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Anonymous donations began earlier?

May 20, 2009

Since I posted a highly non-scientific list of possible new targets of the masked philanthropist, four more schools have gotten anonymous scholarship and generation operating funds. But it’s possible they started even earlier.

I talked about the left field choice of UAA, and a succesful prediction of University of Alabama, Birmingham. Now, itt seems that Hunter College (a CUNY branch), also on my “good chance” list received a check, as well as University of Hawaii, Hilo. A .5 average isn’t too bad for only a slightly educated guess.

But now, Inside Higher Ed is reporting that the media attention to the series of donation has made other schools question if recent donations were part of the trend, including University of South Florida (woo, on my list), California State University, Northridge, and at the very earliest, Temple University.

While the earlier donations held the same requirements (one check for whatever, one check for scholarships for women and minorities), there was less legal wrangling to make sure the donor’s identity was kept secret. The narrative of what Temple University received is worth reproducing:

They arrived in January 2008 – in two envelopes from a bank in Arizona, as did the money received by California State University, Northridge. With regular postage. No registered mail. No delivery confirmation.

One held $1 million for the general fund.

The other had $4 million for scholarships for women and minorities.

“The person opening the mail had quite a shock,” Hart said

This was back in January of 2008. Since then, the donor seems to have stepped up the frequency and secrecy of the giving.

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