Thursday, December 04, 2008

Cornell is great. Also poor.

A great piece this week from Michael Roth at the HuffPo on the benefits of a liberal arts education. As Roth notes, a liberal arts education (like the one you could receive at, say, Cornell) is excellent preparation for changing the world:

A quick look at several members of President-elect Obama's leadership team can stand as an example of how those with a liberal arts education are shaping the future of our society.
Of course, a liberal arts education ain't what it used to be, as the financial crisis hits even the most sterling Ivy League institutions. Even super-studly Harvard University (pictured at right) is in trouble. According to Fosco's old patron, the Harvard Crimson, Harvard's gargantuan endowment lost 22 percent this year (which translates to 8 billion dollars). Sadly, this means major budget cuts and austerity measures to be enacted by Harvard President Peri Gilpin Drew Gilpin Faust (who, by all accounts, does not deserve such an unpleasant and thankless duty). As the Crimson reports:
The Faculty of Arts and Sciences placed a freeze on staff hiring last week, following a cautionary letter from Faust a month earlier that warned of cutbacks ahead.
Sadly, this probably means that Harvard will have to lay off former president and Chinese water heater tycoon "Bell Johnson."

Of course, even in this time of crisis, the Crimson cannot resist a subtle dig at other, lesser universities. As the article notes,
The decline, which amounts to more than $8 billion, is larger than the endowments of all but four other universities—Yale, Princeton, Stanford, and MIT.
That's right, Cornell: Harvard lost more money this year than your university is worth. Pwned!

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