McQuowns make $25 million gift to University of Chicago, honoring Chicago Booth faculty

Entrepreneur and investment manager John A. “Mac” McQuown and his wife Leslie are making a $25 million gift to the University of Chicago to benefit the Booth School of Business, the school announced Tuesday, June 15.

The McQuowns are making their gift in appreciation of Eugene Fama, the Robert R. McCormick Distinguished Service Professor of Finance at Chicago Booth, and a longtime business associate and friend of Mr. McQuown’s; and the late Merton Miller, a teacher and mentor to both Mr. McQuown and Prof. Fama. The gift will go toward a planned Fama–Miller Center within Chicago Booth, which will support the school’s strong tradition of finance research.

“We are deeply grateful to the McQuowns, both for honoring the high–impact work of our faculty, and for supporting future research and teaching in that tradition,” said University President Robert J. Zimmer.

“In vividly acknowledging the depth and importance of their relationship to Gene, Merton and the finance faculty at Chicago Booth, the McQuowns are truly endorsing the power of ideas at the University of Chicago,” said Chicago Booth Dean Edward Snyder.

McQuown is co–founder of Diversified Credit Investments, a San Francisco–based investment firm. He previously led a team at Wells Fargo that, in 1971, created the first index fund, based on Fama’s efficient market hypothesis and McQuown’s belief in the power of quantitative analysis to measure risk and return.

In 1981 McQuown became a founding member of the Board of Directors at Dimensional Fund Advisors, a company co–founded by Wells Fargo colleague and Chicago Booth alumnus David Booth. Booth also cited Fama’s inspiration in 2008 when he made a $300 million gift to the school, the largest ever to a business school; Chicago Booth was renamed in recognition of that gift.

The McQuowns also operate Stone Edge Farm, a winery in Sonoma, Calif., and pursue a broad range of interests from art to astronomy to marine biology.