Warren Edward Buffett was born on August 30, 1930, in Omaha, Nebraska. His father worked as a stockbroker and served as a U.S. congressman and his mother was a homemaker. He demonstrated a knack for financial and business matters early in his childhood and enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania at the age of 16 to study business, transferring to the University of Nebraska to complete his degree. He received his master's degree in economics at Columbia University, where he studied under economist Benjamin Graham and furthered his education at the New York Institute of Finance.
In 1956 Buffet formed the firm Buffett Partnership Ltd., leading to the acquisition of a textile company named Berkshire Hathaway, which he ultimately expanded into media assets such as The Washington Post, insurance, and oil. Earning the nickname the "Oracle of Omaha" he even managed to make seemingly poor investments profitable, most notably scandal-plagued Salomon Brothers in 1987. Buffett became director of the company from 1989-2006 following Berkshire Hathaway’s significant investment in Coca-Cola.
In 2006 Buffett announced he would be committing his fortune to philanthropy, with 85 percent pledged to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which became the largest act of charitable giving in United States history. In 2010 Buffett and Gates announced they had formed The Giving Pledge campaign to recruit more wealthy individuals for philanthropic causes. Buffett has become involved in voter registration initiatives, founded a healthcare venture with JPMorgan Chase and Amazon, and continued to give away billions of dollars in charity. Buffett was married to his first wife Susan (Susie) Thompson from 1952 until her death in 2004, although they separated in the 1970s. They have three children: Susan, Howard, and Peter. In 2006, he married his longtime companion Astrid Menks.