Mysterious donor gives millions to colleges - who's next?

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Over the past few months, a mysterious, anonymous donor (or collection of donors) has given almost $70 million to a dozen colleges across the country. While many people have made a parlor game out of trying to decipher the secret benefactor's identity, it seems like it might be even more fun to try to figure out where he or she (or they) are going to strike next. Let the games begin!

To begin with, the majority of the colleges and universities that have received money, including SUNY Binghamton, Michigan State, Purdue, the University of Iowa, UNC Asheville, Montclair State, Southern Miss, Norfolk State, Colorado, and the University of Maryland, are public institutions. It's worth noting that the outlier, Kalamazoo College, sounds like a public university, which suggests that the mysterious donor might be also be a questionable researcher.

Or maybe he (or she) attended Kalamazoo. Or maybe I'm grasping at straws.

At any rate, based on the numbers, it looks like most future funds will be working their way toward public universities, which is sad news for West Virginia Wesleyan, Brown, Princeton, Harvard, Bennington, Harvey Mudd, Claremont McKenna, Bates College, Northland College, La Roche College, St. Ambrose, the Wentworth Institute of Technology, Bentley University, and Colgate, all of which are run by women. On the other hand, given the number of impressive endowments on this list, it's worth wondering if this entire plan isn't a social engineering experiment cooked up by Harvard's Drew Faust (who would be well named, by the way), Princeton's Shirley Tilghman, Brown's Ruth Simmons and Bennington's Elizabeth Coleman. Their schools could certainly spare the dough.

Given the female focus of the mystery endowments, it's surprising that no money seems to be going directly to women's colleges that are run by women. This is bad news for Smith, Mount Holyoke, Cedar Crest, Agnes Scott, Trinity College, Wesleyan College, Texas Women's University, Barnard College, Spelman, Vassar, Mills, Sweet Briar, and Bryn Mawr. On the other end of the spectrum, it's also worth noting that regional schools and community colleges also haven't gotten much attention, which bodes ill for Florida Community College, Kent State Stark, and Kingsborough Community College.

The vast majority of the schools are located east of the Mississippi River, which bodes ill for Texas A&M, Winona State, and Utah's Weber State. Beyond that, the mysterious donor has only double-dipped in one state, which suggests that, while things might be good for Eastern Michigan and the University of Michigan, Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute, Syracuse University, Buffalo State, Hunter College, Salisbury University, and New Jersey might all be out of luck.

All tolled, I'm guessing that the best bets for the next schools to get money from the mystery feminist are the University of Pennsylvania, Lehigh University, MIT, the University of Southern Maine, Bowling Green State, South Florida, the University of Alabama Birmingham, and the University of Cincinnati. Given its impressive endowment, I'm a little doubtful about MIT. Then again, that's utterly unsubstantiated speculation.

I can't help but wonder if the National Defense University will get any money. Admittedly, it's pretty well funded by the Department of Defense, and probably doesn't need much help. Then again, it is run by a woman: Marine Lt. General Frances C. Wilson.

Tune in to see what happens next!

UPDATE: With Hunter College's recent gift of $5 million from the mystery donor, it's clear that my earlier suggestion that he, she, or they might avoid double-dipping in individual states was WAY off. In fact, they have now double-dipped in both Michigan and New York. With that in mind, my list is expanded to Eastern Michigan, the University of Michigan, Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute, Syracuse University, Buffalo State, Salisbury University, New Jersey, University of Pennsylvania, Lehigh University, MIT, the University of Southern Maine, Bowling Green State, South Florida, the University of Alabama Birmingham, and the University of Cincinnati.
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