Mystery donor gives $68 million to 12 colleges


Over the past seven weeks, a string of colleges have received anonymous donations ranging from $1 million to at least $10 million.

Schools receiving gifts include: University of North Carolina at Asheville, Montclair State, Purdue, Binghamton University, and Michigan State. The count may continue to rise as more colleges report large anonymous donations but so far there is only one thing that all the colleges have in common: The president's office is occupied by a woman.

According to the Associated Press, "With about 23% of U.S. college presidents women, the odds of a dozen randomly selected institutions all having female leaders are 1 in 50 million." Internet sources have guessed at Oprah Winfrey and the estate of Leona Helmsley as possible sources, but both parties have denied involvement. The most popular theory for now seems to be the notion of a "circle" of philanthropists pooling their resources to make the gifts. Making the gifts anonymous and spreading them out among a large number of colleges over a short period of time generates tremendous publicity for the cause of women in higher education: A $68 million gift to support women in higher education would be big news in the college world but wouldn't gete anything like the media buzz this story is.

If you're a parent with a student in college and you're having trouble with the tuition bill, there's only thing to do. Find out if the president is a woman and if he isn't, demand that he step down or undergo surgery before the money runs out.