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In an effort to keep some of its top talent and attract others, the University of California at Berkeley announced this week that the largest private gift in its history – a $113 million grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation – will go toward creating 100 endowed chairs. Through a matching program, the university hopes private gifts can bring the total to $220 million in new endowments.

“This gift is an extraordinary vote of confidence in the contribution that UC Berkeley and all great public universities make to society,” Robert J. Birgeneau, Berkeley’s chancellor, said in a statement. “It is a recognition that public universities can and must compete with the best private universities and can only do so through a partnership between public funding and private philanthropy.”

The size of that gift exceeds the magnitude of the total endowment at well over half of the private colleges in America.

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