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5 Weird College Donations (That People Actually Made)

Feb 4 2013 at 9:47 am by

In case you didn’t know, your college’s alumni pool deserves a lot of credit for keeping your education as cheap as possible. Many of them continue to support your education by donating money and funding to various school initiatives, which is how a lot of scholarships are funded. And oh yeah, some alumni donate some pretty awesomely weird things, too. Check it out:

1. The men’s room. Brad Feld, a venture capitalist who once attended the University of Colorado, donated $25,000, which is no sum to sneeze at. His stipulation, though, was that a plaque bearing his name be placed outside a specific on-campus bathroom. No joke. The dude wanted his name forever emblazoned outside the toilets. His reasoning? He wanted to “inspire people as they ‘walked’ in to do their business.” Fair enough.

2. Flowers. Flowers? Flowers. At Indiana University, the school offers a scholarship in the name of a generous donor who has since passed away. However, her award came with some curious attached strings: the student recipient of the scholarship was required to drive to Indianapolis in order to put flowers on the donor’s grave. This condition is no longer required, but don’t you kind of wish it were?

3. A lake. Back when president Woodrow Wilson was president of Princeton University, Andrew Carnegie (the famous industrialist and mega-rich guy), fondly remembered his time as a member of the Princeton crew team. With such memories in mind, he oversaw the building and completion of a nearby lake, fittingly named Lake Carnegie. No big deal.

4. A ship. In 2006, a man named Luther Blount made a quirky donation to three Rhode Island schools: Rhode Island College, the Wentworth Institute of Technology, and Roger Williams University. What was the donation, exactly? A boat. Rather, a 175-foot cruise ship called The Niagara Prince. Not too shabby.

5. Elephant bones. Fun fact: P.T. Barnum (yes, of Barnum & Bailey circus fame) was a staunch supporter of Tufts University, located in Massachusetts. While he ended up donating a ton of circus ware to the university, his most famous was Jumbo the elephant. Seriously. While also creating the Tufts’ Barnum Museum of Natural History, Barnum gave the skeleton of Jumbo to the school to enjoy, and enjoy they did, as Jumo became Tuft’s mascot.

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