified students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.”
In particular, Little cited Bloomberg’s $1.8 billion donation in November 2018 to his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University, which enabled the institution to become permanently need-blind in admission. Colleges that practice need-blind admission promise to review applications without considering a student’s ability to pay the cost of attendance. Fewer than four dozen colleges and universities in the United States are need-blind in their admission practices and promise to meet the full demonstrated need of the students they accept. Hamilton and Johns Hopkins are among that small group.
Little also praised Bloomberg for his support of programs and coalitions focused on expanding opportunity and access to college for lower- and moderate-income students. “You’ve demonstrated your resolve to ensuring access by more than just writing a check,” Little said, citing College Point and the American Talent Initiative as examples. Hamilton joined the American Talent Initiative in April 2018.
Bloomberg’s innovations in government and philanthropy have made him a global leader on climate change, public health, education, and other critical issues facing America and the world. The information technology startup he launched in 1981, Bloomberg LP, revolutionized the investment industry and leveled the playing field for smaller firms.
Elected mayor in 2001, just weeks after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Bloomberg led New York City’s resounding recovery, raising high school graduation rates by 40 percent, reducing the city’s carbon footprint by 14 percent, increasing life expectancy by three years, and creating a record number of jobs. He has given away more than $8 billion dollars, and his foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, works in 510 cities and 129 countries across the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people.
Hamilton is celebrating, in 2019-20, the 10th anniversary of its decision to become need-blind in admission. The observance coincides with the College’s Because Hamilton campaign, an effort to raise $400 million, including $120 million for financial aid, by June 30, 2023.