$10 million endowment gifted by John and Amy Phelan Foundation for LSE's US Centre

LSE’s unique capacity to convene the world by engaging audiences on campus and around the world captivated me then and still resonates now
- John Phelan
John Phelan at launch of US Centre in 2015. Credit: LSE

A generous $10 million (USD) gift by the investor, philanthropist and LSE alumnus, John Phelan, will support scholarship, teaching and public engagement on US affairs at the London School of Economics and Political Science’s United States Centre, it was announced today.

The US Centre at LSE is a hub for global expertise, analysis and commentary on America. It encourages an international approach, paying attention to how other advanced industrialised democracies are responding to similar challenges and how this might inform US policy.

In honour of the endowment, created through a gift from the John and Amy Phelan Foundation, the Centre will become the "Phelan United States Centre".

John Phelan is the Co-Founding Partner and Chief Investment Officer of MSD Partners and MSD Capital, a private investment firm established in 1998 to exclusively manage the capital of Michael Dell, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Dell Technologies, and his family.

John’s relationship with LSE began in 1985 when he studied economics and international relations on the General Course — LSE's study abroad programme — which he undertook while studying for his BA in Economics and Political Science at the Southern Methodist University in Texas. He received an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1990.

John Phelan said: “I have always sought to support LSE wherever I am able – and I am particularly proud to have been involved in the US Centre’s journey so far. Today I am delighted to be able to support its future through this gift.

“When I was a General Course student in the mid-1980s, US foreign policy was debated passionately on campus by students and faculty. In London, miles away from Washington, DC, LSE’s diverse community brought its intellect to bear on issues related to the US and its role in the world – all with a deeply-embedded desire to improve society. LSE’s unique capacity to convene the world by engaging audiences on campus and around the world captivated me then and still resonates now.

“The US Centre embodies, advances and amplifies that approach today, providing outstanding commentary, research and engagement to provide global perspective to US policy and its impact at a crucial time for the world.”

John and his wife Amy have also supported over 30 General Course, MSc and PhD scholarships at the School, as well as the US Centre’s popular public events lecture series.

Peter Trubowitz, Director of the US Centre, said: “Five years ago, we set out with a vision –  to provide rigorous, clear-eyed, and independent analysis of the US, and to become the ‘go to’ resource for academic and policy commentary and analysis of US affairs.

“John Phelan has been a key supporter of the Centre from the very start. His landmark philanthropic gift now is a clear demonstration of both the progress we have made and of the compelling need for the Phelan US Centre – especially in light of global events since we launched.

“John’s generous support will help us significantly as we build on our progress and continue to take up difficult, challenging subjects, promote faculty-student collaboration at the School, and deliver on our commitment to scholarly analysis of pressing issues facing the US and the world.”

Minouche Shafik, Director of LSE, said: “We are immensely grateful to John and his family for this wonderful gift. The Phelan US Centre reflects LSE’s enduring commitment to outstanding scholarship, teaching and public engagement. I know that Peter and the team are excited to build on the Centre’s first five years during which it has become globally recognised and at the very forefront in understanding the causes and consequences of the world’s challenges within a US context.”

John also serves on LSE’s North American Advisory Board, a group of leading US and Canadian LSE alumni who provide the School with advice on furthering its position and ambition in the region. In addition, he serves on the boards of the Whitney Museum of Art and Aspen Art Museum, and is a member of Harvard Business School’s Board of Dean’s Advisors and the Investment Committee for the SMU Endowment.