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A Historic Gift

When David Booth gave a gift valued at $300 million to the business school in 2008, it was the largest gift in the history of the University of Chicago. It was also the largest gift ever given to any business school in the world. An extraordinary expression of support, the gift has been transformative in building and sustaining Chicago Booth’s eminence and its position as the leading academic business school in the nation.

Support for Transformative Research

At the time of the gift announcement, Booth said it was a gesture of gratitude for what the school had given him and that he wanted to give the school the means to do great things in the future. An important part of that is supporting faculty in creating world-changing research.

David Booth talking and smiling with two women

“I wouldn’t have been anywhere without Chicago. What was going on at Chicago then really changed the way people think about investing. Every new paper coming out was a landmark paper. Based on all this work, we’ve improved lives.”
— David Booth, ’71, Founder and Executive Chairman, Dimensional Fund Advisors

Historic Impact

Booth’s historic gift has been transformative in helping us recruit and retain top scholars, advance field-defining research, and build Chicago Booth’s position as the leading academic business school in the nation.

Here are just a few of the most recent accomplishments of the school and of our faculty:

Eugene Fama and Lars Peter Hansen sitting in the audience at Thaler’s nobel announcement

2013

Booth professors Eugene F. Fama, MBA ’63, PhD ’64, and Lars Peter Hansen win the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences “for their empirical analysis of asset prices.”

Chicago Booth Professor Richard Thaler standing at a podium, speaking after winning the 2017 Nobel Prize in Economics before a press conference at Harper

2017

Booth’s Richard H. Thaler wins the Nobel Prize “for his contributions to behavioural economics.”

Chicago Booth School of Business Harper Center Winter Garden

2018

Chicago Booth is named the No. 1 business school in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

Professor Marianne Bertrand teaching in front of a class

2019

Booth professor Marianne Bertrand is the first recipient of the Jan Söderberg Family Prize in Economics and Management, in recognition of her scholarship in issues including inequality, discrimination, and sexism.

2019

Forbes and the Economist rank Chicago Booth as the best business school in the United States.

A Tradition of Support

David Booth has a long tradition of support for the school. In 1999, he made a $10 million gift to support the fund-raising campaign for the Charles M. Harper Center, which houses Chicago Booth’s Full-Time MBA and PhD Programs, as well as its research centers and institutes. Harper Center opened in 2004.

“I’ve had such a terrific adult life,” Booth told Chicago Booth Magazine at the time of the gift, “and the University of Chicago has been a big part of why I’ve been able to live the way I have.”

David Booth seated in front of the window at Gleacher during an event

About David Booth

David Booth, ’71, serves as a lifetime member of the school’s business advisory council and on the Board of Trustees of the University of Chicago. A founder of Dimensional Fund Advisors in 1981, Booth serves as the firm’s executive chairman.

Booth has won numerous awards for his accomplishments in applying financial theory and research to the practical world of asset management, particularly for his pioneering work in indexing and small capitalization investing.

A true pathbreaker, Booth won InvestmentNews’ Icons and Innovators Award in 2017. In 2016, he was named to Forbes’s Money Masters list, which recognizes the 40 most powerful people in the financial world; that same year, Institutional Investor honored him with the Manager Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2012, Booth was named Financial Management Association International’s Outstanding Financial Executive, and in 2010, InvestmentNews named him one of the Power 20 in the financial services industry.

A member of the board of trustees of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Booth also serves on the board of overseers for the University of Chicago’s Becker Friedman Institute for Economics. David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium at the University of Kansas was also named in his honor.

In addition to his MBA from the University of Chicago, Booth has an MS and a BA from the University of Kansas.

David Booth: Milestones

Map of Kansas

1946
Born in Lawrence, Kansas.

Photo of a building at The University of Kansas

1968
Earned his BA in economics from the University of Kansas.

David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium at the University of Kansas

1969
Earned a master’s degree from the University of Kansas. The David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium is named in his honor.

University of Chicago library 1970

1969
Decided to attend the University of Chicago after learning about the efficient-market hypothesis.

Shot of the Chicago Booth campus from above

1971
Graduated from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business with an MBA.

 Urban shot of buildings from below looking up toward the sky

1971
Joined Wells Fargo Bank, where he worked on one of the first index funds.

David Booth in front of a Dimensional Fund Advisors sign

1981
With Rex Sinquefield, ’72, and others, founded Dimensional Fund Advisors, the first financial company to utilize Fama’s ideas.

David Booth on the dias at the naming presentation in front of a large crowd

2008
Gave a gift valued at $300M to the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.

Photo of David Booth looking into the distance

2018
Furthered his commitment to philanthropy by joining the Giving Pledge.

The University of Chicago Medal

In 2018, the University of Chicago Board of Trustees awarded the University of Chicago Medal to David Booth in recognition of the profound impact of his philanthropic support and deep commitment to the university and to Chicago Booth.

Established in 1976, the University of Chicago Medal recognizes distinguished service of the highest order to the university by an individual or couple.

Stories from Chicago Booth Magazine