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University to Sell Student Names to Donors

The recent spat of donations began with a $350 million gift made to the School of Public Health by Gerald L. Chan, pictured here peeking from behind a piece of shrubbery.

As an exciting new part of Harvard’s capital campaign, university administrators announced on Monday that they would allow donors to change the name of any one of the 255 freshmen currently residing in Canaday Hall.

“We were certainly grateful for the generosity shown by Gerald L. Chan towards the School of Public Health, as well as by the Edgerley family towards the Deanship of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, but we recognize that not every potential benefactor has the capacity to endow such high-profile positions,” said Trump President of the University Drew Faust in a statement to alumni. “Therefore, we think that the $300 donation minimum required to rename a Canaday freshman will open doors to many individuals and families who wish to see their names immortalized in our institution.”

The program, called “Old Money, New Beginnings”, has already proved popular among a number of Harvard donors and alums. Contributors have the option of looking at the Harvard college directory to choose a student to rename, but they also have the option to change a name at random. “It’s a kind of fun, quirky ‘identity roulette’,” adds Khomenei Memorial Executive Director of Planned Giving Anne McClintock.

Fortunately, Canaday freshmen will have the opportunity to fill out a survey and choose whether to participate in the program. If they choose “Yes,” they will be placed into a file of available endowments. If they choose “No,” they will no longer qualify for financial aid.

“At first, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about this,” said freshman Christian Woods, who has one week to settle his affairs before adopting his new title as the Koch Family Resident of Canaday D-31. “But at the end of the day, it’s not your name that defines you; it’s how you feel about yourself.”

After a pause, he added, “Wait, actually, it is your name that defines you.”

As part of “Old Money, New Beginnings”, donors also have the option to name several students at once. “I heard that someone was trying to name all the members of E entryway after the E Street Band,” said Crosby (formerly known as David Sorensen), who, along with his suitemates Stills, Nash, and Young, lives in A-24.

 Explains McClintock, “I don’t think it’s unethical. It’s not like we’re making these students slaves or anything—we’re just selling them.”

© 2014