Columbians Ahead of Their Time
 John Werner Kluge
John Werner Kluge "I think it's very important to have imagination and very important to dream, but I also think it is important to keep ideas to yourself until you are implementing them."

John Werner Kluge (1914– )
Business Leader
Columbia College 1937
LLD 1988 (hon.)

Longtime chairman and president of Metromedia, John W. Kluge is a Horatio Alger protagonist for the twentieth century, an immigrant from Germany who rose from modest means to build one of the largest private companies in the United States. Kluge made his start in 1946 with the $15,000 purchase of a single radio station. Under the banner of Metropolitan Broadcasting (later Metromedia), he went on to assemble the nation's largest group of independent television stations as well as entertainment properties ranging from the Ice Capades and the Harlem Globetrotters to Playbill magazine. In a career spanning six decades, this legendary business leader bought and sold a host of enterprises. His interests today include medical and information technology and several restaurant chains.

Kluge has pursued a great number of philanthropic endeavors through the years. At Columbia, he has donated more than $110 million to the Kluge Scholars program, the Kluge Presidential Scholars, the Kluge Faculty Endowment, and other beneficiaries, and he is founder and outgoing chair of Columbia's International Advisory Council. Kluge has also given generously to the Library of Congress and been active in many other charitable and civic institutions and organizations. In 1991, the Columbia College Alumni Association honored him with the Alexander Hamilton Medal for distinguished service and accomplishment.


Kluge Scholars


Fellows shine at third annual Kluge Symposium


Benefactor honored on his 90th birthday.

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