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Yahoo! Stanford alum donates $75 million

Yahoo!, Jerry Yang, David Filo
Yahoo! co-founders Jerry Yang, left, and David Filo, right, root for the home team during a basketball game pitting Stanford against USC on Jan. 25. Paul Sakuma / AP file
/ Source: The Associated Press

Yahoo Inc. co-founder Jerry Yang will donate $75 million to Stanford University, his alma mater and the place where he and a fellow student began working on a directory of Web sites that went on to become one of the Internet’s first big success stories.

Stanford said $50 million of the donation will be used to cover the costs of a new environmental studies center scheduled to be completed in December. And it said $5 million will help fund a 120,000-square-foot center for training doctors.

The university hasn’t decided what to do with the rest of the donation yet.

Yang, 38, is making the contribution with his wife, Akiko Yamazaki, whom he met in 1992 while both were studying at a Stanford program in Japan. The two graduated from Stanford in 1990.

The gift is the largest of several donations that Yang and Yamazaki, a director of the Wildlife Conservation Network in Los Altos, have made to their alma mater.

While pursuing a doctorate in electrical engineering at Stanford, Yang teamed up with David Filo in 1994 to begin compiling a list of their favorite Web sites as a diversion from their studies.

After their directory began to attract a lot of online traffic, Yang and Filo turned their hobby into a business in March 1995 and took the company public a year later — just in time to take advantage of the dot-com boom that turned them both into billionaires.

Yang’s wealth now fluctuates with Yahoo’s stock price, which has climbed by more than 20 percent so far this year after plunging by 35 percent last year. His stake in Sunnyvale-based Yahoo is currently worth about $1.8 billion.