Billionaires donating money to rich universities

John Paulson’s recent $400 million donation to Harvard seems to have caused a stir primarily for two reasons: that billionaires give money to wealthy institutions, and that said institutions are willing to name their schools and buildings after the donors.

Regarding the first objection, it seems more appropriate to be upset not with the donors for giving money, but with the institutions for not spending a larger portion of their endowments. What are they saving all that money for? Rich universities should use their resources to admit far more low-income students than they currently do.

Regarding the second point, this practice of naming schools and buildings after benefactors seems quite uncontroversial. Why is the university even called Harvard in the first place? Or, for that matter, why are other institutions named Brown, Dartmouth, Duke, Johns Hopkins, Tufts, and Yale?

Simon Hedlin

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