Monday, November 26, 2007


How Much Is a Good Name Worth?

University of Minnesota Medical School Name For Sale


Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls.
Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, nothing;
'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed.

Othello Act 3, scene 3, 155–161

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added, Wednesday 29 November


We've made the Chronicle of Higher Education:

November 27, 2007

University of Minnesota Medical School Seeks Big Donor

Who wouldn’t want $150-million? Officials of the University of Minnesota Medical School, in pursuit of just such a donation, will offer the school’s naming rights for the right price, says the Saint Paul Pioneer Press.

The medical school is running "more than $8-million in the red," according to the news report, because of cuts in state support.

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The Pioneer Press reports on the latest efforts at financing BigU’s ambitious aspirations:

Is med school name worth $150M? The U may find out
Short on money, officials seek an unprecedented gift

BY PAUL TOSTO
Pioneer Press

Article Last Updated: 11/22/2007 10:21:15 PM CST

Officials say no deal is imminent, but they are considering what the medical school name might fetch. The school's dean, Dr. Deborah Powell, mentioned the $150 million figure at a recent university faculty meeting where she also lamented the lack of "major philanthropy" in Minnesota.

The University of Minnesota regularly names buildings after donors in exchange for big gifts. It agreed to name the new campus football stadium for TCF Bank in a $21 million sponsorship deal. But selling the name of Minnesota's public medical college could be a much trickier and politically charged issue.

Would Minnesotans object to removing "Minnesota" from the school's name in exchange for cash? It's not clear. Officials, though, say the school is running more than $8 million a year in the red.

"Without philanthropy, we cannot get the resources we need to advance the medical school," Powell said. "I've certainly talked to (university President Robert Bruininks) about how wonderful this would be for the medical school ... a very large, unrestricted gift."

There's no benefactor waiting in the wings, and the university has never received a gift even close to that size.

Medical school leaders trace their financial problems to funding cuts by the Legislature earlier in the decade.

The school also has fallen out of the top 20 among medical schools in the crucial chase for National Institutes of Health grants, which make up roughly a quarter of its funding.

The school is the second-most expensive public medical school in the nation, so a big jump in tuition likely would not be an option.

Officials talked about making a special request to the Legislature in 2008. Powell, in an August memo to faculty, cited a "structural deficit of $29 million over the next three years" and called a special funding request "an opportunity we have to seize." That plan, though, appears off the table right now, in part because the 2008 session is focused on capital bonding issues.

There's been a small rush the past few years to rename medical schools in honor of big donors. The University of South Dakota renamed its medical school for St. Paul native Denny Sanford following a $20 million donation.

At New York's Cornell University, $100 million in 1998 from banker Sanford Weill got his family name on the medical school. A $200 million gift in 2002 from music mogul David Geffen prompted UCLA to rename its medical school in his honor.

NIH money increasingly is awarded for "translational research," science that can move from basic discovery to clinical trials to market. The universities of Michigan, Iowa and Wisconsin won NIH Clinical and Translational Science Awards grants this year. Minnesota did not. Officials have reapplied and are seeking a $70 million grant.

"Rather than let the medical school fail, absolutely we will be pursuing sources of funding," Koppel
[spokeswoman for the university's academic health center, which includes the medical school] said. "It's a struggle to retain the name and the ownership with inadequate investment."

As Mr. Bonzo has pointed out in the past, there seems to be a disconnect between the ambitious aspirations of BigU's administration and the wishes of the citizens of ColdState. The unexpurgated reactions to the Pioneer Press article are given below:

The U of M Medical School should not be a "sell-out" and name it after a drug company. What an insult to the pioneering minds to have graduated from there - let alone the gusty researchers at the U of M that have come up breakthrough after breakthrough... But ever since the University of Minnesota Medical Center "sold it's soul" to Fairview in 1997, I wouldn't be surprised if it happened. I guess being a "world-class" medical center doesn't add up to much, anymore...pity.
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It does not surprise me that the Medical School would sell out its name. It has been apparent for some time now that anything or everything is for sale at the 'U' including the truth. Maybe the Psychiatry Dept. should be re-named "Elli Lilly Hall"
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Who are we kidding? This IS a done deal. Bruininks and his ilk would sell the naming rights to their mother's grave if they thought it would make a buck.
This is just one more step in the University turning into the Wal-Mart of academics.
As for you, PP, I can't believe you're so naive not to see this release for what it is, on a Friday, over a holiday weekend. This story is the trial balloon to see how the public will react so the PR machine at the U can sculpt their message accordingly. Wise-up.

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... and the story has a secondary function to troll the national waters for potential, large donors.

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Would this be on e-bay ?

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Now if Tammie Hall should her stuff it would be called hooking, but not like in hockey.

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Ugh - this selling out of educational institutions is sickening

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1 comment:

Christopher Bassett said...

As a former student at the U (Mechanical Engineering) it is good to run into someone who is putting much of what I have been thinking into words. Now I can share this with other people.

Thanks!