$70M in Anonymous Gifts Spark Academic Whodunit

Nearly $70 million given to colleges nationwide
By Sarah Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 25, 2009 10:27 AM CDT
Purdue University got an $8 million anonymous donation.   (Flickr)
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(Newser) – A wave of nearly $70 million in mysterious donations to a dozen colleges across the country has set off a happy guessing game in academic circles, the New York Times reports. "Whoever it is wishes to remain anonymous and I, for one, am perfectly happy to respect that," says the president of New Jersey's Montclair State, which received $5 million last month. It was Michigan State's turn Thursday—the school got $10 million.

Among the potential clues: All the lucky schools have female presidents, and some of the money is earmarked for scholarships for women and minority students. All except one are public. Most are in the East. Maybe, one nonprofit director speculates, the donor is lying low to avoid pressure to give in the future. Whatever the case, the recipients are just happy to be part of it. "We’re focusing on how this will help our students,” says a University of Maryland official.