Markowitz was awarded the prize in 1990 while teaching at the City University of New York for his pioneering work in the theory of financial economics. His work in understanding how risk and diversification applies to stock markets was seminal in the development of modern portfolio theory.
During the donation ceremony, Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla praised the 91-year-old faculty member for his philosophic spirit and his motivation to seek the truth.
“We really appreciate what Harry has done for UC San Diego,” said Khosla. “His greatest gift is teaching us that it’s not about our own expertise. Our own expertise is an outcome of us seeking the truth in a certain field of study. This in itself has and continues to inspire our students to look deeper and not limit their innovation and exploration for truth.”
The Nobel laureate said his decision to donate the medal was influenced by his love for the campus and the joy he gets out of teaching at Rady. Last year, Markowitz committed a $5.6 million legacy gift to the Rady School.
“I teach two quarters a year and I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to impact young minds,” Markowitz said. “I’m delighted that my legacy will endure not only at the Rady School, but also at the library.”
The library also holds the papers and medals of two other Nobel Laureates: Maria Goeppert Mayer—who was the second woman in history to win the Nobel Prize in physics—and famed chemist Harold Clayton Urey.