The University announced today that GW will be receiving a 10 million dollar donation by the Smith family and the Kogod family to renovate the Smith Center. This is the largest donation ever made to the University. And it’s for basketball.
While I have nothing against basketball, I’m sure that $10 million could be better spent on improving our classrooms, paying our professors better or to help fund the new water park on Square 54. That’s change we can believe in.
I have to agree — and not only with the water park idea (my kids would cease complaining about being dragged to campus). Can’t this kind of money be invested into something besides sports? While I suppose it is nice thing to boast of a luxurious facility for our student athletes, don’t we live in a culture where sports are both omnipresent and overvalued already? (I say that as an ardent Red Sox fan, by the way, and as someone who really does believe in the good old “a sound mind in a sound body” aphorism).
Wouldn’t it be great to see $10 million go to, oh, say, the arts at GW? To the study of literature and culture in history? Wouldn’t that be more in line with what a university should be all about?
UPDATE 2/19: The total expenditure is at least twenty five million (ten million from two philanthropists plus fifteen million that GW is obligated to pitch in). The GW Hatchet says the commitment “will launch a revitalized image of GW for current and potential students while attracting new donors and elements to campus life”. Me, I’m not so sure. I know everyone likes basketball games. Everyone enters the center for convocation and commencement. But think of what $25 million could do for GW academics. Did I mention that we in CCAS are in another fiscal crunch, and will be for the foreseeable future?