In this age of e-mail, receiving a personalized letter in the mail can be quite exciting. It says that somebody other than the electric company thought enough about you to physically send you a message. So imagine how special Temple felt on Jan. 31 when it received an anonymous check for $5 million.
Along with the rest of the day’s mundane mail came an ordinary letter with an ordinary stamp that had not-so-ordinary contents. The anonymous letter contained two checks – one for $4 million, the other for $1 million. The accompanying message requested that the $4 million check be used to build more scholarships for women and minorities, and the other for however the university sees fit.
It probably felt like it did when we used to receive a big birthday check from grandma in the mail.
It takes a pretty generous person or organization to make an educational donation of this size. And even more intriguing is the donor’s wish to remain anonymous. We don’t think anyone could be judged for making a hefty donation to a university and secretly hoping they’ll get a building named after them. Who wouldn’t want to be immortalized in an edifice? But giving such a large gift and not even asking for so much as a ‘thank you’ – we think that’s just about as selfless as one can get.
The donor’s wish that the $4 million be put toward scholarships for women and minorities should aid in an area that has been stirring some controversy in the Temple community for the past few years. As Temple’s reputation and achievements continue to grow, so have its admission requirements and tuition. Some have viewed this change as an effort to limit the amount of working-class students that enter the university – a direct departure from the virtues on which founder Russell Conwell established the school.
If Temple wants to raise the bar for its academic standards, so be it. But these higher standards should not create more financial obstacles for women and minorities that come from a more humble family background that wish – and deserve – to attend this university.
This donation could serve as a step back onto the original path.
As for the other $1 million, we just hope it goes toward something other than new administrative offices. Something that the students can actually see would be nice.
As for the anonymous donor, all we can do say is thank you. Thank you for caring about Temple just as much as we all do.