Hedge Fund Quant Gives $120 Million to UVA for Data Science

(Bloomberg) -- Jaffray Woodriff, a co-founder of Quantitative Investment Management, gave $120 million to the University of Virginia, the largest private gift in its 200-year history.

The money from his foundation will be used to establish a School of Data Science, the university said Friday in a statement. Woodriff, a graduate of UVA’s McIntire School of Commerce, donated $10 million in 2014 to build the Data Science Institute, which will be integrated into the new school.

Hedge Fund Quant Gives $120 Million to UVA for Data Science

“The time is right to establish a school which will not only train the finest data scientists in the world, but will also collaborate with schools across the university to evaluate and shape policy with respect to the ethical, privacy and regulatory aspects of data science application," Woodriff, 49, said in the statement.

Woodriff and his wife Merrill, a UVA alumna, donated the money through the Quantitative Foundation, of which he is trustee and she is a director. The foundation is based in Charlottesville, where the university and QIM also are located.

The gift will be used to hire faculty and administrators, construct a new building and fund doctoral and post-doctoral fellowships as well as an endowed fund for visiting scholars, according to the statement. Data Science will be UVA’s 12th school and the first established since 2007.

Woodriff also was the main donor for the university’s $12.4 million, 33,000 square-foot McArthur Squash Center, which opened in 2013. The facility was the site of the World Masters Squash Championship last year.

Founded in 2003, QIM uses quantitative models for predicting short- and medium-term price movements. The firm’s Tactical Aggressive Fund fell about 42 percent last year, according to an investor document seen by Bloomberg, after surging 60.5 percent in 2017.

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