David Hamilton Koch

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David Hamilton Koch

Birthplace: Wichita, Kansas, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Fred Chase Koch and Mary Clementine Koch
Brother of <private> Koch; Charles de Ganahl Koch and <private> Koch

Managed by: Linda Kathleen Thompson, (c)
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About David Hamilton Koch

David Hamilton Koch (/ˈkoʊk/; born May 3, 1940) is an American businessman, philanthropist, political activist, and chemical engineer. He is a co-owner (with older brother Charles) and an executive vice president of Koch Industries, a conglomerate that is the second-largest privately held company in the United States.

Koch is a major patron of the arts and has contributed to several charities including Lincoln Center, Sloan Kettering, a fertility clinic at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and the American Museum of Natural History's David H. Koch Dinosaur Wing. The New York State Theater at Lincoln Center, home of the New York City Ballet was renamed the David H. Koch Theater in 2008 following a gift of 100 million dollars for the renovation of the theater. Condé Nast Portfolio described him as "one of the most generous but low-key philanthropists in America". He and his brother Charles have also donated to political advocacy groups, including Americans for Prosperity, and to political campaigns, mainly Republican. He is a survivor of the USAir Flight 1493 crash in 1991. Koch is the fourth richest person in America as of 2012, and the second-richest resident of New York City as of 2010.

Early life and education

Koch was born in Wichita, Kansas, to Mary (née Robinson) and Fred Chase Koch, a chemical engineer. He is one of four siblings. His paternal grandfather, Harry Koch, was a Dutch immigrant who founded the Quanah Tribune-Chief newspaper and was a founding shareholder of Quanah, Acme and Pacific Railway. He attended the Deerfield Academy prep school in Massachusetts, graduating in 1959. He went on to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), earning both a bachelor's (1962) and a master's degree (1963) in chemical engineering. He is a member of the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity.

Koch played basketball at MIT, averaging 21 points per game at MIT over three years, a school record. He also held the single-game scoring record of 41 points from 1962 until 2009 when it was eclipsed by Jimmy Bartolotta.

In 1970, Koch joined Koch Industries. Nine years later, he would become the president of Koch Engineering.

Political career

Koch was the Libertarian Party's vice-presidential candidate in the 1980 presidential election, sharing the party ticket with presidential candidate Ed Clark. The Clark–Koch ticket promising to abolish Social Security, the Federal Reserve Board, welfare, minimum-wage laws, corporate taxes, all price supports and subsidies for agriculture and business, and U.S. Federal agencies including the SEC, EPA, ICC, FTC, OSHA, FBI, CIA, and DOE. The ticket received 921,128 votes, 1.06% of the total nationwide vote, the Libertarian Party national ticket's best showing to date. The Koch brothers were proud of what they had accomplished. “Compared to what [the Libertarians had] gotten before,” Charles said, “and where we were as a movement or as a political/ideological point of view, that was pretty remarkable, to get 1 percent of the vote.”

After the bid, according to journalist Brian Doherty's Radicals for Capitalism, Koch viewed politicians as "actors playing out a script".

Koch credits the campaign of Roger MacBride as his inspiration for getting involved in politics, telling a reporter from New York magazine:

Here was a great guy, advocating all the things I believed in. He wanted less government and taxes, and was talking about repealing all these victimless crime laws that accumulated on the books. I have friends who smoke pot. I know many homosexuals. It's ridiculous to treat them as criminals—and here was someone running for president, saying just that.

According to Koch, he gave his own Vice Presidential campaign $100,000 a month after being chosen as Ed Clark's running mate. "We'd like to abolish the Federal Elections Commission and all the limits on campaign spending anyway," Koch told New York magazine's Rinker Buck in 1980. When asked why he ran, Koch replied: "Lord knows I didn't need a job, but I believe in what the Libertarians are saying. I suppose if they hadn't come along, I could have been a big Republican from Wichita. But hell—everybody from Kansas is a Republican."

He broke with the Libertarian Party in 1984 when it supported eliminating all taxes and Koch has since been a Republican.

Political views

Koch supports policies that promote individual liberty and free market principles. He supports gay marriage and stem-cell research. He is against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. He opposes the war on drugs and is skeptical about anthropogenic global warming. He has said a warmer planet would be good because "Earth will be able to support enormously more people because a far greater land area will be available to produce food".

Koch opposed the Iraq war, saying that the war has "cost a lot of money and it's taken so many American lives", and "I question whether that was the right thing to do. In hindsight that looks like it was not a good policy".

Koch dislikes President Obama's policies. "He's the most radical president we've ever had as a nation... and has done more damage to the free enterprise system and long-term prosperity than any president we've ever had." Koch believes that Obama's father's economic socialism explains what Koch views as Obama's belief in "antibusiness, anti-free enterprise influences." Koch believes Obama himself is a "hardcore socialist" who is "marvelous at pretending to be something other than that". Eighty-seven percent of David Koch's contributions went to Republicans in 2012.


Since 2000, David H. Koch Charitable Foundation has pledged or contributed more than $750 million to cancer research, medical centers, educational institutions, arts, cultural institutions, and public policy studies. Since 2006, the Chronicle of Philanthropy has listed Koch as one of the world's top 50 philanthropists.

Medical research

In 1992, Koch was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He underwent radiation, surgery, and hormone therapy, but the cancer returned every time. Koch believes his experience with cancer has encouraged him to fund medical research. He says, "once you get that disease and I've had it for 20 years almost, you become a crusader to try to cure the disease not only for yourself but for other people." Koch says that his biggest contributions go toward a "moon shot" campaign to finding the cure for cancer, according to his profile on Forbes. Between 1998 and 2012, Koch contributed at least $395 million to medical research causes and institutions.

Koch sits on the Board of Directors of the Prostate Cancer Foundation and has contributed $41 million to the Foundation, including $5 million to a collaborative project in the field of nanotechnology. Koch is the eponym of the David H. Koch Chair of the Prostate Cancer Foundation, a position currently held by Dr. Jonathan Simons.

In 2007, he contributed $100 million to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to help fund the construction of a new 350,000-square-foot (33,000 m2) research and technology facility to serve as the home of the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. He has given a total of $185 million to MIT since joining the MIT Corporation in 1988.

$20 million to Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. The building he financed was named the David H. Koch Cancer Research Building.

$30 million to the Memorial Sloan–Kettering Cancer Center in New York

$25 million to the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston to establish the David Koch Center for Applied Research in Genitourinary Cancers

$15 million to New York-Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell Medical Center

$5 million to the House Ear Institute, in Los Angeles, to create a center for hearing restoration

$25 million to the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City

$100 million, the largest philanthropic donation in the history of New York-Presbyterian Hospital, beginning a $2 billion campaign which will conclude in 2019 to create a new ambulatory care center and renovate the infrastructure of all of the hospital's five sites.


In July 2008, Koch pledged $100 million over 10 years to renovate the New York State Theater in the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (now called the David H. Koch Theater), and has pledged $10 million to renovate the outdoor fountains at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Koch has been a trustee of the American Ballet Theater for 25 years[34] and has contributed more than $6 million to the theater.


Koch contributed $7 million to the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) show Nova, and is a contributor to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., including a $20 million gift to the American Museum of Natural History, creating the David H. Koch Dinosaur Wing and a contribution of $15 million to the National Museum of Natural History to create the new David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins, which opened on the museum's 100th anniversary of its location on the National Mall on March 17, 2010. In 2012, Koch contributed US $35 million to the Smithsonian to build a new dinosaur exhibition hall at the National Museum of Natural History.

Koch also financed the construction of Deerfield Academy's $68 million Koch Center for mathematics, science and technology, and was named the first and only Lifetime Trustee. Koch gave $10 million to the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory where he was honored with the Double Helix Medal for Corporate Leadership for supporting research that, "improves the health of people everywhere".

Political advocacy

See also: Political activities of the Koch brothers In 1984, Koch founded, served as Chairman of the board of directors of, and donated to the free-market Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE). Richard H. Fink served as its first president. In 2004, CSE separated into the Americans for Prosperity Foundation and FreedomWorks. Koch continues as Chairman of the Board and gives money to the Americans for Prosperity Foundation and to a related advocacy organization, Americans for Prosperity. A Koch spokesperson issued a press release stating that the Kochs have "no ties to and have never given money to FreedomWorks".

Koch also sits on the board and donates to the libertarian Cato Institute and Reason Foundation. In August 2010, Jane Mayer of The New Yorker wrote a controversial article on the political spending of David and Charles Koch: "As their fortunes grew, Charles and David Koch became the primary underwriters of hard-line libertarian politics in America." Mayer's article received criticism for using "psycho-biographic innuendo, unnamed sources, and half-truths". Conor Friedersdorf, writing for the Daily Dish at The Atlantic magazine, wrote that while he respected Mayer, "the Koch brothers are legitimately upset by some aspects of the piece, and anyone who reads it should also look at the rebuttals from libertarians who are persuasively pushing back against some of its conclusions" (emphasis in original).

Kimberly O. Dennis, of the Searle Freedom Trust, a libertarian foundation, suggests that the Kochs are acting against their economic interest in promoting "getting government out of the business of running the economy. If they were truly interested in protecting their profits, they wouldn’t be spending so much to shrink government; they’d be looking for a bigger slice of the pie for themselves. Their funding is devoted to promoting free-market capitalism, not crony capitalism."

Time included both Charles and David Koch among the 100 most influential people of 2011. According to the magazine, the list includes "activists, reformers and researchers, heads of state and captains of industry." The article notes the brothers' commitment to free-market capitalist principles, the growth and development of their business, their passion for philanthropy, and their support for conservative organizations and political candidates.

In July 2010, New York magazine profiled Koch, calling him the "tea party’s wallet" for his indirect support of the movement through his groups like Americans for Prosperity Koch concedes that he sympathizes with the Tea Party, but denies directly supporting it, and said: "I’ve never been to a tea party event. No one representing the tea party has ever even approached me." Koch is reported to have addressed Tea Party leaders, telling them, "The American dream of free enterprise, capitalism is alive and well."



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David Hamilton Koch's Timeline

May 3, 1940
Wichita, Kansas, USA