(CNN) - A kid raised in a middle-class Boston suburb, Michael Bloomberg took out loans to pay for his tuition at Johns Hopkins University and worked as a parking lot attendant.He learned early to pay it forward.
Bloomberg's first gift to his alma mater was a whopping $5 in 1965, a year after he graduated with a bachelor's degree in engineering.
Fast forward to Saturday, when the Baltimore university announced Bloomberg has now given a total of $1.1 billion. The latest commitment came in the form of a cool $350 million toward a "transformational" initiative aimed at cross-discipline solutions to societal problems.
In a statement, Johns Hopkins said Bloomberg, a former trustee, is believed to be the first person to ever reach the $1 billion level of giving to a single U.S. institution of higher education.
The university's Twitter feed was aglow with information on the gift. One tweet heralded the announcement with the words, "Big News," which might have been an understatement.
Among other things, the donation will fund 2,600 Bloomberg Scholarships over 10 years and 50 distinguished scholars.
Of the $350 million, $100 million will go toward "need-based financial aid" for undergraduate students.
"Johns Hopkins University has been an important part of my life since I first set foot on campus more than five decades ago," Bloomberg said in the press release. "Each dollar I have given has been well-spent improving the institution and, just as importantly, making its education available to students who might otherwise not be able to afford it."