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Apollo's Black donates $48 million to Dartmouth College

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Apollo Global Management LLC co-founder Leon Black and his wife are contributing $48 million toward a state-of-the-art visual arts center at Dartmouth College that will open in September 2012, the university said on Thursday.

The 105,000-square-foot facility will bear the Black family name and will house the departments of Studio Art, Film and Media Studies, and a Digital Humanities program.

"This visionary gift recognizes the centrality of the visual arts in our lives," said Dartmouth President Jim Yong Kim. President Barack Obama last week nominated Kim as the next head of the World Bank.

Leon Black graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College in 1973 with a major in philosophy and history and received an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1975. Debra Black graduated Barnard College in 1976.

As scrutiny on the private equity background of U.S. presidential hopeful Mitt Romney brings public attention to other financiers who amassed fortunes in the buyouts industry, charitable donations help private equity's leaders boost their image. In January, David Rubenstein, the billionaire co-founder of Carlyle Group LP, donated $7.5 million to restore the Washington Monument.

Apollo's Black will take home $104.2 million in 2011 dividends, salary and share of profits from the private equity firm, more than twice what he earned in 2010, thanks to the firm's record investment payouts.

(Reporting by Nick Zieminski and Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Gary Hill)

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