A mystery is building around an anonymous donor who has given over seventy million dollars to colleges run by women. The donor is also sending in funds to ensure scholarships for women and minority students.
So far, according to Lisa W. Foderaro of The New York Times, the donor has sent large sums of money to several public universities across the country, each one run by a female president. Not only does the donor wish to remain anonymous to the public, but to their recipients as well: "No one on campus - not the president, not the public relations staff, not the chief fund-raiser - can know where the money came from," Foderaro notes.
So who is the mystery donor? And why do they feel so connected to public universities, and, in particular, universities run by women? Dr. Susan Cole (pictured above) of Montclair State University, which received 5 million dollars worth of donations from said donor, puts it this way: "Obviously, the giver of these gifts is a person of great wisdom. I'm only partly facetious. We've had to work very hard to get where we are, and I believe that women presidents are great caretakers of their institutions and their students." University of Maryland University College Vice President Catherine Sweet-Windham tells the Times that she's not as interested in the mystery as much as putting the generous donation (her school received $6 million) to good use: ""We're not focusing on the whodunit part. We're focusing on how this will help our students and letting the donor know that their investment in this institution is good one."
Sweet-Windham's tactic may just be what the donor is hoping for. In one letter accompanying a donation, the donor writes, "It is hoped that this will make a substantial difference to your students during these challenging times, enabling a more confident, sharper focus on their studies with improved career and life prospects."
[Photo via Montclair State University]