Wealthy Brazilian banking family endows Wharton professorship


The professorship was created in honor of late banker Moise Y. Safra


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The Wharton School announced a new endowed professorship in the Finance Department last Tuesday. The Moise Y. Safra Family Foundation presented the Moise Y. Safra Professorship to the department in celebration of 1994 Wharton graduate Ezra Safra’s 20th reunion.

Safra, who completed his MBA in 1997, is the chief executive officer of M. Safra & Co., money management firm in Sao Paolo Brazil.

Moise Safra, for whom the professorship is named, was born into a wealthy Jewish family in Aleppo, Syria, in 1935. He died on Friday night of complications reportedly due to Parkinson’s disease at the age of 79. 

The family-owned bank, Banco Safra, is now Brazil’s 10th largest bank.

Forbes Magazine estimated the late Safra’s wealth at about $2.2 billion, and the Safra family was named the second richest family in Brazil. Moise Safra is remembered as a philanthropist: he established an economics professorship at Harvard in 2007 and purchased three townhouses in Manhattan in 2010 to serve as a community center for Syrian Jews. 

“I’m pleased, along with my brothers Ezra M. Safra and Edmond M. Safra, to continue our family’s support of Wharton into the next generation,” Moise Y. Safra Family Foundation President Jacob M. Safra said in a Wharton press release.

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