Forum: Luke Seemann04.10.98
Senior's quest turns
up only pinball flippers

The end begins, and with it begin the regrets: I never painted The Rock. I never jogged to the Bahai Temple. I never had crazy monkey sex with a Northwestern professor.

And I never did find out how much money the Weinbergs gave to rename CAS.

I tried. For the first few weeks of the quarter, I was on a Weinberg crusade. Alas, I came up with nothing.

Well, not exactly nothing. I discovered that, in 1996, the Weinbergs gave NU $50,000 worth of Coca-Cola stock, enough to buy 150,000 cans of Pepsi.

I also found out that Marjorie Weinberg's family invented the pinball flipper. Can you imagine pinball without flippers? It would be like baseball without a bat.

NU's party line has been that a 1939-1942 donation of $35 million from Walter Murphy to found Tech remains the largest in NU history. (Murphy, by the way, insisted that the new college not be named after him. How times change.) This comparison could easily be a red herring because, adjusted for inflation, that $35 million would be worth at least $280 million today.

The numbers are irrelevant, though. My concern is wondering who in their right mind would want a college named after them. Not me, but I guess I went over that last week.

Don't get me wrong: I am grateful for the Weinbergs' donation. If Judd A. Weinberg ever visits, I'll be among the first to say, "Thanks, man, and for the flippers, too!"

But I think of Ted Turner's $1 billion donation to the United Nations last year. Instead of asking it to be renamed "Turner United Nations," he deflected attention to other uberwealthy of the world who have given so little. The message was clear: Instead of kissing the toes of those who give, we should be stepping on the toes of those who don't.

This guy I once knew said that a penny from the poor trumps a dollar from the rich. Indeed, there are others who have made smaller contributions but larger sacrifices.

What about the parents who work second jobs, mortgage their houses and take on loans so their brat can go here?

What about the student who attends class all day and then slops omelettes at Clarke's all night so she can buy books she won't have time to read?

What about the guy who fakes his death so his kid sister can use the insurance money to pay her tuition?

These are the heroes whom our trustees should reward. Instead, they honor their own ranks.

I have some proposals.

The next building that goes up, be it student union or gardener's shed, should be named after those who actually sacrificed to put it there: our folks.

Parents Hall would be a welcome addition to our fair campus. Plus, all our parents could boast that a major university named a building after them.

For all students who have ever walked on the wrong side of a menu, let us erect the Statue of the Unknown Waitress. It can be a beacon of hope, with these lyrics at its base: "Give me your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to be, like, smarter and stuff."

And for those who resort to chicanery to pay their NU bills? Well, I suppose Ryan "Don't call me Dyche" Field is a fitting tribute.

Granted, if it weren't for rich donors, NU wouldn't have any buildings. But if it weren't for our parents, loan officers and bookies, NU wouldn't have any students.

-Luke Seemann is a Medill senior. He can be reached at [email protected].

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