Money in academia
June 5, 2012
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Jonathan Wolff (University College London) writes for the Guardian here. He tells this story:
An elderly Danish entrepreneur, who had not had the chance to attend university, decided to pursue his interest in philosophy later in life. He told a story of attending a two-day philosophy conference. On the first day, he attempted to make a number of comments, but, he said, they were treated with scorn. That evening, at the conference reception, he happened to mention to a senior member of the university administration that, as a wealthy man with no heirs, he was intending to leave his money to academic institutions. And, he said, on the second day his interventions were treated with great respect.
And he concludes,
Money, therefore, is not necessary for progress. But nevertheless, it must help at least a little… Almost always, in higher education, the big charitable donations follow the money. To him that hath, shall be given. As Scott Fitzgerald almost said, rich universities are very different from the rest. They are given more money.