Charles Koch and His Love For George Mason University

A public school in the outskirts of the nation’s capital, George Mason University, has discreetly become a conservative powerhouse in law and economics. Its reputation has partly been built by the tens of millions of dollars donated to the university by Charles Koch every year. From the year 2011 to 2014, Charles Koch foundation has given almost $48 Million to the university in one way or another, the tax records show.

Although Koch donates more than $20 Million every year among hundreds of United States universities through his foundation, there is no other school that received more that $1 millions in a year during this period. It is not unusual for billionaires to donate such large sums to schools, however, the size of these donations has raised some concerns among a few George Mason faculty and students about maintaining independence and echoing unease that has grown in other schools that benefit from Koch’s generosity.

Charles Koch is an American philanthropist and businessman. He is also the co-owner, CEO and chairman of the board of Koch Industries. His brother serves as the Executive VP of the firm. These brothers inherited the company from their father and expanded the business. Koch Industries was originally involved in chemicals and oil refining, however, the company now includes pollution and process control technologies and equipment, minerals, polymers and fibers, forest and consumer products, ranching and forest and consumer products. The businesses offer a variety of well-known brands like Lycra brand of fiber, Stainmaster carpet, Dixie Cup and Quilted Northern.

Koch attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Engineering in 1957, an MSc. in Mechanical Engineering and a second MSc in chemical engineering. Immediately after college, Koch worked at Arthur D. Little before moving back home to join his father’s business, Rock Island Oil and Refining Company. In 1967, he was made the president of the firm. That same year, he renamed the company to Koch Industries, to honor his father. The company generated $90 million in revenue in 2006, a growth of more than 2000 times over. In 2014, Koch Industries was worth around $41.3 billion according to Forbes 400 list.

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