• U.S.

Education: Spurning a Giver

2 minute read

What happens when a philanthropist wants to help activist students? Take the case of John D. Rockefeller III. Long concerned about the gap between businessmen and young people, he set up a task force to advise him. Then last week he appeared at Massachusetts’ newly opened Hampshire College to declare that since young people have been committed to solving social problems for some time, “the main responsibility for reconciliation now rests with the Establishment.”

Rockefeller backed up his conclusion with an offer of $25,000 to a consortium of students and faculty members from Hampshire and the nearby campuses of Smith, Mt. Holyoke, Amherst and the University of Massachusetts. The money was to pay expenses while the consortium decided on a social-improvement project for the Connecticut River valley and enlisted the aid of local firms in carrying it out. “It is right,” Rockefeller added, “for older people to be pushed.”

At that, the student members of the consortium began pushing him. Suspicious that Rockefeller was doing his thing and not theirs, they protested that they had not had time to consider the gift properly−and turned it down. They might reconsider, they said, after the matter was aired in campus forums.

Rockefeller gamely called their hesitancy “appropriately cautious and constructive.” He also agreed not to spend the money on anything else until the students make up their minds.

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