the American idea of learning; or, what to do with extra cash?


Once again America steps up to the plate, or goalpost, to show the world that we understand what edjukation is all about.

Oklahoma State University has announced that Texas oil magnate T. Boone Pickens will donate $165 million to its athletic program.

My favorite part of the story may be the reference to the previous record for an athletic bequest to a university. It seems that the custodians of American institutions of learning don't put much store in the subject of education themselves:

The amount [of Pickens' gift] surpasses the $100 million that the Las Vegas casino owner Ralph Engelstad gave to the University of North Dakota in 1998. Half of that was initially intended to build a hockey arena, but the project eventually consumed the entire gift.
And not a penny left over for any of that boring learnin' stuff.

Before I leave this subject, even a quick check with our memories and the internet will remind us that Pickens and his money are very close to both Bush (not incidently a major funder of the Swift Boat Veterans ads) and to the tax-exempt Progress for America, currently spending tons of cash in a campaign to push Alito's case in the Senate.

For an additional lesson in the values held by this Texas billionaire takeover artist, it's interesting to see that according to Wikipedia, Pickens and employees of his BP Capital LLC [my italics] donated a realtively paltry $5 million to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort. But, hey, what possible connection would the poor people of Louisiana have with the oil business? Well, I'd humbly suggest that their claim to some of his wealth is far superior to that of the beneficiaries of a redundant sports facility attached to an institution supposedly devoted to higher learning.

[Oklahoma State University logo from aggiesports]

Welcome to higher learning in the US.

One of the teachers at my school has $70K in college loans for her undergraduate degree. Have you seen the new bill going through Congress that raises interest rates for student loans?