Monday, May 21, 2007

Eternally Dedicated Alumni

While I have very pleasant memories of my college years and am loyal to my alma mater, there are limits! I'm not sure that I'd want my family to come visit my remains on campus. This is one very odd way to raise funds!

Come to think of it, there's some land northwest of the church parking lot...
I wonder what the zoning laws are?...

Final Homecoming
Published: May 21, 2007

Once upon a time, sweatshirts and pennants sufficed as markers of school spirit. And while more than a few Fighting Irish fans would be happy to have their final resting place under the 50-yard line at Notre Dame Stadium, most university devotees have understood the difference between a college and a cemetery. But the line is beginning to blur.

As Alan Finder reported in The Times recently, several universities, including Notre Dame, the University of Virginia and Hendrix College, have been hard at work building memorial walls. The technical name is a columbarium, where the ashes of alumni and professors can spend eternity on the collegiate grounds where they once found happiness.

There is, of course, a price. University administrators can be single-minded in their pursuit of donations, and anything that deepens the bonds, strengthens the affinity, they consider to be fair game. And it is often said that alumni contemplating the end of their mortal existence are especially susceptible to sentimental appeals to remember their alma mater with some cash.
That’s how new dormitories and classroom buildings get their names, along with stadiums, parking lots and swimming pools. But there ought to be limits. If, as we suspect, the collegiate columbarium is just another fund-raising pitch, its crassness makes us shudder.

Many schools have monuments to their founders, to alumni who contributed to society or the nation, to students who fell in war. They remind us of contributions to be celebrated, of sacrifices to be remembered. Fund-raisers should focus on buildings, football, branded mugs and credit cards.

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