Harvard University’s endowment is estimated at $32.3 billion, according to a recent study. That puts it way above second-place Yale ($20.8 billion). The University of Texas System is third. Numbers 4, 5 and 6 are Stanford, Princeton and MIT–whose endowments added together total about $48 million.
Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and world’s second richest man, is worth more than Stanford, Princeton and MIT combined. Gates’ fortune is estimated at nearly $80 billion. So you could throw in the Columbia, Michigan, and Northwestern endowments too ($25 billion together) and still not reach Gates’ level. These prestigious universities all have substantial research programs, however, that create a huge amount of value that’s sometimes under the radar in the form of patents (Stanford and MIT especially). But Bill Gates may even lead there, having filed for at least 93 between 2008 and 2013. His company, Microsoft, had 40,786 patents as of about a year and a half ago.