Charles Koch is a businessman who doesn’t limit his interests to the executive suite. He is almost as famous for his philanthropic support of higher education as he is for his outspoken political activism. Koch has made donations to a number of schools, but the main beneficiary of his generosity is George Mason University, which is located in Fairfax, Virginia. Founded in 1972, George Mason has earned a reputation for its high quality economics department and law school.
From 2011 through 20014, Charles Koch donated a total of $48 million to George Mason University, a public institution of higher learning, including 18.8 just in 2014. This is more then the combined total of all of Koch’s other donations to institutions of higher learning, making the school far and away his favorite. In addition to these ongoing gifts, Koch sometimes makes one-time donations. The most recent is a $10 million grant for the purpose of having the law school renamed in honor of the late Supreme Court judge Antoine Scalia. Another donor has contributed $20 million for the same reason.
Charles Koch is well known for his conservative beliefs and libertarian philosophy. These are long-held convictions that date from his own college days when he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Not surprisingly, he funnels most of his donations to George Mason’s Institute for Humane Studies and Mercatus Center. These academic bodies are devoted to libertarian policy and free market economics. Charles Koch serves on the boards of both think tanks. He also served as CEO of Kansas-based Koch Industries starting in 1967. He currently is CEO of Supply & Trading.