September 23, 2020

Alumnus gives $35.6 million to Bowdoin > Investor’s gift larger than original pledge

BRUNSWICK — Last fall, Bowdoin College graduate and Wall Street powerhouse Stanley F. Druckenmiller pledged to donate at least $30 million to his alma mater.

By Wednesday’s deadline, Druckenmiller’s investment fund had done so well that he transferred $35.6 million to the college’s account. The donation is the largest ever to a Maine institution, and reportedly the fourth-largest gift to an American liberal arts college.

“We are thrilled, delighted and ecstatic,” said William A. Torrey III, the college’s vice president for development and college relations. “It’s $5.6 million more than he promised. His investments have done very well.”

The investment fund managed by Druckenmiller’s company, Polar Bear Investments, is a mix of global stocks, bonds and currency.

In March 1994, Druckenmiller promised to take $1 million of his own money and see how much he could make by December 31, 1997. He guaranteed Bowdoin that he would donate at least $14 million — no matter how well or how poorly the fund did.

Torrey said the college learned Tuesday that the amount had grown substantially. Much of the money was to be transferred to the college’s endowment fund.

“That’s why this means an awful lot to us,” Torrey said. For years, Bowdoin’s endowment has lagged behind other schools that compete with it for students.

“People in Maine have this idea that Bowdoin is this bottomless pit of money, but in fact we are forced to do more with less,” said Scott Hood, a college spokesman.

Druckenmiller, 44, graduated magna cum laude from Bowdoin in 1975. He serves on the college’s board of trustees.

In addition to Polar Bear Investments, Druckenmiller is managing director of Soros Fund Management in New York, the largest investment fund in the world. He is also chairman and owner of Duquesne Capital Management, a Pittsburgh-based firm founded in 1981.

Druckenmiller credits Bowdoin with his success. Forbes magazine The Associated Pressestimates Druckenmiller’s net worth at $800 million.

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