harvard university
A seal hangs over a building at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts November 16, 2012. reuters/Jessica Rinaldi

Harvard University will receive $350 million from a charitable foundation run by its alumnus and Hong Kong billionaire Gerald Chan, making it the single largest donation in the institution’s history, Harvard Gazette -- the official news website of the university -- reported Monday.

The money, which is being donated by the Morningside Foundation run by Chan and his brother, will go to the Harvard School of Public Health, or HSPH, where it will be used to tackle the “world’s health challenges,” the Harvard Gazette reported.

“This extraordinary gift from the Chan family will enable Harvard’s School of Public Health to tackle intractable health problems and to translate rigorous research into action and policy worldwide,” Drew Faust, the university's president, told the Harvard Gazette. “The Chan family’s generosity sends a signal to the world: This is the public health moment. We are honored by this gift. It will inspire a new generation of public health leaders.”

The Morningside Foundation is run by Chan and his brother, Ronnie, whose family operates several businesses, including Chinese real estate giant Hang Lung Group Limited (HKG:0010) and the Morningside Group, which is a private equity and venture capital firm. The School of Public Health will be renamed after their father T H Chan, who founded the Hang Lung Group, Harvard Gazette reported.

Gerald Chan, who graduated from the school with a master’s degree in medical radiological physics and a doctorate in radiation biology in the 1970s, said that the “gift” was a part of his effort to “support scientific research to alleviate human suffering.”

Julio Frank, the dean of the HSPH, reportedly said that the money will be used to carry out further research on epidemics like Ebola, environmental and humanitarian issues and improving healthcare systems.