Ackman’s Harvard Admissions

Bill Ackman was as critical of Harvard’s admissions policies when he was an undergraduate as he is today as a billionaire tweeter.
Bill Ackman was as critical of Harvard’s admissions policies when he was an undergraduate as he is today as a billionaire tweeter. Photo: Sylvain Gaboury/Getty Images
William D. Cohan
December 17, 2023

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve likely noticed that billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman has been on some sort of jihad against the three women who run (or ran) Harvard, his alma mater, M.I.T., and UPenn. His Twitter/X feed lately has been a nearly endless diatribe against what he perceives as the antisemitism and wokism that has invaded our elite college campuses. 

Ackman loves being the center of attention, of course, and not necessarily in a bad way. I have known Bill a long time and have written so many stories about him I can barely keep track—through the Herbalife (or)deal, his feuds with Carl Icahn and Dan Loeb, the disastrous Valeant long bet, and then his brilliant early Covid C.D.S. play in which he turned $27 million into $3.6 billion virtually overnight. He also made some $200 million shorting 30-year Treasuries, a position he announced with great fanfare in August and covered in October. So Ackman is back, feeling his oats, making money for himself and his investors.