Sumner Redstone to Donate $10 Million to Harvard Law School

Boston Beginnings
Christopher Patey

Redstone was born in a Boston tenement to a father who changed the family name from Rothstein to Redstone and built a regional movie-theater chain. After a short career as an attorney (he graduated from Harvard and Harvard Law), Redstone joined his father's company, National Amusements, in 1954. He became CEO in 1967 and steadily grew the company with profitable investments in studios.

The gift will go toward a public service endowment established by the Viacom and CBS executive chairman's charitable foundation.

Sumner Redstone's latest charitable contribution is a $10 million gift to alma mater Harvard Law School to endow the institution's public service fellowships, the mogul's foundation said Thursday. 

The 90-year-old Viacom and CBS executive chairman, who graduated from the law school in 1947, had established the fellowships at Harvard Law with a $1 million donation in April 2010. 

"As a graduate of the College and the Law School, I’ve experienced firsthand the academic excellence, as well as the spirit of civic and social responsibility that Harvard fosters in its students," Redstone said in a statement. "It is an honor to further this commitment to public service and it is my hope that the Redstone Fellows will continue to put their intellectual tools to the best possible use in building a better world."

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The mogul's nonprofit, The Sumner M. Redstone charitable foundation, has unveiled multiple higher education donations over several years. The foundation announced donations of $18 million to Boston University's School of Law in September 2012 and $10 million to USC's School of Cinematic Arts in January 2013. 

In a Q&A published in The Hollywood Reporter's latest magazine issue, Redstone candidly spoke about a wide range of issues, including succession plans, risks taken and proudest moments. "I'm proud about the fact that I was born in a tenement without a nickel and now I control two great companies. I'm not arrogant about it, but I do feel pride in having come from nowhere to where I am today," he said. 

Redstone has a current net worth of $6.7 billion, according to Bloomberg's Billionaires Index.