July 10, 2007

So This Is Why They Keep Calling...

Here's an article from Slate about people that give big gobs of money to their alma maters, and why. To get their kids into the school.

Duh. I never thought of this. My alma mater calls me periodically (though not so much anymore) looking for money. They enlist, usually, fourth year Business students (at least, that's who has always been on the end of the phone when I've picked up) to try and shake money out of the graduates that have gone ahead. Good luck in this house.

My alma mater (McMaster University) does some fabulous work, especially in research and business and medicine. They are frequently gifted with large wads of cash from happy, happy business people who usually end up with their name on a building, or a chair named after then. I couldn't afford to have a step stool named after me.

This article tracks donors at an anonymous, but big time, school in the States. Apparently, parents ramp up their donations as their offspring approach their college years. With the expectation that a little dough will grease the rails into those hallowed halls. And if it doesn't work, they stop giving immediately, which pretty much proves the point that it's the reason they're donating in the first place.

When a student calls this house, I have to patiently explain that because I chose not to teach, my degree is pretty to look at, but fairly worthless. A degree in English in an English speaking country means you're quite good at quoting dead poets and comparing the Bard's various themes, but apart from that, it's tough to make a living, let alone find one that will funnel money back to the place that taught you all those things.

I took the degree I wanted to take. But as most possessing liberal arts degrees will tell you, they don't call them starving artists for nothing. It's far easier to lower the cost of your maintenance than try to raise everyone else's appreciation for what you've chosen to do. I'm low maintenance.

And as such, it would never occur to me to think of buying my kid's way into anywhere. I think these parents are nuts. And the lesson their kids need to learn the most will once again be delayed.


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