Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Nameless Gift

It sure pays to be an MBA, but I suppose that's nothing new. While I have a deep desire to see this level of giving applied to, say, the arts (yes, I'm a little biased), I can't help but be happy for the UW-Madison School of Business, which just received an astounding donation of $85 million from alumni who got rather into the Homecoming spirit this past weekend. What's even better, though, is the fact that the money comes with the stipulation that the school retain its name, instead of taking on the name of any individual or organization, for at least 20 years. In the era of Mountain Dew's Freakfest and the Ted Stevens International Airport, it's extremely refreshing to have at least some of our organizations left to just be what they are.

Just as good, perhaps, is the claim that the majority of the money will go to funding "people and programs, not facilities." Let's face it, the Business School isn't hard up for nice digs. But there were rumblings of losing the competitive edge over other schools in terms of faculty, especially as the state legislature routinely cuts funding for the UW system in general (and that whole no-benefits-for-domestic-partners thing, but that's a rant for another post).

Anyway, my congrats to the school and to the donors who so generously and, relatively humbly, gave quite a bit of dough. While I'm not 100% pro-business school, ours is well regarded in the US and the world as one of the best, with a strong emphasis on teaching the social, environmental and economic perspectives required in our global age. So, hooray for them.

Now if only our society would learn to value its writers, artists, musicians, social workers, etc., with the same kind of monetary and societal security. A girl can dream.

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The Lost Albatross