This will be of small interest to most people, but readers of these pages know my appreciation of Northwestern University, so at least they'll understand my making note of it.
Last week, the school got a nice donation from a Roberta Elliott. She'd turned a good profit investing in her brother's firm and wanted to turn over some of that to the university she'd graduated from. Her donation was for $101 million.
I'm guessing she'll get good tickets to the school's football games. Not that that's difficult at Northwestern, of course, but this will likely included preferred parking.
Note to professors: It's good to be considerate to all your students, not just on general principle, but hey, you just never know....
It's worth noting too that Elliott is her married name. She was born a Buffett. And her brother Warren came with her to the ceremony on the Evanston campus.
How it all came about is sort of interesting.
University president Morton Schapiro had met with and her husband David in December, and wanted to talk about possibly including the university in her will. By the end of dinner, the conversation took a completely different turn, and she had become excited about the school's plans for global studies, international scholarships, visiting foreign professors and more.
"She said, 'I might not want to wait until I'm gone,' " Schapiro explained. "A couple of days later she called and said she wanted to see what we did with (the money) and not wait. It was really the kind of thing you dream about."
"Bertie" Elliot graduated from Northwestern in 1954 and had donated to school previously, covering her interest in international studies. This time around she just decided to increase the amount. And wanted to be around to enjoy seeing what came of it. And so there will now be a Roberta Buffett Institute for Global Studies. Here's the story on the local CBS station in Chicago, WBBM, along with some footage of the ceremony with the Buffett siblings beaming. (Unfortunately, a brief ad will play first whether you want it to or not, when the page loads...)
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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