Why Does My Alma Mater Want My Cash?
Maybe a better question would be, "What makes them think I'm interested in giving them money?" It's a strange ritual. You attend a University, pay for the privilege of doing so, in addition to books, meals, fees and (ahem) parking tickets, and then as soon as you're out they start sending you letters asking for MORE, while doing LESS for you.
It operates like no other organization I know of. Your church accepts your donation, in exchange you get salvation (and other services at an a la cart rate). Even the kid who mows my lawn knows that after I pay him, the only way he's getting more money is to do more work. "Hi-ya, Mr. Dwyer, remember last week when I mowed your grass? Yep…sure would like some more of that money you gave me…" Wha?
I just got my alumni magazine in the mail, and once again a letter asking me for cash. Sometimes it's to fund a new Science Center, sometimes to remind me to leave them money in my estate after I'm dead (Estate? They obviously don't know me well!). But the thing I like the best is the not-so-subtle hint that if I don't make some kind of contribution, however small, they will be forced to remove me from the mailing list. Their first threat of that came in 1988, before I even graduated! Even back then I would love to have been taken off the list (nowhere to send the overdue notices).
As it is, I do like seeing what my fellow grads are doing. I go right to the year I graduated to see if I know anyone "…recently named to the school board in Highland Park…". Then, next to the death notices. Morbid, isn't it?
I am surprised how many decades have passed since my grad year. All those grads, all that alumni money coming in. Still no place to park when I visit campus. Let me know when the parking garage fund is starting up. Asking money from former students is not the best way to get cash. Honorary degrees are. Why do you think Universities keep propping up Bill Cosby at their commencements? Wisdom? Sure. Humor. Ok. A small donation in the future perhaps? Absolutely not! Schedule the Rolling Stones for this year's graduation, charge each family member 600.00 a ticket, and sell the heroin that falls out of Keith's coat. That'll keep the Redbirds in the Black for years.